When It Comes to Sweets, Never Say Never
Even Candy Can Be Healthy -- in Moderation
How To Stay On Track
Liftin, hardly the Moderation Kid, says the once-a-week approach works best
"One bite is torture for me," she says. "I need to eat as much
as I want if I am going to eat it." But "I don't start eating candy
until after lunch. You have to have some standards."
Molly Kimball, RD, a sports nutritionist at Ochsner Clinic's Elmwood Center
in New Orleans, says some of her weight-loss clients need something sweet each
day. "I tell them anything under a hundred calories won't make or break
you," she says.
Kimball recommends treating yourself to something that is not 100% sugar,
which can create more cravings. She often chooses a sweet treat that includes
"My favorite is 10 to 12 Peanut M&amp;Ms," she confides. "You
can eat 24 of the regulars for 100 calories, too, or those fun-size
Snickers." She also eats one square of dark chocolate, sometimes dipping it
in peanut butter.
"Once you say it's OK to eat something, there is no guilt," Kimball
stresses. "You don't inhale three without tasting them and then taste the
fourth. You enjoy every one."
4 Ways to Stay on Track
The goal, according to Gillespie, is to create your own, long-term eating
pattern. "It's the short-term (on, off, lose, gain) diets that cause the
problem," she says.
Four basic lifestyle changes, made mindfully and over time, can help your
diet accommodate the occasional dessert or overindulgence in candy:
Reduce portion size. See if your plate looks like
a restaurant plate. If so, halve everything on it. Forget the seconds.
Eat more often. That's more often, not more food.
This keeps your digestive hormones on an even keel and you won't get
out-of-control hungry. It's normal to feel a twinge of hunger every three or
Eat more slowly. According to Gillespie, scarfing
down dinner too quickly doesn't let your digestive hormones cycle through.
Then, the only way to know you're done is to feel physically "stuffed,"
by which point you've probably eaten too much.
Exercise. "We're slugs!" cries Gillespie,
who says that after strapping on a pedometer, she found she averages only 2,400
steps a day. "My birds in their cage walked more than I did," she
recalls. Some experts recommend fitting in 10,000 steps each day.