How to cheat on your diet without putting on weight
Sneaky tricks to get both, curves and chocolates! .
Who doesn’t want to swap a healthy veggie wrap for a slice of gooey chocolate cake? Or ditch that glass of vegetable juice for creamy strawberry milkshake? Women—and men—cheating on a diet is hardly news but the outcomes can be. You could feel guilty because the weight doesn’t budge or euphoric because you can actually feel your curves even if you give into temptation occasionally. But how, you’re dying to ask? Though most of us try and eat healthy, there are moments we’d do anything to get our hands on a ghee soaked laddoo or greasy samosa. It’s all about the forbidden fruit I guess. The more you’re not supposed to eat something the more you crave it. So the trick is to incorporate ‘indulgent cheats’ into your healthy regime so that you never feel deprived enough to fall off the scales. Indulging after all is mindful eating when you allow yourself permission to eat something you really enjoy. Giving you an occasional cheat day can give you a breather from your diet while never losing momentum.
But that’s not to say that every other day can be a cheat day. Give in one too many times can send you into a self-destructive spiral of mindless eating. The trick is to strike a balance. When you feel weak with temptation ask yourself, “What is this diet doing for me?’ If you can list even three positives, it’s worth sticking to. Once you’ve established your diet is bearable, even necessary, let’s talk about how you can fit a cheat day into your diet to keep things interesting without losing sight of your weight loss goals.
Make a list of what you want to splurge on
Make a list of all the foods you’re willing to lay down your life for. Then write lower calorie substitutes for any of your favorites alongside the specific foods. For instance, a 500 calorie ice cream sundae can easily be substituted with a 100 calorie milk ice lolly. As can a bowl of French Fries with oven roasted potato wedges. This way you’ll have a cheat option handy when you want to schedule a cheat day after reaching a milestone.
Make your cheats count
Don’t give in to temptation when you’re low, tired or angry. Consider your food cheats to be luxurious treats that are rewards you give yourself for being successful. If you stop equating food with emotional upheavals you’ll be setting yourself up for success in the long term.
Exercise portion control even when you splurge
Sure you’ve planned your cheat days and treats but you still have to plan the size of your treats; especially true if you struggle with self-control. (Start nibbling at a small piece of chocolate and finish the bar? Sounds familiar?) If you don’t trust yourself, then create portion sized treats beforehand so that you don’t slip.
Make smart cheat choices
The trick is to binge on bad high protein foods (like chicken nuggets and paneer cutlets), not simple carb-sugar fixes (think dough nuts, pastries, cakes) because the latter only make you crave for more weight-gaining simple carbs that are easily stored as fats. Meanwhile high protein foods, even if they contain bad fats, suppress your appetite and increase your metabolism. For instance, choose fried fish or chicken and a small coke instead of a burger, fries and coke.
Work out right before your cheat
If you simply have to have the grilled chicken mayo club or alu paratha with pickle, work out right before you binge. That’s when your metabolism is highest and you’ll burn the most calories. After a hectic workout your body needs extra calories so that’s the right time to cheat and burn the extra calories. Leave it to later in the week and your body will have a lot more to do in order to burn off those splurge calories.
Act smart on the day after
The day after a cheat day is equally important. Start by working out first thing in the morning after a cup of coffee that will rev up your metabolism and burn off some of the extra calories of the day before. Then for the rest of the day make sure to stay well hydrated and eat fiber rich fruits and veggies to get your metabolism back on track
Get back on your diet ASAP
You’re human. Cheat days are bound to happen. But pick yourself up and start the next day with renewed focus and determination. Tell yourself that one cheat meal is not going to add on a kilo. It accumulates over time just like the weight crept on over months before you decided to go on the diet.