Dieting is hard. But cheating is easy.
So all dieters will be delighted to hear that a new study is claiming that "planned hedonic deviations", (that's "cheat days" to you and me) can actually help dieters stay on track.
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The study says cheat days help you to regain self-regulatory resources, maintain motivation and provide a more positive experience overall.
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All of those things help with "long-term adherence," which in turn helps with "final goal attainment."
It also helps you avoid counter-regulatory eating, or the "what-the-hell" effect, when, after breaking one small dietary rule, you give up on the diet as a whole and think, "I've already failed once today; might as well give up on the week."
This study tested dieting, but the authors say the logic applies to a variety of tasks. So remember: It's OK to cheat sometimes - as long as it's part of the plan.