Cheater's Diet: Take Weekends Off, Lose Weight (cont.)

You enjoy three meals and two snacks each day using the plate method; fill half the plate with fruits or vegetables, 1/4 with lean protein, and the remaining 1/4 with whole grains. Two weeks of weekday menus, along with recipes, are included in the book to help dieters understand the composition of a healthy weight loss plan.

To help dieters keep portions in check, Rivas provides visual associations, such as a portion of lean meat being equal in size to a deck of cards. In addition, the plan encourages dieters to include snacks twice daily from an approved list that includes fruit, nuts, low fat yogurt or pudding, protein bars, low calorie frozen treats, and more. During the week, sugar, bread, saturated fats, and alcohol are not permitted.

Cheating is not optional but required on the Cheater's Diet, and Rivas suggests foods like:

  • Pizza
  • Wine
  • Chocolate
  • Peanut butter
  • Cinnamon buns
  • Ice cream
  • Strawberry shortcake
  • Cheese
  • Bread
  • Meat
  • Nuts

You can choose other cheat foods if you like; the only foods off limits during the cheating phase are "any foods that can trigger a binge," says Rivas.

Sample Weekday Menu

* Breakfast

Two eggs, any style (cook with PAM cooking spray)

One medium orange or one half grapefruit

Coffee or tea with artificial sweetener and nonfat milk

* Lunch

Four ounces tuna packed in water on a whole grain pita or tortilla. Mix with

olive oil or fat-free mayo, or mustard, or lemon with salt and pepper

Tomato and lettuce

A serving of any vegetable

Diet iced tea or water with lemon and artificial sweetener

* Snack

One handful of peanuts (fresh, dry-roasted, no salt or oil added)

* Dinner

Grilled sliced chicken breast strips

Steamed broccoli and peppers

Wild rice


One cup hot cocoa, sweetened with artificial sweetener

How It Works

In the Cheater's Diet, the prescription is for a healthy, reduced-calorie diet, along with plenty of physical activity during the week. The real bonus is the opportunity to break free on weekends, when most people tend to splurge and eat those otherwise forbidden foods.

According to Rivas, eating a healthy diet, consisting of three meals and two small snacks during the week, prevents the metabolic slow-down that typically occurs on most restrictive and fad-type diets. Cheating on the weekends is essential to "stoke your metabolism" for weight loss, so that when you go back to your regular weekday eating program, you're burning optimal calories.

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