Fitting Dessert in Your Diet

It’s no secret I LOVE sweets! IMG_8597 (800x533)

I love frozen yogurt and dark chocolate and chocolate chip cookies and… IMG_6918 (800x533)you get the idea.IMG_6921 (800x533)

It’s also no secret that I’m not happy with the amount of fat on my ass my weight.

After my recent indulgence in the Sonic Pumpkin Pie Shake I got this question from a reader and wanted to address it…

“How do you balance treats like that in your diet? Do you share with Ben? Cut back in other areas? Or just enjoy it and not do anything different?”

First off, I am NOT one of those people who can avoid sweets Sunday through Friday and have ONE treat on Saturday.

I have tried eating clean all week and allowing myself one trip to fro-yo or something and it doesn’t work for me. I just end up obsessing over it and binging. Not okay.

So, I’ve had to come to assess with a few truths about myself…

  • I love sweets and want to eat them everyday.
  • I want to lose weight, but don’t want to hate my life.IMG_6380 (800x600)

1. I make room for one treat every day. I try to keep it at around 250 calories or so. On special days, like when we ate the oreo stuffed cupcake(!), it was more. It’s rarely never less.

I’ve read that sweets should be no more than 10% of your daily calories and I eat around 2500 a day, so that kinda works out. Truthfully, even if it didn’t I wouldn’t change it.

2. I try to share it with Ben. He is really good about sharing (I am not). *Note: I NEVER share fro-yo with him. It’s not who I am.

We shared this big cinnamon roll while out to breakfast a while back. If I feel like I’m over doing it I try and push it to him. He’s a lot better about knowing when to stop so if he’s full he’ll just ask for a to-go box.IMG_4497 (800x600)

3. Sometimes, I just enjoy it and do nothing different at all. I enjoy travel and special occasion food without guilt. I know that when we’re out of town or at a party there will be delicious food around and I don’t want to miss out.

When we go to visit Ben’s fam in Florida I know it’s going to be a very indulgent time. I just embrace it (like I did at the buffet here). One pound is 3500 calories, so it takes a lot of extra calories to gain for real. IMG_4817 (800x600)

Side note: In college I went to France and was super afraid to eat any of the pastries for fear of gaining weight back. I regret that. I’d rather have come back 10 pounds heavier with a full experience. monica and cake

You’ll be dead before you know it!

Question: How do you fit desserts/treats into your diet?

Don’t forget the Champion Giveaway Ends tonight at 9pm PST


  1. says

    I really enjoyed this post. I have come to learn and to accept that desserts also have to be a daily occurrence for me as well. If I limit it to one a week, one of two things (and often both) usually happen: 1) I regret my choice of dessert because “it wasn’t *perfect* enough” and feel sh*tty about it, and 2) I eat the entire super large slice of cheesecake (or whatever it is), feel sick, and regret my decision soon after. A little bit of sweetness every day keeps me healthy and happy!

    • says

      Yes! I totally get the “perfect” dessert thing! When I tried to only have 1 dessert I would rack my brain for hours trying to figure out what exactly I should have to hold me until next week.

    • says

      I totally had that problem before too! I would have such a hard time deciding on what to indulge in for the week and then be really disappointed if there was anything wrong with it.

      Dessert is definitely a daily occurrence now and I feel a lot more sane!

  2. says

    In moderation is key for me and yes sharing (though I am a bad sharer!) with my husband. If I hold back for too long I binge, but a little a day works out perfectly for me too!

  3. says

    I really like you 250 calorie rule idea…think i’m gonna borrow it :)
    btw I swear i’m not blog stalking you, I know this is like my 4th comment today I just work a desk job and don’t feel like actually working today…you are way more entertaining than my job :)

  4. says

    Great outlook…similar to mine. I’d much rather have a treat daily than deprive or restrict myself. Life IS NOT worth living without dessert. If I feel like I’ve overdone it, I just make sure to exercise a little harder the following day.

  5. says

    You are right on the money with this one Monica! I got a super duper double dose of sweet toothitis and am not ashamed anymore! It’s better to enjoy it in moderation everyday than to restrict myself and binge later!

    One should always live life to the fullest and in the moment! Opportunities like France don’t come every day (at least not for us commoners LOL), you can lose poundage any day of the year!

  6. says

    I eat sweets every day. I like them and I would be sad without them. Healthy, right? With that being said, I don’t eat big slices of cake every day, or 700 calorie bakery scones, although I wish I could, but I do eat something sweet every day. I did have to issue a “no ice cream in september’ rule because I was kind of out of control on the ice cream front. It’s been a long month……

  7. says

    I eat sweet treats everyday, too. I also don’t put fruit in my froyo…fruit is not an acceptable dessert in my mind. Thanks for addressing this because it makes me feel less guilty for giving into indulgences on a daily basis!

  8. says

    I’m with you – can’t deny the sweets, and don’t want to. I’m fairly certain I eat more than 10% of my calories from sweets, but I’m mindful about which ones I choose. I remember the 1st time my husband and I went to get self-serve frozen yogurt together – we’d just started dating, and he was shocked how much I put in my cup. He said he wasn’t going to get any and would just have some bites of mine. Apparently I gave him a death look. And he knew never to say such silly things again. :)

  9. says

    I don’t – I can’t remember the last time I had a treat! I’m eating around 1,300 calories a day (though I’m not sure how that works out since I weigh 240 and am trying to lose weight – Sparkpeople and MyFitnessPal seem to think that works!) and can barely get meals in most days. Ah, to be at a point where I don’t have to lose weight and can indulge….*dreams*

      • says

        Maybe. Honestly, I don’t “get” it. I’ve tried one caloric/basal calculator that says I need 3,200 calories a day MINIMUM, another says 1,200, another says 2,000, another another thing. And we’re not talking mom & dad calculators – we’re talking like Web MD v. Shape magazine v. Sparkpeople and the like. So confusing but I’m at a weight loss plateau the last two months – hoping something shakes it!

        • says

          sorry for butting in =) but sometimes your body might be holding on to excess weight because it thinks it’s starving. try upping your calories by 10% and decreasing the intensity of your workouts for about a week. It sounds counterintuitive, but your metabolism will kick into high speed! (something I learned as being an Exercise-Phsyiology student ;))

          • says

            Thanks for the butt-in! Any clue which calculator I should go by? I’ve heard the upping calories 10% for a week or so and then going back but the variation between 1,300 calories a day and 3,300 is a lot of room. I don’t know which one I actually need since every calculator is different! Ugh! Thanks!

          • amanda says

            Tania – have you seen a dietician or a nutritionist? They could probably set you on the right path. I know a lot of people have had success with Weight Watchers, too, which can be simpler than counting calories and really encourages eating fresh fruit and veg. Good luck!

  10. says

    I think a lot of your readers take a special appreciation of the fact that you *do* like sweets, you do work it into your daily life, and you don’t work off deprivation. It’s empowering and extremely helpful for those of us who struggle to limit sweets or feel like they have to cut them out entirely in order to see any progress. I love seeing you say that you’d rather be happy (and that you wish you would’ve eaten more pastries in France, hehe) and full of experiences. <3

  11. says

    For me its all about moderation! I try and limit myself to one dessert during the work week and one dessert of the weekends. Dark Chocolate does not count as dessert, I usually have one piece (about 100 calories) a day as a sweet something to kick the craving so I don’t binge! So far it’s working for me!

  12. Crystal L. says

    I love sweets!!! I usually have something sweet after every meal. For breakfast, I normally eat an apple, some pecans, and later on a banana. My sweet is a mix of the fruit, and then, I have to pop in a piece of gum. For my after of lunch sweet, it may be something like a granola bar. After dinner, it’s either ice cream (but I know how to eat small amounts…I use a teacup), fro-yo (I never put toppings on my fro-yo…the crunchy things get in the way), a cookie, or whatever homemade dessert I have made.

    After we eat, my hubby asks if I am full. I always say yes, but then he says, “But you can still eat something sweet, can’t you?” And my answer is always, “yes!” And then, I head for the kitchen.

    I don’t deprive myself of sweets. I just eat small amounts, which is much better than my growing up days.

  13. says

    I try to be as good as I can during the week, then Saturday is my “treat day”. But I also have a couple of small things throughout the week as long as it’s within my calorie limit.

    Travel – calories do not matter and I can eat what I want! Especially if I’m travelling overseas. Food is a big part of travel experience.

  14. says

    I love sweets! I eat things like Luna bars almost daily. But I wouldnt consider those desserts. I keep the ice cream at my boyfriend’s place so I only have that when I’m there on the weekends. He thinks I’m being nice to share when really I just use him for portion control!

  15. says

    Almost every single day, I end up at a fro yo shop for desert. I’m still a little afraid to keep a container of low fat ice cream or fro yo in the house, so I spend the extra money. If I don’t have a dessert at the end of the day, I just don’t feel as happy. I usually limit myself to about 6oz of yogurt with a small amount of toppings and none of the candy bars or brownie bites. If I eat a full fledged dessert that I haven’t modified to make healthy, I just get too much anxiety over it, so I eat a moderate portion of a dessert that doesn’t stress me out every single day. I could probably lose some of the weight I’ve been trying to lose faster if I didn’t, but I’ve been there, done that and was NOT enjoying my life. This way is much better :)

  16. says

    Interesting post! I LOVE desserts more than anyone (hello, check out the name of my blog), but I recently accepted a challenge from a friend to give up all sweets (not fruit and stuff like that, desserts) until our marathons on Oct. 15. I honestly have no idea how I will do it. While I completely believe in a treat every day, and that’s my usual lifestyle, it was getting to the point where my treats were gigantic and I wanted to eat less for dinner so I could have more dessert. I’m also training for a 50 mile race, and I want my focus to be how can I best fuel my body, not how much ice cream can I eat. With that being said, it’s day 3. Let’s see what happens.

  17. says

    SO with you here. I like ‘treats’ every day and that doesn’t mean a slice of cheesecake or jumbo sundae haha … treats are possible to fit in healthfully every day. Fro Yo with fruit, banana ‘soft serve’ with peanut butter… sometimes I just eat a scoop of PB with chocolate chips, a bowl of popcorn, a small dish of mint chip ice cream…

    I want to enjoy my life and my body. Being active makes me feel awesome and treating myself every day to something sweet makes me happy which = healthy :)

    Hey… who ever said a loaded up salad or smoothie isn’t a treat! I guess I try to make every meal a ‘treat’ haHA!

  18. Erin says

    Great post!! I totally agree and would so much rather be happy than perfect. It’s a lesson I learned too late in life but am so glad I did!

  19. Melodie says

    I have tried the whole “treat one day a week” thing too and it is a no go for me!!!! I love sweets. However, I have Celiac and am realizing that grains of any kind and I are not mixing well at the moment, so I am having to be more creative… which makes it harder to get my treat in every day :( I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing! BUT, I did order a cookbook from Elana’s Pantry on cooking with Almond flour/ meal…. so that should help me to incorporate my daily treat :)

    And you are very generous with Ben… I do not share my treats with my hubby and if my kids ask for a bite, they are lucky if I say yes 😉

    My youngest son asks for dessert every night (he may or may not take after me!) and he says that fruit does not count 😉

  20. says

    I am like you and eat sweets daily — I just try to keep the portions small and try to cut back on other things like bread. It also helps that I can be satisfied with gummies/jelly beans, which can be portion-controlled more easily than… cake. Somehow, it works decently well for me.

  21. says

    I need a sweet treat every night. I don’t have sweet cravings during the day, but after dinner, the craving is always strong. I usually have a Siggi’s yogurt after dinner on weekdays and a few squares of dark chocolate too. While Siggi’s isn’t dessert really, it’s creamy texture and sweet/sour taste really do satisfy my desserty cravings. On weekends I usually go out to eat and always order a decadent dessert after my main meal. So to sum it up, healthy-ish desserts on weekdays, and going all out on weekends!

  22. Kristie says

    I think I’ve come to a point where I decided that my “happy” weight is the weight where I can eat what I want (daily beer & dessert) and be active. I might be happier with how my body works if I cut down on the treats but I wouldn’t be happier in general. Deprivation or having just a little bit of things doesn’t work for me!

    Anyway, what I’m saying is I like your attitude :).

  23. says

    Amen sister! I couldn’t live without something sweet each day either. I recognize I’d probably be skinnier if I could but that’s just no fun at all and not what life is meant to be! I am 100% okay with a few extra curves if those curves are made out of chocolate :).

  24. says

    This is absolutely my biggest problem. I went “off” sugar for a week a month or two ago and I realized that I have a SERIOUS problem. I was turning to sugar mainly out of boredom or when I was in a bad mood and I had to figure out other ways to cope. I slowly integrated it back for a week after the “detox”- I lost 6 lbs total. Then, I started eating like normal when I went back to work (I’m a teacher) and have gained back 4. Sigh.

  25. says

    I love sugar, chocolate, sweets, you name it and I will eat it, which is the problem. I have found that I am hyper sensitive to sugar among a list of other delicious things such as carbohydrates and get really bad headaches and stomach aches from the smallest amount of sugar. I limit my ‘treat’ days to Saturdays or whichever days are my long runs and indulge, but not overindulge. A ‘regular’ sweet treat that keeps my sweet tooth tamed is air popped popcorn with cinnamon and stevia, sometimes a bit of PB too!

  26. Jen says

    Monica! I just made your “Mini batch of healthy chocolate chip cookies” back from 2009 (because I am slowly making my way through all of your previous posts!) and ummm…AMAZING!!! WOW! In regards to this post…I don’t consider myself a “sweets” lover so much as a “salt” lover but those cookies were perfect for me :)

    I love discovering new things in your blog…

  27. says

    Greaaaaat great great post. I especially love the little addition in the end about France. I’m studying abroad next semester in Barcelona and can’t deny that I’ve thought a little bit about how it might be difficult to stay in control with all the good food!

  28. Kate says

    The answer for me is “not well.” Seriously, thus post came at a great time. I was almost in tears because after eating fairly well all day I came home late (and starving) and had a brownie for dessert. For some reason I felt awful — like I had “ruined” my day and wasn’t going to be able to button my pants tomorrow. But then I realized, it’s okay, and I decided to enjoy the damn brownie. And man was it good!

  29. says

    I LOVE sweets. I could eat a dessert after every meal…even breakfast. Here’s my problem with sweets: once I start, I have a hard time stopping. If I have something sweet in the morning, then I’ll crave it after lunch and after dinner and so on. I don’t eat sweets everyday like I’d like to. Sometimes I’ll have a dessert after dinner if I’m really craving it. But I have to watch it. It’s true what you said though: we all will die sooner or later. :)

    • says

      I’m the same way! If I have something sweet in the morning, my sweet tooth is out of control for the rest of the day. That’s why I too like to save my desserts for later in the day if I can help it. At least we realize it and can work around it!

  30. Summer T says

    I think this is my favorite post since following your blog!!! You just summed up how myself and every woman I know feels about dessert. It is a balance, if I deny myself any one thing, it will come back to bite me in the butt! Whoever came up with the saying “nothing tastes as good as being thin feels” has clearly never had an orange scone from Panera!

  31. says

    My sweet tooth is such a beeeeeeyatch. She won’t leave me alone until I give her what she wants!

    But I’m with you…I try and keep special treats for special events. Like fro yo in the middle of Philly with a redhead roommate. And like 2 weeks in Europe. You had better believe I’m eating as many crepes and pizzas as possible, weight be damned.

  32. says

    So true!! I just have it when I am truly craving it. If I don’t really want it and am just bored or something like that then I skip out. If know I definitely want it and it’s a craving I go for it!

  33. Pam says

    I love your honesty! I think everything is okay in moderation. I’m like you if I deprive myself and tell myself “NO!” to treats it just makes me crave them more. You only live once and life would be boring without ice-cream, candy and cinnamon rolls! Do you like Denny’s pancakes? When I want pancakes that’s where I go…although I might pop over to su casa for some of your pumpkin pancakes, they look soo good!! LOVE PUMPKIN!! I’m looking forward to the pumpkin flavor at yogurtland. When they debut it again we should set up a date!! :) Kay?! Kay!!

  34. says

    Hi Monica! I just wanted to let you know that I love this post! I can totally relate with the needing a sweet everyday or I go nuts. My biggest downfall in eating healthy are sweets, but at least when I try to make them myself I try to “healthify” them. I unfortunately also try to justify frozen yogurt as being more yogurt less dessert, but we know what happens when you see that plethora of toppings.

  35. says

    I’m not good and pushing sweets away at all! I usually give in when friends go out for some sweet treats. :) I find if I don’t have it in the house it helps me stay away from some of it. Unfortunately the tiny person I share an office with likes to make sweets and feed them to me…smore’s in the microwave and rice crispy treats…

  36. says

    This is a great post! I like how you aim for your daily treat to be around 10% of your calories. I’ve cut waaaaay back on my sugar since my diagnosis (sugar feeds cancer, it’s science) but even that hasn’t been enough for me to completely cut it out. I have a piece of chocolate after every single meal and then maybe some marshmallow fluff on toast at the end of the night if I still want something. And on weekends I treat myself to a big bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. It’s true, we really are dead before we know it and honestly, some cookies taste better than being thin feels.

  37. says

    I am a huge fan of this post :)

    I’m notorious among my friends for having a HUGE sweet tooth, but strangely enough, I haven’t been craving real desserts for a while. Lately, I just want carbs of the bread variety all the time!

    I think that since my favorite dessert is ice cream, the cold weather zaps my sweet tooth completely!

  38. says

    I really liked how real you are about this subject. I would love to say that I can keep from eating dessert or snacks all week long and then just have a small something one day. Most days I do like something a little sweet! For me when I know that I am going to be heading out to a party, with the Holidays coming I know I must prepare, I do think ahead of time and make sure that my breakfast & lunch are lighter than normal. I also really try to make sure that I work out that morning and that when I’m at the party I fill up a plate and go back, instead of grazing, that way I can at least know what I ate and how much. I am trying to break that grazing habit!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *