A lot of people seem to think that going on a diet means that you have to get rid of and never think about your favorite foods ever again. The problem with this theory is that by denying yourself your favorite foods, you’re essentially setting yourself up for failure because you end up caving and gorging on whatever you can get your hands on (in any amount).
If you really want to reach your goals, it might be a good idea to treat yourself to your favorite snack every once in a while. It’s referred to as ‘sensible dieting’ and it’s super easy to do. You likely already know what you crave the most, so use that knowledge as power – Find the calorie count of a portion of whatever your ‘cheat’ food happens to be and either memorize it or write it down in an easy to access place. Once you know that, it’s as simple as ‘cheating’ with portion control.
Here are 12 more tips to help you ‘cheat’ on your diet without compromising your weight loss:
Accept The Cheat Foods And Get On With Your Day
Those foods you love so much and crave so deeply? They’re not going to suddenly stop making them so you might as well learn to coexist with them peacefully. Telling yourself you can’t eat something is just going to make you want it more; instead, allow yourself to have a little of that something every once in a while.
Choose Foods That Fill You Up
Lean proteins and fiber are two super important factors when it comes to losing weight because they fill you up and satiate your appetite until it’s time to eat again. Eggs, fruits, veggies, whole-grains, lean meats, and seafood are all fantastic options. It’s also helpful to snack on smaller portions more frequently so that you don’t end up hungry (and consequently overeat).
Choose Big Flavours
Regardless of what your craving is, you should aim to get it in its most intense form so that you can get rid of your craving quickly without having to eat a whole lot of whatever it is. For example, if you’re someone who can eat an entire bag of salty chips in one sitting, consider purchasing kosher salt and sprinkling it over a nice, ripe beefsteak tomato – You’ll get the saltiness that you’re craving and the nice bright flavour from the fruit (which is better for you than chips, anyway).
Appreciate Your Food
Whenever you decide to eat your cheat food, you should aim to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Serve it on your favourite decorative plate with a pretty garnish, take small bites and savour them, pay attention to the texture of the food, etc. – By utilizing as many of your senses as possible, your body will interpret the experience as a reward and you’ll feel good about it instead of guilty.
Make A Plan Before Dining Out
If you know that your favorite thing about going out to eat is the dessert menu, ask to see it before you even order your meal so that you can decide whether or not they have what you like. If you see that they have your most favorite chocolate cake on the planet and you know that you’re going to want it, you can make an effort to make the rest of your meal healthy. By doing so, you’re less likely to feel guilty later.
Eat Only What You Love And Enjoy Every Bite
Enjoying chocolate shouldn’t give you free reign to eat ever cheap chocolate bar in sight. Instead, splurge on the perfect brownie or your most favorite chocolate bar – Not only is it going to taste better because it’s made with quality ingredients, you can actually enjoy it fully as well.
Learn To Make It
If you’re someone who needs to have a cookie with your morning coffee in order to enjoy it properly, learn to make it yourself. In addition to being able to control exactly what goes into your creation, you might even find that your version is better. Who knows? You might even find out that you’re a master baker in disguise!
Walk Away To Indulge
At least once in your life, you’ve likely eaten a meal or two that you don’t even remember tasting because you were busy watching television or doing something else. We seem to have it in our heads that we need to be productive at all times, but this mentality can actually hurt you when you ‘cheat’ because if you can’t taste it, you can’t enjoy it. Take that pretty plate to a different room (preferably not the kitchen if you don’t want to end up having seconds or thirds) and enjoy every last bite.
Portion Control Is King
As long as you know how much a portion is, you could technically satisfy your cravings every single day without feeling guilty about it. For example, if you have a sweet tooth you could keep a bar of the finest dark chocolate in your fridge and eat a square (or even half a square depending on the bar) without feeling bad about it.
Learn To Compromise
Eating your favorite foods doesn’t always have to be a ‘splurge’ either. If you’re someone who enjoys eating potato or chicken salad, swap out some (or – if you’re feeling brave – all) of the mayonnaise for yogurt instead – You’ll still get the creaminess that you love with far fewer calories.
Take Baby Steps
If you’re just starting out on your weight loss journey, you’ll probably benefit more from small changes spread out over a long period of time than you will denying yourself everything all at once. If you eat a meatball sub every single day for lunch, cut back a couple of days and substitute a garden salad instead; if you absolutely need to snack on chips in the evening, balance it out by taking a walk every morning or evening (whichever works best for you). By not overwhelming yourself, you’re more likely to succeed.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Plenty of people end up falling off the bandwagon once (by say, eating an entire banana cream pie in one sitting) and end up giving up on their diet altogether. Like anything else in life, dieting is a process; it has a bit of a learning curve. You’re going to mess up and that’s okay – Learn from your mistakes and you’ll be setting yourself up every time.
And there you have it! Hopefully, with these tips on your side, you feel empowered to diet without feeling deprived. What’s your ‘cheat’ food and how often do you allow yourself to have it? Do you think it makes your diet easier? Let us know below.