There's no reason to deprive yourself of the occasional indulgence, but it's important to take the word "occasional" to heart. If you're serious about being healthy, here's the truth: dessert should not be an everyday occurrence. But when you do indulge, it's important to allow yourself the pleasure of indulging, because when it comes to food, guilt does more harm than good. For NYC-based celebrity trainer Joel Harper, the feelings that go into indulging are just as important as what you're eating. "If you ate five Oreos, you enjoyed it. It tasted damn good. Don't feel guilty and bad about it," says Joel.
If you still think that feeling bad after indulging will somehow make you healthier, you'll be surprised to learn that just the opposite is true. In fact, it's been scientifically proven that you're far more likely to overeat if you don't treat yourself with compassion after indulging. In the doughnut study, researchers found that women who received a positive message after eating a doughnut ate less candy than those who weren't reassured with a compassionate message.
Allowing yourself to enjoy without any harsh or negative self-talk will make your indulgence that much sweeter, but it's got to balance out. "If I do have dessert, the next day I wouldn't have dessert," he says. After a sweet treat, you can also make a plan to work a little harder in the gym. If you were going to stay on the treadmill for 10 minutes, Joel suggests adding an additional five to the clock.