How to Deal with Temptation

It may be unrealistic to think that once you've reached your goal weight, you will never again overindulge again, but there are ways to minimize the damage.

Your trusted friends—the foods that are rich in protein and good fat and helped you reach your goal weight—are also your allies when it comes to dealing with maintaining your weight loss and binges. This is because protein foods are fundamentally self-limiting. Almost everyone has eaten 30 cookies at one sitting at some time in his or her life, and many carbohydrate addicts have done it many times, but how many people have eaten 10 hard-boiled eggs at one sitting?

Foods that have adequate levels of protein and fats satiate your appetite quite quickly. It really isn't possible to go on munching them endlessly, and hardly anyone wants to. (Nuts and seeds may be the exception, but they are still better than cookies.) That doesn't mean a chicken breast doesn't make a delicious snack, and that, combined with a few other things, it couldn't constitute a delicious minor binge. The crucial fact about protein foods is that they don't unleash a metabolic tidal wave in your body. Very few people get addicted to protein. Your blood-glucose level doesn't rise and fall sharply when you sit down to eat a Cobb salad. It's a different story when you chow down a slice of pie—which, in turn, might lead to the need for another slice and then another.

Does this mean you can't ever eat another piece of Grandma's pumpkin pie? If you are following Atkins and have learned how to eat right, then you might cautiously see if you can indulge occasionally without causing noticeable aftereffects.

Trigger foods, the foods to which you are addicted and can't stop eating, are the very foods you should not add back to your dietary regimen. It might be peanuts, chocolate, potato chips or something else. If you find you are always planning when you can have your next portion of that food, cut it out altogether, or be sure to have it just once a week, perhaps as a Friday-night treat. Only you know whether the first or the second strategy will work better for you. Remember, it's about what works.

If you are not a carb addict, then you have room to maneuver. The occasional slice of pizza or ice cream cone just might be permissible. Such compromises are not recommended, but do recognize that human nature demands them now and then. An even better idea is to hold out for sugarless, full-fat ice cream. Controlled-carb foods can help out when urges become irresistible. Try Atkins bars or shakes to get you through those cravings.

After you've been off certain trigger foods for a while like ice cream or pizza, you might find that they go down nicely. But once you've eaten them, you may notice a temporary return of some familiar and unpleasant old symptoms. The distress you may experience when you eat an old favorite may cure you of these urges once and for all. But be careful when allowing yourself to indulge in your trigger foods: Remember that five pounds above your goal weight is as far as you want to go. If you hit that point, take yourself firmly in hand and get back on plan. When you resolve to deal with weight regain immediately, you will be much more successful.