Forbidden Fruits for Dieters

I think the word “diet” is one of the worst words in the polite lexicon for a lot of reasons. It’s actually become a negative word, symbolizing what you have to give up — deny yourself — in the hopes of weight loss or becoming healthier.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

First, you should know that I’m not a wonderfully thin person sharing this information from book learning and observing others. I’m in that trench with you, struggling with both diet and weight loss. I’ve learned a lot of things that may be valuable to you, and scientists are now beginning to figure out what I’ve already discovered.

Going Austere

That word is in the news a lot when talking about global and national financial problems. It’s also something we dieters tend to think of as “the right way to lose weight.” It isn’t. It’s not even close to the right way.

While I have found a few new favorite foods that are low in fat and calories, by and large my favorites sit at the top of the “forbidden” list. Just the thought of enjoying cookies, ice cream or a big juicy hamburger causes my mouth to water. Pavlov’s dog has nothing on me when it comes to that.

There are times and places for all things, and the above can still be on your menu. You just have to exercise some caution and a smidgeon of self control. A treat, two or three times a week, will help you lose weight, not make you gain it. I know that feels opposite to everything you ever learned about dieting, but that pretty much got us where we are — fat.

Here’s part of the reasoning, based on my own personal experience. As long as I can see dramatic weight loss, austerity is easier to handle. However, after about the second week, I plateau and it drives me nuts. Then, someone brings out some still from the oven chocolate chip cookies — and I eat the whole tray.

That leads to me chastising myself for hours if not days, and makes it harder to get back onto the austerity bandwagon. Plus, it’s a never ending cycle. Instead, enjoy a cookie or two on a regular basis and you won’t feel the almost impossible to resist need to eat them all.

Changing Fat to Healthy

You don’t have to give up your burgers, either. You’ll probably have to make them yourself, but done right they are healthy. It starts at your grocer’s meat case. I have had ground turkey burgers, and they are ok, but ground turkey doesn’t replace beef to my taste buds. Nope, I’m talking a real hamburger with ground beef.

In the meat case, look for the American Heart Association seal of approval. You won’t find it on many turkey products, but you will find it on 90 to 96% lean beef. That’s the starting point for a healthy burger that will knock your socks off.

Now, look at condiments. Mayo tastes great, but you have to be careful. You can get 160 calorie regular mayo or ten calorie fat free mayo. Which is better? I go for the fat free. As for bbq sauce, I usually make my own. It saves me on sodium and calories, plus sometimes even fat.

In the produce section, fresh sliced vine ripened tomatoes and some romaine lettuce are good. You may even want to add a slice or two of onion. Whole grain buns round out the perfect, healthy burger — at least in my family.

I think it’s time we took the word “diet” out of our vocabulary. It really isn’t a temporary thing, it’s a total lifestyle change — and it works.