We all have those foods we never seem to get enough of, the ones we always overeat. Here are two approaches to eliminate the temptation for good.
You know those foods that go into the if it’s there I will eat it category? This category isn’t for those foods that you can consume with moderation. Those are easy, plan a portion or two of the things you love into your meal plan, enjoy their measured portion, and that’s it. Easy peasy! This category is for the other foods.The measured portion is never enough/never makes it until the end of the week foods. There are two different approaches I like for these villainous vittles. I’m going to describe them both here to help you stop overeating forbidden foods. You pick which is best for you.
The first option…
The Nothing Plan
This is the one most people know. This is a food not allowed in the house. The Voldemort of snacks. Let’s say you have a love of chocolate. If chocolate is there, you will eat it. You will nibble it while you cook dinner. Eat it for breakfast. Have it for snacks. It’s just better to keep it out of the house.
Usually these types of foods are in the junk category. Therefore not having them in the house isn’t a bad thing. In reality, there is no reason any of your loved ones need to have chocolate. It could be argued you don’t feed junk to the people you love.
Instead you fill your kitchen with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and lean dairy products. Unless someone really wants to go to the store, this is what there is to eat. And since having the food in the house isn’t an option, how many times are you willing to go to the store to purchase some chocolate and eat it in your car like a strange addict? Even if you came home to eat it, you may start to feel funny about it after a few trips during the week.
This should ideally result in eating less chocolate. Also, when you are eating healthy most of the time suddenly that chocolate will start to taste a little too sweet, too processed, and not satisfying at all. It takes a couple weeks to reset your taste buds, but it happens. When you start to enjoy real food, the processed stuff is bad and is less satisfying.
Downsides to the Nothing Plan
The downside to The Nothing Plan, is that for some people it can lead to binges. Instead of going to the store for one bar, you buy a bag of bars. Or worse, you pick up a case from Costco (seriously, that is a crazy amount of candy!). You’ve not had one or two bars, but have easily polished off somewhere between…well, you lost count. After consuming more than a day’s worth of Calories you feel horrible about yourself.
The few indulgences each week turn into a few chocolate binge sessions where every craving you’ve had all week, every bad feeling, is consumed with Cookie Monster fury. You don’t taste anything and effortlessly eating beyond the point of fullness.
This certainly isn’t healthy or helpful. It’s pretty much the opposite. So enter plan #2.
An alternative to The Nothing Plan…
The All Plan
In this plan, you not only keep the food in the house but you also eat it daily. One to two meals or snacks per day. You have a portioned amount so you are still within your total Calorie goals. And even if you choose to eat it for every meal, so be it.
Let’s look at chocolate again. If the bar you love most is 250 Calories and you are planning to eat 1500 Calories a day, potentially that’s six bars per day. It makes me feel a bit woozy thinking about it, but, it is possible to go that far. You will still exercise and do everything else you are supposed to do. You just have “chocolate bar” as a meal option.
I’m not saying this is healthy. Chances are for most of us, we would get pretty sick of chocolate bars, no matter how much we loved them.
Let’s say you are breaking up your calories as follows:
- 400 Calorie breakfast
- 400 Calorie lunch
- 300 Calorie snack
- 400 Calorie dinner
You can have one chocolate bar (250 Calories) at each meal, then make up the remainder of the Calories from something a little healthier.
- Have a Greek yogurt (120 Calories)
- Fruit (80-100 Calories)
- Salad with dressing (100-150 Calories)
- String cheese (80 Calories)
- Veggies and Dip (80-150 Calories)
- Nuts (140 Calories).
- …You get the picture.
I did this a long time ago with peanut butter. I have no idea why I loved the stuff so much, but I did. It was in the “I can’t be around the stuff” category. So I ate it at each feeding opportunity. I savored it, ate it plain, had it with an apple or banana. I put it on a Carmel rice cake with chocolate syrup or just ate it with chocolate syrup.
But as the novelty wore off, each day I’d find myself wanting some of my meals different. I craved meat and started to love some different salads. And one day the peanut butter jar just sat there, still mostly full. I still have peanut butter in the house. It doesn’t have the power it used to have. I can do the same with chocolate for the same reasons.
Honestly, the process took less than a week. Even from day one I never had it at every meal. Not because I didn’t think I should. I simply found that I didn’t want it that often.
It’s almost like going into overload. Not intentionally, but naturally. It’s like a switch changed in my brain. Having it all the time made it no longer so desirable. I also didn’t see it as a treat, it was just another meal option.
I also like how this route takes the power from the food. There is no reason I should feel controlled by peanut butter. That’s a silly concept. Food is simply food, and The All Plan put it in its rightful place.
Downsides to the All Plan
The downside to this plan: it isn’t for people with diabetes, kidney failure, or other significant health problems where going overboard will actually kill you. It’s also not for all food items. For instance, do you have a love of beer or tequila? One to two beers, four to five times a day? Yikes! Just to be clear, I’d never recommend it. It’s just setting yourself up for some pretty big problems.
The All Plan also may not be for you if you really cannot control the amount of it you are eating. Notice I mentioned it in planned portions, not providing a reason to eat a bucket of ice-cream at dinner. It also wasn’t “in addition to” your meal. So, you can’t have a liter of full sugar Pepsi and still have your sandwich. It is an “or” option.
I do need to mention here though: I have heard people say it helps even though they could not control their portions because in the end, they still tired of the food. Their weight went up a little (or stayed the same) for a week or two, then they were just done with it. In the end, they still won the war. It may not hurt to give it a try, even if portion control is not an option, you will just need more strength to stay the course if your weight goes up.
Some items are also a lot harder. What if what you love full sugar soda? You won’t feel full on a 250 calorie portion. Or even a 500 Calorie portion. That equates to one to two 20 ounce bottles for dinner. I’m pretty sure you’d be starving in about 5 minutes. It doesn’t work.
The Choice is Yours
Neither route is perfect, but having a choice between The Nothing Plan and The All Plan gives you new options to consider. Different approaches work for different people. Find what works for you. You can also check out this article on Cheat Meals. Perhaps that gives you a good option #3, especially if you love those foods that wouldn’t work well on either the All or the Nothing Plan.