Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The two questions to ask before you indulge.

Food is both a comfort and a pleasure and to live a life that denies the ability to use food for those means is called a diet and it's something that ultimately you're likely to quit.

Dietary indulgences are a luxurious part of life and given we're all effectively the best hunters this planet has ever seen, they're easily obtainable and we can "catch" them anywhere.

While of course there's no such thing as the eat whatever you want, whenever you want, as much as you want weight management plan, blindly cutting out the less healthy (but often yummy) stuff may well over time lead you to abandon your entire weight management strategy.

So the next time you're considering an indulgence rather than blindly saying, "I'm not allowed", or, "Whatever, tonight's a write-off", here are the two questions you might try to ask yourself:

1. Is it worth the calories?

To answer the question certainly knowing the calories is important. The fact is, some indulgences simply aren't worth their calories and asking the question you'll eliminate a fair percentage.

2. How much of it do I need to be happy?

By asking this question you're avoiding the "write-off" situation where you throw caution to the wind, pay no attention, eat as much as your body wants, and then wind up feeling guilty about the amount you consumed.

A followup to this question is that if you've finished the amount you thought you needed to be happy and you're still not, simply ask the question again and again until such time as you're content.

Remember, there are many variables that go into these decisions and some days are worth more calories than others - birthdays, holidays, vacations to name just a few, so the answers to these questions vary day by day.

Ultimately life includes indulgences, and rather than try to blindly restrict them why not work on their thoughtful reduction.

Choose with your brain, not with your body.

Bookmark and Share


  1. Most times it's not a question of happiness or calories - it's a craving, a sort of physical need, an addiction! My brain has become very good at talking me into stuff I shouldn't really be eating.

    Instead of thinking "I can't", or "I shouldn't", I find "I choose" (not to -or choose something else-) far more empowering, and leads to more better choices. Guilt is a terrible motivator.

  2. Trim Abdominal Fat11:12 am

    Very true. Most times a craving can be satisfied with a few bites. Eating bad things isnt always bad as long as they are had in moderation.

  3. Anonymous12:11 am

    "Is it worth the calories?" Excellent question. But to answer it, I need to know the calories. Case in point. Missus and I go once or twice a year to the Big Apple to be tourists and rubes and gawkers. The early morning flight from Ottawa arrives during rush hour, so we have often waited it out at the airport before hopping a bus with our luggage. For years, I had been treating myself to some big greasy eggy bacony cheesy bagely thing. Worth it, I thought.

    Until they began posting the calories. Umm . . . 780. NOT WORTH IT! Especially considering that the eggy-tomato-y thingy which is almost as good is 350 calories.

    And all them saved calories? Blown at Katz's Deli on corned beef sammiches and fries. See, that's worth the indulgence. If they ever start posting sodium, I may change my mind that. Love dem knishes, too.

    Could sure use calorie postings in Ontari-ari-ari-o. Although now that I think about it, seems to me that not all places in NY state display calories. What gives? I don't think Katz's posts. I just assume that it is about 3500 cals per sitting.

  4. blu-k9:56 pm

    Great post! I particularly like the second question and will use it next time I treat myself to something.

    Re: the first question, I'm reminded for food writer Michael Pollan's advice - to have treats by all means, but to make them yourself as often as possible.

    When I make my own cakes and biscuits I'm always astonished at how much sugar and butter goes in (even when I try to halve the amounts) - it's much easier to choose to have just one or two pieces when I know what has gone into it.

  5. Anonymous8:09 am

    Such a great post, thank you.