Cheating On Your Diet Can Help You Lose Weight
Giving your body diet breaks could be the key to long-term weight loss.
Building breaks in your diet can help you lose weight and keep it off for longer, according to new research by the University of Tasmania in Australia.
"Cheat days" are a pretty common idea in the weight loss world, where dieters follow a strict healthy eating regime but build an indulgent meal or two into their schedule. It seems like a pretty common-sense move: a tasty "cheat" here or there means you don't totally deprive yourself and gives you the strength to stick with the diet.
There may be a good biological reason to introduce diet resting periods too. Cutting calories for too long can trigger something called 'adaptive thermogenesis', where your body thinks it's starving and responds by slowing down your metabolism to hold onto every possible calorie. This mechanism evolved as a result of historical food insecurity and famine, but can make it difficult for people today to lose weight over long periods of time. Building breaks in your diet can help your body balance out these effects and get back to normal metabolic activity (that means calorie burning!).
In fact, this is just what researchers at the University of Tasmania discovered. They conducted a semi-starvation study, in which obese, sedentary men ate 2/3 of the calories they needed for 16 weeks. The men were divided into two groups: one who restricted their diet for the whole study, the other who restricted their diet for 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off.
The results? The intermittent dieters lost more weight and more fat than those who dieted continuously, and kept more weight off six months after the study ended.
So what does this mean for the average person? It means that an all-or-nothing approach to dieting and weight loss isn't necessarily the best.
It seems that incorporating some planned flexibility into your meals isn't just good for your spirits... it's good for your body too.
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Chef Tips and Tricks
These quick and easy chicken quesadillas are the perfect, last-minute family dinner!
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup of chives, chopped
- 1 tsp. of Mexican spice mix
- 4 Tortillas
- Salt, to taste
- Put shredded chicken breast, tomato sauce, chives, and mexican spice mix in a bowl and mix together.
- Lay out the tortillas. Place a slice of cheddar in the center, and cover with the chicken mix.
- Fold up tortillas, and heat in a frying pan until golden.