Exactly How You Can Use Cheat Days To Lose Weight


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by Catherine Keller; Photography by Sock Snap

One of these three strategies is calling your name.

The cheat day has mixed reviews. Some say that by labelling your burger, bowl of pasta, or ice cream as a “cheat” or a “splurge,” you’re putting that food on a pedestal and will spend all week dreaming about it. On the other hand, 39 percent of women ages 18 to 34 say that reserving a meal or day for eating outside of their kilojoule budget helps them stick to an otherwise balanced diet, according to market research firm Mintel.

And whether you’re a fan or not, there’s no denying that different splurge strategies work better for different people.

Check out these three winning strategies and let us help you treat yourself.

The Mini Cheat

Best if: You’re constantly fighting cravings, says Dr. Krista Varady, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Why it rocks: If your diet regularly leaves you fantasising about all things salty-sweet, a daily splurge of 800 to 1200 kilojoules may help you stay on track better than white-knuckling it all week and then caving in a big way come cheat day.

Watch: 4 Simple Tricks That’ll Help You Crush Those Cravings

The Cheat Meal

Best if: You feel deprived at social events.

Why it rocks: Got a bud’s birthday coming up? Having a once-a-week indulgence to work with allows a burger and fries to fit into your plan. “A weekly cheat meal is beneficial for those who like to bond over food during holidays and events and feel left out—and are therefore more likely to overeat eventually—if they don’t partake,” says Varady.

Watch: Learn How To Control These 5 Fat Hormones And Kiss Cravings Goodbye

The All-Out Cheat Day

Best if: You’re sick of logging calls.

Why it rocks: If tracking nutritional facts 24/7 becomes tiring, taking a full day off per week can keep you motivated and prevent you from ditching your plan out of frustration. But if cheat days turn into cheat weeks, one of the two strategies above might be the better move.

Is your cheat day becoming more of a weekend binge? Don’t worry, these will help you move on-minus the guilt!

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