Perfectly Imperfect

“You’re a dietitian and you’re ordering cheesecake?” That wasn’t the first time I’ve gotten that comment. Yes, I’m a PhD nutritionist and a registered dietitian…but I’m not “perfect.” I love cheesecake and other desserts. And, why shouldn’t I give my taste buds what they’re craving?

Another similar comment I get is (when I order a diet coke with my cheesecake), “If you’re going to get the cheesecake…why don’t you just go all-the-way and get the REAL coke?” Frankly, I think it’s this dichotomous mindset that gets people’s weight and health out of balance. We expect perfection of ourselves and then, when we can’t meet this unrealistic goal, we beat ourselves up with our comments – and subsequent damaging actions. After eating just one cookie, we start in with, “Oh, I blew it…I might as well eat the whole box!”

A cookie, a slice of cheesecake, or a coke (or any other food or drink you love), is NOT the reason for our growing waistlines. I believe our expectation that our eating habits “should be” perfect is much more damaging. Stop “shoulding” on yourself. Pick a few of your very favorite (but perhaps not so healthy) foods and actually plan to eat them. The research suggests that successful dieters don’t give up their favorite foods, but rather learn to eat them in moderation.

By Dr. Jo Lichten. Dr. Jo is a PhD nutritionist, registered dietitian, and the author of several books including Eat Out Healthy. She speaks all over the US (and outside) to conferences and conventions about how busy people can stay healthy, sane, and productive. Her latest book, Reboot Your Energy, will be published in early 2013.

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