5 Things You Should Know About “Problem” Foods

“Problem” foods are those that we find hard to resist and have a tendency to overeat. They can often be delicious treats like ice cream, chips, chocolate, cookies, and pizza. While it’s not surprising that these foods are hard to resist, what’s interesting is how we can manage them to support weight loss and healthier eating habits. Here are five things you should know about “problem” foods:

1. Identifying your problem foods

Most people already have a good idea of their problem foods, but officially identifying them can improve awareness and help reveal patterns.

2. Strategies for managing problem foods

Limiting the portion sizes of problem foods has been found to be strongly related to weight loss. People who use this strategy the most in a 12-month weight loss program lose nearly double the weight compared to those who use it the least. Be mindful of portion sizes and find strategies that work for you to manage your intake of problem foods.

3. Environment matters

While it’s important to avoid labeling foods as “good” or “bad,” the environment can play a role in food choices. If you have easy access to your problem foods, it can be challenging to resist them, especially in moments of fatigue, stress, or hunger. Create a food environment that supports healthier choices.

4. Red, yellow, and green light foods

Instead of categorising foods as “good” or “bad,” create a personalised list of red, yellow, and green light foods. Red light foods are those that present significant challenges and may not align with your goals. Yellow light foods can be consumed in moderation or under specific circumstances, while green light foods are nutritious and make you feel good. Focus on your individual preferences and build a healthier relationship with food.

5. Mindful eating and enjoyment

Ultimately, it’s important to promote mindful eating and the enjoyment of food. Savour your meals, eat slowly, and pay attention to hunger and fullness cues. By practicing mindful eating, you can develop a greater sense of satisfaction from your meals and make more conscious choices around problem foods.

Remember, there are no “bad” foods. It’s about finding balance, managing portions, and creating an environment that supports healthier choices. By understanding and addressing the challenges associated with problem foods, you can make progress toward your weight loss and health goals.