What about the calories, all that sugar, the sweet, sweet taste. There is no way you can be enjoying your food and seeing results, right?
Albeit this restrictive mindset towards body composition goals is rife, especially in the world of fad diets, that does not really empower or educate you on how to make informed decisions around your nutrition while still making headway toward your goals. But what if I told you, you could have your cake (or chocolate ) and eat it while still seeing excellent results.
Weight loss begins with energy balance; put simply- calories in versus calories out. This is the principle every successful diet adheres to, whether low carb, low fat, keto, paleo, or the magic beans diet. These, in essence, are just methods that, if done successfully, will obey the principle above. The trick is finding one that works for you that you can adhere to consistently.
Of course, removing more calorie-dense foods like takeaways, chocolate, biscuits etc., is going to allow you to manage your calorie intake more efficiently. However, it's important to note; this doesn’t make them bad. They are just easier to over-consume because they taste delicious!
So why is this important for understanding if you can enjoy a few squares of chocolate on a diet? The reason is that it might help with your adherence to your goal while maintaining a positive relationship with food. I have found over the years that a lot of fad diets or diets that demonise foods, leave lasting scars on people's perceptions of food. So, as long as you are managing calories, you can eat chocolate on a diet and still lose weight. Once this sinks in, it’s pretty liberating.
Believe it or not, eating chocolate on a diet might be good for you if it helps with adherence.
You can only stick to a diet that eliminates the foods you love for so long. Following a restrictive diet is a ticking time-bomb even for the most adherent, and it is only a matter of time before we crack.
Restrict-Binge-Restrict-Binge: Repeat! Sound familiar?
Including more of the foods you generally crave on a diet can sometimes remove the power of cravings, and as long as you're managing calories, you can still achieve your goals.
At the same time, we also need to focus on the overall quality of our diet. As much as it would be great to survive on a diet of Cadbury’s chocolate and Toblerones, consideration needs to be given to health, nutrients, and overall goals you have. Energy balance and adherence should be your number one priorities for weight loss, but don’t neglect everything else like protein, fats and carbohydrates, and areas like vitamins, minerals, and fibre, which play a big part in your overall health markers.
Micheál Penston is the Head Coach at FM Fitness & Nutrition based in Westport, Co Mayo. They specialise in helping busy men and women create the healthiest versions of themselves by educating and empowering around all areas of their lifestyle: fitness, nutrition, recovery, and behaviours. You can grab a FREE copy of the 5 Stage Health & Fitness Kickstarter or find out more about their online and in-person coaching methods at www.fmfitnessnutrition.com or social media handles @fmfitnessnutrition