Eat Your Carrots and Cake, Too!
Living a healthy life is all about balance, which is the main premise behind my blog, Carrots 'N' Cake. Eat your carrots and cake, too!
About 5 years ago, when I decided to lose weight, I knew that a strict diet wouldn't work for me. I needed to find a balance. My new way of "dieting" involved eating plenty of healthy foods that filled me up, but I allowed myself to indulge my sweet tooth so I wouldn’t feel deprived. I love sweet treats like cookies and cupcakes, but enjoying them a little too often prevented me from losing weight, especially in the long run. Now, I balance my carrots with my cake, which keeps me healthy and happy!
A long time ago, I realized that diets don’t work for me. Restrictive meal plans didn't allow for my favorite foods, which inevitably set me up for failure. I'd religiously stick to my diet for a few weeks, but I'd eventually end up overindulging when faced with a big plate of cheesy nachos or warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies. I love to eat so by not allowing for the occasional splurge, I would over-do-it, get frustrated, and then quit my diet. And, of course, I’d regain all of the weight that I had lost.
Cutting the sweet treats out of my life also made me miserable-- and even obsessive at times! I remember one time, I met some friends at an upscale cafe downtown for coffee. My friends ordered thick, fluffy mocha cappuccinos and buttery chocolate croissants, but my diet didn't allow for these indulges. I enjoyed catching up with my friends, but the whole time, I felt deprived-- and, I couldn't stop thinking about all of the foods I wasn’t allowed to have! Now, instead of skipping out on sweets, I pare-down my portion sizes. I allow myself to indulge in a small treat everyday. A small piece of high-quality, dark chocolate usually does the trick!
While a small piece of chocolate each day is a delicious way to indulge my sweet tooth, sometimes I just really want to splurge. It's easy to grab a chocolate cake donut with my afternoon coffee run, but splurging this way never feels special to me. To make a big splurge "worth it," I schedule a specific time each week to enjoy a really a decadent dessert. For instance, every week on “Cookie Friday,” I allow myself to enjoy any treat I want-- usually, it's a big oatmeal raisin cookie. To make up for the extra calories, I cut a few from lunch and make sure to fit in a workout that day. Needless to say, I really look forward to Fridays now!
Another way that I deal with my sweet tooth is by getting creative in the kitchen. Making my own baked goods allows me to control what ingredients go into my treats. One of my favorite healthy baked treats are Banana Oatmeal Chip Cookies. They taste too delicious to be good for you! And, they're made with a super star cast of ingredients: ground flaxseed meal, banana, soy milk, agave nectar, whole wheat flour, walnuts, and canola oil. I usually end up eating more than one, but at least these cookies are a (mostly) nutritious treat.
Have you learned how to eat your carrots and cake, too?
We get by with a little help from our friends like Tina - one of our favorite blog authors who champions Calorie Count's philosophy of moderation. Thank you, Tina!