Yahoo just feeds me stuff. I had another article in mind, but when I came across “In Defense of the Daily Doughnut“, I couldn’t resist. My initial reaction is that there is no good reason to eat a doughnut. Same with hot dogs. After reading the article, I remember what it was like to crave something like that and they make a very valid point. If you create a cycle of refrain, binge, remorse and refrain, you get little or no benefit and plenty of pain. If you find there is a certain food, or class of foods that are irresistible, find a way to incorporate them into your diet. The one point they made, but I don’t think they emphasized enough is portion control. If you are in maintenance, meaning you are not trying to lose weight, a daily doughnut could be incorporated. If you are trying to lose weight, I would have to say no more than 2-3 a week.
There are two concepts I would like to add to theirs. The first I just read about last night in a book my son gave me, “The Smashing Book”. In it, the first author mentions the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen-the focus on continuous improvement through small, gradual steps. I think that is a perfect philosophy for eating. I say eating, not dieting. I am not on a diet. I maintain my weight by eating. “Dieting” is always the idea of eating differently for now, to achieve a goal, then returning to the pre-diet eating pattern. Nothing could be more self defeating. If you clean up your eating, step by step, the rest will take care of itself. That does include goodies. I eat cookies, cake, ice cream and chocolate, every day. (Not all in the same day!) I do however, keep the portions small. A half a cup of ice cream is a serving.
The second concept is honesty. If you are going to be honest and straight forward with allowing yourself treats, be honest about the rest of your diet. I had a friend who said her husband shouldn’t be heavy, and gave the example that he had half a sandwich for lunch. It became apparent, she meant half a sub. There is a huge difference in calories between half a bread sandwich and half a sub. Any food can be made more calorie rich, by adding amounts, or condiments, or fudging serving sizes. What is the point of playing games with yourself? It’s like cheating at solitaire. If it is a case of ignorance, then take the time to read the serving size, and measure your food, until you can see what half a cup of something looks like.
The article didn’t even mention the concept of “refeed” days in dieting. That is the idea that you take one day a week or so and eat whatever you want. The fact that it is scheduled in, gets you out of the “all or nothing”mentality. It also makes it easier to stick to a calorie deficit over the long haul. There is even some evidence that it helps to stop the plateaus people reach in weight loss, although there are different thoughts as to why.
The last point I want to make is that weight loss is hard. The longer you let it go, the harder it is. It is mentally and physically difficult. If incorporating treats makes it easier, then by all means do it. Just be honest as to how much can fit into your plan, and still allow you to reach your goals.