The tried and misfired dogma of dieting goes as follows: once you’ve resolved to put junk food behind you, switch to a diet of chicken and broccoli – and cling on for grim life. It’s a short-lived story and inevitably ends in deep-fried capitulation. Not so this time.
This time, you need to relax the rules. According to the University of Tasmania, a full two weeks of nutritional normality for every two weeks spent at the Tupperware grindstone is optional.
This is because long-term restrictive dieting causes your body to run low on leptin, a satiety hormone that helps to regulate energy levels when you’re hungry. Low reserves shunt your body into starvation mode, which brings your metabolism to a crashing halt and causes you to hoard kilojoules as fat.
The researchers recommend adopting this two-weeks on, two-weeks off cycle of eating to stop adaptive thermogenesis (your body’s slowed rate of energy burn) – one of the major causes of weight regain. So cut yourself some slack. Make this nutrition plan a long-term investment and you can shed an extra 8kg between now and midyear. And remember: your next burger is never more than a fortnight away.