Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The perfect diet is the diet which gets you results and suits your personality and lifestyle. I want you to know that you can cheat during a diet and still see the results you want.

How strict do you really need to be to get great results?

This, in my opinion, is one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself before embarking on a diet. Once you work this out and make a plan, cheating can actually be one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself.

You reap what you sow, of course, but individuality plays a big role in the weight-loss process and you have to stay true to yourself.

How cheating can be good

I sometimes have clients who tell me that they don’t want to cheat at all until they have reached their goal. This is fine, if your goal is smaller – let’s say less than four to six centimeters off the waist, which many can achieve in one month if they are very strict.

However, constant perfection can actually have negative affects, especially if you aim for perfection for more than one month. You can end up undoing all of your hard work.

What I am telling you is that you can cheat and still get great results, you just have to pay closer attention to the details.

My rules for cheat meals:

1. Don’t waste your cheat meals by eating them alone. Cheating should always be reserved for enjoying good times – and food – with friends. If you cheat because you simply cannot resist a sugar craving, for example, then manipulate your diet. Try eating more protein or substitute a protein shake with berries for the sugary snack you’re after.

2. Try to plan cheat meals in advance. If you know you are going out with family or friends, and the likelihood for cheating is high, set aside that meal in your weekly plan.

3. Try to limit the time for the cheat meal to less than two hours. That way, you avoid the possibility of allowing your cheat meal to turn into a cheat day.

4. Don’t cheat with foods that your body cannot tolerate. For example, if wheat is a problem for you, try not to eat pasta or pizza and go for a sweet instead.

5. Don’t feel guilty after enjoying the cheat! Relish it, and consider it good for your state of mind.

6. Watch out for little, daily cheats. I have had many clients whose habit was to have a little cheat every day – for example, a piece of chocolate at 3pm or as a dessert after meals. These clients are often the ones who get poor results.

If that doesn’t work, here’s another approach.

I have had many clients whose previous diets were so bad that cutting everything out “cold turkey” and undertaking a strict diet actually undid them. Instead, we start with the aim to simply eat better than last week.

If you would prefer to follow this approach, then make as many small changes as possible. These small changes will add up. If you aren’t seeing results, you should rethink your approach and actions and adjust accordingly.

This could mean that you need to be stricter and make some sacrifices – I never said achieving your goals would be a breeze. Results require sacrifices, and you will need to make the effort.

Craig Burton is a nutritional expert with more than 15 years of experience at the forefront of the health and well-being field. He offers a high-level of his expertise in functional training and nutrition, focusing on detoxification, food intolerance and nutrient deficiency. For more information about Craig and his services, visit thevitruvianmethod.com

This article first appeared in the December 13-19 issue of the hard-copy
Phuket Gazette newspaper. Digital subscribers may download the full newspaper, this week and every week, by clicking here.

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— Craig Burton

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