Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research
Q: I’m trying to lose weight. If I eat healthfully during the week, it doesn’t hurt to splurge on weekends, does it?
A: Theoretically, what we do on five days should have greater impact than what we do on two. But, if you’re trying to lose weight and your splurge goes too far, even healthy eating the rest of the week can’t save enough calories to drop the pounds you want to shed. For your treat, instead of grabbing everything you see, choose a few selections that really give you pleasure and let other options pass. Even one big splurge of 400 or 500 calories doesn’t put you off course the way ten little 100-calorie extras add up throughout the weekend. Think about splurging in a new way – consider options that are special, but not high-calorie or low in nutritional value. How about treating yourself to shrimp instead of chicken in a stir-fry or salad, sampling an unfamiliar but tantalizingly delicious tropical fruit for a snack or dessert, or relaxing with a special tea? Another thought: if you don’t overly restrict yourself all week, you may find you don’t head into the weekend feeling so deprived that you need to splurge. Finally, if food and drink splurges have been your way to reward yourself and relax after a hard week, experiment with non-food ways to accomplish the same goal, such as relaxing with a movie, talking with a friend, or enjoying time outdoors.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.