Sticking to a diet all of the time is almost impossible, as anyone who has tried will be able to tell you, but now experts are promoting the idea of cheat meals to help people to lose weight.
When it comes to cheating on your diet there are good ways and bad ways to do it, nobody is suggesting that you eat healthy food all week and then go on an all out binge on a Saturday, eating everything you find. Instead it is being suggested the people looking to lose weight and maintain the weight loss, consider a 90/10 approach to their diet.
Following a 90/10 rule means that for 90 percent of the time you follow your diet plan and eat all the healthy foods that you need to for weight loss and good health, while the other 10 percent of the time you are allowed to indulge your sweet tooth or eat something particularly naughty!
The key is remember that you should be looking at cheating during a meal and not over an entire day, which can have real effects on your diet.
Jillian Guinta, professor in the Health and Physical Education Department at Seton Hall University, told Medical Daily: “Cheat days serve a couple of purposes. First, it is important to clarify that a cheat day is most successful when a single meal that day is regarded as the cheat. If you allow all of your hard work to unravel for an entire day, you can quickly void the progress you have been making all week, especially if weight loss is a goal.”
There are of course no real health benefits to eating a cheat meal including a huge scoop of ice cream, but the success lies in the psychology of the cheat meal, as it makes a diet seem more possible and achievable, knowing that you don’t have to give up all your favourite foods forever to be able to lose weight.
Jillian Guinta added: “There is a psychological component to the cheat day. Without rewards, it can become mundane to keep a healthy lifestyle day in and day out. Oftentimes, it may take several weeks to see the scale budge, so knowing that a cheat day is coming can help keep up motivation.”
There have also been scientific reasons to show that having a cheat meal actually helps to speed up weight loss by altering the amount of calories that your body is consuming helping to boost metabolism.
So it seems that it is officially good to cheat when you are on your diet – great news for us all then!