How To Manage Problem Foods

Almost every one of us have problem foods. These are foods that we just find hard to resist. When you want to burn fat and fit into your favourite clothes better, how we manage these foods can be a difference maker. You’ve probably heard the saying ‘Everything in moderation’ right? Does it actually work?

Researchers at Penn State University asked 186 women who were classified as overweight or obese to rank the foods they can’t resist and find hard to stop eating. The most common foods that topped their lists were;

  • Ice cream
  • Crisps
  • Chocolate
  • Cookies
  • Pizza

No huge surprises there! The researchers then had the women follow a weight loss plan for 12 months and monitored their strategies for managing their problem foods. After the 12 months they found that the best strategy to manage problem foods was limiting the portion sizes. In fact the women who used this strategy more often lost 7.2 kilos compared to women who used it less frequently who only lost 3.8 kilos. That’s almost twice as much weight loss by following that one strategy.

How Can You Work On Your Problem Foods?

Make a list of your problem foods. This will increase your awareness of them and hopefully reveal some patterns. While the researchers didn’t say avoiding foods completely was a great strategy, we can use our own initiative on that. Let’s look at it this way. You’re tired, stressed or absolutely starving. There’s a tasty food from your problem food list staring at you in your kitchen cupboard or fridge. What do you think will happen? No matter how much willpower you have you’re going to grab that food and tuck in. If the problem food is in your house it’s going to be eaten. However, the same goes for foods that are healthier for you. If we have foods that are better for us in the house we’re more likely to eat those too. It’s just about being aware of these things and slowly making that switch. And at the end of the day if you must use a strategy for problem foods limit the portion sizes.

Maybe Eating In Moderation Does Work, Maybe It Doesn’t

It depends. That’s the honest answer. My way of coaching is that there no good or bad foods. Foods are either better or worse for you and your goals. Everyone is different. There are some foods that just don’t work with people and should probably be avoided. Refer to these foods as your “Red Light” foods. These foods might not work for you because;

  • They don’t help you achieve your goals
  • You always overeat them
  • You’re allergic to them
  • You can’t digest them easily
  • They give you pains or make you feel awful afterwards

Take 5 minutes out of your day, get a pen and paper and actually write down a list of your problem foods. Be completely honest with yourself and how these foods affect you. If there’s a food on the list that you know you can enjoy without overeating and have control while eating it, great. If a food has any “Red Light” characteristics then you know what to do.

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