These days, there are so many conflicting rules and guidelines in dieting, that the path to healthy eating feels more like a failed board game than a strategy for well-being. Is it even possible to enjoy healthy treats anymore?
Some experts tell us that we should space our meals out throughout the day to keep the metabolic fires burning. At the same time, other dieticians suggest that the standard 3-meals-a-day and no snacking format is best for losing weight.
There’s a reason why dozens of “dieting rules” contradict each other: there’s no single magic formula for losing weight and keeping it off because we’re all different. While it might feel proactive to change your eating habits by telling yourself you can’t have sugar, fat, or an extra evening treat, the truth is restrictive diets don’t generally lead to sustainable change.
Our quest to create the perfect meringue cookie recipe for Crowns came from a bit of a personal quest to find our own balance in life and food. We were hugely motivated by our desire to create genuinely delicious healthy treats.
So we’re jumping at the chance to debunk a few diet rules and spread the message of balanced eating!
Rule 1: Only eat when you’re hungry
Recommendations about when and what we should be eating change constantly. Lately, some nutritionists have suggested that we should only eat when our stomachs grumble. Of course, this flies in the face of other suggestions that tell us we need to schedule our meal patterns. Conflicting much?!
While you’re busy during the day, sending emails, working out, pulling projects together at the office, your mind is distracted, so you’re more likely to eat only when your tummy starts growling. However, in the evening lull, it’s much easier to confuse what you “need” with what you “want” and these rules aren’t much help in making the right decision.
Rule 2: Don’t eat fat / carbs / sugar
Over the years, we’ve convinced ourselves that if we can only cut sugar, carbs or fat out of our diet entirely, we’ll be able to get that model-perfect figure we’ve always wanted. The trouble is, people (and body composition) just aren’t that simple. Not only does telling ourselves we can’t have something make us want it more, but in our quest to cut things out entirely we’re also denying ourselves the balance of different nutrients and foods that we need to enjoy good health.
We need healthy fats in our diet, just like we need carbs to help us exercise. Sugar isn’t such a necessity, but if you’re anything like us, then telling yourself you can’t have any at all is more likely to inspire a binge when you inevitably do break your own rules. Enjoying the occasional healthy treats as an alternative here is, in our opinion, a smarter option.
Is it not more appealing to just have a little of what you fancy no matter what the food group? Balance and moderation are the long term answers here.
Rule 3: Track every bite and calorie
While it’s true that you need to burn more calories than you consume if you want to lose weight, ultimately, obsessing over all your food is a tricky approach to maintain in the long-run. Simply put, most of us don’t have the time to track everything we eat on a permanent basis.
At the same time, tracking your food too closely can lead to greater stress and anxiety, feelings that push us back into the arms of the comfort foods and sweet treats we’re trying to avoid in the first place.
Enjoy healthy treats and break the cycle with balanced eating
It’s easy to get seduced by all the celebrities and articles online that tell you losing weight is easy with a few simple rules. But while these guidelines might work for some people, they’re not a one-size-fits-all solution.
If you want a strategy that’s proven to work, stop restricting yourself and obsessing over your meals, and start enjoying balance in your life. Indulge in a handful of healthy treats (like delicious meringue Crowns!) when you’re feeling peckish, just don’t eat an entire cake. The key, as always, is moderation and balance.