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Cut Back, Don't Cut Out

Is your favorite comfort food messing up your diet? Do you give up that food for awhile, then gorge yourself when you can't stay away any longer?

Then I have a simple tip: don't try to completely eliminate that food just yet. Instead, continue to enjoy it, but cut back the amount. Cut it in half. Or, choose snacks that are already bite sized.

A study at the University of Toronto showed that chocoholics deprived of chocolate for a week had even more intense cravings later. When they were allowed to eat chocolate again, they ate double their normal amount!

Chocolate

The risk of saying you will never again eat a certain food is that eventually you may rebound uncontrollably. Until the habit is broken, your craving will begin to grow as soon as you stop eating that food.

Suppose you eat a bowl of ice cream every night before bed. It's your comfort food and you've done it for years.

You know you shouldn't eat ice cream at night. You've tried to give it up, but it's been too hard and maybe even a little depressing.

I say don't give it up entirely! (At least not yet.)

DQ Mini-Blizzard: 400 calories; only 200 calories if you split it with someone

mini blizzard

Instead, keep eating that bowl of ice cream at night. Just cut your normal serving size in half, or switch to a treat that is smaller in size and calories.

As long as you keep all your other calories the same, you will start to lose weight by making this change -- because you are consuming fewer calories per day.

It's true that with enough willpower and persistence you can give up certain foods forever. For example, I haven't eaten donuts in years and now I don't crave them. But giving things up can be very difficult, depending on how addicted you are.

How to Cut Back

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Okay, so how can you "cut back" successfully?

First, you need to determine how much you normally eat. Let's use the nightly bowl of ice cream as an example.

If you always have two big scoops every night without fail, then there is no mystery. You already know how much you are eating. If you don't know, though, I suggest you keep track of your indulgence every day for a week.

Each day after eating your comfort food, immediately write down how much you ate. Don't feel guilty about it, just write it down. (For example, two large scoops or whatever it was.)

At the end of the week, average the results. From then on, resolve to only eat half that amount.

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Of course, another option is to switch treats. For example, try eating a small petit four or tiny pastry as your snack instead of a big slice of cake. You'll still satisfy that sweet tooth.

And by the way, if your comfort food is something that's not easy to eat only half of - like a donut, for instance - don't hesitate to simply throw the other half away.

That advice may shock those of you brought up to not "waste food". But the second half of that donut, if you eat it, is only going to add even more fat to your love handles, your thighs, or your belly.

Far better to put it in the trash can!

If you usually have two scoops of ice cream, resolve to have only one. If you think that single scoop will look lonely in your big bowl, find a smaller bowl to use.

My point is that you can ease your way into further weight loss. For those like me who sometimes don't have much willpower, a simple trick like cutting your comfort food servings in half can keep you on the road to weight loss success.

Eventually, you may be able to cut back the serving size again (to one-fourth the original amount). As you wean yourself from the addiction to that food, you will feel less controlled by it and should continue to lose weight.

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Protected by Copyscape DMCA Takedown Notice Search Tool

This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. More information