Gold's Gym, the world's leading authority on health and fitness, has officially announced today that it's OK to cheat on your diet. That's right. Gold's Gym is encouraging people to indulge in a slice of pizza, enjoy that cheeseburger they've been dreaming about or even dive into a tub of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream.
In fact, the success of their diet might even depend on it.
To help salvage the more than 90 percent of diets that fail every year, Gold's Gym is transforming June into National Cheat Food Awareness Month. The month-long initiative will focus on showing consumers how "cheating responsibly" can actually help them stay motivated and stick to their diets. It will also show consumers how to do it without ruining their workout routine or crashing their diet completely.
"Diets often fail because people feel like they're punishing themselves," said Belisa Vranich, a psychologist with the Gold's Gym Fitness Institute. "A diet with severe limitations leaves you feeling frustrated and wanting the diet to end – this is when most people cave. Cheating responsibly is a great way to control a diet, rather than feeling like an awful punishment has been imposed on you. By periodically rewarding yourself, foods you often crave become less desirable, allowing you to become more confident in your dietary decisions and feeling good about your relationship with all types of food."
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While "cheating" has always been a word associated with negative connotations, cheating responsibly on a diet can help consumers maintain a positive, healthy lifestyle and can even result in long term positive results. Simply put, cheating responsibly allows a dieter to be in more control of what they're eating, rather than feeling like the diet is controlling them. After all, restrictive dieting often leaves dieters feeling unsatisfied, unhappy and wanting more – sometimes leading to extreme binge eating in many cases.
It's important to note, National Cheat Food Awareness Month is NOT a free pass for people to eat whatever they want, whenever they want. On the contrary, the goal is to help people use the bad foods they love...sparingly...as motivation to stay with their diet and get the best results possible.
So before you become a diet delinquent, Gold's Gym has outlined five ways to help you cheat responsibly during National Cheat Food Awareness Month, including:
- Don't let the urge decide the cheat time – The decision to cheat should be premeditated. If while indulging in something that's not a standard part of your diet you think, "Maybe this will be my cheat this week," you are less apt to keep control of it.
- Think of your cheat as a limited-time only as opposed to an all day event – Consider designating one night a week to indulge your taste buds with your favorite treats. That way, you can be sure to make smart decisions leading up to the big day.
- On second thought, cheat by the light of day – If you're prone to losing control at night, when everyone else is asleep, schedule your cheat food meals during daylight hours, when you're out in public and will feel more accountable for your actions.
- Eat slowly – Indulge. Let yourself enjoy it.
- Remember: a little goes a long way – Cheating responsibly means not going to an extreme where recuperating will take a large amount of effort. If you're craving chocolate, pick a small piece over a box of chocolate doughnuts – the damage will be less, the guilt will be less and the temptation to binge will be less.
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For those dieters that feel like they could never deliberately do damage to their diet, Gold's Gym has also put together a list of the most healthy-sounding foods that may seem like dietary angels, but are truly the devil-food in disguise. Top offenders include the fruit and granola yogurt parfait (with 590 calories), pasta with grilled shrimp and garlic butter sauce (with 900 calories) and the parmesan-crusted filet of fish (with a whopping 2,190 calories).
For additional "bites" on National Cheat Food Awareness Month, or to learn more about foods that may actually be causing you to cheat on your diet, visit www.goldsgym.com or the Gold's Gym Facebook page at www.facebook.com/goldsgym. During the month, Gold's Gym will be providing more tips on Facebook on how to "Cheat Responsibly" and will be conducting a survey to determine America's favorite cheat food.
About Gold's Gym
Established in Venice, Calif. in 1965, Gold's Gym is the largest full service gym chain in the world with more than 700 locations in 43 states and 28 countries. Gold's Gym offers the latest equipment and services, including group exercise, personal training, cardiovascular equipment, group cycle, Pilates and yoga. With nearly 3.5 million members worldwide, Gold's Gym helps all kinds of people achieve their individual potential through fitness. For more information, please visit www.goldsgym.com or www.facebook.com/goldsgym.