The first line of defense in dieting is to stick with the basics and lose the extras, but if depravity sets in, your diet is doomed. So this time around, let's change and keep those extras in your day so you can stay on track.
Self Magazine calls them "happy calories." The idea is to allot 200 calories out of an average 1,600-calorie diet day for some of your favorite indulgences.
Since life is not just going to work or just working out, it is important to be able to have options at a party, other occasion or while shopping. Just practice portion control.
For the crunch crowd, it might be a 200-calorie bowl of popcorn in olive oil or an ounce of peanuts at 166 calories.
Friday night feel-good food or fluids can be a glass of red wine at 125 calories or a big square of super dark chocolate about 66 calories.
You can also go for a frosty iced light Frappucino on a hot day or a Tall Skinny Vanilla Latte, which are both under 200 calories.
You can also indulge in a proper portion of baked sweet potato fries 140 calories.
The Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich is a hit at 150 calories, or there's the petite pot of Ben & Jerry's Raspberry Fudge Chunk Greek Frozen Yogurt at 180 calories, plus a small squeeze of chocolate syrup for an even 200.
Adding a tablespoon of peanut butter to anything is 90 calories, but it makes for a creamy, tasty decadent addition.
Keep in mind, many of these so-called indulgences actually have nutritional benefits like fiber, heart-healthy fat or maybe even antioxidants.
As long as you follow the 200-calorie ceiling, you are more than likely to stay on track.