How to Cheat on Your Diet

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Sometimes dieting and trying to lose weight can be difficult because you have to learn new skills and work muscles that may have atrophied, if they ever existed at all. One of those skills–talents?–is the ability to control your willpower. For many people, it can be hard to go from eating whatever to eating a diet that is more regimented.

So, to cope with the new restriction, a lot of people have cheat meals or even cheat days. They may go a little crazy or go completely over the top. You might even be one of these cheating eaters. But to steal a line from Jurassic Park, you might be so preoccupied with whether or not you could; you didn’t stop to think if you should. So I decided to look into it.

And the truth is, while most nutrition experts don’t like using the word “cheat,” mainly because you shouldn’t be putting so much emotion into food, those same experts think cheats are a good idea. That’s because eating a cheat meal can help you from feeling as if you’re depriving yourself.

The key to making the most out of your cheating is first, to restrict it to a meal. It may feel good to indulge all day long, but you’re trying to satisfy a craving, not see how much food you can pack in. Next, pick your pleasure. This, of course, will depend on what you’ve restricted from your diet and your personal preference. So what’s going to be? You may have a hankering for pasta. Maybe you’re dreaming about dessert or drinks. Whatever you choose, stick to that category. That way, you can enjoy your treat without harming your diet. And whatever you don’t choose you can have for your next cheat meal.

Another tip to keep in mind is to cheat no more than once a week. You might be able to get away with a second cheat meal, but that’s only if you’re exercising strenuously–like, weight-lifting–on a regular basis.

Furthermore, if you’re on a low-carb in which you want to stay in ketosis, you’d better think twice about big cheats. They can, of course, throw you out of ketosis. This isn’t the end of the world, but it’s a hassle when you’ve worked so hard to get there. And that’s the overall wisdom behind cheat meals. Enjoy your favorites in moderation, but don’t throw away the work you put in to get to where you are now.

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