Guest Post By: Chelsea Golub MS, RDN, CDN
Have you ever tried to avoid certain foods or cut out foods from your diet? If so, how long did that last for you?
As a Registered Dietitian, I have worked with countless clients who say that they often experience intense cravings for certain foods. My first question is always: “well, have you ever tried to limit, avoid, or restrict the food or food groups that you’re craving?” Nine times out of ten, the answer is a flat out “yes”.
Will Cutting Out Carbs Help Weight Loss?
When we avoid or restrict foods, we tell ourselves that they are off limits. Think about when you take something away from a toddler. By doing so, the toddler just wants that “thing” even more.
It’s very similar when it comes to food. Being in an “exclusion” or “restriction” mindset around food where we tell ourselves something is off limits - we eventually hit a breaking point.
Usually, the first foods that people tell me they’re limiting or avoiding are carbohydrates and sweets. This is because we’re told we can lose weight quickly by avoiding carbs. Spoiler alert (and I hate to be the bearer of bad news), but when you initially cut out carbs, you might lose a bit of weight right away, but that quick weight loss is only from water weight…
How to Create Sustainable Weight Loss
At Eat Healthy with Chelsea, I always promote inclusion of foods instead of exclusion. Being in the mindset that foods are off limits always backfires in the end - leading to an unhealthy/poor relationship with food, overeating, binges, feeling out of control around certain foods, and frankly, putting too much pressure on yourself and food in general.
Food should be a source of enjoyment, not a source of stress.
When you’re in the mindset that all foods can fit in a healthy lifestyle, your favorite foods are no longer put on a pedestal. This takes time, but once you realize this can be the case and you can include your favorite foods when you want them, you won’t feel like you have to overdo it that 1 time per week you “allow” yourself to have the cookies.
Wouldn’t it be so much nicer (not to mention - wouldn’t you feel so much better) knowing you can have a cookie or two on a Tuesday or Thursday night (or both nights) instead of saying they’re off limit all week, only to have 12 on a Friday night?
This also holds true when it comes to eating carbs throughout the day. I hear way too often that people want to be “good” during the day - which by their standards, means avoiding carbohydrates. Someone is neither good nor bad based on what they eat - they are good or bad, for example, based on if they rob a bank - but that’s a whole other topic…
How to Keep Late Night Cravings at Bay
By having balanced meals and snacks throughout the day, your body will feel satisfied once you hit night time. You’ll be surprised at how your body automatically just doesn’t want the late night junk food all because you fed it right during the day. The mindset that all foods fit in a healthy diet is KEY.
Balanced = protein + healthy fats + complex carbohydrates
This is where starting your day with a great breakfast comes into play because it sets your day up for success. And one of my favorite breakfasts to recommend to clients is a delicious bowl of oatmeal. Not only does Mylk Labs’ oatmeal provide many of the components of a balanced meal, it’s also beyond easy to make.
I always recommend that clients put any fruit they like on top of their oatmeal for those extra vitamins, minerals and fiber, along with a scoop of their favorite nut butter. Crunchy peanut butter is my go-to, and then any additional toppings are up to you. A few options are chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, and goji berries – honestly anything is yummy!
So, instead of thinking that carbs are bad, can you think about what a breakfast like a bowl of oatmeal, fruit and nut butter does for your body? A meal like this provides:
- heart healthy fats which are anti-inflammatory
- fiber-packed complex carbs to stabilize blood sugar
- keep you fuller for longer
- cut cravings later on
- protein to promote satiety, build muscle, and many other important bodily functions
- and so much more!
That’s why as a Registered Dietitian, I always recommend including your favorite foods in a mindful, empowered way. There’s no need to eliminate or avoid foods (unless you have an allergy or intolerance to the food or for medical reasons). It’s just about shifting your mindset, creating a healthy relationship with food and reconnecting to your body - which takes time, guidance, and patience, but is so worth it!