Why I Refuse to Deprive Myself of Dessert

With summer right around the corner, it seems like the only thing on everyone’s mind is dieting. While healthy habits are always a great idea, going overboard with the salads and restrictions is never the answer to losing the weight. In fact, depriving yourself of the foods you love can actually have an opposite effect on your goals. Owensboro Health dietitian and columnist Beth Cecil is a huge advocate for the concept we all know and love: moderation. She explains that labeling food as “good” or “bad” can actually backfire if you're trying to lose weight. This is because you may start to dislike healthy foods by seeing them as the "enemy," thus preventing you from actually enjoying your food.

Over time, those restrictions will result in cravings and we all know where that ends: binge eating. You can go a while without those “bad” foods, but, ultimately, when you decide that you deserve a well-earned cheat day, you find yourself unable to stop and consume far more than you should have. Instead of utilizing these ridiculous and restricting diets to see short-term results, we should all adopt practices that will evolve our lifestyles, which is the true key to achieving our long-term health goals. 

So, am I recommending that you accompany every meal with a slice of cake or bowl of ice cream? Not really. Here's the thing: don't prevent yourself from eating what you really enjoy. There are multiple ways to practice moderation so that you're healthy without depriving yourself. One technique is to create a schedule for yourself. Maybe permit yourself to have dessert or other indulgent foods on certain days of the week, such as the weekend.

Often times we binge eat because we're not sure when we'll get another opportunity to enjoy such foods. Setting up a routine can help remind you that you have something to look forward to and help prevent your uncontrollable cravings. Another option involves getting more creative. Come up with healthier alternatives for all your favorite desserts so you can enjoy a treat often without feeling any guilt — which you should never feel anyway. Substitute an ice cream sundae with a yogurt parfait or a cookie with homemade chocolate almond bark. It may take some time to find a recipe that pleases you as much as your typical dessert, but eventually, you'll find one that not only tastes good but also makes your body feel good. Finally, my last recommendation is simply reevaluating your portion sizes. If you need something small to curb your sweet tooth cravings, trying breaking off a piece of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is loaded with amazing health benefits and it tastes delicious.

Take the advice of dietitians and stop depriving yourself of the foods you love. Instead of making yourself feel guilty for succumbing to your cravings, engage in positive self-talk to empower yourself rather than tear yourself down. All your efforts will finally begin to pay off once you find yourself choosing healthier foods because you want rather than feel the need to eat them.  

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Erica is a freshmen at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is an Operations and Information Management major in the Isenberg School of Management, but she enjoys utilizing Her Campus as a creative outlet for her more artistic side. When Erica is not writing, she is discovering different ways to be innovative by exploring Pinterest for DIY project ideas and crafts.

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