We all do it - but how damaging are little white food lies? Let's look at the food fibs we all tell ourselves that simply make us fatter.
"I exercised today so I can have it"
Yes, regular exercise burns calories and elevates your metabolic rate but it's far harder to exercise away calories than it is to eat them - so stop telling yourself this little porkie right now. For the average woman, it takes a good hour of cardio-vascular exercise such as running, cycling or swimming to burn off 500 calories. It takes less than a couple of minutes in the form of a chocolate bar and a bag of crisps to eat them so reward yourself in other ways and you'll be amazed at the difference it will make.
"I deserve it"
What exactly do you deserve? A minute of enjoyment on the tastebuds followed by yet another pair of jeans you can't do up or another dress you can't fit into? What you really deserve is to find a way to reward yourself that takes you closer to your goal of being thinner, fitter and healthier, not further away. Stop using food as a tool to make you feel better and treat yourself with a facial, a good book, a new CD or a just time out to call a good friend instead.
"It's low fat so I can have more"
Low in fat doesn't always mean low in calories as extra sugars are often used by manufacturers to compensate for the loss in flavour. A product that is advertised as 'reduced fat' or 'lower in fat' doesn't even need to be low fat at all, it simply means that it contains slightly less fat than another similar product. Reduced fat crisps can still contain as much as 60% fat and reduced fat mayonnaise even more. Finally, remember that even if the product is low fat, eating more of it is likely to negate much of that benefit so stop fibbing and put down the fork.
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Yes you will but fibbing to yourself in this way will only make you feel worse when you do. The truth is, banning foods from your diet only elevates them to 'irresistible' status resulting in cravings so strong that when you do give in you are likely to overeat. Instead, allow yourself all foods but focus on finding ways to get the 'fix' without packing in the calories. For example, if cheese is your thing crumble a small amount of Stilton into a bowl of steaming broccoli soup or melt a little on top of a grilled chicken breast or lean steak. If you love chocolate, satisfy the craving by dipping a couple of squares of the very best chocolate you can find into your coffee or drizzle some melted chocolate over a bowl of delicious ripe berries for dessert.
'Skipping breakfast is an easy way to cut calories'
Research shows that people who skip breakfast routinely eat more calories throughout the day than those who regularly chow down to a morning meal as the tendency to snack throughout the day or over eat in the evening is increased. Not only that but skipping breakfast can also lower your metabolism and result in you missing out on the opportunity to 'bank' a whole load of vital, health enhancing vitamins and minerals so 'break the fast' each day with something even if all you can manage is a home-made fruit smoothie or a slice of wholemeal toast.
"It's a salad so it's fine!"
Although lettuce leaves, tomatoes and cucumbers contain very few calories the mayonnaise, fried croutons, parmesan shavings, oily dressing, bacon lardons, avocado slices, roasted chicken and grated cheese that are invariably added to them can soon turn an innocent looking salad into one of the most calorific meals you can eat. Keep calories in check by swapping oily dressings and fatty mayonnaise (approx 140 Kcals per serving) for a drizzle of good quality balsamic vinegar (24 Kcals) or sweet chilli dipping sauce (39 Kcals), add low fat, lean proteins such as grilled instead of roasted chicken and extra lean smoked ham instead of lardons and use half fat cheddar (129 Kcal per 50g) or low fat cheeses such as feta or light mozzarella instead of stilton, brie or full fat goats cheese.
"It's a waste to throw food away"
Popping leftover food in your mouth instead of the bin does not prevent it from being a waste - it simply ensures it hangs around (in all those places you least want it too) for far longer. So, cancel that subscription to the 'I must finish everything on my plate' club.
'It's free so I must eat it'
We all like getting value for money but telling yourself that you will somehow be cheated if you don't take full advantage of the 'all you can eat buffet', two-for-the-price-of-one offer, the super sized (at no extra cost) portion or the buy one and get an extra drink, bag of crisps or chocolate bar free is the biggest food fib of all because your goal isn't to load up on as much food as possible, it's to have a little bit of what you fancy but still stay slim. After all, a bargain is something you get at a cheaper price that you really wanted. If someone offered you an extra few inches on your waistline and the chance to be a few pounds heavier on the scales all at no extra cost would it really be too tempting a deal to turn down?