It works the opposite way that you’re hoping it will.
Don’t shoot the messenger, but restricting certain foods from your diet without a real reason will only drive you to craving them even more than ever before. It makes sense–we want what we can’t have (whether it’s the curly hair you’ve always dreamed of or that chocolate cake that’s been staring you in the face for what seems like years now).
I used to tell myself that “bread is bad” and “processed foods will kill me.” So I completely cut these items out of my diet for a while. And you can guess what happened…the inevitable.
I would reach a point where all I wanted was bread. I didn’t care if it tasted good or bad or if it came from a fine restaurant or a crappy sandwich joint. That was what my mind and body was telling me I wanted. So I couldn’t resist. After all, the mind and body have two very strong voices that make them difficult to dispute. Nor should you try to do so.
Not only would I eat the bread, but I would eat lots of it.
Since then, I have developed a new strategy of eating, called mindful eating. I will post about mindful eating soon, but in short, it’s a theory that the most healthful eating habits come from eating what you feel like eating, when you feel like it. If I feel like eating a potato chip, gosh darn it, I’ll have a potato chip.
The funny thing is, this new philosophy has drastically reduced the frequency and intensity of my cravings. Because I don’t ever tell myself I can’t have something anymore, I don’t necessarily desire the foods that used to be “guilty pleasures” (i.e. bread or processed foods).
Now I decide what I want to eat by how the food makes me feel. I know processed foods make me feel sluggish and irritable, so that is why I tend to stay away from them, not because I can’t have them. However, no harm comes from indulging every once in a while.
In fact, indulging in small portions may be the best regiment you’ve ever added to your diet plan.
Now that I have removed guidelines about what I can and can’t eat, I have not felt the need to overindulge. I’ve been able to enjoy the taste of my food and feel satisfied after eating it.
A few days ago, my friends and I enjoyed dinner in Somerville, Ma, at Walnut Grille. We split this delectable “Death by Chocolate” vegan, gluten-free flourless cake, complete with whipped coconut cream and crunchy shattered caramel (see below). We all left content, feeling like we had enough, so we didn’t want any more, despite how good it tasted. Even if it isn’t a “healthy” recipe, I say go for it. If that’s what you’re feeling, there’s a reason for it. The important thing is to be cognizant of portions. Pay attention to the amount of food it takes you to feel satisfied. Once you reach that point, it’s your cue to put the fork down.
So, my advice to you: Take a bite of it before it comes back to bite you.
This article is written by Mariah Boisvert, who is determined to help others on their journey to health and wellness. Mariah will provide insightful perspectives, nutrition advice, and ideas based on her experience in health. Want to read more articles from Mariah? Visit her website, MariahBoisvert.com. Mariah created this website out of her personal passion to live a healthy and fulfilling life.