Cheat Days In Dieting

Despite what you might think, you don’t have to be a perfect dieter to have the perfect body.

Even the most stringent dieter will have days where he or she feels like they have failed in some way to eat what they should or workout as much as they feel they ought to.

This means that instead of feeling like a failure when you indulge in fattening foods, sweets, chips, fries and anything from the vending machine, you should understand that eating a little something sinful every once in a while is an important part of dieting.

Going Cold Turkey Can Actually Cause A Diet to Fail

Some people will try to tell you that a slice of cake on the weekends will ruin your diet, but the experts say that this kind of “cheating” is actually what makes for a healthy diet.

David NW. Grotto, RD, LD, and author of 101 Foods That Can Save Your Life says “I think splurging on a diet is mandatory, not an option. Taking away a person’s favorite foods can be the death knell to a diet.”

Another RD, Carolyn O’Neil, agrees by saying “I think sensible splurging is really the key to being able to achieve a healthy lifestyle.” Anyone can follow an ultra-restrictive diet for a short amount of time, even losing a good deal of weight, but it is the inconsistency of letting go over the long-term that causes the weight to come back with a vengeance.

Woman cupping green apple above chocolate bars

Having a Cheat Day Doesn’t Mean Getting a Free Pass

The key to using indulgences to your advantage is to be sensible with your indulgences. Continue to monitor your portion sizes even though you are eating food that you wouldn’t necessarily on days that aren’t your cheat days.

Use these tips to make sure that your cheat days don’t end up ruining your diet:

1. Plan your splurges. By planning when and where you are going to splurge on calories, you give yourself motivation to eat better throughout the day before your splurge. You also give yourself a better chance of ensuring that you won’t go overboard on portion size when you do actually splurge.

2. Fill up on the good stuff. Rather than deciding that you are going to go out to a more calorie-dense restaurant completely ravenous, eat an appetizer of raw vegetables at your house so that you are less likely to order a large, rich entree that will take days of stringent eating to recover from.

3. Get the most out of your splurge. Don’t choose to splurge on calories that you aren’t crazy about. Save your splurge until you have something that you crave and enjoy and can savor every last bite of.

4. Eliminate all distractions. Instead of eating your cheap food in front of the TV or while you are at your computer, turn all of your attention to the food you love. This will make it more memorable and easier to eat more healthy for the next few meals.

5. Make compromises. No one can have it all, and your cheat days should be no different. Recognize that although you might be able to order that creamy fettuccine alfredo, you are probably not going to be able to have the cheesecake for dessert. Just realize that everything should have its own place and time.

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