Monday, July 26, 2010

5 Ways to Avoid Comfort Foods

Comfort foods are those foods that we turn to when we're feeling "a bit down". They are usually sugary or high fat. When you're losing weight, you don't want to be tempted by these foods just because you've had a bad day, or you simply can't resist one chocolate from the aisle.

In this article we'll discuss five ways to reduce or avoid eating comfort foods altogether, but if you do slip up, it's not a reason or excuse to fall off your weight loss wagon.

Internal dialogue
Otherwise known the devil on one shoulder, angel on the other (like in those cartoons!) This technique never works. You're already biased to having a chocolate, so no matter how bad you feel about breaking your eating plan, you'll always make a deal with yourself in order to lessen the guilt and make it OK. Spend an extra 20 mins on the treadmill, skip dessert later, run an extra mile. These promises usually never pan out, leaving you feel guilty about eating the candy and also breaking your promise to yourself.

The solution? Reduce the dialogue to: You don't really want it. Then walk away. Out of sight, out of mind.

Walk towards the fruit and vegie section
Fruit is full of sugars, so whenever you feel you just need that little pick me up, pick something very sweet like a punnet of strawberries (stay away from the dipping chocolate!) Strawberries will fulfill your sweet cravings, plus they contain loads of antioxidants and vitamins that you just aren't going to get from a candy bar.

Choose a better option
Most comfort foods have a healthier option. Choose air popped corn without butter flavouring (which is artificial anyway) but you're allowed a small sprinkle of salt for flavour. Or try a peri peri flavouring (either salt free or salt reduced). 'Reduced fat' items usually mean more sugar, so avoid them. Reduced fat candy bars still contain up to 48% sugar, so stay away from those too. There are now rice snacks, grain snacks and low fat chips that are acceptable for comfort food cravings. Choose those and make your own guacamole; it will be fresh, low fat, nothing artificial and you know everything that went into it. There are many healthier versions of pizza and burgers too, which your weight loss supporter or group can tell you about.

The smaller portion
Many candy bars and other snack foods come in small sizes. These are called fun or treat sizes. If you simply cannot resist a chocolate, buy the smallest size and not the whole block or super size. Avoid buying a packet of treat size bars also- this can lead to bingeing. It's better not to have a packet of candy lying around the house- you'll be amazed at how many excuses you can come up with to eat them! If you crave a doughnut, buy just one. You don't even have to eat the whole thing; just a bite or half the doughnut is enough to satisfy the craving. John Travolta, when he needs to lose weight for a role, literally cuts everything in half. So he'll still eat a burger or pizza, but only eats exactly half of it. Portion control is the key to weight loss success.

Identify the reasons for the comfort food
If you're wanting comfort food regularly, then it may be worth finding out why. Many people, without even knowing it, are self-medicating with sugar to regulate their moods. Women are far more likely to engage in this self-medicating than men, due to fluctuating hormones throughout the month. Identify the reasons you crave sugary foods, then work to eliminate them. Using a birth control pill will help the hormonal influences, for example. See your doctor if you suspect you are suffering depression. Everyone has "bad days" but if these days are frequent, there's probably an underlying reason that needs to be identified and corrected. A healthy mind translates into a healthy body.

If you're on an eating plan, chances are that you're part of a support group or have a buddy system. Talk about your cravings to your support person or group. They've definitely been there before and they know how hard it can be to talk yourself out of it. They will have solutions just for you that can be implemented without guilt or stress.

No comments:

Post a Comment