A Portugal study, published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, has finally shed some light on the diet-scene. Apparently, pizza and other yummy carb-filled things we’re not supposed to eat can actually help you stick to your diet in the long run.
Throughout the course of two weeks, scientists asked participants to go on a 10,500-calories-per-week diet. Half of the dieters, however, were told to eat whatever they wanted on Sundays.
In the end, both groups had reduced their average body mass indexes. And, while there wasn’t a huge difference in the amount of weight the two groups had lost, dieters who indulged in a Sunday “cheat day,” were happier and more motivated to continue working towards their weight-loss goals.
What’s the Big Deal?
According to study author Rita Coelho do Vale, Ph.D, occasional indulgence makes dieting more sustainable.
“The key is to plan ahead and designate a specific day for your rule-breaking,” Dr. Vale told Men’s Health. “That’s because giving in to a spur-of-the-moment donut can make you feel like you blew your diet — and might as well abandon it completely.”
Even so, Dr. Vale notes that “cheat day” and “binge day” shouldn’t be synonymous with one another. Your greasy, calorie-filled treats should be consumed within reason.
In other words, balance is important, not only for your physical health, but for your mental health, as well. So, chow down on a slice of pizza every now and then to keep your sanity and your goals in reach.