Weight Loss and Sweets: Why a dietitian says to eat treats! (Plus, how-to tips.)

by Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D., C.D.E.

I had a wonderful new patient come to me for weight loss guidance yesterday. Like many new patients, this is not her first dieting attempt and her idea of trimming down included deprivation. That is not my idea at all. I’m not giving up chocolate, and I don’t expect you to banish your favorite treat either.

I like working with this lady because she is so open to new ideas. I expressed that healthful eating is not perfect eating. I encouraged her to permanently tweak her eating habits to reach and maintain a healthier weight. Granted, some people have more tweaking to do than others, but this approach is clearly different from the painfully typical restrictive eating plans followed by a return of fat-harboring old habits.

We brainstormed ways to fit in treats and still feel in control. First, recognize that food doesn’t drop off the face of the Earth. If you smell a donut, you don’t have to grab it now because it will be there another day. I promise. And if you decide that you really do want it now, enjoy it. Stop at one because donuts aren’t near extinction.

I suggest fitting in treats, planning for them. Isn’t it easier to say no thank you to a cookie or some chocolate now if you know you can enjoy your dessert later? The key word is planning. Here are two of our ideas.

  • Fudge bars and Popsicles are more satisfying than ice cream sandwiches because it’s easier to make them last.
  • It’s easier to prolong the pleasure of a measured amount of chocolate chips, jellybeans or M & Ms than a single cookie or candy bar.

What tricks help you relish your treats without the common guilt that only sets us up for failure?

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7 Responses to “Weight Loss and Sweets: Why a dietitian says to eat treats! (Plus, how-to tips.)”

  1. lhubbard Says:

    I love the “food doesn’t drop off the face of the Earth” tip. I use something similar for overeating: When I’m tempted to eat past being full, I tell myself, “It’ll still be there later.” Refrigerators are awesome.

    Using the mantra for sweets … oh, that’ll be challenging. I just might psyche myself into trying it.

    Leigh Ann Hubbard
    Managing Editor
    James Hubbard’s My Family Doctor

  2. Mark Salinas Says:

    I drink lots of water until I am bloated. Planning is such a goo idea!:)

  3. Blake Hagen Says:

    i like how you said “healthful eating is not perfect eating.” we don’t have to be perfect, but consistent with good eating. i also need to remember that the food will be there later so i dont have to eat it now.

  4. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    Thanks Mark and Blake. It is very difficult for me to eat “just one”. I really have to just stay away from some foods. I don’t feel deprived, but if the will-power goes, it gushes. Still, if I get an obession for a food, I have learned to eat it, without guilt, the obession goes away and I am really non-the-worse.

  5. Del-Metri Williams Says:

    With so many diets why are we so fat? There is some good information, but it is being overshadowed by a lot of junk. There is a reason why we fat (fat factors). Most people don’t realize what they are doing to sabatoge their weight loss goals.

    Del-Metri Williams, MBA NC CTLC
    Weight Management Coach

    Del-Metri Williamss last blog post..Fat Factor #5 Chronic Stress

  6. Mardhanaya Says:

    Losing weight is definetly hard work.I use to overeat,but have found alot of strenght in keeping it under control.Since then, the feeling of success I felt by sticking to my plan to loose weight and stop over eating, has kept me motivated.

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