Taking break from dieting may aid weight loss
Structured 'cheating' is key
Ever since the births of her two children, Roudie Gustav Omega has struggled to lose 50 pounds.
"It seems like every year I try something different and if at the end of the year it doesn't work, the next year, I say, 'Let's try something new,'" she said.
Her interest was piqued by a concept called the 'break diet', a sort of 'part time' eating plan for weight loss.
"I think people fail at diets because they blame a particular food or food group for their weight problem. That's why having calorie restrictions or taking out whole food groups doesn't work long-term," said Cleveland Clinic Florida nutritionist Lillian Craggs-Dino. "There are way to include indulgence foods with mindfulness."
The break-diet concept means having a platform of healthy eating every day of the week, but allowing for some fun foods every other day or every few days.
"The key is not to over-do it on the 'break' days with your splurge, otherwise, you'll undermine the benefit of the healthy days," said Craggs-Dino.
Another trick to making the break diet concept work is limiting the hours you allow yourself to eat every(space)day, say from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
"This helps you focus on what you're choosing and can help you make better choices," said Craggs-Dino.
The weight on a part-time diet like the break diet won't come off quickly, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
"You're looking at maybe a couple of pounds a month instead of a couple of pounds a week but if it allows you to stick to your diet without getting burned out and still enjoy a variety of foods, I think that's one of the definitions of a healthy diet," said Craggs-Dino.
"That's what I'm looking for," said Omega. "I'm looking for a program that will last that I don't have to modify and if it works, I'll keep it," she said.
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