Do you have food(s) that you try to stay away from because you fear you will overeat it once you start with a small bite?
For many of my clients, cookies, peanut butter, and bagels fit into this category of “trouble foods.” These hungry athletes try to stay away from these “fattening foods.” They believe that eating, let’s say, one cookie will lead to eating 200 cookies, and they will end up getting instantly fat. Sound familiar?
If a food has too much power over you, try this experiment (as suggested in the book Beating Your Eating Disorder):
• Weigh yourself (first thing in the morning) on Day 1 of the experiment.
• Make one dietary change that you are sure will make you get fat (such as eating a big cookie at breakfast).
• Maintain this one change for 7 days (without making any other food or exercise changes), then weigh yourself again.
• Repeat this experiment for another 7 days. Take the average of the weights. (Weight fluctuates due to shifts in water.)
Have you gotten fat? Doubtful.
Take note: if the scale has gone up a tiny bit, the gain is likely due to replenishment of depleted muscle glycogen (carb) stores. For each one ounce of carbs stored in your muscles as glycogen, you also store about three ounces of water. Hence, do not obsess about a number on the scale. Rather, observe how much better you feel during the day and also during your workout.
While food experiments sound like a good idea, the reality is they can be very anxiety provoking and hard work. Eating more calories is hard because you are giving up control without being sure you will feel better in the long run. To learn how to take the power away from trigger foods, try reading Beating Your Eating Disorder. Other self-help books are available at www.gurze.com.
Just imagine how nice life will be for you and your loved ones when you can wake up without food fears and rigid food rules… this is a change worth making!
Eat wisely and be well,
For additional reading: Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, chapter on Dieting Gone Awry.