Recently, I posted a photo of a dessert I had eaten while vacationing in Paris. Confession: I’m a weight-loss coach and personal trainer — and yes, I still enjoy eating sweets.
The photo was of French profiteroles: Three cream puffs, full of vanilla ice cream and covered in a thick blanket of hot fudge sauce. What didn’t make it into the picture was an extra pitcher of warm chocolate sauce, just in case I needed more (I did). It was divine and I ate the whole thing. All by myself.
After I posted the photo, I received many comments and questions. People were shocked that as a health-and-fitness professional, I would enjoy and post a photo of — gasp! — a chocolatey dessert.
I simply posted it as an example of how we can redefine our notion of dieting and start to set ourselves free from the insane grip that food holds over us. Here is what I wanted to convey with this photo:
1. No food should be classified as “good” or “bad.”
Removing these labels will only enhance your relationship with food. Instead, start to view food in the ways it nourishes your body. For example, view healthy carbohydrates as a great way to fuel up for a run. Or think about how a protein-filled lunch is the best way to help you stay full throughout the day.
2. You can be healthy and still enjoy the foods you love.
When you stop thinking you have “cheated,” by indulging every once in a while, you will start to win the weight-loss battle. The only way to lose weight for good is to enjoy the foods you love, in moderation.
Here’s how to do it: Incorporate your favorite foods while you are losing weight, so that you learn portion control and maintenance during the process. This new skill becomes your insurance policy that you will arrive at your goal and already know how to maintain your weight loss. Some people reserve about 200 calories each day for a treat of their choice, like a couple pieces of chocolate or a glass of red wine. Find a way that works for you and your diet.
Be confident making allowances for special occasions as well: Have a slice of the birthday cake at parties, enjoy a glass of champagne every once in a while and have some of your mom's special eggplant parmesan, that she only makes once a year.
3. Making compromises, such as eating food that is tasteless and unsatisfying will set you up for failure.
Doing this teaches us nothing. It’s unrealistic to think that we are going to stick to a dreadful diet that makes us miserable, hungry, bored and unsatisfied.
Instead, include a healthy balance of protein, carbs, fruit and vegetables that you like to eat in your daily plan so that you feel happy and satiated. The only way to lasting success, without being miserable, is to follow a plan that is reasonable, manageable, and sustainable.
I do not eat dessert every day, but I ate the profiteroles because I wanted them. I planned for it, even fantasized about it and did not beat myself up the next day. It made me very happy. And being happy is the key to a food plan that promises permanent, sweet success.
Photo Credit: Stocksy.com