Why Being "Good" Is Bad
Deciding what to eat shouldn’t be an ethical dilemma: Eating
a piece of cake won't land you in dieter's prison, but dwelling in the good/bad
mentality will make it harder for you to lose weight.
No carbs. No desserts. No between-meal snacks ever again. We all set rules
like these for ourselves when we're trying to lose weight. But ironically,
they're the very things that keep us from being successful. "Setting diet
rules establishes an all-or-nothing mentality: You can't have or do something,
and if you do, you've failed — which then makes it easy to just give up
entirely," explains Real Life Healthy Life (RLHL) nutrition expert Elisa
Zied, R.D., author of Feed Your Family Right! Here, Zied helps RLHL
participants Crystal, Lily, and Maria identify their diet rules and offers
simple suggestions that can help them — and you — break the rulemaking habit
and adopt a healthier, happier, slimmer outlook.
Maria Mills, 37
Pounds lost: 9.5
Stay at home mom; married with two children, ages 4 and 2; Binghamton,
What is your biggest diet rule, and how do you feel when you break
"When I'm being good, I try not to snack at all. Or I may have just one
cookie and then put the rest back in the pantry. But sometimes when I'm up late
or I've had a few drinks, I'll have two cookies, then later I'll have two more,
and then I'll have a burger.... When it snowballs like that I get so mad at
Expert insight: "Maria tends to polarize foods as good or bad,
and then passes judgment on herself based on what she eats," explains Zied.
"In other words, when she eats a ‘bad' food, she's bad — and then she deals
with those negative emotions by eating more. Rather than beating herself up,
Maria should remind herself that sometimes it's okay to splurge, and that
making her next choice a healthy one is all it takes to get back on track. And
if she finds herself in the middle of overindulging and wants to stop, she
should try popping a piece of gum or a mint in her mouth, or brushing and
flossing her teeth and rinsing with mouthwash. It sounds simple, but it
provides an opportunity to think about whether she really wants to continue
When are you most likely to lose the mindset of moderation?
"At parties. I was brought up believing that fun and food go together.
Everyone's always talking about food — 'You have to try this, you have to try
that.' My husband's family is the same way. And there's always another party or
event coming up — I can't use the excuse that it's a special occasion when
there's one almost every weekend!"