How often can you eat unhealthy foods?
10 Diet Splurges—And How Often You Can Afford To Make Them
Three Steps to Get You Started
You already know that a too-strict eating plan can backfire, resulting in a blowout binge or, worse, throwing you off the wagon altogether. But when it comes to allowing yourself a little leeway, moderation is key. But what does "moderation" even mean? For gourmands, a cheeseburger a week might seem reasonable; for health nuts, maybe it's one every 3 months—minus the cheese and bun. To find out who's right, we turned to Sarah Krieger, RD, and Joan Salge Blake, RD, spokespeople for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For starters, they say you should only indulge in what you love—and skip the rest. If you don't have a weakness for fries, don't eat them just because they're there; and if you don't have a sweet tooth, don't have dessert simply because your dinner buddy does. "For me, I skip pizza and burgers, but I eat a great-tasting sweet treat every day," says Krieger. "I balance it with exercise and eating a variety of nutritious foods." For more tips, click through our slideshow. But first, some ground rules:
Step one: If you're overweight or have health concerns—especially heart disease or diabetes—talk to your doctor. This advice is based on an average 2,000-calorie diet, consumed by American adults at a healthy weight. (Search: What's a healthy weight for me?)
Step two: "Take a look at how active you really are. With most of our lifestyles, we don't need a lot of calories in order to maintain a stable weight," says Salge Blake. Go overboard too often and your waistline—not to mention your heart and your pancreas—may pay the price.
Step three: Keep a food diary and ask yourself, from a caloric standpoint: If I have this indulgence, what foods will I need to avoid this week to balance it out? Now read on for our tips on how to budget your binge allowance this week—and every week.
Lose Weight—And Eat the Foods You Love: Eat This, Not That Diet