Monday, July 20, 2009

There Are No Bad Foods!

A lot of people start out their next diet by making a list of "forbidden foods". What qualifies a food as being "bad" anyway? For most people's definition, they are referring to foods that are high in fat, calories, and/or sodium but provide little nutrition. The list goes from sodas to candy bars to bacon and sausage, to pies and cakes and cookies and ice cream. But if you try to cut all these foods out of your diet forever--and most of them happen to taste very good--you aren't likely to succeed in sticking with it.

Dietitians have a saying, "There are no bad foods; only bad diets". There isn't anything wrong with having a slice of pie once in a while, or 2 strips of bacon with breakfast once in a while. The problem is, many people in our culture treat themselves constantly to chocolates and cookies and high-fat pastries and coffee drinks and ice cream all day, every day, to make themselves feel better in some way. Maybe you get a burst of energy from one of these treats, or one of these foods calms you down; maybe a snack distracts you from the stress at the office or soothes you before you go to sleep. Whatever the reason, ingesting a large amount of these so-called "junk foods" on a nearly-daily basis doesn't really do you any good, and certainly makes the battle to lose weight a whole lot tougher.

Instead of putting these on a list of Never Eat Again foods, change the heading to "one-a-day treats" and be sure that you only have a total of one of them each day: if you have a cinnamon roll for breakfast, don't add a mid-morning donut, a piece of cake with lunch, a candy bar in the afternoon, a soda with dinner, and ice cream in the evening! All these foods will add up to a very bad diet overall.

Having a treat once in a while is not a bad thing. Indulging occasionally can help keep you motivated to make lifestyle changes that will get your weight to where you want it, and have a healthy and balanced diet.

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