Getty ImagesMost every woman has a food angel and devil resting on either shoulder, one giving permission to indulge even as the other advises against it. "We've come to label foods as 'good' and 'bad,' so we feel guilty when we eat something we believe we shouldn't," says Harley Pasternak, celebrity trainer (to Lady Gaga and Katy Perry) and author of The Body Reset Diet.
But we've also become masters at rationalizing what we put into our mouths, which can lead to overeating, dubious food choices and even weight gain. Evelyn Tribole, RD, a nutritionist in Newport Beach, Calif., says, "Let's get rid of the guilt! Women need to remember that having foods they love won't make or break their diets as a whole." Readers bravely let us into their heads to hear how they justify dining decisions, then experts shared some eye-openers. Bet you can relate!
Next Page: As long as it's a 'good' fat, I can have as much as I want [ pagebreak ]
diet-dont-almonds and stroke," says Walter Willett, MD, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Still, they are just as fattening as the bad-boy saturated kind found in cheese and red meat. There are 9 calories in every gram of fat, generally twice the density of proteins and carbs, points out Caroline Kaufman, RDN, a nutritionist in San Francisco.
Nutrition guidelines to keep in mind: 30 percent of your calories should come from fat, with less than 10 percent from the saturated kind. In other words, favoring heart-healthy fats like the ones in nuts, avocado and olive oil: good. Treating them like an all-you-can-eat buffet: bad.
Next Page: If I have mostly salad all week, I can pig out on the weekend [ pagebreak ]
diet-dont-salad ; that means they're overdoing it 156 days a year, not just the 104 of weekends. "Overeating promotes a disconnect between you and your body," she continues. "You should be focusing on hunger, fullness and satisfaction anytime you eat."
And don't fool yourself about sticking to salads, adds nutrition pro Pasternak: "The reality is that most salads are far from healthy, loaded with calories from dried cranberries, bacon bits and dressing."
Next Page: I can have two slices of pizza at lunch, since I'm going to the gym tonight! [ pagebreak ]
diet-dont-gym . "Think about what your here-and-now body needs," she says. "If it's a slice of pizza you want, have it. You don't have to justify it." Just don't rationalize having the whole pizza.
Next Page: When I have PMS, all bets are off [ pagebreak ]
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Getty ImagesIf I eat too much, drinking lots of water will flush it out of my system. —Diana Lynn, Woodland Hills, Calif.
Reality check! Although guzzling glass after glass of water will help whoosh out toxins from your body, it won't do much for the massive plate of spaghetti carbonara you feasted on. When you eat, your body breaks down the food and shuttles the nutrients off to your cells for energy or stores them, explains Kaufman. Says Dr. Willett, "Even drinking gallons of water won't compensate for eating too much." End of story.