How to Eat Your Dessert Guilt-Free

Raspberry Bowl


Seven Steps to Eating Guilt-Free Desserts 
by Harold Irby, Personal Trainer | Lifestyle and Health | Monday, July 28, 2014

Desserts are a delicious and fun part of life that most of us enjoy. 

That is until you start working towards a fat loss goal. Then dessert becomes the enemy that pops up at birthday parties and get-togethers in the form of cake, cookies, cupcakes and candy, tempting you to give in. 


So what do you do? Give up desserts forever? 

Taking a zero-dessert stance can be risky because it increases your chances that the large slice of cake that ends up taking you down will be followed by some ice cream, a handful of cookies and topped off with some chocolates for good measure. 

I don't want your fitness results to be forfeited over a slice of cake, so I've come up with the following 7 Steps to Eating Guilt-Free Desserts. Use these steps as your guide to safely navigate sweet temptations and to quickly arrive at your fitness goal: 



STEP 1: Fruit is Best
Fresh, seasonal fruit (even better if organic) is the ultimate guilt-free dessert. It's filled with fiber, vitamins, minerals and delicious, natural sweetness. Don't be afraid to include some fruit in your diet. Learn to savor and enjoy fruit just as you would a decadent slice of cake. Fruit should be your number one, go-to, favorite dessert. 



STEP 2: Choose Only Wholesome Sweeteners

When fat loss is your goal, cane sugar and corn syrup have no place in your diet. Ever. Not even when you indulge in dessert. Lucky for you, there are plenty wholesome sweeteners available, which will have less of an impact on your blood sugar. Try: raw honey, pure maple syrup, coconut crystals or stevia. 



STEP 3: Use Whole Food Flours
So you have your wholesome sweetener and now you're reaching for some white flour to bake a cake, right? Wrong. Just like sugar, wheat flour should be banned when fat loss is your goal. Instead, try these whole food flours: almond flour, coconut flour, flax meal or oat flour.

STEP 4: Take Your Chocolate Dark

If chocolate is your dessert-of-choice then learn to love the dark stuff. 73% cocoa content is a good place to start, then as your sweet receptors become more sensitive you'll start to like even darker chocolate. Dark chocolate is lower in sugar and higher in cocoa, which is where the actual benefit of chocolate lies: antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. 



STEP 5: Portion Size Matters

Yes, this applies even to fruit. When you're working towards a fat loss goal you do need to control the amount of sugars that enter your body, even when that sugar is wholesome and from a piece of fruit. Keep your desserts to no more than a few bites or one piece (apple, orange, pear, banana, etc..) Learn to savor and enjoy. 



STEP 6: Remember Moderation

If fat loss is your goal, then dessert should not be an everyday occurrence. Lean meats, and an abundance of fresh vegetables should make up the bulk of your diet. Wholesome, portion-controlled desserts are OK to include occasionally, but not regularly. When you've met your fitness goal, and are maintaining your results, then you'll be able to include wholesome desserts more often.

STEP 7: Workout Hard

I would never propose to use food as a reward for exercise, but I will say that working out should be a requirement before including wholesome desserts in your diet. If you're not working out then even wholesome desserts in moderation could lead to pounds gained. Exercise is a huge part of the puzzle when it comes to losing fat and getting lean. 

Remember: It Gets Easier
If you're worried about giving up your favorite sugary treat, relax. Right now, your taste buds are accustomed to those ultra-sweet treats but with time you will adjust. Soon fresh fruit and dark chocolate will taste perfectly sweet and your old favorites will lose their appeal. Stick with it!


Harold Irby is a certified personal fitness trainer and Mr. Michigan body building champion with over 20 years of experience in weight training, body building, sport specific training and strength conditioning. Harold has worked with many professional, college and high school athletes, as well as celebrities and business professionals seeking a healthy and fit lifestyle through his personal training and fitness center Xtreme Advantage.  

Photo caption: Freshly picked raspberries in a bowl. Photo credit: ©Jackie Egginton | Dreamstime

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