How to eat chocolate and lose weight
There are a LOT of diets that insist that you have to cut out ALL sugar/processed foods/whatever in order to lose weight.
They often work - you've probably done one of these diets yourself in the past.
But the problem is - eventually, you ARE going to eat chocolate, sugar, ice-cream etc at some point.
And that diet that helped you lose weight doesn't give you any instructions for how to include these foods in your normal, everyday life.
So then a dichotomy gets set up in your mind: I have to cut all these foods out in order to lose weight. Therefore, if I eat them, I can't maintain that weight loss
That's why I insist that my clients include these foods in their diet, because the reality is, it's just not sustainable to cut them out altogether.
Here are a few tips for including them in your diet:
1. Understand their role in your life (entertainment, not nutrition)
That's why I prefer to call them "fun" foods, because that's what they are, they are there for entertainment, not nutrition - chocolate, ice-cream, chips - whatever, they are made to be a "party in your mouth" and NOT provide important nutrients.
We can sometimes kid ourselves that eating a whole pint of Ben & Jerry's (1200-1750 calories) is a reasonable amount and a "normal" thing to do.
So understand that when you're eating them, it's for entertainment, not nutrition.
2. Stop thinking of these foods as "bad"
These foods aren't "bad"whatever you've heard - vegetable oils, refined sugar, "chemicals", preservatives - the "worried well" lose their mind over this stuff, but the reality is, they don't put toxins in your body that are harmful (unlike smoking or drinking), they just don't give your body important nutrients, while still providing it with energy (calories) - that might not sound like a big difference, but it is.
When you see them as "bad" this can cause really difficult feelings of guilt and regret, which often causes you to eat more and feel TERRIBLE about yourself because it leads to moral judgements about YOU as well as the food you're eating.
It also creates a "forbidden fruit" effect.
When you realise that they aren't "bad" and you and there's nothing wrong with you for enjoying them (no, your hormones aren't "unbalanced") you can move on with your life.
3. "Fun" foods should make up no more than 20% of your diet
On a practical note, these foods shouldn't make up more than 20% of your target calories. So if you're aiming to eat 1500 calories a day, you shouldn't be eating more than 300 calories worth of "fun stuff" (and sometimes less)
This is because these foods are very CALORIE DENSE - meaning they contain many calories and don't fill you up at all. They are also easily digested (unlike whole foods) and so the energy is easily absorbed by the body, and don't take much energy to digest.
If you take a "if it fits your macros" approach and eat a lot of "fun foods", you'll be STARVING in a calorie deficit. You'll also be unhealthy.
4. The other 80%
The rest of your diet should come from "nutrient-dense" foods (again, I like this term because it's neutral, unlike "whole foods" which can imply good/bad) like meat, dairy, poultry, fish, fruit, veg, legumes (it's not rocket science).
You need to get sufficient nutrients from your diet, which include MACROnutrients like protein and fat, and MICRO nutrients like vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre and water.
This should come in the form of balanced, regular meals (not constant snacking or grazing).
You also need to ensure you eat FILLING foods, not JUST "healthy' foods (this is often the missing piece of the fat-loss puzzle!)
5. Be mindful of your "fun food intake"
The reality is, you can't just live off this stuff, you can't munch all day at your desk, you can't sit in front of the TV all evening devouring hundreds or even thousands of calories.
"Mindless" eating (of these "fun" foods) is one of the biggest causes of weight gain.
Calorie counting can help you learn exactly how much energy is in these foods, which you can then compare to your actual calorie needs - it obviously doesn't solve the problem, but sunlight is often the best disenfectant and it can help you understand what is a reasonable amount to include in your diet.
You want to CHOOSE which foods are truly "worth it", take a portion that fits into your calorie goals, and REALLY enjoy that food, not inhale it while doing something else.
6.. Get a hobby
If eating enormous amounts of these decadent, calorie-dense, entertainment foods is your only source of joy in life, you need a hobby.
I know right, ouch.
But it's true. I sometimes joke when I ask clients what their hobbies are and they reply with "eating" by saying: "I like breathing too, but it's not a hobby"
Often, over-eating junk food is replacing OTHER things that make us feel good - exercise, hobbies, relationships, sex - it's important to figure out what's missing and REPLACE the eating with it, rather than just trying to stop doing the only thing that brings you joy.
If you found these tips helpful, you'll love my FREE 10-day FAT-LOSS Email course where I teach you a practical, sustainable and no bullshit approach to fat loss.