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How to Cheat on Your Diet and Still Lose Weight

Diet 'cheat days' can actually boost your chances of weight loss success
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12 Healthy Ways to Cheat on Your Diet continued...

7.    Make it yourself. Can't enjoy your morning coffee without a muffin? Mix up your own batch, slipping in goodies like oats, nuts, and whole-grain flour. Love piping hot pizza? Try making it yourself, using intensely flavored toppings like goat cheese, smoked salmon, and fresh herbs. You won't even miss the pepperoni. WebMD's "Recipe Doctor," Elaine Magee, knows where to slash calories without anyone noticing: "Cheesecake is a perfect example of an easy dish to lighten, because you can use a dusting of graham cracker or cookie crumbs instead of a crust made with 6 tablespoons of melted butter; [and use] reduced-fat ingredients like light cream cheese and egg substitute and a little less sugar," she says. "Then you can heighten the flavor with lemon or lime zest for a dessert that is much lighter so you can enjoy a larger portion."

8.    Get away from it all. How many times have you eaten lunch at your desk or in front of the TV, and then realized you didn't taste a bite? "Our society doesn't embrace eating and enjoying our food; we try and be productive at all times," says Grotto. That's why it's so important to savor your splurge without distractions. And if you do so away from the kitchen, it's harder to sneak in seconds.

9.    Eat what you love, in small portions. You can have it all, just not all in one day. No food is off-limits as long as you keep your portions reasonable. "Every day I satisfy my sweet tooth with a couple of bites of dark chocolate that I keep in the freezer so it melts slowly and satisfies my craving without consuming too many calories," says Magee. 

10. Compromise. O'Neil lives in the South, where sweet iced tea is a popular drink. Instead of doing without when she goes out, she orders unsweetened iced tea with a dash of sweet tea on top. So if you think it's not a picnic without your creamy chicken salad, enjoy it -- but cut the calories by replacing half the mayonnaise with yogurt. "Compromises are an empowering thing," says O'Neil.

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