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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

12 Healthy Ways to Cheat on Your Diet continued...

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.

11. Make small changes. Passionate about a nightly dessert? Enjoy every mouthful -- but top it off with a walk around the block afterward. Addicted to a pizza slice and a cola for your daily lunch? Relish every bite -- but enjoy them four days a week instead of five. Grotto and O'Neil agree that small steps can add up to big results, so find the changes that work best for you. "We almost have it built into us, hard-wired, the resistance to simple things," says Grotto. "That's why I think so many people fail on diets."

12. Don't let a little slip become a backslide.  It is almost impossible to be an "A" student when it comes to dieting. "Everyone slips up, and that is fine as long as you don't let one slip turn into a backslide," says Wansink. Whenever you slip up, take note of it, try to learn from it so you can anticipate it in the future, and get right back into your diet plan to avoid the temptation to throw in the towel.

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Reviewed on October 15, 2009

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