Being on a diet can often be too restrictive, leading to frustration and binge eating. But why should you go through all this pain in the first place? If dieting would mean you must permanently ditch all your favorite treats forever, then most of us wouldn’t stick to such a regimen for long. Luckily, there are healthy ways to cheat on your diet and still have success regarding weight loss.
Even nutritionists recommend occasionally indulging while on a diet, but we still need to use common sense. You know you’ll want that chocolate cake even more if someone tells you you can’t have it.
10 Healthy ways to cheat on your diet and keep your weight loss
When cheating on your diet, you must make a conscious and guilt-free decision (because guilt never helps) to still enjoy some of your favorite foods, but occasionally and in moderation.
Many of us think starting a weight loss diet means forsaking the fattening foods we love. No sweets, cream sauces, chips, wine, or fun! But this kind of weight loss plan can lead to more cravings, fixating on forbidden foods — and goals abandoned long before their time. The truth, experts say, is that you can have your weight loss and eat cake, too — as long as you “cheat” on your diet the sensible way.
The most successful diet is a healthy lifestyle, not a diet per se. And you can’t have that without splurging now and then. Here are some of the best healthy ways to cheat on your diet without ruining your results!
1. Know your favorite treats
You’ll always love them, and you’ll always want them. Accept this and realize that it’s ok to have them every once in a while.
2. Choose an intense flavor
If you know you’re a sucker for everything chocolate, go for the best chocolatey treat. This way, you will feel even more rewarded when you’re cheating and won’t be tempted to overeat it.
3. Eat filling foods
It’s a good idea to avoid eating treats when you’re very hungry. The best way to achieve this is to ensure your diet contains plenty of filling foods such as eggs, veggies, lean meats, salads, dairy products, and seafood. These foods will keep your appetite in check, and when you choose to indulge, you won’t be ravenous and prone to eating an entire box of ice cream alone.
4. If you “splurge,” it better be worth it
There’s no point in cheating your diet with something you won’t enjoy 100%. Each of us has our favorite treats, but make sure your “splurge” is on the list. Otherwise, all those extra calories are not worth it.
5. Make it an event
If you’re indulging, ensure what you eat is served appealingly and looks pretty. This way, you’ll get the full experience, not just the taste, and it will feel much more rewarding. Also, remember to eat slowly and enjoy each bite!
6. Plan your “cheat”
If you know you will have a dessert in the afternoon, make a quick calorie count and plan your breakfast and lunch accordingly. I’d call this “making room” for the splurge.
7. Make small compromises
If you’re a sucker for pasta carbonara, try making it with zucchini noodles instead of wheat spaghetti. You’ll get that same creamy goodness while cutting a significant chunk of calories. Small compromises are worth it!
8. “Pay” for your diet cheats
So you ate some pizza, which was great, but now you feel stuffed? Get outside for a walk or a bike ride. The movement will pump your blood and ease your digestion, burning some of those calories. It’s a win-win, right?
9. Be the chef
Sometimes a treat is even better if you make it yourself. Cooking at home is much easier with the Internet full of detailed recipes. Besides that homemade meals are almost always healthier than anything storebought, you can make them exactly how you like them.
10. There’s nothing off limits, but keep portions small
I’m pretty sure that none of us considers a sliced cucumber one of our go-to treats – almost all those foods we choose when cheating our diets are rich in calories. While none are off limits, ensure the portions are small.