Taking break from dieting may aid weight loss

Structured 'cheating' is key

Published On: Jul 24 2012 04:40:21 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 24 2012 09:55:36 PM EDT
DAVIE, Fla. -

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.