Cheat Yourself to a New You: A New Outlook on Discretionary Calories

Are you sick of the concept of dieting? Doing without?  People like (ahem) me telling you what you cannot have??  Well, this week I am here to tell you it’s okay to cheat on your diet (you know, that delusional restriction on food you put on yourself for the New Year’s without also taking medication or seeking psychiatric treatment for the mental weight you are rapidly gaining).  I’m here this week to give you something extra to your daily allowance, yep that’s right, a little extra calorie spending for whatever you’re craving for that day.  These are the fun extras you get to spend on whatever floats your boat; may I suggest a Hostess Ding Dong?  Or a handful of potato chips?  How about my favorite: an Absolute Martini, up, a little dirty?  After all, you could use a reward for minding your p’s and q’s all day, right?  A long haul of “all work and no play” will wear out in a couple of days, and temptation is not a place you want to be, my striving-to-lose-weight friend.

You’re welcome, by the way; but like all things that sound too good to be true, there’s a caveat.  Oh, come on,  you didn’t think you were going to rub a magic lamp and you were going to wake up 20 pounds lighter, did you?  Any ridiculous diet necessitates you have to give a little to in order to get a little; so let’s embrace the challenge of  we are trying to accomplish in the long run and move on with it.  Discretionary calories are the calories you have left after your budget of essential calories (you know, the ones that come from the food pyramid?)  If you play your cards right, and eat the nutrient-rich kind of foods, then you can certainly make room in your diet to have an extra 100-300 calories a day, or equating to terms that are more easily understood like that drink or dessert you desire. So if you choose to have fried cheese sticks as an appetizer before your dinner, then well, you have consciously or unconsciously decided to use those as your discretionary allowance.  You cannot constitute the cheese sticks as a vegetable that is going with your meal.  The extra choices that you are making when you eat something fried, ie something with fat in it is considered discretionary calories and that means no more dipping into this magical fund I am telling you about.  And if you are living on discretionary calories alone, then you are depriving your body of the essential things it needs, like nutrients and energy (which opens a whole other area of health concerns which I won’t get into).  If you are eating from all the food groups but enjoying your discretionary calories in excess then you know the rest: the pounds start packing on.  But there is way out of this caveat:  If you throw exercise in the mix then the allotment for discretionary calories increase.  (Not that binge drinking should be rewarded)

So while the obvious things like sweets and drinks pop to mind when given the opportunity to cheat, here’s a list of discretionary snacks that are 100 calories that you might want to consider when you are looking to cheat on your cheat:

3 cups of air-popped popcorn

1 Fudgsicle

6 vanilla wafers

5 ounces of red or dry white wine

4 chocolate kisses

25 plain M &M’s

1 tablespoon of organic peanut butter

100-Calorie snack packs (look for substance, including those packed with fiber, protein, calcium; you might as well get bang for your buck!)

1 Jello pudding cup

2 slices of bacon (so random, but who are we to question?)

1 cup of powdered hot cocoa (with water)

80z cinnamon apple sauce

1 Tall non-fat Caffè Latte @ Starbucks

So don’t say I never gave you anything.  It’s not all work and no play when it comes to dieting and eating healthy.  Remember, my blog is called, “Have your Cake and Eat it Too.”  If you take out the little things that you love then you are going to crumble in the sight of temptation.  Focus on progress and learning from your mistakes.  Above all, know that guilt and striving for perfection are dishes best served for those who are setting themselves up to fail.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Summer Food: How Fun Food Can Affect your Diet « Have your cake and eat it too!

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