I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!

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Fudge Brownie Ice CreamWhen working with my nutrition clients, eventually I get asked a question like “This week I have an event. Is it OK if I have a piece of cake, a glass of wine, pasta, or <insert food of choice here>?” My answer 99% of the time is “Yes, go ahead.” If it’s over the phone, there’s usually a long pause at this point. I envision that same pause while reading the email if they’re an online client.

They’re probably thinking that it’s a trick or a test to see if they’ll decide not do it. Nope, that’s how I roll in my own life and I don’t expect anyone else to be different. Here’s the thing. There are always going to be events, family visits, errands and other things that come up. It’s all part of life and you can’t necessarily plan for them as much as you might want to, but you can plan the way you think about these events so you can make a conscious choice when they happen.

If you ask me if one food choice is better than another – like wine vs a margarita – I’ll weigh in on that for sure but you’ll rarely hear me tell anyone to not eat something. Even pre-contest you can have ice cream, cupcakes, and things like that. I did before my second contest, and it was a completely different experience than my first miserable contest prep. Not to mention post-contest when I was faced with all kinds of foods that I hadn’t been able to eat for months. (I use contest prep as an extreme example of a diet.)

You may sometimes need to eat a smaller amount than you normally would, but life is always about choices and compromises. It’s meant to be enjoyed, not restricted. It’s funny how we make all kinds of daily compromises, like moving appointments around to get your hair cut or asking your husband to pick up the kids one day so you can attend a meeting. When it comes to food, we have trouble compromising but it works similarly.

In the Health Doesn’t Weight series, we’ve been talking about losing the diet mentality, how to put together a balanced meal, and how to recognize when you’re hungry. Living life and learning to make healthier food choices while staying in control is a part of losing the diet mentality.

  • Does eating on vacations, at parties, anniversaries, and family visits have to mean eating off plan? No, you can work it into your eating plan and still enjoy.
  • Does it mean you have to take food with you and eat chicken breasts and broccoli out of baggies like you hear people talk about? No, see above. (PS – I’ve been that person and it’s NOT fun or necessary.)
  • Does it mean you have to eat everything that’s available at the gatherings? No, you can pick a couple of your favorites and have some.
  • Will eating comfort foods completely undo a week of good eating? No, unless you choose to throw in the towel and eat as much as you can. Eating things off plan doesn’t mean a buffet of overeating unless you choose that.
  • Do you have to eat off plan foods at every meal? No, you can probably be happy eating small yummy treats at one or two meals a week. Think of it like a surprise party. It’s fun the first few times but if it happens every day, it’s no longer as exciting. Don’t you want treats to keep being exciting?
  • Is it going to be the last time you’ll ever have the chance to eat this food? Probably not, unless it was made by an ancient family member from a secret recipe that will die with them shortly. Kidding here, but you get the idea.
  • Will the world end and you’ll have regrets for the rest of your life if you do eat this food? No, in 10 years you probably won’t even remember what you ate.

That last part is very interesting to me. If it’s not even memorable, then weigh that into your choice. I bet you’ll remember the visit or party and what you did way more than what you ate. Also just because you make a choice one time, doesn’t mean it’s the choice for you every time. Each situation and meal is independent of the others.

If you want something or have a craving, consider whether you really want it or if you’d rather something else more. If you do want it, put whatever it is on a plate with other things like veggies and a protein. Take a bite, put your fork down, and pay attention to it. How does it taste? Good? Then enjoy it! Do you want another bite? Have one, repeat and eat some veggies/protein until you feel satisfied and not stuffed.

If it isn’t as great as you were expecting, stop and don’t eat it just because. If you’re full after a few bites along with your veggies, just stop eating. No guilt, no darn it I shouldn’t have eaten that. When nothing is off limits, you’ll probably find that you end up eating a lot less than you normally would. You might also find that having treats or formerly forbidden foods less often makes them taste all that much better when you do have them.

If you have questions about your nutrition or want more information about working with me, contact me at adriannec69 [at] gmail [dot] com. Next up, we’ll talk about dealing with cravings and some things you can do to lessen them without feeling deprived.

PS – That’s a cup of real full fat fudge brownie ice cream that I ate about a week ago. The Kid wanted ice cream and I decided to join in on the fun instead of sitting on the sidelines. Because I don’t eat a lot of ice cream, I can tell you exactly how great it tasted with the brownie chunks and it was worth every bite. If I had it all the time, it would have been just another scoop. 🙂

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