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Ask Bob Greene's Team: Can I Cheat on My Diet on the Weekends?
If you have a question, send it to us!
Q: Can I cheat on my diet on the weekends?
A: We asked Janis Jibrin, MS, RD, Best Life lead nutritionist and diet counselor, to answer this question. She says she's heard this a lot lately—and she gave us four reasons to rethink this as a weight loss plan.
Some weekend cheaters gained almost 9 pounds in a year.
Your body doesn't know the difference between weekdays and weekends. If you splurge on the lumberjack breakfast or a plate of beignets, that could have three times the calories of your ordinary oatmeal breakfast. A 2008 study published in the journal Obesity found that participants who were likely to increase their calories on Saturday and decrease their activity on Sunday racked up tiny weight gains that led to almost 9 pounds at the end of a year.
Weekend binges can set you up for nonweekend cravings.
Studies have shown you can develop a tolerance to foods high in fat, sugar and sodium, so that you need to eat more of them to get the same amount of pleasure. Overindulging on the weekend could cause you to crave unhealthy food during the week. It's okay to have an occasional treat, but not three days' worth of them. Learn how to avoid temptation without feeling foolish.
You can't outsmart those midweek munchies.
Most people who overindulge on the weekend swear they'll eat less the following week, but they don't because come Monday and Tuesday they're not any less hungry than usual. Instead of trying to play catch-up, plan ahead. If you've been invited to a dinner party Saturday night, eat fewer calories at breakfast and lunch that same day to compensate. Lunch plans on Sunday? Go for an early-morning bike ride. Here are six other ways to prevent the weekend from derailing your diet.
Cheating on the weekend makes overeating your reward.
Expand your weekend mind-set to include pampering, relaxation, fun—other much-deserved rewards besides food. Get outside, schedule workouts that are hard to squeeze into your week, plan activities with family and friends. When you socialize, approach food-filled events with a plan. One of my favorite tricks when eating out is to order my dinner before having a cocktail. That way, I'm not drinking on an empty stomach, and alcohol is less likely to weaken my resolve when the tortilla chips or bread basket gets passed around. Read more strategies for eating well during social occasions.
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As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.