Today, NuVal Dietitian Elizabeth talks about eating the “wrong” things. Is it ever OK to eat what you’re craving?
Recently I shared a piece of chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory with two of my favorite friends. Yes, one was even a dietitian! To be fair, I left the cheesecakey part to them, I just like to dig for the cookie dough and that delicious chocolately crumb crust. And you know what the very best part was? Feeling perfectly fine for the rest of the day. No guilt, no feelings of failure, no sense of a bankrupt self-resolve.
This did not happen overnight my friends. Oh no. For many, many years I had very strict eating rules for fear that if I didn’t regulate my food choices, I would eat so much I’d eventually need help squeezing my body through doorways. Unlike Lady Gaga, I wasn’t born this way. No, but many years of diets had taught me the mantra: You are either ‘on a diet’ or OFF. There is a right and wrong way to eat. There are permitted and forbidden foods. But what if it were a bit more gray? What if you could enjoy an ice cream, some cheese fries or Valentines chocolates and not go up a jeans size?
Here’s the good news, it is possible! First however, you need to leave the black and white thinking and food judging mindset behind. This is easier said than done I realize and you might need some professional support to undo the ball and chain of dieting. But when you do, you’ll see it is possible to successfully manage your weight and eat yummy things. Remember, even Jennifer Aniston loves nachos. I don’t know exactly how she does it but I suspect she follows some of the following guidelines for guilt-free indulgences. See if any of these resonate with you:
- Enjoy your indulgence by fully experiencing it. Savor every second of it. Don’t rush through for fear of your conscience kicking in—we’re past that. Keep the TV off, don’t drive and eat and no reading while eating either. You are eating, this is important stuff.
- Pay close attention to when you’ve had enough. That moment where the magic has gone but it tastes so dang good you want to just clear your plate. You might be glad if you stopped at this point.
- Save the treat for enjoyment outside the house. If I had donuts at my house I would find MANY reasons to have one, several times a day. Needless to say, I save donuts for when I’m out.
- Stop labeling treats as ‘bad.’ At NuVal we don’t begrudge foods scoring in the single digits, we simply encourage trading up when desired.
I suspect you can come up with a list of treats with which to experiment. I will leave you with a list of sweets leading the pack in NuVal Scores. Check them out if you are inclined and let me know what you think!
- Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolates, 30 Calories per piece: NuVal Score 25
- Blue Bell Cotton Candy Bars: NuVal Score 24
- Payday Caramel Peanut Candy Bar: NuVal Score 23
- Turkey Hill Dynamic Duos Movie Night Popcorn Flavor Ice Cream: NuVal Score 23
- Unreal, candy coated chocolates: NuVal Score 23
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