Summer is here, y’all. There is no better combination than ice cream and summer, amiright?
But, as a treat, ice cream is high in fat and calories, and when you’re watching those calories, that can present a problem. So, yet another company has come up with a lower fat, lower calorie, not-quite-ice cream-but-will-do-in-a-pinch frozen treat. So much lower in fat and calories, in fact, that the amount of calories in the entire pint of Halo Top is proudly displayed in large numbers on the front of each pint.
That all sounds like good news, right? In terms of having a lower calorie, lower fat substitute for ice cream, yes.
But if you are using it to help you change your body long term, then it’s a mixed pint.
When the news of Halo Top hit the market, people posted all over social media that they ran out and immediately ate a pint. Some didn’t wait until they got home. It’s definitely the pint be seen with this summer.
But just like with its predecessor, Arctic Zero, I am left to ask:
Does this pint make my ass look big?
When we diet, we are looking to make changes to our body. And while science tells us that reaching our goal is really a question of calories in, calories out, we may need to dive a little deeper to maintain lasting change. In order to keep those results, we are going to have to change our behavior. For many of us who have deep emotional issues with food, this is definitely the hard part.
Halo Top is simply a low calorie (and fairly tasty) substitute for a high calorie treat. Is that such a bad thing?
No. If you are a diabetic, and want to enjoy a low calorie substitute, then maybe Halo Top is a good choice over ice cream for those times you want an ice cream treat. If you are watching your calories/macros and enjoy a little something sweet after dinner, having a scoop of Halo Top isn’t a bad idea. If you are on a temporary cutting program to change body composition, and you just can’t swing the calories, then this could be for you.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is for those of us who desperately need to change our behavior surrounding food, low calorie low fat substitutes are a slippery slope. And I’ll venture a guess that a majority of us who are looking for long-term results need to change our behavior.
So why don’t we just change our behavior?
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. In fact, changing a behavior has got to be one of the most difficult things we humans can endeavor to achieve. If you’ve ever tried to quit/create a new habit (of any kind), you know exactly what I am talking about. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes going to a place where you are uncomfortable. Even worse, it takes wallowing around in that discomfort, really addressing it in all its miserable glory.
Yes, because once we do that work, we get to find our way out of the mire and into the glory that is real change. The glory of no longer being a prisoner. And while we may still experience a tinge of that discomfort from time to time, it’s a whole lot different once we’re on the other side of the prison wall. We’ve done the work, and the habit no longer owns us. Bliss.
That sounds hard. No, I mean really hard.
No question! But it depends what you’re going for. If you are in it for the long haul, you are going to have to make some behavioral changes. It’s admittedly easier to throw a pint at the problem, but I’m willing to bet that it won’t be the last time you have to do it.
Leave ’em wanting more
Low calorie, low fat food is an industry. It’s a business. And it’s a business that knows how hard it is to change behaviors, especially around food. I’m sorry to say, the food business is not on your side. Food companies actually employ food scientists to analyze the best way to construct a food to leave you wanting more. Physically craving more.
(Don’t believe me? Watch this. It will blow your mind.)
The food industry is a business relying on the fact that you will not tackle your behavior. They know it’s hard. They know easy is better than uncomfortable. They are well aware that we avoid difficult, and we don’t like to be uncomfortable.
Halo Top is no exception. There are marketing to our weaknesses. They are counting on our not changing our behavior, except to stock up on substitute ice cream.
Don’t be angry. They are a business. A business who is good at marketing. And they are marketing to you. You who feels a prisoner of habit.
Mostly, they know once you change your behavior, you won’t need them anymore. Because once you change your behavior around food, you can have Haagen Dazs when you feel like ice cream. Because you will no longer be a prisoner to your behavior. Your indulgence will be just that. An occasional treat that doesn’t carry with it the fear of the food or the need to have it every day.
Take the Muffin Top Test
Sometimes we are so desperate to lose weight that we have lost sight of where we stand in our relationship with food. How can you tell if you’re falling down the rabbit hole with a particular food? Take this simple test.
Answer the following questions:
Why am I eating this food?
- I am in the mood for some ice cream, and I happen to really like Halo Top!
- I know I like ice cream. And now I can have a pint every night after dinner.
- I am bored, tired and frustrated.
- One pint is less than 300 calories!
If your answer was anything other than 1, scoop carefully.
Does the thought of this food cause me FORO (Fear Of Running Out)?
- What will happen when I don’t have any left in my freezer? Does that make me anxious?
- Am I already worried about what I will do if I can’t find any at the store?
- Am I afraid of running out because I just know I will have to eat something else “bad” instead if I don’t have this food?
Funny thing is, this can happen with any food. That’s because food is not inherently “bad.” Sure, some foods are there to sustain us, and some are there to tantalize us. Swapping out a low fat low calorie food also has the added danger of luring us into a false sense of security, by having us believe we can eat larger quantities without consequence, making these foods even more of a threat to finding the permanent results we seek.
I’ve heard people say they got into a habit of eating too many protein bars in one day.
I am not a low fat hater
To be clear, I am not anti Halo Top. Low fat low calorie foods have their place. And, as substitutes go, Halo Top does pretty well on the taste side of things.
I do, however, take issue with marketing that plays on our weaknesses–oftentimes weaknesses that perpetuate an unhappy lifestyle. Marketing designed to enable continued societal obesity and self-image issues, by simply slapping something else in front of us instead of encouraging us to do the most difficult work it takes to make lasting change. By having us invest in stocking up on pints instead of investing in taking stock in ourselves.
Whatever choice is right for you, think before you scoop.