Often when people try to lose weight, they go on a strict plan that tells them exactly what to eat. Since weight loss goals take some time to achieve, people usually reach a point where they get bored or tired of what they are doing, or miss favorite foods, and end up going on an eating binge.
Sometimes they even give up on their goals entirely.
Most of us were trained to follow rules, so when we're on a weight loss plan and eat something we aren't supposed to, we consider that cheating and feel bad.
I'm here today to tell you that cheating can be good for you and can even help you reach your weight loss goals. You just need to do it intelligently.
This idea can work regardless of what type of weight loss plan you are on. Usually there are certain foods that are forbidden or restricted, and these tend to be our favorites, like ice cream, cake, pizza, fries, and so on. (Let's face it, if we liked raw veggies instead, we probably wouldn't need to lose weight in the first place!)
If you find yourself craving certain forbidden foods, make a note of it.
Every so often, schedule a cheat meal or cheat day for yourself. You might let yourself have one cheat meal per week, when you can eat whatever you want. Or you could go for a full day like that, maybe once or twice a month.
Won't this ruin your progress? No, actually it can help. First, if you know your cheat meal or day is coming, it's easier to avoid temptation and follow your weight loss plan the rest of the time.
Second, if you let yourself have some of those favorite but forbidden foods on your cheat days, you may find yourself craving them less. Some people even decide they don't really need a certain food and completely stop eating it.
Third, remember that life is to be enjoyed, and your weight loss journey is meant to change your life, not punish yourself. So let yourself enjoy those favorite foods now and then.
Fourth, since on a weight loss plan you are eating less than normal, after a while your metabolism can slow down when your body starts getting used to a lower food intake. This “starvation mode" can be interrupted by some intelligent cheating. In effect, you will be confusing your body in a good way.
You may find it works best to schedule your cheating around special occasions. Travel days, birthdays, parties, business dinners, and other events are good for this since it may be harder to follow your weight loss plan then.
Just remember, schedule your cheating and stick to your weight loss plan the rest of the time. I'm not advising you to eat anything you want at any time, since that is how most of us got in trouble in the first place.
So if you find yourself bored or craving forbidden foods on your weight loss plan, give cheating a try!
Rachel Robles is a fitness consultant and the author of “The Advanced Guide to Fast Weight Loss for Busy Women", available at http://guidetoweightlossforwomen.com