I’m ashamed to admit this, but I too am afraid of eating bananas. The other day I was faced with a dilemma: Do I eat the yummy looking banana sitting on the kitchen counter or do I go for a peach in the fridge, because it’s lower in calories? What I really wanted was the creamy banana-ey goodness, but the peach seemed like a wiser option. Then I thought to myself, “Dani, what would you tell a client who came to you with this question?” I would say go for the freaking banana if that’s what you want! They are both fruits! And so I did. And it hit the spot.
Maybe you’ve never heard of this hole bananaphobia thing and maybe you think I’m crazy, but lots of women believe that bananas are “bad” for you. Since the Atkins and South Beach Diets became popular there’s been an onslaught of diet gurus telling people that bananas are the devil, because they are high in sugar and high in calories. Some people even believe that you can eat a banana in the afternoon, but not in the morning and definitely not before bed. This is ridiculous though! A regular sized banana (not one of those gargantuan embarrassing looking ones) has about 150 calories, and is loaded with potassium, vitamins B and C, and fiber. It’s not like you’re making the choice between a peach and a piece of red velvet cake. It’s a freaking banana! Have one!
I want to know, what foods are arbitrarily off-limits to you?
This is an old-time diet. They thought that would work too.
I’ve been thinking about doing the South Beach Diet, but I’m not sure. There’s so much information on diets and I don’t know how to figure out what would be the best one for me. What diet do you recommend and how would you choose which one to go on?
Thanks, Dieting Dilemma
Dear Dieting Dilemma,
Dieting is such a dirty word. When I think of a diet I think of agonizing weeks of being hungry and wishing I could eat everything else, but what I’m allowed to eat. I can’t stop thinking about food and my whole day revolves around thinking about what I’m going to eat at the next meal. Most of the time I’m also counting how many days until it’s over, which means that all the hard work I’ve done over the past few weeks will be completely undone by a mega binge on some Coldstone Creamery, as soon as I can get my hungry little paws on it. So, as you can see I don’t like diets. They are only short-term solutions to long-term issues. It’s like putting a band-aid over a gun shot wound.
What you need is to learn how to maintain healthy eating for a lifetime, which doesn’t include cutting out whole food groups or restricting your calories so much that you’re constantly hungry. You can’t keep up that kind of thing for long and it will only backfire and make your problem worse. All of that being said, I don’t condemn the South Beach Diet. I think that it does a good job at teaching you balance, but that’s only true if you really follow their guidelines and treat it as a learning process and not a quick fix. The fact that they focus on whole-grains and fiber is a good sign, because so many bad diets will cut carbs out completely or tell you to restrict way more than you need to. Normally I would say that the fact that they cut out fruit for the first 2 weeks is bad, but I can understand them doing it in order to regulate your blood sugar levels and to kind give you a reset button. My advice though is that if you want some fruit in those first 2 weeks then have the fruit. But, if you want to really maintain your weight loss you need to do some homework, which may include keeping a food diary to track your patterns, keeping a journal to track your emotions, relearning your hunger cues and patterns, and trying to get past emotional triggers. A good diet will never dip below 1200 calories per day and will have a balanced mix of all the major food groups. Every meal should consist of a carb and a protein (so that means grapefruit diets and cabbage soup diets are a major no-no), and will never cut out fats entirely (you actually need good fats in order to lose weight, as well as for healthy akin and hair). You should never feel deprived and the emphasis should be on teaching you how to make better food choices and portion control.
If you have any questions on some of the things I mentioned, such as relearning your hunger cues or getting past emotional triggers, please don’t hesitate to ask me for help!
**Have a question that needs answering? Send em in! Every Thursday I ll be answering a new question, and it might just be yours!