Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Do You Want What You Can't Have?

Does anything in this picture look good to you? How would you feel if you were told you could not have fresh oranges anymore? Or apples, bananas, steamed broccoli or crunchy carrot sticks. Would that make you want them more?

Dieters often focus on what they "can't" have, and this leads to craving those exact foods more and more. When "I can't have ice cream" is on your mind all day, day after day, it just makes you want it more. And you aren't even interested in all those 'diet' foods you perceive as being 'good for you' but undesirable. My theory is, those foods become undesirable merely because you can have all you want.

What if you tried changing your frame of mind: What fruits or vegetables or whole grains would you miss if you were told you couldn't have them anymore? I'll bet you can think of a few foods you take for granted because they aren't forbidden. Believe it or not, there are people who have to avoid many fresh fruits and vegetables because of certain illnesses (for instance, in kidney failure). When you are told you can't have a certain food (or group of foods) you suddenly begin to want it, miss it, savor the idea of having it right now!

So my suggestion is to start thinking of those foods that are good for you that you would really miss if they were on your forbidden list. Enjoy those fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains. And let yourself have a no-no once in a while (like a brownie or chocolate chip cookie once a week).

When you change your way of thinking about foods as 'allowed' or 'not allowed', some of them will increase their appeal, and some cravings will vanish. Try it and see :) Let us know by leaving your comments here!

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