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How to Eat What You Want

By Michele Lubin, MS RD CDN


One thing that we all should admit up front is that we all have at least one or two unhealthy foods that we struggle to avoid. You probably know which foods can be in front of you or in your pantry that you can resist. But if you are anywhere in the same zip code of certain other foods, you tend to overindulge. Especially with the holiday season upon us, the time has never been better to learn how to eat what you want within reason.


So, what does within reason really mean? It translates into moderation. Let’s first start with the reality that many people feel they don’t want to give up some of their favorite foods.  Everyone is different and everyone has their own, unique food triggers. Let’s look at a few scenarios:


How about foods that just can’t be eaten in moderation? Your thought may be, “I can eat one or two cookies, instead of the box.” This sounds within reason, but, if you eat cookies every day, you have continued with the same old habits you use to have; nothing has really changed, except for the amount, at first. Then, over time, two cookies can turn into three, then four, then more. Your best bet here is to indulge in cookies occasionally, not daily.  And if you eat a cookie that is part of a holiday basket, enjoy half and savor every crumb… then move on. Do not allow this holiday indulgence to sabotage your success. And you may want to consider strongly the idea that these cookies should not be kept in the privacy of your own home.


Or, how about foods that are healthy, but calorie-dense. “I eat foods like peanut butter, nuts and cheese every day because they have protein.” Sure, these foods have protein, but because they contain a lot of calories in a small portion, they should be used as condiments, not as a protein source. Keep in mind, as you lose weight, your body requires fewer calories to maintain that lower weight. If you continue to eat calorie-dense foods often, even in smaller portions, on a regular basis, you will struggle with your weight.


Know yourself – know your trigger foods that will lead to grazing or over-eating and be aware of the foods that just can’t be eaten in moderation. Keep these foods out of your house or workplace and partake only on the rare occasion. Most of all, be realistic. If you eat a cookie, chip, cupcake, etc., don’t beat yourself up…take a step back and recommit to healthy eating. This holiday season does not need to impact your weight. Stay focused and remember, you can do this!