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I’ve decided to give up “diet food” forever. By “diet food” I mean anything that’s labeled “sugar-free,” or “fat-free” that I ate in the past, not because I liked it, but because it was what I was “supposed to eat” if I wanted to lose weight. Things like diet soda, sugar free-fat free pudding, artificially sweetened low fat yogurt, sugar free syrups, bottled fat-free salad dressings, Snackwells cookies, Skinny Cow ice creams, and fat free mayonnaise and cream cheese.
For years, while caught in the “diet trap,” I subjected myself to a steady stream of these “diet foods” somehow believing they held the secret to helping me lose weight. Erroneously thinking that Skinny Cows would make me, well, skinny. That I could drink Diet Coke and eat Snackwells cookies until I looked like a supermodel.
But, it never happened.
And now I’m beginning to understand why: Low fat labels trick us, especially those of us who are overweight, into eating more than we realize. It’s as though low fat and low sugar labels give us an excuse to eat more than we would otherwise. In fact, studies have demonstrated that when offered low-fat chocolate, everyone eats more than when given regular chocolate, but overweight people gobble up to 46 percent (or 89 calories) more!
And it’s a phenomenon not limited to low fat “sweets.” People eating “low-fat” granola ate 21 percent more calories!
So, it suddenly dawned on me: If I end up taking in more calories when eating something labeled ‘”low fat,” wouldn’t I be better off eating the real thing instead?
These overly processed “diet foods” 1) never really satisfied me and 2) taste terrible to me now that I’ve weaned myself off most of them over the past several years. And I’ve come to believe that they may have even played a part in making many of my cravings more intense.
So, I’m purging my pantry and fridge of everything that doesn’t absolutely delight me. I deserve delicious foods, high quality foods, real foods, foods that are real (or mostly real); not some kind of science experiment.
I’m saying NO to sugar-free, fat-free, and/or low carb cardboard tasting crap with ingredient lists that can only be concocted in a laboratory. And I am saying YES to the real food I love.
Maybe it’s because I’m turning 50 this year. Maybe it’s because I’m tired of settling. I’ve finally decided that life is too short to settle for food that doesn’t make me happy and healthy and taste delicious.
And that goes for some of today’s “health foods” that I can’t stand either. (I’m talking to you quinoa, but more on that later!)
Food matters. Quality matters. Taste matters. I matter.
The truth is that I have been transitioning back to real food for the past several years with great results, so there’s really little left to purge.
It’s funny to see the mostly confused and stunned looks I get from other Weight Watchers members when I tell them I eat real maple syrup and real sugar and real whipped cream, not sugar-free pancake syrup, artificial sweeteners and cool whip light.
But I really believe those “artificial foods” completely confuse our taste buds and our bodies in ways we are only beginning to understand and may be a big part of the cause of our out of control cravings. Because since I’ve gone back to “real food” (and yes for me, that includes the occasional “real” OREO and real “COKE”) my cravings have all but disappeared and my weight has stabilized (for now anyway) several pounds under the Weight Watchers goal weight I set more than 20 years ago!
Anyone want to join me?
Where do you stand on “diet foods?”
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