If you’re looking to lose weight fast, you might be tempted to limit yourself to 1,500 calories a day every day until you hit your goal weight. Theoretically that makes sense, but as anyone who has ever been on a diet knows all too well, willpower is a muscle, and it very quickly gets weak and tired--and that’s how you end up downing a whole bag of chips in one sitting.
We’ve all been there, so don’t feel bad. But get ready for the best news you’ve received today: the key to staying sane on your diet and still losing the same amount of weight might just be scheduled cheat days, according to a new study. While most experts have been saying a cheat meal not day is best for preventing feelings of deprivation, this study says go ahead and indulge from sun up to sun down up to a whopping 2,700 calories!
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Researchers first asked participants of the (very small) study to imagine they were on either a diet of 1,500 calories every day of the week or a 1,300-calorie-a-day with one scheduled cheat day a week during which they could consume 2,700 calories, The Atlantic reports. Participants given the option of a splurge day predicted that they would have more self-control throughout the week, so researchers put it to the test.
Although participants on both the 1,300- and 1,500-calorie diets lost about the same amount of weight in two weeks, the group given the splurge day reported feeling better able to maintain their motivation and self-control throughout the week than those on a steady but higher-calorie diet.
The key here is scheduling. Resist the call of the potato chip bag--downing it would only give you momentary pleasure--in favor of an anticipated day of indulgence. Your willpower and your waistline might thank you.
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