How to indulge and treat yourself without packing on the pounds

Do you ever feel like you can’t eat any of your favorite foods, indulge in the cake at a friend’s birthday, or celebrate girls’ night over drinks because you’re scared of putting on weight?

I get it.  I’ve been there.

I know what it feels like to not want to eat something for fear of busting out of your skinny jeans.  But over several years of going back and forth, I’ve learned some tips and tricks that have allowed me to indulge in my favorite comfort foods (mainly French fries and anything chocolate) and still feel in control of my life.

Yes, food can either make or break you.  For real.

If you just can’t seem to find a balance between treating yourself and being able to zip up your favorite little black dress, read on for my most helpful tips!

  1. 1.  Pre-portion out your absolute favorite treat

My favorite treat-or well, obsession that I 99.9% have to have on a nightly basis is chocolate.  If left alone after a long and stressful day, I could eat my way through an entire chocolate cake, a family-sized bag of M&Ms, or an entire package of Oreos…  Of course, doing this will certainly add a little extra padding underneath my skinny jeans in time, and I fight against my intense cravings.

How?

By portioning out a single serving of my favorite treat so I can ensure myself I do not overeat.

While a single serving may mean one thing to the brand on the package (who only eats 2 Oreos???), a serving size is different to everyone.  Whatever the amount you know will satisfy you, package it in that amount in a plastic bag, in a pretty little container, or other keep sake.

     2.   Scale back your usual “serving size” of treats

If the amount of your favorite treat is an absurd amount that can only cure your cravings, however, you’ll need to adjust it to a reasonable amount.  Say if you’d just love to eat all 3 rows of Oreos and you’re actually used to eating this amount, scale it back and only eat 2 rows.  Then, 1 row, and eventually down to just a handful of those glorious little cookies.

Obviously, this is a little too much for any one person (considering that we’re talking about treats), but I know that there are those of you out there who do eat this amount of calorie-dense foods, and maybe more.  I have done it in the past, and there will always be times when you want to eat the whole pantry.

My point is, to figure out how much you’re eating now, and scale down enough to make a difference-whatever it may be.  If it’s a whole bag of chips, eat only half the bag, and save the other half for tomorrow.

If it’s a large slushy and a large popcorn at the movies, scale down to a medium slushy and a medium popcorn, then next time try a small if you feel ready to conquer the next level.

     3.  Celebrate your treats

Make an event out of eating the treat you love the most!

Do not- I repeat, DO NOT deprive yourself, or it will backfire on you-I promise.

If you’d love nothing more than to eat a few (or 10) pumpkin chocolate chip cookies after getting home from school or work tonight, schedule it out and make a hot date with yourself you pretty thing 😉

The trick here is to make sure the rest of your daily eating and intake healthy and as basic (calorie-wise) as needed.

In other words, eat just what you need for the energy and satisfaction you need to carry on throughout the day, so that when you get home and truly relax, you can enjoy those few (or 10) cookies without having to analyze all your other meals.

     4. Treat your eating like a bank account

If you had $10,000, and you spent $9,500 on the biggest and newest flat screen TV, you’d have just a little bit of money left over to furnish the rest of the house, AND buy groceries…

The same goes with how you eat.  If you need to eat no more than 2,000 (the recommended daily intake for the average American adult), you wouldn’t want to spend it all in one meal on a cheeseburger, fries and shake if you still need to eat for the rest of the day.

If you choose to have a yummy dinner out with friends followed by drinks later in the week, you’ll need to budget your calories to fit the caloric requirements you set for yourself (depending on your goals).

It’ll be up to you in how you want to do this, but it’s best to eat healthier options that are naturally lower in calories like:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • beans
  • The options are endless, here!  Don’t be scared-this seems like a short list but just google some vegan options, you’ll be surprised at how many results you’ll have

(Animal sources of food are normally high in fat and high in calories.  It’s best to avoid these when avoiding too many calories.  If you’d like more information on animal protein and it’s effect on our physiology and vascular health, let me know!  I’ll write a post on it :))

So if you’d rather eat salads, fruit smoothies, slices of apples, carrots, cucumbers, and other veggies and fruits, oatmeal, burrito bowls, veggie stir fries, and more-than you can naturally eat low calorically through the week so that on girls’ night you can indulge without feeling the guilt, or fearing any unwanted weight gain.

     5.  Opt for a lower-calorie version, lighter ingredients, or a varied recipe

There are so many variations of your favorite treats that are more healthy and won’t threaten your waistline.  Although I don’t recommend most of these, I still want to include these in case you needed another option.

Light cheeses (I prefer vegan cheese), reduced fat peanut butter (I like PB2), low fat milk (I use plant milks such as cashew, almond, coconut, or soy-all unsweetened), reduced fat potato chips, reduced sugar chocolate and sweets, artificial sweeteners, etc.

Like I said, I can’t recommend 100% some of these foods but if you are risking eating an entire bag of chips, I’d say go for the reduced fat version.  Not that this is any healthier, but if your weight is your biggest concern then this is what I’d go for.

There you have it!

My top tips for treating yourself without wrecking your diet, packing on the pounds, and the threat of binging.  I’ve been there, and have worked with some others on this issue.  It’s most common especially in today’s stress-filled and jam-packed busy lifestyles but if you follow these tips I promise you’ll make a move in the right direction to keeping excess weight off.

How do you treat yourself without gaining weight?  What are some of your tips and tricks to staying healthy while having dessert or an indulgence?

*Side note:  Life is about balance and enjoyment and I don’t eat perfect and I don’t expect you do either!  I do eat processed foods, chocolate, high fat foods, and on occasion seafood.  I eat a plant-based vegan diet 95% of the time, and the other 5% is seafood.  
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