Beth Warren Nutrition Blog

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Secret #1: Treat Yourself

by Beth Warren May 8, 2018

(article originally published in Wellspring Magazine)

“The craving of him who lacks the opportunity to gratify it is much more intense than the craving of him who has such opportunity.” 
—Talmud, Yoma 67a


I find it amusing when people think I’m in the dietetics profession because I hate food when the reality is I LOVE ALL FOODS. I look at some clients who describe foods as if its the best thing that exists, especially my pediatrics, and see myself in their eyes. I never look to distinguish that flare of passion in my clients and I about eating, but to cultivate it in a way that truly allows us to enjoy the food by making it a mindful quality choice. I learned to anticipate a treat that is worth it, and ultimately the decision led to more enjoyment once I waited until a time I could focus and indulge.

    It may seem counterintuitive, but the Talmudic story behind the quote teaches that if the food you crave is available and permissible, then you are less inclined to eat it. I have seen the same mindset work with my diet, even if we indulged on a portioned amount once per week. This is the reasoning behind why I implemented the “treat per week” rule into my program. The strategy will help you avoid veering off track by allowing yourself to feel less restricted while remaining in control.

    Another significant aspect of the one treat per week rule is that if you slip and eat something “off” the diet, then you quickly catch yourself and write it off as your treat of the week. The rationalization instead of punishment is what will keep you motivated to move forward with the diet instead of spiraling down the slippery slope of binge eating on unhealthy options. My motto is that no one succeeds by being negative; a place of positivity achieves truly sustainable change.

    I understand that it could feel overwhelming to unleash control back into your hands while on a diet plan. But my aim is to balance the give and take of needing the sense of direction to get you to your weight goals, while slowly empowering you to take charge on your own of your food choice intuitively. At some point, you’re going to need to learn how to be around indulgent treats. As strict as you are on a diet, it’s inevitable that something tempting will cross your way. The question becomes: are you going to let the 1 cookie turn into twelve because you feel so defeated from indulging in a forbidden food? Or, are you going to mindfully choose to have 1 cookie and decided to make it the best cookie you ever ate, savoring its goodness and ending it there feeling amazing and continuing onward towards your healthy path. Your answer to that questions will give you a glimpse into whether or not the changes you are making such an effort to make now will stick with you long term.

    In my book, SECRETS OF A KOSHER GIRL (presale now click here), I provide suggestions for clean treats to bake and how to enjoy them. At the same time, I also explain that the treat choice is ultimately up to you because you know you have control in something you feel you need to eat and enjoy, which causes you to be able to keep with the diet that makes the rule helpful. In other words: it is all about you.

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