HEALTHY LIVING

Here's When You Should Forget About Counting Calories, In One Chart

05/21/2015 01:15 pm ET | Updated May 21, 2015

Last weekend at a baseball game, I went straight for the pretzels and hot dogs because -- hello! -- I was at a baseball game. So I was pretty taken aback when I noticed the calorie count: That pretzel I had my eye on all afternoon was a whopping 630 calories. About a third of my entire daily calorie intake, not to mention more calories than a Big Mac.

Why was Yankee Stadium doing this to me? Should I just eat half the pretzel? Should I skip it altogether? Should I just leave? I had feelings.

The answer ended up being a big N-O. I was at a baseball game with my friends, it was one of the first warm nights of the year, and skipping that pretzel was not on my agenda, even though I usually eat a healthful diet that's heavy on veggies.

And it turns out that science is on my side: Although the jury is still out on exactly how willpower works, many people think a "cheat day" here and there is actually helpful for those who want to lead a healthy lifestyle. Not only does it provide a nice mental break, but it can stop the body from feeling calorie-deprived and prevent binging down the road, the Daily Burn reports.

So, when is it a good time to forget the calorie counts and treat yourself? That's a personal decision, but here's my suggestion.

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