I have a strong reaction when I hear nutritionists and/or registered dietitians say that wouldn't advise a client to give up any foods, because that would be deprivation and no one sticks with deprivation.
I apologize in advance, and again reiterate that I'm not a registered dietitian or any other kind of clinician, but those people, in my opinion, don't know what they're saying. (You can judge for yourself whether I do.)
I say that some foods, for some people, should be avoided. Not just asked to, but advised to. Even urged to, at least for long enough to experience life without it, to see if the bedevilment it triggers will go away. There are many ways to identify those foods, but let's start with, "when I eat X, I almost always overeat it." Or, "I find myself thinking about X, either in anticipation, or in loving memory, or both."
If your experience of something isn't fairly benign, why keep doing it? 'Cause others do? 'Cause it's not illegal? 'Cause you really like it? Antifreeze is sweet, which is why it's such a threat to dogs, but they'll only drink a bunch of it once, because it'll kill them. Just because something tastes good doesn't mean it's good to eat it.
I am not suggesting one shouldn't eat foods they enjoy, but enjoyment is one thing and lust is another. If you're thinking about a food substance lustily, it probably ought to be on your "no" list.
This is what I was referring to, when I wrote in a previous post about food changes apart from dieting. My experience of giving up foods has been entirely positive. I enjoy a great many foods, but the foods that I eat are not like sticky notes in my brain. I'm pretty well prepared, for today anyway, to give up any dish that takes up semi-permanent residence in my head.
I know that people who say, for example, "give up sugar? I'd rather die!" just can't fathom the notion that giving up this substance that they so love would actually make them happier and healthier.
What I can say in reply is that many of these actions I've taken seemed like absurd, awful, onerous ideas to me at one time, too. It wasn't until I experienced them that I saw that as counterintuitive as they seemed, I liked the bargain.
One last point: Almost all the foods that most people crave are processed. It's a topic for a different post, but that is not a coincidence.
NEXT: I'll try to get back to question I started this series with, "What's the most important action?" In that first post, I said it's not that simple. But I do have an answer.