Studies have shown that when it comes to weight loss, deprivation does not work. When a strong craving sets in, you can still control yourself to avoid munching your favorite chocolate bar, but it just might haunt you, causing you to resume your old eating habits.
In the nutrition and weight management world, the words “bad food” and “good food” are out, and experts encourage the use of the word “moderation” to help people develop a healthier and sustainable lifestyle.
You can still eat what you want, but every individual has a unique way of approaching guilty pleasures. Therefore, the goal is not to totally eliminate the food you love from your life (unless strictly prescribed by your doctor for health reasons), but to plan your eating for a healthy and balanced diet.
Mangoes and bananas
According to Dr. Leon Massage, who operates a weight loss clinic in Melbourne, Australia, mangoes and bananas contain more calories than an apple or an orange because of their sugar content, and recommends eating only two servings of fruit per day and five servings of vegetables.
Mangoes and bananas are healthy and contain fiber, essential vitamins and minerals, and zero fat. However, they should be consumed in moderation because eating uncontrolled amounts of fruits will increase your total calorie intake per day. One whole mango contains 150 calories, and a seven-inch medium-sized banana has 100 calories.
Consumption of fruits should still be controlled, because aside from the extra calories, they will keep you from eating other foods with vitamins and minerals, like colored fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates like rice and bread.
If you really love fruits, but are trying to control your weight, limit intake to two to three servings per day, or choose smaller sizes of these fruits.
Nuts are high in calories and can really cause weight gain when mindlessly consumed in large amounts. (A peanut has five calories; an almond, 6; a cashew, 7; a macadamia nit, 8; and a pecans or a walnut, 13.) In fact, one cup of nuts can contain as much as 600-800 calories because of high fat content.
However, studies show that nuts can be great snacks or meal companions because they keep you satiated easily due to the fiber, protein and fat content. According to nutritionist Nancy Clark, eating 150-200 calories worth of nuts is better that eating a 100-calorie pack of crackers, which lacks protein and fat and leads to another 100-calorie pack because you are still hungry.
Try to have a tablespoon of nuts with your cereal, oatmeal, salads and fruits rather than eating them separately so you will feel fuller easily.
If you eat nuts as a snack, make sure you are not really hungry to avoid finishing a whole bag.
Prepare smaller servings (a tablespoon) of nuts in a small snack container and put that in your bag as an emergency snack food.
Meat can be really fattening and might cause health problems if you consume it excessively and choose the less lean cuts. Red meat is high in saturated fat and cholesterol. A recent study conducted by the researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, published this month in Archives of Internal Medicine, shows that eating one serving of red meat (the size of a deck of cards) a day was associated with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. The study followed 120,000 people for over 20 years.
But nutrition experts still suggest eating red meat in moderation, preferably two to three servings per week, as a source of protein and important minerals like iron and zinc that you cannot get from other protein sources.
Vary your meat sources every week by alternating consumption of seafood, poultry, lean pork and red meat.
Avoid processed meats that contain too much sodium and certain ingredients that may affect your health.
Do not hesitate to spend more by choosing to buy 90-percent lean red meat to avoid too much calories, fat and cholesterol.
Always combine beef with vegetables and rice, pasta or bread to achieve total satisfaction. This will also prevent you from consuming too much red meat in one sitting.
According to the results of a study conducted by the American Dietetic Association, you can lessen the fat content of cooked ground beef by as much as 50 percent by rinsing cooked beef crumbles with hot water and patting excess beef fat with a paper towel.
Because chocolates are high in calories, it can cause one to gain weight when consumed frequently and in large amounts. A regular chocolate bar may contain 200-250 calories, and if you are a chocolate lover, you may even get it from other sources like cakes, ice cream, cookies and drinks.
Studies show, however, that dark chocolates contain protective antioxidants like flavonoids for heart health and minerals like magnesium and copper for bone health. Learning to control your consumption will still give you health benefits while controlling your weight, without you feeling deprived.
When craving strikes, practice portion control by eating a smaller piece of dark chocolate, then eat slowly and savor every bite.
Avoid low-carb diets to avoid over-consumption of sweets like chocolates, because people who deprived themselves of rice, bread and pasta usually consume more sweets, especially at night.
Combine your favorite chocolate with a fruits or nuts so you don’t overeat.