After nearly three years of weight-loss maintenance, my pigouts tend to consist of different foods than before. Some of my old comfort foods – mashed potatoes, say, or macaroni and cheese – now just stress me out because I don't trust myself around them.
I still love desserts, but it bugs me to blindly gobble something high in fat and calories if there's a fairly tasty alternative. Given a choice, I'll take low-fat ice cream over Ben & Jerry's every single time.
But one thing that hasn't changed is that I still LOVE oversized helpings. It feels like I'm getting away with something if, for instance, I have TWO cups of Greek yogurt instead of one – even though, at 160 calories and zero fat, finishing off a double serving of Dannon Light & Fit is not exactly what you'd call decadent living. (I love that saying “Make mine a double” that people on TV use when ordering drinks. Sometimes I'll say that to myself as I eat my two yogurts, conjuring up old episodes of “Bewitched.”)
Here are some other outsized indulgences that help satisfy my inner pig without destroying my diet:
•A 15-ounce can of peaches or pineapple chunks (packed in juice, not syrup) with raw rolled oats sprinkled on top. I eat it right out of the can in an act of defiance against one-size-fits-all serving sizes. As for the offbeat garnish … I just like the taste and texture of uncooked rolled oats. In my postfat world, it's my version of granola.
•Two cups of Cheerios with a tablespoon of peanut butter, a sliced banana and a sprinkle of rolled oats. This is a truly enormous bowl of cereal that invariably threatens to spill over the sides. But there are a lot worse ways to spend 500 calories, and as long as this is a meal rather than a snack, it's excellent fitness fuel. (This is one of my favorite pre-run meals, provided it's eaten with sufficient lead time so it doesn't slosh around in my stomach.)
•When raspberries are on sale for a buck a container, I buy one for each family member to enjoy however they like. Mine is invariably consumed in a single sitting.
•I can no longer eat an entire elephant ear without debilitating guilt, but this scaled-down, do-it-yourself version feels delightfully decadent: Spread a tablespoon of light margarine and a tablespoon of brown sugar on a whole-wheat pita, then toast in the oven. It's chewy yet crispy, much like the real thing, for only 265 calories.
•I don't have this very often, but a 15-ounce carton of low-fat cottage cheese really hits the spot after a run. It's high in protein and calcium like chocolate milk, and about the same amount of calories (420, which is what you're guzzling if you get the drink size you really want), only much more filling – and with just a fraction of the carbs.
Because of the calorie total, I consider this a meal rather than a snack. It beats the heck out of a fast-food lunch, and I invariably catch up on fruits and veggies at some point in the day.
•I almost never eat just one 40-calorie fudge pop, but I hate that out-of-control feeling that arises from going back for seconds (or thirds). So whenever I buy a box, I purposefully decide how many I'm going to have – two? three? four? – put them on a dessert plate and savor the spectacle before I even get started.