Cheating On A Diet: Avoid The Tailspin!
Whether it's your first time trying to lose weight or if you're an experienced calorie-counter, there is always the temptation to cheat.
Waking up to the smell of bacon, driving past the local McDonald's, or even something as trivial as a commercial for Popeye's new chicken and a biscuit combo can set off a craving that breaks your willpower and has you reaching for the car keys or moves those once steady legs to the fridge.
Here are some thoughts on how prevent a tail-spin.
Keep things in perspective
Remember that nobody is perfect! A small slip in your diet can actually prevent a total breakdown or food binge down the road and striving for perfection in your weight loss program will only hurt your progress in the long run.
The book, The Secret is Out, puts it best when it says, "the dieter who strives for good health has drive, while perfectionist dieter is driven." The perfectionist dieter will set their goals high and struggle trying to accomplish them due to self-recrimination following any little slip along the way, whereas healthy dieters will also set the bar high but have far less frustration trying to get there due to there ability to keep things in perspective.
No matter how many cookies you pass up at the grocery store, or how many holidays or parties you make it through without overindulging, chances are at some point you're going to give in. An important thing to understand is that your craving, or need to cheat, is all in your head and not a real physiologic need. Nobody needs the high-fat, salty, greasy or sugar-ridden foods they crave. Even though cravings are sure to pop up from time to time, there are several ways to reduce the actuality of a cheat occurring, and, even more importantly, there are more ways to get back on track immediately afterwards.
How do I get back on track?
Cheating doesn't mean failure! The biggest mistake people make is thinking that cheating is equivalent to failure. It is important to keep your goals in mind and be patient with your weight loss.
The extra pounds you're trying to lose didn't accumulate overnight so understand it will take time to reach your weight and overall health goals. If you're trying to lose 20 pounds, slipping up and putting 2 pounds back on after losing 10 doesn't mean you failed - it just slowed you down. Don't focus on the 2-pound weight gain, but instead look at the big picture and focus on the weight you've lost.
Two-steps forward and one step back is still a step in the right direction. The trick is to reduce your steps backwards in the future. Forgive the indiscretion, but don't forget it! Consider the situation, feelings, or reasons surrounding the occasion and come up with some strategies to avoid the same thing from happening again.
Vacations, sporting events, weekends, and parties are easy places to lose control of your diet; however, avoiding these occasions makes you miss out on fun times and leads to additional feelings of deprivation. Sometimes actually planning for an occasion where you will not follow your program (within reason of course!) will help you eliminate cravings in anticipation of that event and keep you from abandoning your weight loss efforts afterword.
Instead of playing the hermit card and staying in your exclusive dieting shell, plan ahead and create a plan on how to bounce back afterword or reduce the unhealthiness of a situation. Bringing your own healthier food or side dish to a party or cookout is an easy way to reduce calories.
As for a sporting event, eating a healthy meal before the game with fill your stomach and help fight the temptation for the foot-long "frank" and bucket of cotton candy. Just remember to mark down the occasion ahead of time to make sure you aren't cheating too often. Take some time in advance to plan how you are going to bounce back or come up with a strategy to better control the unhealthy situation.
Doctors Roizen and Oz, authors of the You On a Diet, cleverly explain how to bounce back from a cheat. They use the analogy of a GPS on a trip to explain how you should think on a diet. They write: "[If you make a wrong turn on a trip,] the GPS doesn't berate you, doesn't scold you... Instead, all it says, very politely is this: "At the next available moment, make an authorized U-turn."
This idea of getting back on track using a "U-turn" is not only clever, but is an extremely easy, lighthearted way to keep you from beating yourself up after cheating.
Attitude is everything!
Keep a positive attitude about your diet. Weight loss is a journey so don't let one mistake derail you. Keep your goals in mind, remember that nobody's perfect, and that giving up on yourself and your weight loss efforts will get you nowhere on your path to better health.
When a cheat occurs don't get depressed - just make a "U-turn" and get back on track. Even though the cheat may slow you down, don't let it put you in reverse! Remember the ultimate goal is a healthier you.
Lisa M. Davis, Ph.D., PA-C, C.N.S., L.D.N. is Director of Research and Development for Medifast. She holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University with a focus in Obesity Research, and she is currently the Director of Research and Development for the Medifast Program, a leading portion-controlled clinically proven weight loss program and co-author of the book, Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Health. Click here for more information.
November 3, 2014
Mmm, Mmm Good: My Favorite Gluten-Free Soup
It’s turning a wee bit chillier in the Northeast and my thoughts are starting to turn towards soup to keep me warm. Homemade gluten-free soup is easy to make and a great way to experiment with some of the gluten-free whole grains.
Amaranth is one of my favorite grains to use in soups. Actually, amaranth isn’t really a grain but an herb harvested for its seeds.
Amaranth seed is tannish-brown in color and very small — about the size of a poppy seed. It gives soups a nice thick mouth feel. From a nutritional standpoint, amaranth seed is a tasty way to increase the iron and fiber content of your soups.
Amaranth seed can be found in natural foods stores. It also can be mail ordered, including from Nu-World Amaranth (www.nuworldamaranth.com).
In the Fall and Winter I like to serve soup for dinner. The recipe below is one of my favorites. It is from my book The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide (McGraw-Hill, 2008).
Gluten-free rice chips go great with this soup. I am partial to Lundberg Family Farms brand.
Tomato Vegetable Soup with Amaranth Seed
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced into ¼” crescents
1 small zucchini, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 19-ounce can dark red kidney beans
2 cups gluten-free chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup uncooked amaranth seed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Red pepper flakes, optional
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and saute 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, peas, corn and kidney beans. Add the broth, water and tomatoes, stirring to combine. Mix in the amaranth seed. Add the garlic powder, oregano, pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Simmer over medium-low heat for approximately 1 hour.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Tricia Thompson, M.S., RD is a nutrition consultant, author and speaker specializing in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. She is the author of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide (McGraw-Hill) and co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Eating (Penguin Group). For more information, visit www.glutenfreedietitian.com.
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For a copy of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide click here.
September 20, 2010
The 11 Best Breakfast Bars
A recent Label Lesson unwrapped the dark side of breakfast bars. This week we want you to take an oath:
I swear I will NEVER touch another Healthy Food Imposter breakfast bar again. I will ONLY eat breakfast foods that provide my body with whole grains and other natural, healthful ingredients - no matter how long it takes to prepare such a breakfast…
Just kidding! You don’t have to give up convenience to enjoy a great breakfast.
That’s right… you can be good to your body even if you don’t have time to prepare a full-blown morning meal. The food sleuths here at eBrandAid.com have tracked down a few good breakfast bars that have nutrients and convenience!
Case in point: LARABAR Raw Food Bar Chocolate Coconut Chew
Cals 220, 12g fat, 0 sodium, 18g sugar, 5g fiber, 5g protein
Ingredients: Dates, Almonds, Walnuts, Unsweetened Coconut, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder.
Friends, this bar contains the Holy Trinity of healthy eating: CONVENIENCE, NUTRITION and ENERGY!
Decoding the fine print
So why is this breakfast bar worth your time and money, you ask? If the ingredients don’t speak for themselves, our food sleuths are happy to speak for them. Take a look:
This bar (like all the LARABAR varieties) is crafted from fewer than six ingredients.
The unsweetened cocoa provides more antioxidants than green tea.
The dates, coconut, almonds and walnuts are all nutritional superstars!
The fiber, protein, good carbohydrates and healthy fats are derived exclusively from whole, raw foods.
This bar is a wholefood NATURAL source of 16 essential vitamins and minerals, including fiber, vitamin E and folic acid. There’s no need for a red-flag label claim like “fortified with vitamins and minerals.”
Sugars and carbs come from fruit, not from processed, added junk sources.
And the best part, they come in 14 amazing flavors all of which are free of added sugars and sweeteners, preservatives, fillers, and artificial colorings.
There’s nothing not to love about this breakfast bar!
Variety is the spice of life – and important to any healthy eating plan – so we’re serving up more nutrition-on-the-go breakfast bars that meet our BestBrands standards:
The first few ingredients are made from wholefood sources like dates, nuts or whole grains such as rolled oats, wheat, barley or brown rice flour.
They have at least two grams of fiber per serving, and no more than 250 calories per bar.
And of course, they’re void of our least favorite junk ingredients like refined sugars, refined grains, trans fats, artificial sweeteners and colors, and harmful preservatives.
Finally, they’re good and good for you! And by the way, these aren’t just for breakfast anymore – they make great in between meal snacks too!
Note: Remember, all varieties of the same brand are NOT created equal! Please make sure you are choosing the recommended variety within each brand. When in doubt, read the ingredients label!
Clif Nectar Organic Fruit and Nut Bar (all flavors)
Health Valley Granola Bars Lowfat Chocolate Chip
Kashi TLC Chewy Granola Bars Honey Almond Flax
Kashi Honey Toasted 7-Grain
Kashi Chewy Granola Bars Trail Mix
LARABARS (All flavors)
Nature's Choice Multigrain Cereal Bars
Nature Valley Granola Bites Oats 'N Honey
Nature Valley Roasted Nut Bars Peanut Crunch
Odwalla Nourishing Food Bars Carrot Raisin
Simple Harvest All Natural Multigrain Chewy Granola Bars (all flavors)
Remember, when you're armed with a little eBrandAid know-how,
you're in control at the grocery store.
Kerry McLeod is eBrandAid.com's chief Brand Doctor and a regular blogger here at Diet.com. Kerry's mission in life is to teach food shoppers how to cut through the clutter at the grocery store in order to find the truly healthy brand-name foods. Go to www.eBrandAid.com for more information.
August 23, 2010