“Wait, But Isn’t That Fattening?”

The word “fattening” has been coming up in conversation a lot lately.  As in, “Wait, but isn’t that fattening?” or “I need to find a cheese that isn’t too fattening…”

It’s not that simple. The problem is that we get caught up thinking about what foods are “healthy” without any regard to how much we eat.

That’s why my weight-conscious (and adorable) grandfather gets nervous about eating a slice of super-thin-crust pizza piled high with fresh green vegetables but doesn’t think twice about devouring 7 fistfuls of almonds while watching TV. Because pizza is “bad” for you and almonds are “good” for you, right?

Hello! When it comes to “fattening” foods, you need to look at the quality AND the quantity. First, nothing says quality to me more than an abundance of fresh vegetables – if they dominate your plate, you’re off to a great start.

My second measure of quality would be this: How close is it to the real thing? Low-fat cheese tastes like, well, low-fat cheese. While it might have less fat per serving, it can cause you to eat MORE.

You see, we’re wired to seek pleasure, so when we eat a second-rate version of the food we really want, we have a tendency to eat more to try to gain that satisfaction. You’re better off savoring an ounce of really good, full-fat, high quality cheese than spreading heaps of an imposter on your crackers.  

Once you’ve got the quality part down, the next step is to make sure you don’t overdo it (hint: 7 fistfuls of nutritious almonds = overdoing it). Next week I’ll show you HOW to make sure you don’t eat too much with a few sneaky tricks.

What “healthy” foods do you tend to of over-do it on? Leave a comment and share!


  • Kitty says:

    Heather, What you say is so true! I could keep your grandfather company with the “good almonds”, not to mention the dried cranberries! I also agree with the very “French” way of eating that you describe: a little great cheese and butter is so satisfying! Portion control….I think someone should open a restaurant with healthy portion sizes so people could get an idea…

  • I know fats are really the most misunderstood macronutrient, natural fats are so good for you! Those damn advertising companies!

    Thanks for the reminder Heather!

  • Karie Hill says:

    AMEN, sister! I’m picturing your grandpa chowing down on an entire can of almonds.

  • Liz DiAlto says:

    I love this “how close is it to the real thing”…was reading this book I think you’d love called “Why We Get Fat” and it turns out lard is actually better for you than fake/alternative things like margarine. Go freaking figure. I think the biggest problem we face as health people is the terrible information that’s been drilled into people for the last 4 decades that just isn’t true or sustainable. We have our effing work cut out for us HPG. Awesome post, you rule. xo

    • Heather says:

      Thanks Liz! Yeah isn’t it funny how the traditional stuff we were brought up to be SO scared of is actually better for us? The best day ever was when I finally gave myself permission to eat butter again. I’ll have to check out that book – you might also like Weston A Price’s info: http://westonaprice.org/ (they’re tagline is “They’re happy because they eat butter!” – ha)

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