Why Cheat Days Actually Work—It’s Science

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You’re super regimented about what you eat all week—heavy on the veggies, light on the Ben & Jerry’s—but when Saturday hits, you go all-in on eggs Benedict, pizza (extra cheese, please!), and the brownie sundae of your dreams. Instead of waking up Sunday morning with a guilty conscience and a food hangover, though, science says you’re actually all good.

A new study suggests that planned lapses in control may actually help people stick to their goals in the long run, The Atlantic reports. The small study—researchers only surveyed 36 participants—assessed whether people would be better able to stick with their goals if they were given cheat days along the way. (Think a 1,500-calorie-a-day diet versus a 1,300-calorie-a-day diet with a 2,700-calorie day at the end of each week.)

Within a two-week period, participants on both the 1,500-calorie diet and the 1,300-calorie diet lost the same amount of weight, but the cheat day-ers reported being better able to sustain their motivation and self-control than their higher-calorie counterparts. Plus, participants in each group lost similar amounts of weight within that time frame.

For more on why cheat days actually work (and the best cheat-day recipes), read the full article here.