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Controlled Indulgence

Posted by angela p.

Jane Brody of the New York Times reports that she has succeeded in weight loss and maintenance with controlled indulgences. Unlike other dieters who believe in absolutely no treats she allowed herself one treat each day.

She says that she learned "when I struggled unsuccessfully for more than a year to lose 35 pounds, that deprivation feeds desire and can lead to overindulgence at the first opportunity.

And so I adopted a philosophy that I call controlled indulgence. In the two years it took me to return to a reasonable weight for my 5-foot frame, I allowed myself one small treat each day — perhaps two cookies, a thin slice of cake or pie or a few tablespoons of ice cream. The strategy worked, and I continued to use it in the decades of weight maintenance that followed."

A friend of hers was shocked that she kept 6 half gallons of ice cream in her freezer.

Unlike some other dieters who can't have food around that they might eat in a weak moment she finds herself able to stick to the serving size of 1/2 a cup. She picks brands that have 150 calories or less but doesn' t buy fat free or sugar free because she doesn't like the taste.

She uses 1/2 cup containers to measure out her servings and if she started eating more than she allowed herself she admits that she would get rid of it.

She also uses "controlled indulgence" with chocolates. She says, "I keep quite a lot of it around, especially chocolate-covered almonds and Trader Joe’s minipretzels smothered in dark chocolate. Again, the house rule is portion control. Four almonds or two pretzels a day or out they go."

She goes on to explain how she uses the same approach with buffets and other occasions which are threatening to waist watching folk. Read the whole article at NYT.

When raising her kids, Brody "kept no candy, soda, chips or sugary cereals in the house. But the boys could order soda when we dined out and eat any cereal they wanted when they spent the night at a friend’s house. And every Saturday, we gave them money to buy a bar of any candy they wanted"

She says they stopped buying the candy after a few months and to this day are not interested in candy, soda, or other sweets. Although they do enjoy ice cream, like their mother.

Comments (2)
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Though I am conscious of the "carbon print" of extra packaging, I appreciate that things are being bundled in calorie concious containers. If I have large containers of goodies in the house, they will eaten -- by me! Sometimes, my husband will be poking around for some leftover ice cream or something. I say to him, "You were gone a long time!" He says, "I was just asleep!" I say, "Well, if you snooze, you lose." I love to stay up late and having big containers of something good is too tempting, like a pajama party of one. Also, some things I can eat in small portions -- ice cream flavors I don't like -- but things like Orange Milano cookies put me in a trance. Same with Chicago's Frango Mints. I have been told by an herbalist that there are some chemicals, such as menthol, that trigger an "allergic" reaction and some people get addicted to strange things like chocolate mints!
This was a very interesting post to read. Thanks for that. What I got out of it, apart from portion control, is that weight-loss is something that takes years. I have been trying to lose weight, with some success, but I still need to lose a bit more. Earlier, I would think about my target over months, say so many pounds in so many months. But now I feel that if I do it right, then the weight-loss would follow automatically and the habit would remain with me even after I have lost the weight.
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