You’re at the supermarket and pass by some freshly baked cookies in the bakery section.   They smell delicious, but you struggle to decide whether to buy some.   After all, cookies are bad for you and you’re trying to lose weight.   What do you do?  This is a dilemma we hear often.

A common question we get asked is whether a specific food is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for you.  The answer we normally give is, “it depends.”   Context is key; your specific situation, needs, and goals may be much different than someone else.   To generally label a food as ‘good vs. bad’ or ‘healthy vs. unhealthy’ just isn’t a fair assessment.  We recommend keeping a few things in mind when making these types of decisions:

  • No single food is going to make or break your overall diet.
  • It’s okay to eat for pleasure from time to time…consider the 80/20 rule.
  • Think of foods on a sliding scale, rather than simply “good” or “bad”.
  • Try to think consciously and rationally, following your body’s natural hunger cues.
  • Don’t judge yourself.   Eating a “bad” food doesn’t make you a bad person.

These considerations will allow you to be more flexible each day.   They will also decrease feelings of potential guilt and allow you to be more consistent with your overall approach, setting you up for sustainable success.

So, should you buy the cookie?  It depends.

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