You’ve been so good! Staying on track with your weight loss plan, working out regularly, drinking water and consistently losing weight. Well done! So what happens if you start to feel like you deserve something special, or are craving your favourite food, or are just feeling a little restricted? Are you allowed to indulge?
In short… Yes! You can absolutely treat yourself as part of a balanced weight loss plan. Here are a couple of tips on how to do it while continuing to be effective with your weight loss.
Choose the time
Opting to indulge in a treat food occasionally means that you get to enjoy your favourites and that you feel less deprived. In theory, this should mean that you are more likely to stick with your weight management plan for longer since you do not feel like you are missing out.
Having a treat earlier in the day – such as at morning tea – means that you have a greater chance of burning off those extra calories throughout the day when you are busy, thinking, and moving around. You are also more likely to be more mindful with enjoying your treat when you aren’t exhausted at the end of a long day.
On the other hand, having your treat after dinner, when you are sitting in front of the TV, means you are likely to be paying less attention to enjoying that food and more distracted. You can be at risk of overeating if you aren’t really paying attention, as well as not truly satisfying that craving.
The other thing to consider is that when you are tired, you are less capable of effective decision making, and more likely to make emotional decisions. You might choose to indulge in a treat food as a coping mechanism for stress for example, and more likely to make impulsive decisions to indulge.
Plan your treat
Choose something that you truly love to eat. If it’s chocolate, then grab yourself some delicious high-quality chocolate that will melt in your mouth slowly and really satisfy you. Once you have made your selection, decide on the portion that will fit in with your healthy eating plan.
You might decide to have three squares of decadent dark chocolate every day at morning tea. You can experiment with the portion size or frequency that works with your body, and find the right balance in your diet and levels of physical activity.
For example, if you find that your weight loss drops from 1kg a week to 0.5kg a week when you start adding in these extras, you could try adding in a 20-30 minute walk after work, or slightly reduce your dinner portion, drop it down to two squares instead of three, or a treat 2-3 times a week instead of every day.
Reevaluate your standards
Is it really that terrible if your rate of weight loss is slightly lower, but you are including regular treat foods that you really love, and that makes the entire process of losing weight more enjoyable and sustainable?
Wouldn’t it be better to lose weight over a year and actually enjoy the process? Happily maintain your healthy habits long term without feeling deprived? Many of our guests have reported that they actually enjoy the smaller portions of treat foods more than they ever did before starting their weight loss journey.
Taking a mindful approach with these smaller portions seems to be the key. Taking a few dedicated moments, free from distractions, where you can focus completely on slowly savouring every morsel, can be so much more satisfying than mindlessly eating and not really paying attention to the experience.
So in the end it’s all about shifting your perspective to enjoying a whole range of fresh, seasonal, nutritious, and delicious meals and snacks and including some of your favourites as an option if you feel like them, all without guilt. Doesn’t that sound a whole lot more appealing than being on a diet?