'Cheat' Diet: Eat What You Want, Still Lose Weight

Monday, 12 May 2014 07:16 AM

By Charlotte Libov

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Jackie Wicks was slender her whole life. So when she gained 65 pounds during her pregnancy, she assumed she would quickly shed them. 
 
She lost 20, but then she plateaued and couldn’t drop more no matter how much she tried to diet. 
 
Editor’s Note: Flush 15 Pounds of Unwanted Fat Out of Your Body in 14 Days!
 
A friend advised her to stop torturing herself and give up. She’d have to get used to being overweight. “Throw out your old clothes,” she said. “You’re a mom now.”
 
Wicks recalls thinking that she couldn’t accept that. “I thought to myself, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me! I’m not going to be stuck with this body.’”
 
Wicks got together with a few of her friends who also wanted to lose weight, and they began an informal Internet support group, emailing back and forth about their progress and what worked or didn’t work to lose weight. The group quickly grew.
 
The next year, Wicks established a website, PEERtrainer.com, which has become an online community that has grown to more than 300,000 active users. It has been featured by The Dr. Oz Show, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and People magazine. Now Wicks has consolidated the site’s most successful weight-loss practices in a new book, The Cheat System Diet: Eat the Foods You Crave and Lose Weight Even Faster (St. Martin’s Press).
 
According to Wicks, the biggest stumbling block to weight loss is not necessarily finding the right diet, but rather sticking to whatever diet you choose.
 
“I spent the last eight years obsessed with one question: ‘What diet will people actually follow through with?’ I realized that people need the right information on how to lose weight, but I discovered that there’s a difference between what people say they are going to do and what they are actually going to do, so I had to come up with a way to marry the two,” Wicks tells Newsmax Health.
 
Wicks’ system involves two separate lists for eating. “Eats” are foods that help people lose weight. “Cheats” are foods that hinder weight loss.
 
In general, dieters are allowed unlimited amounts of foods on the “Eats” list, and they are limited to a certain number of portions from the “Cheats” list. 
 
“Eats” are fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, “which have a high density of micronutrients that are the key to feeling full and improving health,” she says. On the other side, the “Cheats” are “the foods that you still want, need, or crave. But those foods are kept to a small part of your diet.”
 
Unlimited “Eats” include artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, summer squash, zucchini, strawberries, blueberries, grapefruit, and more.
 
She also allows limited amounts of “eats” in the form of “good proteins,” like beef, turkey, and chicken.
 
“Cheats” include bread, pasta, cheese, sausage, and bacon.
 
 There’s also allowance for healthy fats, like olive or almond oil. “With the Cheat System, you can have bacon and blue cheese on your salad,” Wicks notes.
 
Her diet system also includes indulgences like a glass of wine, or an occasional dessert, along with an exercise plan.
 
Here is diet advice from PEERtrainer.com that Wicks says has a proven track record of success:
 
  • Eat lots of vegetables. “Vegetables are the best diet pill because they have tons of nutrients, are low in calories, and they keep you feeling full.”
 
  • Eat three meals a day and avoid snacking. Don’t skip breakfast. “We’re addicted to snacking and there are many diet experts who say that it’s better to eat several small meals a day, but while that works for some people, like athletes especially, it will not help you lose weight,” says Wicks. “You can wean yourself off snacking by expanding the time between meals, bit by bit.”
 
  • Don’t eat during the two or three hours before you go to bed. “A lot of us do this by habit or emotions, not because of hunger,” she says.
 
  • You can “bank” diet “cheats” for a special occasion or for eating out.
 
  • Don’t overdo exercise. “Pain actually equals weight gain, because when you exercise too much, your body produces too much cortisol, which is the stress hormone, and this leads to overeating as well as the accumulation of abdominal fat.”
 
  • There is no such thing as diet failure. If you cheat on your diet, don’t give up. “People used to email me and say, ‘I just cheated, so what’s the point of staying on the diet?’ We teach you to change your thinking and realize that you can win if you keep going.”
 

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