Now here is a strategy we can all get excited about. As we have said before, making lifestyle changes is about self-discipline without self-deprivation and a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association demonstrates exactly this philosophy. The researchers took a group of overweight women and put them on a calorie-controlled diet that included chocolate and non-chocolate snacks and drinks three times a day totalling 155 calories. The women were also educated on proper food choices and portion sizes. By the end of the 18-week study, the women lost approximately 11 lbs - So who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? The researchers reasoned, “The anticipated consumption of the daily sweet snack may have alleviated some of the cravings commonly experienced during food restriction… This research finding suggests that any energy-controlled sweet snack of choice could be incorporated into a reduced-calorie diet as long as overall energy deficit remains.”
The important thing to remember here is that although the women were eating chocolate or a similar sweet snack, they were maintaining self-discipline on a daily basis by keeping themselves in a calorie deficit, yet they were not depriving themselves of food they enjoy. The most common mistake we see people make when improving their diet is trying to change too much at one time. We need to view this as a process that takes time and consistency. In the end, any strategy that helps you to eat better 80 - 90% of the time is a strategy worth holding onto.