Are You Fooling Yourself About Your Good Eating Habits

I recently read an article by Cynthia Sass¹ and wanted to share the information her article provided as it may help you understand why you have put on weight or find it difficult to lose weight when you are on a diet.  She uses her experience of helping clients to reveal five of the ways in which her clients have lied to themselves about their eating habits.  Perhaps one or more of these may sound familiar?

I eat really healthfully most of the time


Are you like one of Cynthia’s clients and looking at your eating habits through rose-colored glasses and awarding yourself an A rather than the B minus you really deserve.  Perhaps your healthy breakfast being used as an excuse for less healthy eating habits for the rest of the day.

None of us are perfect but if you want to improve your eating habits you need to understand the way you are eating now.  Sass explains that switching from 1 cup of brown rice and ½ cup of broccoli to ½ cup of brown rice and 1 cup of broccoli can reduce the carbs you are eating by 20g and this is equivalent to walking on a treadmill fat 4 miles per hour for 85 hours.

I eat when I’m hungry, and stop when I’m full

Emotional EatingSass has found that her clients’ food diaries show them eating snacks one or two hours after having eaten a large meal.

This most likely means that the hunger that is being satisfied at this point is not physical but rather emotional or social eating. One client said, “I realize it’s not really hunger, but I fool myself into thinking it is, because I don’t know what else to do.”

It is difficult to recognize that your hunger is being driven by something other than the need for food.  One way which can help you understand your eating habits is to keep a food diary.

I’m not a big drinker

Glasses of white wineMany people consider themselves as not being big drinkers because they don’t drink as much as their friends or because they only drink at weekends or they have reduced the amount they drink. But these aren’t the correct measures to be used when considering how much you drink.  Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for chronic binge drinking is consuming just  four or more drinks within a two hour period if you are a women or five drinks or more in the same period if you are a man.

Drink doesn’t just impact your waistline it also impacts your health.  Sass also talks about the domino effect of alcohol on your eating habits explaining how having a few drinks on Saturday evening can impact your eating habits for the next day or so.

I eat 5 or 6 small meals a day

Very full plateA lot of people adjusted their eating habits to increase the number of meals they ate each day thinking this was a healthier way to eat and there is no problem with this.  The problem occurs because they are eating too much in these more frequent meals.  It doesn’t matter how many times a day you eat your body’s needs will be the same so for example if you  need to have 1,600 calories a day, this can be done in four x 400 calorie meals; five x 320 calorie meals; or six x 266 calorie meals.   Meals with just 266 calories would not be very big at all.

I can eat more because I work out a lot

Do you really work out a lot or does your eating match the level of exercise that you’d like to be achieving like another one of Sass clients confessed, “I think of myself as such an active person, but the truth is, it’s more wishful thinking than reality.”

Sass suggests tackling this by having a “baseline” eating plan, for non-exercise days, which you add to the days you workout. As she explains “mentally, it’s much easier to add to your plate, rather than take foods away”.

¹ Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics Frequently seen on national TV, Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team.  She has also written several books and her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.

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