On my way into work one day, I heard a clip of Michelle Obama and Gabby Douglas on the Tonight Show. In it, Jay asks Gabby how she celebrated her gold medal win the Olympics. When she replies that she splurged on an Egg McMuffin, Mrs. Obama teases her about setting back her mission to end obesity.
While I realize that Mrs. Obama was teasing (and I do understand where she is coming from), it still rubbed me the wrong way a little.
After all, there isn't anything wrong with an Egg McMuffin in and off itself. It's not the healthiest choice one could make, admittedly, but it certainly isn't poison. And for someone like Gabby Douglas who is an elite athlete, trains hard, and I am sure eats healthy most of the time, it's a fine "splurge".
Speaking strictly of weight loss, you could eat at McDonald's for every meal and lose or maintain weight. Calories in versus calories expended is what determines weight loss. What you eat doesn't matter. Obviously, your health would suffer, but you could lose weight if you strictly tracked your calories.
Anything is OK in moderation. The occasional meal at McDonald's is OK. The occasional drink is OK. The occasional dessert is OK. As long as it's OCCASIONAL.
People who only occasionally eat over their daily caloric need don't become obese (barring any other health complications). Obese people, in general, habitually eat over their daily caloric need.
The flip side to this is eating nothing but healthy food every meal. Denying yourself any treats. Some people can do this no problem - they are able to completely change their lives so that they don't even want junk food, or dessert.
For most people, this is hard to stick to. I myself have a hard time sticking to a completely healthy diet. For the most part, I don't eat junk food. I don't even look for it. But for some reason, when I tell myself that I can't have that little bit of chocolate because I'm trying to lose weight, I want it a million times more. Eventually, I will splurge.
But if I allow myself the occasional treat and find a way to fit it into my target calorie range, it's so much easier to stay on track.
So don't think that eating healthier or dieting to lose weight means you need to deny yourself. It just means teaching yourself moderation.