As some of you know, I was on vacation for a couple of weeks, and this photo represents nearly all of the cheese that I ate while we were in France. I thought about taking a photo of the wine and chocolate that I consumed, but that would just be embarrassing!
My vacation eating is definitely different than my everyday eating. I figure for a couple of weeks, I can indulge a bit and balance it with one to two nutritious meal a day. It is easy, though, to feel bad about indulging. And society’s message is that food is either ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Honestly all of those negative thoughts and guilt about eating are not helping us eat better other times during the year. We just feel like we are missing out on a bunch of goodies!
So, don’t beat yourself up or constantly deprive yourself of food that you want. Deprivation or a constant ‘diet’ mentality can drive individuals to eat more because they feel that so many foods are off limits. Can you eat unlimited amounts of sweets and fries without a health consequence? No. But you can work in a small amount of dark chocolate or a smaller piece of cake. Make friends by sharing indulgent foods, like fries. Then you are not cheating, you are eating well 80-90% of the day and permitting yourself 10-20% flexibility for something a bit more indulgent. An eating pattern like this is more sustainable than a severely restricted diet.
Happy and healthful eating,
Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN
Trying to strike the right balance with the food that you eat? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.