Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise is an important need for all of us. Over 50 percent of our population is overweight. Let’s face it, our society is not built around health, but around convenience. Controlling what we eat is the sensible way to lose weight. In saying this, it is also sensible to accept that without allowing certain indulgences one is bound to cheat. It is important to include some of your favorite foods into your diet to prevent discouragement. Staying excited about your diet is important to success and motivates you to lose weight. Allow some cheating to your diet as a reward for achievement without blowing you goal of losing weight, by following a few simple techniques.
Lose Weight by Assigning a “Cheat Day”
Pick one day, possibly at the end of the work week to reward yourself for following your diet diligently all week. Select one thing that is not allowed on your diet, but something you really crave or miss. For some, it might be pizza, for others it could be ice cream or a favorite chocolate bar. Your desired reward can change every week or be the same every time. What’s important is that it be something you really, really want.
When you know that you can have your favorite food later in the week, it helps you to stay committed to your diet which helps you lose weight. You know that you’re not completely deprived; you just have to wait a few days. This is much more pleasant and much more effective than denying yourself until you reach your goal weight.
During the week, don’t let cravings or surprise opportunities tempt you into taking your reward day early. If your cheat day is Friday, don’t “borrow” it on Wednesday so that you can have one of the donuts a coworker brought to the office. If donuts aren’t your reward food, you’ll feel cheated later. Also, it’ll be nine days before your next reward day instead of seven and that can set you up for failure.Decide on a day and stick to it.
Watch the Portions
Although this is your “cheat day” you are still on a diet so it is smart to moderate your intake, otherwise you will cancel out all that healthy eating you’ve been doing. The object of your reward is to have one portion of your favorite treat. For example, if pizza is what you’re craving, you’re allowed to have one slice with any and all of your favorite toppings. You’re allowed to have one great scoop or cone of ice cream, not a pint. By adding in a taste of what you crave, you can stay focused on dieting lose weight faster.
The easiest way to do this is to go out for your treat, not bring it home. Go to your favorite pizza place and order a slice or share a pie with some friends. Walk to the ice cream store for your scoop instead of bringing a half-gallon home from the supermarket which can help you lose weight and help avoid the guilty feeling. Don’t set yourself up for failure by having extra servings of your treat lying in wait for you at home.
Make It Really Good
If you’re craving chocolate, buy your very favorite chocolate, not just what’s handy at the gas station. Really treat yourself to something special. Go to the ice cream store and get the gourmet stuff and not settling for soft-serve from a fast food joint. Get the best pizza slice, the tastiest French fries from your favorite diner, etc.
One of the worst things you can do is fail to really savor your reward food. Avoid eating unconsciously. Enjoy that piece of cheesecake fully; reminding yourself with each bite that you earned this reward and it is perfectly allowable. This not only reinforces your desire to lose weight but it makes a connection in your mind between the guilt-free pleasure of your reward and the discouragement of cheating on your diet impulsively.
One of the biggest causes of failure when dieting is impulsive cheating. When you “fall off the wagon”, you get discouraged or depressed and may feel like you should just toss the diet for the rest of the week and start over again next week. Unfortunately, unless you have a plan to prevent the same problem from happening again next week, it probably will.
By planning to cheat and making it really count, you set yourself up for success instead of failure. You’ll also be much happier while you’re dieting instead of resigning yourself to suffer until you reach your weight loss goal.
Filed in: Weight Loss Tips