Here’s something that is sure to be sweet music to the ears of every chocolate lover: A little dose of the world’s most popular food type and flavor can actually support an individual’s weight-loss goals.
The reasons a bit of chocolate can be helpful primarily have to do with indulgence, satisfaction and bal-anced eating.
Indeed, for the vast majority of people, dieting involves taking on rigid restrictions like the complete elimination of certain foods or eating unreasonably small portions. These are extremely difficult to sustain over time. In “The Magic of Sensible Dieting,” author and registered nurse Bella Tindale explains that it is these strict constraints that make it almost impossible to stick to harsh regimens.
Balanced eating, however, is not about complete restriction but more on setting practical boundaries. It allows for controlled, portioned and moderate indulgences. A small amount of chocolate, even consumed daily, can offer a delicious treat without disrupting a healthy eating lifestyle.
“Balance is what makes weight loss sustainable,” said registered dietitian and nutrition communica-tions specialist Kelli Shallal, MPH, RD. “Small, regular indulgences enable you to enjoy life without guilt and without compromising long-term healthy weight goals. It might seem contradictory, but the truth is that you can maintain balanced eating and still have a little chocolate daily.”
One of the keys to success is focusing on rewards rather than restrictions. Having something to look forward to each day can provide a strong incentive for staying on that healthy diet track.
Another key is avoiding those pangs of guilt that can lead to a sense of helplessness or loss of con-trol, feelings that can sabotage regular eating habits that are healthful and maintainable. In fact, the psychology of dieting suggests that those who associate foods like chocolate with “celebration” have a better time losing weight; this, according to research published within the U.S. National Library of Medi-cine.
“When you treat small indulgences of chocolate as a celebration, you set yourself up for more suc-cess in losing weight because you will maintain a feeling of being in control of your nutrition,” said Suk Cho, Ph.D. and Chief Science Officer with Isagenix. The organization is a leading global health and wellness company and provider of nutritional systems and solutions for energy, performance and weight loss.
“Moderation is still the recipe for success. Chocolate should be just one small part of balanced eating. But it is good to know that a little of this satisfying comfort food can be incorporated into a health-conscious lifestyle.”
Cho added that there are great ways to appropriately include chocolate into everyday eating. One example is Isagenix’s IsaDelights® premium individually packaged chocolates. The line features dark and milk chocolate flavors, but has been recently expanded to include new salted caramel milk choco-late and dark chocolate with mint options.
Much like managing money, when one pays close attention to the daily budget, buying something special once in a while is okay.
The same holds true for dieting. Sticking to a sensible plan that is higher in protein, higher in nutri-ents and lower in unhealthy fats and refined carbohydrates is a proven way to help achieve weight-loss goals. And it provides the flexibility that allows for that extra little chocolate treat now and then.