I know I am a dietitian but…

But I am a dietitian with a sweet tooth.  Sometimes, I convince myself that the cookies I am baking are for:  1) my kids, 2) perhaps a neighbor or 3) my husband.  When in reality they are really for me.  Today, on a mid-day trip to the grocery store to purchase chicken and bread, I found these amazing looking homemade chocolate chip cookies bearing a sticker, Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer.  First, let me tell you, this is a great grassroots effort to help raise funds for research for cancer.

(learn more http://bostonbakesforbreastcancer.org/) and for me, a really good excuse to buy some amazing chocolate chip cookies; so I grabbed a bag. 

I forgot to mention, before I found the cookies, a package of raisinets (and a few more things) found their way into my grocery cart; after all, the package noted, “natural source of antioxidants.” How bad can that be, right?  So I am saving lives with my cookie purchase and saving my own by getting raisinets.   It’s all good.

The store clerk gestured to me with the packet of raisinets, as if saying, “You want these right now?”  I thought for a minute, and said, “No I will be getting my hands on one of those amazing chocolate chip cookies first.” And before I got in my car, I had the cookies opened and scoffed one down.  These series of events led me to this blog post because…

I think we all find really great excuses for eating not so healthy foods.  It’s not that I am the food police, (really I am not!) but I do think, that we need to get a bit more real with how we justify our indulgences.   Call it a treat, eat it and be done.  But often, we rationalize the treats, or more often, pretend they don’t count.

Here are a few of the common food games I commonly observe with my clients in my nutrition consultation practice.  Frequently used excuses for overindulging or habits that contribute to being unaccountable or conceivably oblivious to the calories, fat, sugar etc. they have eaten.  Do any of these scenarios seem familiar to you?

  • Purchasing whole grain crackers, consuming the entire box.  After all, “Fiber is good, and I needed that fiber!”
  • Eating a whole bag of licorice, candy corn or Swedish goldfish, “they are fat free so can’t be too many Calories?”
  • Taking small slivers of cake or brownies continually until you have consumed half the pan.  (You know who you are!)
  • Eating standing up, right out of the fridge, spoon dipped in ice cream…yup those calories shouldn’t count either, right?
  • Making lunches for the kids and munching a slice of cheese or a handful of goldfish (EVERY day!)
  • Purchasing a bag of fun size candy bars and eating several. It’s not like you ate a whole candy bar?
  • Missing a meal and feeling that you have the right to eat whatever you want at the next meal.
  • Finishing up leftovers on someone else’s plate or perhaps ½ of your spouse’s dinner (They love that by the way!)
  • Thinking a salad is a low calorie and healthy lunch even if your salad had ½ lb. of cheese, bacon bits, fried chicken and ranch dressing.
  • Confirming you have no time to eat breakfast at home but somehow have time to stop for coffee shop 10 minutes out of your way on your commute to work.

Not surprisingly, research has shown when people think they are eating something that is low in fat, they eat more of it.  Low fat does not mean low calorie.  Mindless eating such as eating in the car, while watching television, working on the computer often leads to eating more because you are not even cognizant of how much you ate (be careful, you multitaskers!)

Treats are fun.  Just be real with yourself and be responsible for the foods you choose.  Tips to keep your more accountable:

  • Wake up 10 minutes earlier so that you may start your day with a healthy breakfast.  You can still stop for coffee; just avoid the fast food breakfast treats purchases that often go hand in hand with the coffee purchase.
  • Don’t eat standing at the refrigerator.  Sit, relax and enjoy your food.
  • Vow not to “sliver slice” anymore. Cut a piece of cake, put it on a plate, sit down, savor and enjoy.  Then, put the cake away.
  • Avoid the grocery store when hungry (I blew that rule yesterday and it turned into sweet’s fest!)
  • Read the nutrition facts label on the treats or snack packages and stick with the portion size.  As much as I would like to say that the entire box of wheat thins is a serving, it is not!
  • Eating in the car is a bad habit as is eating at the computer!  It’s a form of mindless eating.  It’s easy to overeat because you are not paying attention to the food you are eating.  Try to avoid when possible. (Broke this rule yesterday with my tasty cookie, but I vowed it won’t happen again for a while! )

Remember you are not supposed to be perfect, but perhaps being more accountable will make it easier for you to attain your health goals.