We all indulge in a few bad diet choices from time to time. It’s simply human nature to crave things we deny ourselves. This is why so many nutrition, fitness and wellness experts agree that elimination and restriction-based diets are unrealistic for the general population. These same experts will even tell you to make a point of allowing yourself to indulge in your favorite treat like ice cream or French fries in small amounts. Bill Phillips, the beloved founder of the Body for Life program, even advocated using portion control to give yourself one “cheat” day a week to eat all your favorite “bad” foods like pizza, beer, potato chips, cookies and the like.
In reality, Phillips and other experts are encouraging a spirit of moderation rather than overindulgence. Allowing yourself to eat “banned” foods takes away their power over you. But if you don’t trust yourself to have the willpower to just eat foods in moderation, then allow us to give you a couple quick and easy solutions for keeping portions within “safe” levels.
For sweet treats like ice cream or dessert, try serving yourself in a regular-sized teacup or on a saucer. This smaller sized bowl or plate won’t fit an unhealthy amount of food without looking ridiculous, giving you a hint that you may be overindulging. For salty snacks or chips, get a standard size disposable plastic drink cup. Fill it one time only (not over the top) and leave the room where the snacks are kept. You’ll have to get up from your couch or leave the room to return to the snack for a refill… yet another hint that you may want to pull back. Another idea is the wristwatch or belt trick. When you arrive at an event where food will be present, wear a leather-band wristwatch or belt. Each time you return to the food table or pour another sugary alcoholic beverage, loosen the wristwatch by one buckle hole, or, tighten the belt by one hole. When the watch is ready to fall off or you simply can’t breathe comfortably, you’ve had enough.