Why I Think It's Healthy to Eat Dessert
Let's please start debunking the myth that dessert is horrible for you. I mean, excess amounts of sugar and dairy are not good for you, but a little bit of ice cream won't kill you. One cookie isn't going to make you "fat." A bowl of sugary cereal won't make your pants rip. Let's get over it.
Here's a (maybe not so) surprising truth you probably never knew about me: I eat ice cream every night.
The reason I'm telling you this and the reason I'm writing this article is because 1) I think it's important to address this "all or nothing" lifestyle we seem to think is the answer to all of our problems (i.e: cutting out dessert will make us skinny). 2) I want to show you guys that it's possible to eat dessert every night and not be "fat," "out of shape," "unhealthy," etc. etc. 3) I want to justify the fact I'm eating a Ben & Jerry's pint slice right now at 2:54PM on a Tuesday.
But back to point #1: the all or nothing lifestyle. I know so many people who decide to cut out dessert until the weekend, then they eat a whole cake or a whole quart of cheap ice cream just to get their fix. In my opinion, this "cheat day" mentality is a bad habit that can lead to food obsession and eating disorders. I think it's important to learn to coexist with "cheat day" foods and have the ability to appreciate them for what they are, try them, and move on.
Nutritionists probably wouldn't agree with me, but I think psychologists would. The anxiety over indulging in dessert is unhealthy. When I was in high school, I would try to cut out dessert until the weekend because that's what I heard was the smart thing to do. Once the weekend arrived, I would literally go nuts and eat raw brownie batter, ice cream, waffles, you name it. That's 10000x worse for me than eating an ice cream sandwich or one cookie every night.
This brings me to my next point #2: it is possible to enjoy dessert regularly and not gain a ton of weight. How? Portion control. This is the best "diet" around. Unfortunately, if you're an American, you're accustomed to large portions that are usually double what you're supposed to eat. Super-size may be the new "small" in America, but that doesn't mean it should be. In my opinion, portion control is one of the most important things to learn in order to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. I also think you should stop weighing yourself to become in tune with your body and understand when you're full. I eat ice cream every night, but I don't eat the whole pint. I eat what I want as a nice cap to my dinner and then I put it away. Sometimes that means one or two bites of an ice cream sandwich (wrapping it up and saving the rest for the next night) and other times that means a bowl of ice cream with a cookie on top. It depends on how I'm feeling.
This brings me to point #3: the Ben & Jerry's pint slice I ate while writing this post. It was delicious and I highly recommend pint slices for indulgent, portion controlled eating.
At the end of the day, I think being able to enjoy dessert without losing all self-control is one of the healthiest habits you can have. And the best way to start coexisting with "naughty" food choices is to start being around them and realizing that you can try them and it won't kill you. You can control what you put into your body and you don't have to be on a strict regimen all the time. As long as you feel good, understand your body and stay active, you'll be fine.