Losing body fat would feel so much easier if we weren't always thinking about snacking between meals, wouldn't it? Sometimes, it feels like food can be on your mind all day!
Getting a system in place to help you deal with cravings for snacks and sweet treats will be vital to your success with dieting. Willpower can only take you so far!
Plan Snacks Into Your Diet
This sounds counter-intuitive at first when you're working so hard to track your calories and macros accurately. But deliberately accounting for snacking and allocating around 20% of your calorie allowance to come from snacks and sweets is fine - especially if the remaining 80% comes from healthy whole foods.
Then 80% of your diet will give you the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy (the protein, fiber, etc.), and the 20% that feels like a treat will help to keep you to stay compliant. It can help to add these snacks in advance so that they have already been accounted for. That way, tracking the rest of your calories throughout the day will already have considered the treat.
MakE Careful Selections
Including sweets and snacks in your diet is okay because we know that calories are the factor that influences weight gain. Provided you're in a calorie deficit, you will lose weight. When you choose which sweets to include, you could try selecting sweets that take a longer time to eat.
Jolly Ranchers are an excellent example of sweets that last a long time. This feels like you're getting a lot of enjoyment for a smaller amount of calories. This can be the difference between just having one sweet and eating the whole packet.
Control Portions Ahead Of Time
Once that bag of chips is open, or you're into the cookie jar, relying on discipline to stop yourself from overeating is… well, optimistic. And honestly, you'd be making it harder than it needs to be. If you'd like to give yourself the flexibility to include sweets in your diet without demolishing the calorie budget for the entire week, focus on the portions.
Buy single-serving, pre-portioned snacks, and sweets (such as the 100 calorie packs) can be an essential tool in the pantry. This will be just enough to give you some of what you want, without going overboard and eating the whole family pack of chips.
Save Your Calories
Most people find that they are hungrier and want to eat more food when they're at home in the evenings. The availability of food is higher in your home environment - and obviously, they are foods that you particularly like because you're in your own home.
You're less busy with work, so you don't have the distractions you had earlier in the day, and you might be looking for a snack to go along with your evening box set viewing. By strategically keeping your calories back throughout the day, you'll create a little bit of room in the calorie budget for when you need them most. Consider keeping a note of when you feel most like snacking (for most people it's the evening but not everyone) so that you can get smart about saving - and spending - your calories the way that best suits your preferences.
Full sugar options for soda or desserts are high in calories. By making switches to artificially sweetened drinks (opting for the diet soda) and snacks (using sugar-free jello in your dessert), you save a lot of calories and still can enjoy that treat. Of course, most of your food will be coming from whole, healthy food options, so these artificially sweetened options aren't harmful to your health.
Replace Your Favorites - Don't Exclude Them
Cookies, brownies, pancakes… they're all favorites and when on a diet it can sometimes feel like saying a temporary goodbye to old friends... But you may not have to do without them.
Finding lower calorie options of the same treats, especially if you can also find a higher protein count in them, can be a perfect way to still enjoy your favorites without the calories getting out of control.
With a little bit of forward-planning and sensible decisions at the grocery store - snacks and sweets can have a place in your diet. You don't have to give it all up if the stress of excluding them would cause you to overeat somewhere else. Finding what works best for your needs while still progressing towards your goals is the key to long-term weight loss success. For many of my clients, this realization can make the difference between success and failure in their diets.
Do you need direction or you'd like a commitment-free chat about your goals? Feel free to reach out!