Finding Comfort in Comfort Foods

Comfort foods can be heavenly, but can also make weight-loss difficult if you're looking to shed a few pounds. It's natural to want to gobble up our favorite foods to indulge both our taste buds and our psyches. Food stimulates at least three of the five senses: it looks good, it often tastes great and it smells wonderful. While we can't indulge in our favorite foods all the time, many of us have a hard time indulging at all without guilt. Don't deprive yourself of what you like. With some self-evaluation you can enjoy your favorite comfort foods, avoid deprivation, and still button your pants.

Here are three popular reasons for "splurging" on comfort foods:

  1. It has a fabulous "mouth feel”—The combination of sugar/fat or salty/fatty taste found in many of our indulgences stimulates our taste buds in a major way.
  2. A connection to a past experience—Sometimes we're attached to the place we ate certain foods and that association makes us feel great.
  3. Deprivation on a eating plan—Our best intentions to limit "problem" foods sometimes creates an even bigger problem, longing for those "indulgences."

So, my philosophy is that there are no bad foods, just bad portions, and the most important part of choosing to indulge is how to budget these foods in your "caloric bank account."

Plus, you can exercise away some of those calories, which is key to pre-planning your splurges. You must remember to be honest with yourself: Be aware of the total calories per serving, as well as the number of calories used in your physical activity. We all underestimate calories and overestimate exercise!

Think about how often your splurge and why you do it. The answers are not easy, but can help you to plan ahead.

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