Moderation vs. Elimination

How many times have you committed to a diet that requires you to completely give something up?

Soda, carbs, meat, alcohol, junk food…the list goes on and on.

The problem with elimination of an item that has been part of your regular diet is that you have cravings for it. You then enter into a battle of will against the craving. One weak moment after weeks of deprivation and what happens…you gorge yourself on it.

Most of the time you don’t feel guilt while gorging on the item, instead you are taken over by the HIGH of enjoying something you’ve deprived yourself from for so long. Most people will likely then do one of two things: eat until it is gone or until they are so full they are sick.

So rather than eliminating I choose to regulate. Here are some tips for enjoying what you love without guilt and overindulgence:
• Eat a salad or side of veggies before you start eating your unhealthy choice – this will help to make sure that you get your healthy, filling foods in your system first, helping you to eat less of the unhealthy choice

• Limit your serving of the unhealthy choice – there is nothing wrong with having a soda or a cheeseburger, it’s when you either have it every day or consume large quantities on a regular basis that gets you in trouble

• Slow down and chew your food well – food is more easily digested when you eat slowly and break the morsels down well in your mouth before it enters your digestive system

• Think about the taste of your craving and why you like it – concentrating on the actual taste of the food will help you to more quickly satisfy the craving to better identify when the craving has been quenched

Ultimately if you can identify why you crave that type of food you have a better chance to make healthier substitutions on a more regular basis. For instance, if you love dessert because you enjoy ending your meal with something sweet you have a number of options. There’s nothing wrong with having an appropriate serving of chocolate cake or ice cream every once in a while. However, on a regular basis you can choose to end your meal with jell-o or a piece of fruit. You will still satisfy your sweet tooth without adding a bunch of empty calories to your meal.

When it comes to maintaining health, no one has enough will power to beat every craving every time. Stop feeling guilty about indulging. Treat yourself, but keep in mind the portion size and frequency of your “treats,” and I bet you will notice a great difference in the amount you consume to satisfy your craving.

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