Go ahead, take a (pre-planned) break from your diet.
Is taking a day off from your diet really as perilous as people think? Recent research finds that, when carefully planned, such lapses may actually have net positive effects.
During an experiment detailed in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, a teamof researchers from Portugal and the Netherlands placed participants on a two-week diet plan. One group received a scheduled day of diet-breaking each week, while a second was instructed to stick to the diet throughout.
Those who took planned break days not only lost a similar amount of weight, on average, as those following the more stringent plan, they also reported feeling more positive, motivated, and in control over the course of the diet.
Such deviations can make a diet seem more feasible and less intimidating, says Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. “People often resist or try to compensate for any sort of deprivation in their life,” he says. A managed concession “makes the rest of the week doable.”