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How to Safely Cheat on Your Diet Without Affecting Your Weight Loss Progress

Everyone hates the idea of dieting, especially when you have to give up your favorite foods for a long period of time. But who says that you can’t allow yourself a cheeky cheat meal once in a while? Experts say that taking a day off your diet once a week to indulge in your favorite foods can actually be good for you! Here are a few do’s and don’ts of cheat days so that you can reap all the benefits without losing control.

Don’t: Let the Guilt Take Over

Occasional cheat meals reduce cravings and the risk of overeating in the long run

Experts say that most people who classify food as good or bad, often develop an unhealthy relationship with food and tend to have a feeling of guilt every time they indulge in these ‘bad’ foods. It’s true that some food choices are healthier than others but, unhealthy foods consumed in small quantities will not hurt your diet. Allowing yourself cheat meal once in a while consisting of your favorite guilty pleasures – minus the guilt – may reduce cravings in the long run and teach you the importance of maintaining a healthy balance between different foods.

Do: Eat to Satisfy Your Cravings

The whole point of having a cheat day or a cheat meal is to satisfy your craving and reward yourself for surviving an entire week on a strict diet without caving in. Going cold turkey on your diet and refusing to take any cheat meals can often lead of obsessive thoughts about food and suppressed cravings that can force one to seek out large amounts of ‘healthy alternatives’ that will not satisfy the craving. In order to avoid either of these scenarios that can lead to overeating, allow yourself to indulge in your favorite foods once in a while as a reward for the progress you’ve made so far with weight loss.

Don’t: Let Cheat Day Become a Regular Thing

Practice self-control even on cheat days in order to avoid guilt later

We all know at least one friend who is always on a cheat day – no wonder they never seem to lose any weight despite their efforts to go on a diet. It’s important to know that a cheat day should be precisely that – a day of cheating – not a week or a month.

It’s fairly easy to lose control and over-indulge, which is why it is important to draw a line after the day is over and go back to eating steamed brussels sprouts and egg whites. One way you can practice self-control on your cheat day is by striking a balance between healthy and unhealthy meals: If you’ve had a couple of peanut butter and Nutella French toasts for brunch (they are seriously good!), try to keep your next meal relatively healthy to avoid overindulging or having a feeling of guilt by the end of the day.

Do: Make an Effort to Make Your Cheat Day as Healthy as Possible

We understand that it’s your cheat day but we really want you to indulge responsibly so that it’s easier for you to avoid any guilty feelings and get your diet back on tract the next day. The best way to do it is by making your favorite cheat recipes but substituting a few ingredients here and there for healthier alternatives. Did you know that guacamole makes a great alternative for mayo and cheese on burgers?

Don’t: Starve Yourself Before a Big Cheat Meal

You’re also more likely to make bad food choices if you eat out with friends on an empty stomach

Don’t start a cheat day as if you’re about to enter an eating competition. If you about to head out for a hearty weekend brunch with family or friends, you may want to have a small snack before you attack the food in order to avoid overindulging. You’re also more likely to make bad food choices on an extremely empty stomach. What’s better: an omelet with toast or a stack of pancakes drenched in butter and syrup?

Do Try to Balance Out Your Meals to Minimize Damage

Some people prefer a cheat meal instead of a whole day of eating unhealthy foods – and that’s a great way to satisfy your cravings without falling too far off the track. If you’re anticipating a big meal ahead, it’s smart to make healthier food choices before and after the meal to balance out your diet.

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