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The dirty little secret of weight loss

The road to weight loss failure is paved with low-fat cheesecake.

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I mean, we all understand that eating “real food” (that is non-processed) is best. And there can’t be a soul left on the planet who hasn’t gotten the memo that “low-fat” processed foods are often jacked up on sugar. Still, it can seem harmless to grab a 90-calorie salted caramel cheesecake snack to satisfy a sweet tooth, right?

Or maybe you’ve made a clean break with processed foods (yay you!), opting to make your sweet treats at home from wholesome ingredients. You smugly substitute coconut oil for butter, Stevia or unprocessed cane sugar for regular sugar, and almond milk for cream. Good for you!

But wait, is it good for you?

That’s the dirty little secret that nobody talks about.

Swapping out unhealthy ingredients for “clean” alternatives is all well and good. But where we get into trouble is when we recreate the indulgences from our past with cleaner ingredients and try to convince ourselves that somehow this is “health food.”

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It’s not.

Peanut butter cups made with raw cacao powder and organic peanut butter are still peanut butter cups. An ooey-gooey gratin made of cauliflower rather than potatoes may be lower in carbs, but it’s still dripping in cheese. And unhealthy saturated fat. And wasted calories. Cheese is crack, btw.

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As tempting as it might be to eat our fill of Paleo Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Energy Bites, downed with a huge glass of coconut milk … well, have we really made any progress over eating a plate full of Nestle Toll House cookies and milk?

Um, no.

Is it fun to experiment in the kitchen, tweaking old recipes to make them healthier? Yes. Is it worth learning about healthy alternatives to our former favorites? Absolutely.

But eat this way with any regularity and you’re just making it harder on yourself to lose weight and keep it off. The answer to healthy living’s dirty little secret is that the best way to maintain a healthy weight is to retrain your brain to stop craving this stuff. In any form. Even the healthier stuff.

I sit here a life-long salt / sugar / fat addict. I’ve written many times about my own food addictions (my personal arch-nemesis: peanut butter) so I totally get what I’m asking you to do. I do not minimize the sacrifice this demands nor the discipline it requires. And I assure you, I will go to my grave craving this stuff.

But as I said in my Peanut Butter Intervention blog, there is something I want more. Where I have previously had only out-of-control cravings, I want calm. Where I have had self-esteem crushing guilt and shame, I want peace.

Eating this stuff with any regularity seems a pretty small price to pay for that.

I decided I don’t want to be a slave to this addiction any more. And when I’m honest with myself I know: the only thing standing between me and the life I want is my inability to step up and own the solution. Today, I step up.

 

 

 

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