Expert Tips for the Right and Wrong Ways to Cheat on Your Diet

Winter's gone, but those five extra pounds remain.

ByGENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN
March 23, 2015, 11:33 AM
PHOTO: Avoid these common flubs when you're trying to lose weight.
Avoid these common flubs when you're trying to lose weight.
Steve Cole/Getty Images

— -- Winter's gone, but those five extra pounds remain.

Dieting is on the minds of many as bathing suit season looms. But the thought of giving up your favorite high-calorie foods until the winter solstice isn't any fun -- and it turns out that you may not have to. Cheating, it seems, in an important part of diet success ... if you do it right.

“Cheating is a part of every diet,” said Chazz Weaver, a Los Angeles-based trainer and weight-loss counselor, and the founder of ChazzLive.com, a streaming health and fitness video network.

“If used strategically, cheat meals can actually be a helpful tool to keep you focused," Weaver added. "If done wrong, you risk derailing your entire diet for good.”

Cheating (on your diet) 101: Dos and Don'ts by Chazz Weaver.

  • Do cheat at night. When people cheat in the morning or afternoon, it’s harder for them to stay on their scheduled meal plan. Cheating at the end of the day reduces the risk of cheating again later.
  • Do schedule your cheat. Skipping your cheat meal could backfire, causing you to become ridiculously hungry, stimulating an all-day binge.
  • Do know your tolerance. If you find that your cheat meals are becoming entire cheat days or if you’re having regular cravings that are becoming unmanageable, it’s a good time to reassess the calorie intake in your diet. You may need to increase it.
  • Don't cheat with the foods that made you fat. If you crave certain foods and keep giving into those cravings, you’ll only make them stronger. Avoid the foods that made you overweight and the craving will diminish over time.
  • Don't binge. Cheating and binging are not the same thing. I cannot stress enough that a cheat meal is to satisfy your taste buds while increasing your calories from your scheduled diet meals. It’s not for binging.
  • Don't feel guilty. Let’s say you do gorge during your cheat meal. Do not get depressed and think you’re a failure. We all make mistakes. The idea is to get over it and get right back on the wagon.
  • Don't make cheat meals your life. Remember why you’re dieting, to live a healthier lifestyle. The natural process of creating a healthier lifestyle gets pushed aside if you focus too much on your cheat meals.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events