Vowing to stick with a strict diet 24 hours a day, seven days a week is not only tough, but it may also be a good way to sabotage your weight-loss efforts and lead you to throw in the towel after an unplanned binge.
Weight loss experts will tell you that no one is perfect. So trying to be perfect with your healthy eating is a recipe for frustration and failure.
During our 19 years in the meal delivery business, Diet-to-Go has come to appreciate that fact.
We've also come to realize that many of our most successful customers have learned that weekday dieting is a breeze because of its workday or school day structure, but weekends are oftentimes too chaotic to stay the course.
“Over the years we've seen thousands of customers begin with our seven-day, 21-meal programs, then gravitate towards our five-day plans after dropping some weight,” says Rachel Lynch, Diet-to-Go Vice President of Administration.
"The bottom line: You can continue to lose weight while fending for yourself two days a week. Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint, so it's important that dieters settle into an eating routine they can live with for the long haul."
For optimal benefits, Diet-to-Go recommends starting your weight loss program with the full seven-day plan. This will allow you to become familiar with the delicious Diet-to-Go menu as you get accustomed to a calorie-controlled meal plan.
There's no doubt that the seven-day menu of breakfasts, lunches and dinners is the best way to get serious about weight loss. It takes all the planning, shopping and cooking out of the weight loss equation.
However, the five-day plan allows the freedom to mix in any meals you might be missing or fun nights out with friends or family.
Diet-to-Go also offers meal plans of simply lunches and dinners; you are in control of what you eat for breakfast.
“Variety is the spice of life, which is why we serve up five weeks of menus for our Low Fat, Low Carb and Vegetarian meal plans,” notes Lynch.
“Variety can also mean a less-structured diet. You can adjust the days and meals in your plan at anytime. To customize Diet-to-Go to fit your individual lifestyle, give us a call at 1-800-743-SLIM (7546) or email us at Service@diettogo.com.
Howard J. Rankin, Ph.D., the psychological advisor to the international non-profit weight-loss support group Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS), is totally on board with a less-structured approach to healthy eating.
“What works when dieting is progress, not perfection," says Rankin, author of 7 Steps to Wellness (Stepwise).
"Perfectionists are poor dieters because they inevitably fail to maintain their perfection, and eventually they quit."
It all boils down to statistics. Straying from your diet two or three times a week isn't as harmful as it might seem.
"That's cheating 10% of the time, which means you're adhering to a regimented diet the other 90%," says Ken Goodrick, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine and co-author of Living Without Dieting (Warner).
"At this pace, you'll still reach your nutritional goals within relatively the same amount of time, plus you'll be less likely to quit halfway through."
No one is advising going out on a binge of fast food or supersized restaurant portions. The message here is all things in moderation.
So this weekend while watching football, allow yourself a few chicken wings or a slice of pizza – and maybe even a light beer or two. The occasional treat may be just what the doctor ordered to keep you on track for long-term weight loss.
John McGran has been a writer/editor for about as long as he's been battling his weight. During his 25-year career, John has written for several newspapers, tabloids and Web sites. You may recognize his name and style from the seven years he spent writing a Worst of the Worst Foods column as Mr. Bad Food. If you have any topics you'd like John to tackle, feel free to write him at email@example.com