Beat treat culture: tips on how to avoid going off track by 'treating' yourself
Thursday 16 August 2012
If you’re on a diet or undertaking an exercise regime, it can sometimes feel like a bit of an uphill struggle.
It’s only natural to want a little payback for your efforts – it takes months to lose noticeable weight, so why not treat yourself to keep yourself feeling good in the moment?
This has recently been highlighted as a major diet mistake, though, despite a wealth of good intentions.
Occasionally, we over-estimate how many calories we’ve burned during exercise, or under-estimate how many are in our treats, and actually end up sabotaging our diet.
A half-hour jog or hour-long walk is a healthy daily dose of exercise, but a lot of us will use this to justify an extra portion of dessert, or a sneaky chocolate bar the next day.
Subsequently, if you burn 300 calories jogging, but blow 450 on a muffin to reward yourself, you’ve added an extra 150 calories onto your daily intake!
How to overcome this? We’ve got some tips that should make sure you don’t fall into the trap of treating yourself!
Eat foods that suit your workout
You might find that you’re hungry post-gym because your body doesn’t have the right materials to recharge itself.
Make sure that your diet has protein, complex carbohydrate (such as whole grains) and good fats – these are the foods that your body will use to synthesise into energy and build muscle.
As a result, you might find that chocolate and sugar aren't the first things on your mind when you've cooled down!
If you do have an insatiable food craving, it would be ridiculous to deprive yourself of it – banning things will only make you depressed and wanting to eat more.
However, if you scoff an entire slice of chocolate cake to celebrate an intensive workout, you render all the calories you’ve burned at the gym useless.
Trying a smaller slice, a mini-muffin or a fun-size chocolate bar should hit the craving without getting you into calorie debt.
Try a treat that’s not food
If you’re not really that hungry but still want to feel rewarded, why not transfer that feeling of achievement into something that’s not food?
Give yourself a manicure, pedicure or face mask, or persuade someone to give you a massage - that way, you'll feel rewarded without having blown the diet!
Assess how many calories you’ve actually burned
If you are following a calorie-controlled diet, it’s worth making a note of the calories you burn off as well as the ones you put in.
Once you figure out how much you’ve burned, you can factor in what you can eat in order to keep that deficit that means you’ll continue to lose weight.
Once you’ve warmed up, 100 calories is:
20 minutes on the cross-trainer
15 minutes of weight training
17 minutes on the stepper
15 minutes of rowing
20 minutes on the exercise bike
30 mins of walking on the treadmill
With this in mind, you can keep your snacks under control, without feeling miserable!
For more weight loss tips and to calculate your BMI, visit www.closerdiets.com
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