Cheat on Your Diet and Still Lose Weight

Sensible splurging actually boosts your chances of weight loss success, experts say.

By Wendy Fries
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Farewell, chocolate eclair. So long, Kettle chips. Adios, buttered potato.

Many of us equate starting a weight-loss plan with forever forsaking the foods we love. Yet, this approach can lead to resentment -- and goals abandoned long before their time.

The truth, experts say, is that you can have your weight loss and eat cake, too - as long as you splurge the sensible way.

Diet Success = Sensible Splurging

Taking away a person's favorite foods can be the death knell to a diet, says David W. Grotto, RD, LD, a nutrition advisor and spokesman for the American Dietetic Association: "I think splurging on a diet is mandatory, not an option."

Grotto calls it "structured cheating." But there's a difference between enjoying your favorite foods occasionally and eating everything you adore, he says. The key to maintaining control is in deciding what you want, how much you'll have, and then to "eat it with full consciousness ... lick your lips, and then move on with your life."

Carolyn O'Neil, RD, agrees.

"I think sensible splurging is really the key to being able to achieve a healthy lifestyle," says O'Neil, co-author of The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!

Anyone can follow a restrictive diet for a short time, says O'Neil, but ultimately, most will break down and overindulge on the foods they denied themselves. "So why not come up with a sensible diet, so your chances of success are much greater in the long run?" she asks.