Enjoying Food Lets You Avoid the Consequences?
by Joan Kent, PhD
"I ate [fill in the sugary food here], but I enjoyed it."
Have you heard people say this about "off-limit" foods? It's usually said with a proud, almost defiant, air and possibly a smirk. Have you embraced the thinking behind it? It's a common School of Thought.
Here's a bit of information that some people won't want, but I invite you to stay with me.
I'm not one of the folks who believe that enjoying a food — one that, ideally, we'd avoid — will prevent the negative consequences of that food. Yet I've heard this so-called school of 'thought' too often. I feel compelled to address it, particularly at this time of year.
Naturally, it's counterproductive to eat an off-limit food and feel guilty about it — either while eating it or afterward. What I question is the wisdom of having the food.
Everyone gets to decide what she or he will do when it comes to nutrition. Of course, not everyone makes the wisest decision. Some people are unaware of what junk foods do to them. And some people eat junky foods knowing what they do, but not wanting to give up the foods.
What About Eating Everything in Moderation?
Another school of thought is "everything in moderation." As I've maintained for years, not everyone can achieve moderation around all foods — and certain foods can cause big trouble. Those who don't understand food addictions (or who may not be ready to face their own) tend to talk about moderation.
But when it comes to addictive substances like alcohol and sugar, there's no such thing as One-And-Done.
The consequences will happen. Those might include:
• cravings later on or for several days
• increased appetite for several days
• changes in food preferences that lead to continued junk-outs
• negative effects on mood
• inability to focus
• fog-brain, and more.
Someone who has been trying to quit sugar but is still early in the process is typically in a fragile state. The consequences are more likely — and likely to be more severe.
It's not helpful to be surrounded by people who encourage trying everything in moderation or just enjoying a food to make it all okay.
Is There a Plan That Will Work?
So many delicious foods are around at holiday time, I'm not telling you not to enjoy the season!
But setting boundaries is a more helpful — and absolutely acceptable — strategy, no matter what you've heard about enjoyment. Know in advance what you won't eat, shouldn't eat, can't eat, refuse to eat. Then stick with that plan, no matter what. Savor the many, many other foods.
Believe me, if simply enjoying a food did the trick, I'd be 'enjoying' all kinds of sugar right now and getting into all kinds of trouble. (But that's me....)
Maybe this enjoyment thing is another loophole that people look for in the sugar journey, but I'll continue to maintain that, truly, there's no loophole.
No one looked for one harder than I did!
And if you'd like some great strategies to make this holiday season a time of holding steady – versus backsliding and having to start all over again in January! – you're invited to visit www.FoodAddictionSolutions.com/Coaching. Grab your free Craving-Crusher ConsultTM and discover how easy it can be to enjoy the holidays while eating foods you love, without damaging your health or your weight.
Brought to you by Dr. Joan Kent, best-selling author of Stronger Than Sugar: 7 Simple Steps to Defeat Sugar Addiction, Lift Your Mood and Transform Your Health.