While a clean diet is certainly something to strive for, we don’t blame you if your mouth waters at the thought of a juicy burger or potato chips covered in salt. Treating yourself every once in awhile shouldn’t feel like a crime! Thankfully, research says that giving in to your food temptations on occasion isn’t just OK; it might even be good for you.
In a recent study from the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Portuguese researchers asked volunteers to constrict their consumption to 10,500 calories a week. But while half of the participants ate 1,500 calories every day, the other half ate 1,300 six days a week, saving the rest of their calories for a “cheat day” on Sunday.
At the end of the two weeks, both groups lost weight. However, those who pigged out on their weekend “cheat day” reported feeling happier and more motivated to continue dieting. Try repeating these amazing quotes to boost your weight loss motivation, too.
What gives? Turns out, the occasional indulgence could keep you from burning out on your diet, according to study author Rita Coelho do Vale, Ph.D.
“The key is to plan ahead and designate a specific day for your rule-breaking,” Dr. Vale told Men’s Health. “That’s because giving in to a spur-of-the-moment donut can make you feel like you blew your diet—and might as well abandon it completely.”
But before you start inhaling every French fry in sight, proceed with caution. Dr. Vale says it’s important to limit your cheat days and avoid going overboard when you do indulge. Plus, there’s still some debate in the health community regarding whether cheat meals are good or bad for weight loss.
Translation? Go ahead and chow down on a slice of pizza every now and then; just remember to do so in moderation. And if you start feeling a bit guilty, don’t despair! Torch the calories fast with this chart, which shows you exactly what you need to do to burn off every cheat meal.
[Source: Men’s Health]