The Foods You Think Are Making You Fat Definitely Are

bobby flay chocolate cakeIce cream, mac 'n' cheese or just straight cheese (brie, please!), chips 'n' dip, cupcakes, pizza, pie, cookies, candy, an "ooey-gooey cream-filled" doughnut, bagels, bread, fries, or, you know, anything carb-orific or full-fat. These are all "forbidden," "bad" foods women tell us they berate themselves for even occasionally indulging in. We give ourselves gigantic guilt trips over 'em almost always -- even around the holidays, when they're omnipresent. Which is all sorts of ironic, because, as it turns out, the more guilt surrounding our food, the more likely we are to gain weight!

New research from the latest online edition of the journal Appetite found that the way we perceive foods like pizza or chocolate cake is just as important as the calorie count! I know, it sounds nutso, but it actually makes sense ...

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The study looked at almost 300 volunteers and found that people riddled with guilt over foods like chocolate cake gained more weight over an 18-month period. The explanation: If you feel guilty, you're more likely to abandon diet and fitness plans. But if you view these "evil" foods as something to be enjoyed and "celebrated," you'll have a better chance of sticking to long-term weight loss goals. The researchers emphasized, "Enjoyment of food is essential to people’s well-being." So true!

We're way too quick to demonize food -- to make it a black and white issue, i.e., if you love food, you're a fatty. If you're afraid of it, and you "taste everything, eat nothing" (a la Bethenny Frankel), you're a "skinnygirl." We fear-monger with food. And end up bullying ourselves for allowing the occasional treat. Clearly, that's neither healthy nor effective for long-term weight maintenance.

What is: Realizing we're only human, we only live once, and acknowledging that bread or pie or milkshake isn't the end of the world or worth punishing ourselves over. And in fact, all those high-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar Achilles' heel foods may even be "better" for us if we don't let them eat us up inside! Now, how's that for an excuse to go out and enjoy your favorite holiday treat? You're welcome!

What food do you guilt yourself over? Will you stop in light of this study?


Image via kimberlykv/Flickr

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