Cheat days work!
Let’s face it, cheat days are about the only fun thing about dieting. So it is with great satisfaction we bring to you the latest scientific findings on dieting; cheat days really do work wonders on your waistline.
Researchers from Tilburg University in the Netherlands found after assessing dieters with three experiments, that planning cheat days meant they were more likely to stick to a healthy eating plan on their good days
For the first experiment 59 men and women were asked to role play being on a diet, with half imagining their diets lasting for seven days, while the rest of the group had to pretend to have one day off.
The subjects were then asked to imagine walking down a snack aisle in a supermarket when hungry, and think of ways to avoid temptation. Those on the ‘cheat day diet’ came up with more ways to say no to naughty foods.
Meanwhile the second trial involved 36 men and women dieting for a fortnight. The group was again split into two; half followed a strict 1,500 calorie a day diet, while the others ate 1,300 calories a day, apart from on Sundays when they could up their calories to 2,700.
Results showed those with the cheat day had stronger self-control than the regular dieters, and were happier and more motivated. They also lost just as much weight as the other group.
The final experiment applied the cheat day theory to other areas, such as saving money, and showed having an occasional splurge day can help you save money in the long run.
“The findings show it is important to plan hedonistic moments in goal pursuit when it is ‘good to be bad’,” researcher Marcel Zeelenberg noted.
“Sometimes it is good in the long run to be temporarily bad in the short run.”