Not to sound creepy but I’ve been watching you. It’s late at night; you’re cleaning the kitchen or just arrived home from a dinner out. Perhaps the kids are asleep. It’s quiet. You feel a little tired but there’s something that needs to happen before you go to sleep. Maybe it’s a piece of dark chocolate or a Skinny Cow. It isn’t much you say, maybe 100 calories. After all, what’s wrong with a little dessert? I’ll let you draw your own conclusions shortly.
Last summer, back when it was warm, I caught a segment my close friend (and fellow nutritionist) Keri Glassman did on frozen desserts. She presented her top treats and the reasoning behind her selections. At one point the anchor, Storm Field, looked at her and said “but we shouldn’t have these daily, right? Why all of a sudden are people having dessert everyday?” Not bad for a weatherman, Storm had a good point. Keri concurred during the segment and I nodded as I watched.
A day doesn’t go by without a client asking me something to the effect of “I need new ideas for after dinner snacks.” And I come through full of ideas for healthy baked apples and microwavable chocolate “soufflés”. Some clients chomp on frozen wild blueberries and others (like myself) love medjool dates. The unbelievably sad truth is that we don’t need any of these things daily, especially if weight loss is a goal.
I wouldn’t be a dietitian if I didn’t do a little calorie counting here and there (though I far prefer talking about juicer issues). Let’s take that 100 calorie after dinner snack (aka dessert). That seemingly tiny treat, nightly, adds up to 36,500 calories in a year. And we all know that the treat isn’t always tiny. Well that 36,500 divided by 3,500 calories in a pound is 10.43. Simply put that Skinny Cow may be keeping you from getting skinny. I learned today that skinny is a bad word (diet Pepsi is catching plenty of slack for their new skinny can versus what’s in the can); many people don’t want to be skinny. If you don’t have 10 pounds you want to lose, I’m not talking to you but for the other 99% of you reading this, at least you know what needs to go.
If you’re suddenly feeling panic stricken, don’t. I’m not making house calls (yet) and swooping in to confiscate the candy. I’m not saying you have to do away with the dark chocolate. I have a couple of options. The first, we’ll call Show Yourself a Skip. If you’re someone who has something every night of the week, commit to a skip night or 2. For starters I would pre-plan the skip nights, for example you can start the week with skips every Monday and Tuesday. This will remove the automatic nature of dessert eating and you’ll hopefully be able to ask yourself “do I need something or can I skip it” down the road. For those of you who need more of an intervention, I suggest Dessert Detox. Try a week where you end your eating day with dinner. Check back with me and let me know how it goes. And for the record, I’m not actually watching you.
Are you someone who has dessert daily? Do you think dessert has shifted from a sometimes event to an all-the-time thing? Can you see Showing Yourself a Skip or Dessert Detox in your future? I’ve ditched the dates, detox for me.