If you’ve been exercising hurculean effort to stick to your strict diet plan—be it Whole30, Paleo, Keto, or any number of fad diets—you’ll be elated to know celebrating your efforts with a cheat day can recharge your resolve and help boost your motivation over the long haul, according to research published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, The Atlantic reports.
Researchers set out to see whether subjects would be better able to stick with their goals (across health, fitness, nutrition) if they were allowed cheat days (or so-called “planned hedonic deviations”) by conducting three different experiments. In short, men and women who scheduled cheat days reported being able to maintain their self-control and stay motivated than those who weren’t allowed to let loose.
When you’re so stressed out about achieving a difficult task, it’s easy to look at small slipups as reason to terminate the whole endeavor; (i.e. you ate a donut during your morning meeting, and now you’re going to polish off the box because there’s no going back now!) For tips on how to have the optimal cheat day, check out our story here.
To read the full study details, read the full report from The Atlantic.