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Friday, August 10, 2007

Best Diet Ever: Follow the 90% rule


Photo by akirsa

If you follow the recommendations and eat 6 smaller meals throughout the day, that's 42 meals per week. If you can make good choices and eat healthy foods for 90% of those meals, you will succeed. That leaves 4 meals per week that you can break the rules and have whatever you want. Try to be reasonable and don't sit down and demolish an entire bag of potato chips, but have a few...and then have a few more. It's OK. There is no need to shovel them in with abandon as though no crunchy, fried, potato goodness will ever cross your lips again. No food is off limits for cheat meals, but you only get 4 cheat meals per week.

An important psychological benefit of the cheat meal is that it makes it OK to "slip". Wanting foods because they taste good is a natural part of being human. The problems start when a "slip" mentally transmogrifies into "I'm a failure!" Once you've started down that slippery slope, it's easy to give up. By making cheat meals part of the "rules" of the diet, the natural tendency to satisfy cravings isn't a hallmark of failure, but part of your plan...an indicator of successful compliance.

I will say that you need to consider your personality here. Some people will do better being very strict and not using the cheat days. Others will be better able to fight cravings knowing that they don't have to completely give up their favorite foods. If you need the cheat days, don't sweat it. If you don't, you are a freak of nature! :)

What works better for you, cheat meals or being very strict? What are some of your favorite cheat foods?

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