Cheat On Your Diet: How To Splurge & Avoid Gaining Weight

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 - 2:36pm

By Michele Silence, MA

At times, sticking with a strict exercise and eating program can be difficult. However, if you want to look great, self-discipline is essential. Once in a while, it’s a real treat to relax your discipline, go all out, and eat whatever you want. But how much can you enjoy without undermining your weight and health goals? Is it realistic to avoid feeling guilty? How can you be sure you won’t end up gaining weight? Here are some tips to help you live that dream.

What’s your definition of splurging?

To make sure you’re not going to ruin your goals, you first need to define splurging. Do you mean ordering whatever you want at a restaurant while lounging with friends for the day? Or are you talking about eating like a hog from sunup to sundown? What you consider a treat will determine how much and how often you can splurge without worrying about the effects it’ll have on your body.

There shouldn’t be any problem with enjoying an occasional meal out with a few cocktails. That means once or twice a week. Eat whatever you wish and have what you want to drink. The only rule is: Stop eating when you’re full. Avoid consuming more than you truly want, even though you know this is your weekly chance to break out.

Cheat and be lazy wisely on your diet

Be sure to choose your extravaganzas carefully. You don’t want to “spend” your once a week treat on something you don’t really, really love to eat. Or, give up a day of exercise to sit around unless you truly relish it. Sitting at the beach, going to movies, whatever it is, make sure you will feel like you’ve given yourself something special by not doing your normal routine.

Remember to do the math when cheating on your diet

Letting yourself go, eating whatever you want, and taking a day off your workout routine can actually benefit you. This kind of cheating can help you stay on track all week long. You can stay more focused and dedicated when you know it isn’t forever and that things you really like can still be a regular part of your life. This type of cheating ensures you don’t feel deprived. No one wants to give up their favorite desert or greasy food permanently—and with balance you don’t have to.

If you actually consume fewer calories during the week and stay on track with exercising, the calories burned will more than make up for the one or two indulgences you give yourself. And, in fit people the body actually gets thrown off a little when extra calories are taken in for a few days. Instead of gaining weight, the metabolism struggles to adapt to the brief change. Being extreme with any eating and exercise plan will only limit its effectiveness and eventually lead to abandonment.

Diets should be fun!

Remember the whole point to exercising and eating right is to enjoy life and be here longer to do so. Don’t lose sight along the way and think you can’t step over the line now and then. Let yourself go crazy once a weekin moderation. Have that chocolate brownie with hot fudge. Sit and talk with a friend for hours. Your lifestyle affords you the opportunity and luxury to do so now and then. Enjoy.