Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Tricks for treats

I often get asked whether I feel deprived because I eat such a healthy diet and don't eat cakes, chocolate, pizza - or other unhealthy treat foods. The truth is that most of the time I don't feel deprived at all - the feeling of being healthy and full of energy is pretty addictive in itself - and i know that by eating a muffin and having a coffee is going to make me feel rubbish so it's just not that tempting.

However there are times when I do crave comfort food - usually cake or crisps - and I don't have some amazing willpower that means I can resist these cravings!! But this is why I stick to the 80/20 rule - eating healthily 80% of the time and limiting other foods to 20% of the time. This means I keep my diet healthy, but don't feel deprived ... telling yourself you can never eat something is a sure way to make yourself crave it even more.

The only danger with not being totally strict with your diet, is that the percentages can get a bit out of whack and your 20% gradually creeps up to 30% or even 40% of the time without you really realising it. For this reason I think it is best to make a conscious decision as to when you are going to have a treat food and also choose what you are going to have. If, for example, your colleagues regularly bring biscuits and chocolates into the office and you find yourself frequently picking at them it's probably better to decide not to eat treat foods at work and instead have them at home or in restaurants. Although I did used to have a treat breakfast at work every Friday - a cooked English breakfast to help me get through the day after a usually late night!! and found that I then didn't fancy unhealthy food so much on the weekend.

Another good strategy is that if you really fancy something naughty then make a note of it and decide that when you get to the weekend and have your treat meal that you'll eat it then - often by the time your treat meal comes the craving will have passed, but by telling yourself you can eat that food later in the week you'll find it easier to resist it in that moment. It's also good to make sure you eat really high quality treats, instead of alot of the highly process junk food available - for example if there are chocolates in the office tell yourself that if you still feel like having chocolates by the weekend then you'll buy yourself some really good quality chocolates and enjoy them on the weekend instead of chewing through a load of (not so) quality streets!

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