4. Moderate, don’t eliminate.
If someone tells you that you can never eat your favorite flavor or ice cream again, how does that make you feel? There is something in each of us called the Diet Rebel*. Being told we can’t have something makes us want it more. Eating all foods in moderation without rigid rules about “good” foods and “bad” foods helps us avoid the inevitable deprivation backlash that occurs with dieting.
5. Change your lens.
Focusing on what we feel we shouldn’t eat is one way to approach eating. Another is focusing on what we want to be sure we are including. Changing the way we approach food and emphasizing what we want to include rather than exclude puts a more positive spin on it, leading to an overall more positive eating attitude. Compare these statements: “I’m going to be good today and avoid all candy, baked goods, and any other sugary items that cross my path”. Versus: “I’d like to make sure I’m getting enough of each food group in my day and I’m going to look for opportunities to insert foods that I enjoy but that take more work to include, like vegetables”.
6. Use protein.
Protein has been called the binge prevention nutrient. Why? Because it noticeably adds to satiety. With protein in the mix, food moves more gradually from the stomach to the intestines, resulting in prolonged fullness and more staying power. Meals and snacks with protein stick with us longer and help us avoid big blood sugar swings (low blood sugar is a setup for strong, compulsive feeling sugar cravings).
7. Be present.
Eat mindfully. It’s pretty tough to eat mindfully, with attention to the smell, flavor and texture, and overeat sugar. On the flip side, mindless eating makes it very easy to overeat sugar. Trying to slow down and eat mindfully will allow you to experience the food more, leading to a more satisfying eating experience.
*The Diet Rebel is described in the Intuitive Eating philosophy