You’re Only Human: A Doctor’s Take on Diet

English: Dried fruit and nuts on a platter, tr...

English: Dried fruit and nuts on a platter, traditionally eaten on Tu Bishvat. Русский: Сухофрукты и орехи на блюде, традиционно употребляемые во время праздника Ту би-Шват. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You care about your weight. Maybe you need to lose a few pounds, maybe more. Or perhaps you’re just working hard to maintain. With 2/3 of Americans overweight or obese, it is abundantly clear that we need to find ways to succeed with weight maintenance and weight loss.

One thing I’ve learned in my own struggle to maintain a healthy weight is that I’m only human. If presented with ice cream versus an apple, I can’t always be trusted to resist. For me, sweets can be an overwhelming temptation. My solution? I don’t put myself in that situation. I don’t bring ice cream or other junk food into the house, unless its a special occasion.

What’s your weakness? Is there something you find hard to resist? Name it and then ban it from your home, except perhaps under special situations, as I mentioned. When my kids ask for ice cream, I ask them, “Is it your birthday?” Don’t get me wrong, we’re not nutritionally perfect by any means. My kids eat  junk food, but with so much available to them at school, on playdates, at birthday parties and from pushover grandparents (sorry Grandma!), someone has to tow the line and that someone is Mom! (At least in my home. It may be Dad or a grandparent in yours.)

Remembering that we’re all human works especially well when my kids are begging for junk food. Identifying treats as a special occasion food can be helpful. For example, my sister gives her kids a box of sugar cereal each year for Christmas. That’s it. One box per year. Her kids know they shouldn’t bother asking for it the rest of the year. Whining doesn’t change the situation, so they’ve learned not to bother. If I can respond that we don’t have any cookies, for example, but offer that the kids can choose from a list of five healthy options, they’ll discontinue the begging and select something healthy, knowing whining won’t get them anywhere if we simply don’t have junk food in the house. They’re only human too and so I don’t want to tempt them with options that are unhealthy and hard to resist.

My husband, on the other hand, is a greater challenge. I want to help him succeed with managing his weight, but he can’t be handled like my kids. With him, I have to be more creative, knowing that like everyone else, he’s only human. He won’t stand for a purely vegetarian lifestyle. He’s from Germany and grew up with a meat & potatoes diet.  Not to mention that he enjoys a good bag of chips or a bar of German chocolate with some regularity. I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who worry about your partner and want to help him or her with a healthy lifestyle.

Just as with the kids, I try to give my husband a myriad of options and hope he doesn’t get too annoyed about the lack of junk food at home. When I offer him a small bowl of nuts mixed with dried fruit or raisins, I’m often pretty successful. Having a variety of fresh fruit is refreshing, so keep your fruit bowl well stocked throughout the year. Also, hummus and vegetables work well. (Especially if I offer to run to the kitchen to fix it for him.) Greek yogurt premixed with fruit is not a perfect health food, but at the same time, if that satisfies my husband’s cravings, it works for me. I just make sure to buy the small single serving portions so he isn’t tempted to eat multiple servings at once out of a large container.

Remember, you’re only human and you’re going to want to snack at times. Fill your kitchen with enough healthy options that you and your family can always find something you like. Keep the junk food out of the house or you will definitely find a way to eat it. I promise that the cravings for chips and sweets diminish over time if you cut those out of your snack repertoire.

If you’re interested in your health and weight management, please follow me on Twitter: @LisaOldson

Thanks for listening and I wish you the best of health!

This image shows various dry fruits.

This image shows various dry fruits. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Categories: Nutrition and Diet, Obesity and Overweight, Weight Management, Diet, Exercise

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. Thank you so much, Dr. Lisa Oldson. I am a certified holistic health coach and I’m having similar issues with my spouse. I think husbands are the most difficult. I too eat ice cream and potato chips until they’re gone if I have them in the house so they are banned…

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