5.) Vegetables are vegetables. If the potato is your go-to vegetable, you’ll probably have trouble shedding the pounds. That’s not to say that there is anything inherently wrong with potatoes. But, because of their high glycemic index value (i.e. they’re quickly digested and cause a sharp blood sugar spike), they should be lumped in with bread or rice when considering portions and meal make up. The same is true for sweet corn. Some people consider carrots (and carrot relatives) to be high glycemic, but one has to eat a pretty massive amount to have a problem. Most vegetables have a relatively low glycemic index score and are great foods to fill up on.
4.) Cola is mostly water, how bad could it be? At the right temperature, one can dissolve 2 kilograms (4.4lb.) of sugar in one liter of water. Wrap your head around that.
3.) I worked up a good sweat; now I can eat whatever I want. If you’re in the process of training for an ultramarathon or the Olympics, this might be true, but an hour in yoga class or run in the park doesn’t float you a free pass to kill it at Häagen-Dazs. There’s no getting around the math, the dietary half of the ledger is the 800 pound gorilla (no pun intended) of weight-loss. [That doesn’t mean that there aren’t many, many benefits to exercise, or that it doesn’t contribute to weight loss in more ways than one.] The Mayo Clinic has an excellent table of calories burned for a wide range of exercises and physical activities. You may be demoralized to note that the calories burned in an hour of Power Yoga are completely replenished by a medium size french fry.
2.) I will treat myself with sweets [or pizza.] I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with treating oneself, but making food the treat sets a bad precedent. For many, this notion of food as reward or comfort source was introduced in one’s youth, and it can be extremely difficult to dislodge it later in life. One might try music or fun activities as alternative sources of reward.
1.) I shouldn’t have eaten that Snickers on Wednesday. This may seem like a contradiction of the previous item, but being doctrinaire about food creates its own problems. Specifically, sustainability may be a challenge–especially if one has had that “food as treat” story inculcated into one’s psyche. It’s not the once and while caloric splurge that kills most people, it’s creeping portion sizes.
Some people swear by a “cheat day.” Others say that that’s a bad approach because one might feel forced to cheat even when you’re really not feeling a desire for junk food. Some advocate an 80/20 rule, whereby 80% of the time one follows a strict dietary regimen, while the other 20% of the time one takes it more free and easy (though not totally insane.) Personally, I think different approaches work for different people, but I do agree that the dietary Nazi approach isn’t the way to go.