Cheating Can Be Good

Cheating usually isn't a good thing. If you get caught, it can break up a relationship, get you in trouble at school, or land you in prison. Yet many of us still do it. And when it comes to diets, many experts agree that cheating may not be a bad thing as long as you do it properly. Whether it's "that time of the month" or you just have a craving that won't quit, here are a few tips for cheating the right way.

1. Eat lean proteins and fiber to fill you up On days when you feel your willpower slipping, prepare yourself by starting the day off properly with a breakfast of lean proteins and lots of fiber to keep you full. You'll have a better shot of not going overboard later if you start your day off right.

2. Premeditate and choose wisely Plan your cheat day to avoid cheating too often, and limit cheating to one meal. Also, think carefully about what you are cheating with. Does it have to be potato chips, or are you just craving something salty and crunchy? Air-popped popcorn or salted nuts are a healthier alternative, but if it has to be chips, that's okay too. Think of the healthiest way to satisfy your cravings without leaving yourself feeling deprived and plan it out in advance.

3. Savor it If you've already made up your mind to cheat, you might as well enjoy it. Step away from your desk or turn off the TV and sit down and focus on your treat. Fully enjoy the flavors and overall experience to maximize craving satisfaction. You might even find yourself eating less the more fully focused you are.

4. Don't be mean Satisfy your craving and then move on. Don't make yourself feel bad. "Guilt can cause you to disconnect from your real feelings about food," according to Marsha Hudnall, M.S., R.D. It also won't make the calories burn off any faster. And you'll be more likely to stick to your diet in the long run if you allow for imperfections.

5. Get right back on the wagon A common problem is that once people slip up on their diets, they tend to think they might as well give up on the rest of the day and go on an all-out calorie fest. Obviously, this behavior isn't going to help the number on the scale get smaller. Get your indulgence in, enjoy it fully and then go back to your diet as though nothing happened.

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Kristen Majewski
Contact: Kristen Majewski