I'm a dietitian. People come to me for help losing weight. It's not uncommon for my clients to report that they "binged" on all their favorite foods the day before coming to see me, in anticipation of being told they are never "allowed" to have them again.

They are usually relieved to hear that I am not the food police and don't plan to follow them around 24/7 to be sure they don't have a nibble or lick of something they "aren't supposed to."

In fact, they are usually thrilled to hear they can lose weight while still enjoying their favorite foods … as often as every day.

This is possible is because I work very hard with my clients to help them establish "rules" or boundaries around the foods they love to overeat. These "trouble" or "trigger" foods are usually the first that a person wants to "give up" when "going on a diet." And while avoiding trigger foods for a while is certainly possible, inevitably they wind up being missed, and a binge subsequently follows.

Instead of making any food "off limits," I suggest defining "rules" or boundaries around your "trigger foods."

The rules must define:

• how often

• how much

• in what situation a food / beverage is consumed.

Take a look at my personal ice cream rule as an example:

I allow myself to have ice cream one time a week (how often), by driving to the ice cream store and buying a child size cup (how much). I don't keep ice cream in the house. I will only eat it by going to an ice cream parlor (in what situation).

Here's a "wine rule" that a few of my clients like:

They don't drink wine at home; only in social settings (situation).

They have no more than two glasses (how much) over the course of the weekend (how often).

This gives flexibility to drink one glass of wine both Friday and Saturday nights, or two glasses Friday night and none on Saturday.

Try this for yourself and see how enjoyable it is to live with the foods you love, not without them.

Nutritionist Suzette Kroll, RD, is a registered dietitian, certified intrinsic coach and specialist in nutritional counseling. She has a private practice and is a senior staff member at Canyon Ranch Health Resort. On the web at www.personal-nutrition-guide.com, www.lap-band-surgery-site.com

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