Indulging in common sense when it comes to healthy eating...

Indulging in common sense when it comes to healthy eating...

After finding out yesterday that the numbers on your scale are nothing but a number, today I give you another secret. Since we are focused on healthy living, we know that there are certain things that are just bad for us. However, did you know that one of the worst things we can do is pretend that we can avoid our favorite foods. Avoiding them completely could actual cause us more harm than good.

For example, my personal addiction is chocolate. I love chocolate. I could eat it everyday, and I did. Of course, now I know that I cannot eat chocolate everyday. Unfortunately, I tried to give it up completely.

The result was not pretty. Instead of my craving going away, it got worse. Then, when I finally caved and had chocolate, I had lots of it. Everything I knew about eating healthy flew out the window.

Knowing I could not do that again, I turned to Nutritionist Janet M. de Jesus. I figured if the National Institutes of Health trusted her opinion, then she had more experience than I did in the field. Janet replied to my frustrations by reassuring me.

"You are not alone in your craving for chocolate," Janet said. "Of course it is high in calories, sugar and fat, but it in moderation it is fine."

Like with anything, instead of depriving our self of our indulges, we must just learn to deal with them. So, if you, like me, could eat chocolate daily, Janet advises you to just eat. However, there are limits.

"A Hershey Kiss or two after a meal should be okay as long as this fits into your overall calorie intake (and won’t cause weight gain)," Janet added. "Sometimes it is better to go straight to the source of what you are craving and have a small serving to meet your needs.  If portions are a problem, perhaps keep small baggies with an appropriate serving of chocolate so you won’t be tempted to eat too much."

Of course, whether your addiction is chocolate, pizza, or alcohol, just remember to limit, not eliminate, intake. This is where something like My Fitness Pal really helps. Tracking your calories will allow to eat a healthy, weight appropriate, portion of your favorite foods.

Just remember that forgoing lunch so that you can eat chocolate is not advised. Though technically you will still be within your caloric goal of the day, you know that this would not be a healthy choice.

As with most life choices, just use common sense and good judgement. You know your limits better than anyone else.

Now, I am off to find some Hershey Kisses.

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  • If only moderation were psychological and not physiological...

    When it comes to sugar-sweetened snacks, glucose spikes your blood sugar and suppresses the hormone Grehlin - the one that tells your brain that you are full. By indulging in the taste of sweets, you are essentially creating a dopamine "high" without a mechanism to tell you when you're overdosing.

    This is the reason that high fructose corn syrup is prevalent in everything from sweetened snacks to salty snacks to low fat and low sodium "healthy" meals. HFCS sends the unbound glucose to your bloodstream rapidly, creating that instant gratification while turning off the switch that says "you're full now." There is a reason that the average American consumes 600 more calories today than they did before HFCS was added to foods in the 1980s. It also explains the "can't stop eating them" / "crunch all you want, we'll make more" nature of junk food preparation.

    Not to be totally contradictory to your point about moderation, but you aren't simply establishing a line for yourself that you won't cross - you're fighting against a substance that isn't playing fair by overriding your conscious mental efforts.

    I learned the hard way about consuming too much sugar - I had a heart attack at 43.

    I had a lot of motivation to eliminate sugar and HFCS-sweetened snacks and beverages and substitute them with the natural sweetness of whole fruit (with natural fiber in tact, not unskinned or juiced).

    It's not an easy battle, particularly since HFCS is actually 30% sweeter tasting than sucrose (table sugar) and it has dulled our taste buds to the sweetness of fresh fruit. But it can be done - if you ween yourself off the artificially sweetened, substitute the naturally sweetened, and eventually substitute the all-natural in its whole form.

    Here's a post that explains why it's hard to do moderation with HFCS, as well as a listing of all the other problems with this toxic substance; http://heartofacyclist.blogspot.com/2012/03/high-fructose-corn-syrup-yes-your-body.html

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    When processed properly, dark chocolate has more antioxidants than any food known on the planet. So look for a dark chocolate that utilizes cold-press technology and that does not add back milk nor processed sugar. I no longer take pain pills for the arthritis in my hips and have lost 10 pounds consuming a raw, unprocessed dark chocolate and I have about 5 to 6 pieces every day. There is a great article on the difference between "good" chocolate and "bad" chocolate at cocoa101.com.

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    David W. Quinn

    Former fatty. Wannabe health nut. Writer, photographer, fabulous homosexual. Trying to live a better life. Join me on my journey!

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