Every year many of us strive to eat better, be healthier and lose weight. This, as we all know, often occurs at the beginning of a new year when we resolve to make our lives better in some way.
And each year, hell, each month, there are dozens of articles on what to eat, what not to eat, what to avoid altogether. Articles that say “You MUST AVOID these foods to lose weight” are the ones that get under my skin. One article I recently read listed 12 snacks to avoid when working on losing weight. Five of the snacks are the ones I enjoy.
I firmly believe moderation is the key, not extremes. Although going from a junk-filled diet to an extremely healthy one may work for some, realistically it just doesn’t do for most. As a result, many give up quickly, often after a rough day or week or after pigging out on junk food one evening.
And in my not so humble opinion, the articles that say you MUST AVOID certain snacks in order to lose weight are simply setting people up to fail. Here are 4 reasons why:
1. Insulting a Person’s Intelligence
I’ve noticed that some of these articles seem to imply that those eating these snacks are either dumb or seriously lacking in the self-control department to eat a moderate portion.
Yeah, No Thanks, judgy article, for trying to insinuate people lack any kind of self-control. I know, I know. Some might argue that’s how they gained weight in the first place. Um, shut up. And quit judging for eff’s sake.
2. It Sets Unrealistic Expectations
How many times have you heard or read that a cheat day is okay? Countless, am I right? I don’t buy into the idea of cheat days. Cheating already has a negative connotation so why make it worse by saying something is off-limits except on cheat days? Screw that.
Avoid cheat days and do your best to eat smart and make healthy choices. If you happen to decide on eating a small slice of cake or go out to dinner with friends and order the bacon cheeseburger, who cares? Don’t berate yourself or let others make you feel guilty.
Can you imagine cheat days with your significant other?
“Hey honey, Sundays are now my cheat days so I’m going to go bang that hot chick/dude I met three days ago! It’s okay. It’s a cheat day!”
Yeah, no. That’ll go over like a fart in a spacesuit. The same can be said for cheat days when it comes to eating. The only difference is that it’s never okay to cheat on your significant other. Eating a slice of cake once in a while, however, is.
3. They (usually) Make No Mention Of Moderation
It’s all AVOID, AVOID, AVOID. Really? Where’s the fun in eating if you can’t have a favorite snack once in a while? Eating should be something you enjoy, not something that feels like torture. If you can’t feel good about what you’re eating then how can you feel good about losing weight?
Not. Gonna. Happen.
4. There Are Rarely Any Alternatives or Suggestions to Balance It Out
“Don’t eat Cheese-snacks! They’re loaded with carbs and won’t keep you full.” Um, thanks?
How about, “cheese snacks, like any processed food, is okay once in a while. Pair it with a piece of fruit to help you feel full.” At least by providing a balanced option or even suggesting a healthier cracker to eat, those trying to lose weight don’t have to feel like they can never enjoy a snack.
While many of these articles have valid points about sodium, sugar and carb content, it shouldn’t come down to all or nothing when it comes to weight loss.
Eating healthy and losing weight does not and should not be an all or nothing effort. While I strongly encourage making better choices (read: maybe think twice about having ranch on your salad), I also encourage living life.
Do yourself (and your waistline) a favor and steer clear of anything that says MUST AVOID. Unless your doctor tells you to do so, all the other crap is just that: crap. Now go have a slice of cake. Enjoy!