At 5′ 1”, I really have to watch what I eat. If I have a so called “bad week” of overeating or eating mostly foods that are high in fat and calories, then it really shows on the scale. But, this doesn’t mean that I do not indulge in the foods that I like. I eat plenty of things that are “not good for me” – ice cream, cupcakes, frozen drinks, french fries, etc. Of course I don’t eat like this every day, but when I do, I try to exercise what I call the self-indulgence-self-method.
Remember Spiderman? With great power comes great responsibility. Well, I believe that if you want to engage in great self-indulgence you must also exercise great self-control. Point blank – I plan ahead to eat self-indulgent foods and then I eat them in moderation. So the next time you’re wanting to indulge, consider the following principles of self-indulgence-self-control method…
4 Principles of the Self-Indulgence-Self-Control Method
Daily Compensation – If I know I’m going to overindulge at some point in the day or week, ie. drinks with friends or a dessert reception at work, then I compensate throughout the day and/or week by eating fewer calories and/or going for an extra run. Eating fewer calories or burning extra calories helps to compensate for those extra calories I’m taking in.
Rule of 1/3’s – When I do order something completely indulgence, like lemon cream cake or fried chicken, I try to eat 1/3-1/2 of what I really want to eat (the eyes are bigger than your stomach syndrome). If I’m at a restaurant, I will box up the rest and take it home. Or if I’m already at home, I’ll save the rest for my lunch or a treat the next day. This way, I can get a taste of the great food I want (self-indulgence) only I’m eating less of it (self-control) and fewer calories to boot.
Try a lighter option – Although I don’t do this often, I occasionally try to eat a lower calorie version of the food I really want, such as low-calorie ice cream, chips, or a muffin. However, a word of caution, many low-fat and low-calorie products are full of artificial ingredients. They also may not be as filling or tasty as the full-fat or full-calorie version, which could leave us hungry and unsatisfied. Also, because we are in the mindset that the food is low-fat or low-calorie, we may think we can eat more of the food, ie. a whole bag of low-fat chips. This mindset may actually cause us to consume more calories than what we would have eating with the normal version.
Challenge Yourself – When I think I want something indulgent, I try to challenge myself to:
- Wait 30 minutes before eating it – sometimes after I wait, I end up not eating it after all, which means I probably never wanted it in the first place.
- Drink 4 8oz glasses of water beforehand – because sometimes when we think we’re hungry, we’re really thirsty.
- Eat something healthy right before I eat my indulgence food. By eating a banana or a few almonds before eating my indulgence food, I’m less likely to overindulge.
So, these are the principles that I follow to eat what I want and still lose weight. What’s your go-to tip for eating your indulgent food but still staying on track with your weight loss/maintenance?