Eating your favourite food should be a part of your healthy diet plan, so that you are motivated to stick to it for a long period of time, perhaps forever. Today, Bangalore-based, registered dietitian and Wellness Consultant, Sheela Krishnaswamy and Dr. Pulkit Sharma, Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalytical Therapist at VIMHANS, New Delhi, will tell us why eating your favourite foods is not only okay but important, and what is the ideal way of doing so! Read on...
A Dietitian’s Take
- Consume in bits but don't do away with them totally. There’s no reason why you should not eat your favourite foods. If you love salads or fruits or sprouts or anything healthy, do include them in your daily diet. If however, we’re talking about high fat, high sugar treats, you might want to reduce the frequency of consumption. Everyone deserves a treat once in a while, so save the fried foods, sweets and desserts for special occasions.
- Cut down on calories, but it is super unhealthy to avoid them totally. There’s no need to cut back on calories unless you’re looking at weight loss. Even on a weight loss program, you can include an occasional treat. But discuss with your dietitian first so that she can help you to plan your diet better without depriving yourself of your favourite foods.
- Go for home-made, calories-worth treats of your favourite foods. Yes, home-made treats are great. Also when you opt for home-made treats, you need to put in the physical effort to prepare it. On the other hand sweets, fried foods and desserts which are bought off the shelves don’t call for any effort in preparation. So not only are you saving on calories, you are also piling on extra calories when you eat store-bought treats.
- Get specific about what triggers your choices. If you’re eating high calorie junk foods when you’re stressed, then stop! Choose other ways to bust your stress. Do not choose foods as stress busters. You might end up choosing the wrong foods. Most people reach out for sugary foods when they are stressed and this doesn’t help much especially if they cannot burn off the excess intake. If there’s peer pressure for you to make the wrong choices of foods, be firm. After all it’s your health, and no one but you can take care of your health! If you’re getting wrong information about foods, nutrition and health through self-styled “experts”, then go to a qualified dietitian and get professional help.
A Psychologist’s Take
Guilt complicates your eating and ruins your weight loss plans. Once you start feeling guilty, unpleasant overwhelming emotions haunt you and in order to distract from those emotions people tend to overeat or go for junk foods. The key therefore is to eat everything you like but to eat in moderation.
He then goes on to say, “While rebelling against the food you love seems to work well for almost everyone in the short run, it is a disastrous long-term plan. Firstly, because when you try to keep away from something you like, a tension builds inside and this makes people go for an impulsive uncontrollable binge. I have seen cases where people resisted for weeks and even months only to come back to the favorite food with a voracious appetite leading to quick weight gain. Secondly, when you keep away from what you like there is a tendency to feel empty and sad. This makes the person search for comfort foods and they tend to overeat junk food.”
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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