Can You Cheat On Your Diet And Still Stay On Track?

Kim’s guest post on “Kicking Ass & Looking Pretty” website, responding to question from a recent college graduate about whether she could get away with cheating a little on the weekends if she was good during the week.

Here’s a summary of Kim’s response. Read the full Q & A here.

I often see clients that through the years are constantly working on the same goal and never actually achieving it!  

Your body does well with consistency.   I often use the saying “one step forward – two steps back” to explain what happens with people’s health goals.  This sounds like where you are and if you have not achieved your goals yet, this approach will NEVER get you there.  This is the “doing well during the week but going overboard on the weekend” mentality.  Another commonly used scenario is the cheat day. The problem with these approaches is that your body does not feel well and the calories that you consume counteract any deficit that you have achieved for weight loss/fat loss during the week.  The bottom line is that a consistent and concentrated effort will get you to your goal quickly and once you are there it will be easier to maintain.  This will give you a little more flexibility with your times off your plan in the end.  So if you have not achieved your goal – buckle down and get there first so that it doesn’t feel like an endless struggle.  

In general terms people can comfortably stick with an eating plan 75% of the time.  Statistics show that if you can get that needle up to 90% the person can still achieve health, while having a few “opps’!”  In my practice I find that magic number to be 4.  You can go off your plan 3-4 times during the week and still be effective.  That is one glass of wine = 1 time off.  One slice of garlic bread =1 time off.  Be realistic!

Much of your social life revolves around food and drink – no matter what your age.  It is a good time to start balancing that.  If you do not learn it now it will be ever harder to balance as you age.  So pick and choose your times off the plan on the weekend.  Is one event more important to you? Is that friends birthday cake a must have?  Count your times and stick with it.  You will feel much better making those choices and still give yourself a little flexibility have fun.  It is ok to say no sometimes or try and plan a “healthy” outing with your friends that involves activity and focuses the fun on socializing rather than food/drink.

Good luck to you!  And remember – Everything is possible with balance!



Photo Credit: Flickr/niatrinh


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