In effort to lose weight, the first thing we tend to cut out is dessert, but this simple behavior could actually sabotage our weight loss efforts. Just like children, when something is taken away from us we tend to desire it more, especially if we have addictive behaviors when it comes to food. Let’s face it, food is just as addictive as illicit drugs or alcohol is for some people.
Research has proven that when we consume potent amounts of sugar, especially in the processed form of high fructose corn syrup there is a boost in dopamine and serotonin similar to the same high those who abuse drugs or alcohol feel. The rehabilitation programs for drug use include steps to eliminate drug use completely, unfortunately we all still have to eat food we cannot eliminate it completely. This is where we have to strategically adjust behaviors and develop new habits, we often neglect the behavior modification side of weight loss and just focus on the tracking the numbers. A long term healthy lifestyle is centered on making healthy choices and mindset, not tracking calories or grams in a food journal.
Instead of cutting out dessert, change the type of dessert you are eating. Processed cakes, cookies, pies and ice creams are all loaded with ingredients that will hinder your body from burning fat. Sugar spikes insulin levels and when insulin levels are raised, the body is not able to use fat for a fuel source. Replace processed desserts with higher quality options like fresh fruit and dark chocolate, both are rich in antioxidants. Instead of apple pie a la mode, try a baked apple with cinnamon, and organic butter topped with non-dairy no sugar added coconut based ice cream. If candy is your favorite then make homemade almond butter candy this homemade option contains less harmful fats and sugars then the mainstream candy contains.
Almond Butter Candy
1 cup almond butter (or sunflower or cashew or peanut butter) * try to avoid always using peanut butter as it is high allergy and could be causing mild inflammation or intolerance, causing suboptimal metabolism.
4 tablespoons of coconut oil (melt before you use)
1 and ½ tablespoons of 100% pure maple syrup or honey
1/2-3/4 cup dark chocolate chips melted
1/2 tsp sea salt (optional, if you like the salty/ sweet contrast then use it, but if not leave it out
1. Melt nut butter and honey or syrup for 30-45 sec in double boiler or microwave, spread evenly into an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper.
2. Melt coconut oil and chocolate chips together
3. Top nut butter mixture with chocolate mixture.
3. Freeze for at least 1 hour.
4. Cut into pieces and enjoy!
– See more at: http://servicefoods.com/blog/almond-butter-candy
Another favorite is brownies, these brownies are tasty and chewy from dried fruit rather than butter and oil.
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup agave nectar
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup packed pitted dates
¼ cup almond milk
2 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8 inch square pan with foil and coat lightly with oil.
2. In a food processor, blend almonds, cocoa, chocolate, baking soda and salt until ground. Pulse in dates, agave nectar, almond milk, oil and vanilla until a smooth paste forms.
3. Beat egg whites until medium peaks form. Stir in 1/3 of almond mixture, then fold in remaining mixture. Spread in baking pan.
4. Bake until a toothpick comes out almost clean, about 30 minutes.
– See more at: http://www.servicefoods.com/blog/better-brownies
Avoid cutting back drastically on calories. When we start a lifestyle change, we tend to be hyped up with will power and end up cutting calories, carbohydrates, fat or whatever it might be to lose weight. After a few days or weeks we start to lose the will power or our metabolism gets used to the changes and we quit losing the weight or feel depleted. We become frustrated and end up binge eating, for some on sweet dessert foods. Instead of cutting back on calories, try to have the mind set of switching the poor choices out for healthier modified options. When we are nourished properly, we tend to exercise portion control and will benefit from long term weight loss results.
Plan out the dessert to avoid making poor choices. Trying to eat a squeaky clean diet that does not contain anything but rabbit food may set you up for failure. Plan out healthy meals and plan out healthy treats that will keep you from going too far off track. Incorporate a healthy dessert into your after lunch or dinner routine. Note that you will have some dark chocolate, a “better brownie” or “almond butter candy” daily, these portions are less than 200 calories and will keep you feeling satisfied daily. Planning it out will keep you on track, avoiding mindless binges that are a direct result of restriction.