BY NADIA POPOVA

While eating healthier overall is a great start, it can be a little bit tricky to figure out whether treating yourself to dessert is just part of a balanced weight-loss plan or if it’s actually screwing you over. Focusing on whole foods, cutting down on sugar, and packing in fruits and veggies at every meal can go a long way.

The good news is that you don’t need to give up all dessert in order to successfully lose weight. I teach my clients 80/20 approach where you eat whole food 80% of the time and 20% you can enjoy something you really want.

It’s not realistic to tell people to never eat dessert; that’s not something I expect of my clients, or myself!

So instead of swearing off ice cream I suggest digging into a treat once or twice a week. This shouldn’t derail your progress as long as you keep your portions in check.

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What I see with clients is that it’s all about resetting your habits so that when you do eat a doughnut or cupcake, you really appreciate and enjoy it. When sugary treats are your default sweet food and you eat them every day, you overdo the calories and the enjoyment of the treat barely registers anymore. But when you make those high-calorie desserts an every-once-in-a-while thing, the calories go a lot further in terms of satisfaction and they don’t make a huge dent in your calorie or sugar intake for the week.

If you have a sweet tooth, think about the area where you tend to overdo it. If you always have dessert after dinner, a good strategy can be to switch to a healthier sweet food like fruit for most of the week. However, an even better option is to retrain your brain to associate dinner with something like sipping herbal tea or brushing your teeth post-meal. Then, treat yourself to something you really look forward to like a piece of cake or ice cream once or twice a week. Make it a really good one. And enjoy every single bite.

By Nadia Popova

Fitness Coach/ Owner of “Send Me a Trainer”