The art of indulgence

When it comes to eating out, as a nutritionist, I am often observed during meal times. People like to know exactly what I’m eating, because apparently anything that goes into my mouth must be healthy! Little do they know that eating out is a time when I choose to eat the foods I love, whether they are healthy or not. Learning to indulge once in a while is a useful skill that will not only allow you to enjoy delightful food, but also help with weight management. Psychologically, if we choose to ban certain foods (e.g. chocolate, cheese, wine etc) then as soon as we’ve had a small bite or sip, we’ve blown the diet and feel as though we may as well eat the whole block or drink the entire bottle. Instead of banning foods, you should consider restricting some foods by only having a little treat every now and then. This means eating healthy foods 90% of the time such as fruit, vegetables, lean meats, fish, low fat dairy and whole grains, while allowing yourself small portions of your favourite foods 10% of the time. For example, I may eat a variety of healthy foods throughout the day but then choose to have dessert or a glass of wine with dinner.
Another way to indulge healthily is to compensate with exercise. Try doing an extra hard workout or longer run if you know that you’re dining out in the evening in order to balance out a potential calorie overload. This doesn’t mean you can go wild with your treats; it is important to restrict the portion sizes of these unhealthy foods, as no amount of exercise will undo the damage of an entire pizza!
After just returning from a short stay in Melbourne with my boyfriend, it was apparent that the entire trip consisted of amazing food and intermittent bursts of fantastic shopping! The thing is, knowing that I was going to be indulging in treats in advance meant that I was more eager to stick to a healthy diet during the week prior. Not worrying about the hollandaise sauce on my breakfast or the copious amounts of pasta consumed on Lygon Street was a delight in itself, and now that I am back in Sydney and back to my usual routine, I have faith knowing that my weekend getaway is not hindering the body results that I work hard for on an average day.
To indulge sensibly is a useful tool to prevent yourself from bingeing or over eating foods that you have ‘banned’ in order to maintain a healthy diet. However, consuming your favourite foods in restricted portions can satisfy your cravings so that, you too, can master the art of indulgence.