We usually think of cheating as a bad thing. No one wants to be a cheater. But what about cheating on your diet? Can taking a day off from your weight loss program actually help you lose weight? Some experts say yes. But before you break out the cupcakes, read how to properly execute the cheat day so that you don’t do more harm than good.
Even Good Girls Cheat
Jennifer Aniston recently went on record telling ABC News that she’s a cheater. She takes breaks from her eating plan to indulge in Mexican food or pasta. For her, this helps her stick to her healthy eating plan in the long run.
Many experts agree with this approach. Rachel Berman, a registered dietitian and editor at About.com Health says that cheat days definitely work for some people. But she cautions dieters not to think of certain foods as “good” or “bad” or to use an all-or-nothing approach. “The mentality of being “on a diet” on some days and then “off your diet” on others makes it more difficult to create lifestyle changes that will last.”
How to Be Good When You Cheat
So how do you cheat and still remain loyal to your healthy eating commitment? Jennifer Aniston said it best. “I think you always have to do it in moderation,” she told the news source. And she’s right. It’s nearly impossible to completely undo a week’s worth of proper eating in a single meal. But that might change if the meal spreads into two meals or even three.
We all encounter situations when cheating is a good thing. This might be a special social event or simply a day when you want to reward yourself with a special indulgence. The key is to keep your cheating episode contained so that your long-term diet goal isn’t compromised. “You can’t control every situation all of the time,” says Berman, “so it might be better for your diet to have a “cheat meal” so then you can have a balance and make healthier choices the rest of the day.”