These days, dropping certain foods from your diet is an everyday occurrence. From eliminating carbs after a holiday blow out, to giving up chocolate for Lent, it feels like there’s always someone giving something up.
Yet depriving yourself of something you love is neither enjoyable, nor necessary.
Emma Clarke, nutritionist for calorie counter, Nutracheck, said: “Anyone who has ever given up a certain type of food before knows that when the deadline is over – or when you finally cave in – you’re likely to overindulge. It’s hard to eat just one chocolate square or one piece of bread; you’re more likely to eat a lot more of what you gave up because you haven’t tasted it in months.
“In fact, there’s no need to give anything up. A survey of our members showed that almost half (45%) said they didn’t give up any foods when they started their diet. And 20% said that although they initially cut out certain foods, they have learnt to allow themselves ‘a bit of anything they fancy’.
“It’s all about balance. If you want a treat – a bag of salty crisps, a glass of chocolate milk, or a mid-afternoon Diet soda – don’t deny yourself. All calories count – whether it’s from carrot or a cake. Just count your calories and you can indulge without mentally beating yourself up.
“And the same goes for exercise – don’t run a mile for every piece of pizza you eat as ‘punishment’, run because you want to.
“It makes me sad to hear people swear by giving up certain foods they’ve deemed ‘evil’ in order to drop a few pounds.”
- Crave pizza? Take one slice, plus a side salad.
- Nothing will do but a burger? Lose the fries and bun – and pile extra veg or salad on your plate.
- Desperate for fries? Try just a handful of chunky chips, cooked in the oven.
- Mini brownie bites calling your name? Select one – and combine with slices of fresh fruit.
- Need a chocolate fix? Grab a square of dark chocolate and a handful of almonds.
Said Emma: “Finding a happy medium between eating whatever you want – and extremely restricting yourself – isn’t easy. Yet the “all or nothing” mentality we tend to hold ourselves to isn’t realistic when it comes to diet because it sets us up for failure.
“One good trick is to figure out which less-healthy foods you enjoy and then work out how to make them a little healthier. We all know by now that deprivation never works – and if we don’t have food that makes us happy in our lives, what’s the point? “
- Nutracheck.co.uk is a calorie counter and food diary available via an App and website. Fast and easy to use, the barcode-scanning App lets you add food to your diary in just 2 clicks.
- Nutracheck’s unique search shows photos of food to make it easy to spot what you ate from over 225,000 products in the UK food database.
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