If there has been one constant throughout all my previous “get-healthy” endeavors, it’s that deprivation will always lead to failure. “No carbs”, “no fat”, “no sugar”, “no chocolate” never have and never will work for me, nor do they need to!
Every diet or get-healthy regimen I’ve ever done for myself has always included a little splurge here and there, much like this hot cocoa mix. At 60 calories and only 8g of sugar, it’s the perfect indulgence for my sweet tooth and chocolate craving to keep me from losing my mind and eating an entire pan of brownies or a whole chocolate bar or something.
I know this directly conflicts with many of the “diet” plans out there, and there’s a reason that it does. The journey I’m on is not meant to be a diet, but a lifestyle change. It is simply not realistic to expect you’ll never have carbs or fat or sugar or chocolate or some such thing ever again, and the more you deprive yourself the more likely you are to fail.
You might be thinking “but you’ve admitted that your own previous weight-loss endeavors ultimately ended unsuccessfully, with you gaining all the weight back” and that is absolutely correct. The issue that I had with my prior routines was not related to deprivation of splurges, but rather with trying to workout excessively in a manner that could never be sustainable life-long, simply so that I could eat more food.
Inevitably, the time would come where I couldn’t or simply didn’t want to go to the gym 5-6 days a week for 1+1/2 hours, but by then I was so used to the amount of food that I’d been eating and I hadn’t properly addressed my issues with food, so that led to disaster.
This time around I am going through the day as if I may not get any exercise in that day. If I do, then super, an additional little snack after will be necessary and relished! The key is that on the days that I’m not getting exercise in, though, I’m feeling ok with eating less.
With all of that said, I think the most important thing is to be eating a balanced diet, and some of that balance includes a little splurge. For me, this hot cocoa is the perfect thing, even in summer (thank you, air conditioning!). It satisfies my cravings and then I’m good, whereas if I ignore my craving and try to make it go away by eating celery or something ridiculous (any “dessert” made with beans or something, or any desserts with fake sugar), all that does it leave me unsatisfied and then ultimately I will end up having a “real” splurge anyway – and likely in a much larger portion than I’d have done in the first place – and then the amount of additional calories, fat, etc. for my day is even worse than if I’d simply allowed the splurge in the first place.
So let yourself have a little indulgence. Don’t consider it “cheating”, consider it part of your lifestyle change. Part of the change is that instead of eating a large brownie sundae, you’re having a cup of hot cocoa. What I love about this recipe is that it’s super quick and easy to make and I know exactly what’s going into it. There are no artificial ingredients (especially looking at you, fake sugar!) and I can decide what brands of the ingredients go into it.
It’s absolutely one of my top items to have on hand for when the chocolate/sweets craving hits, and hopefully it will be one of your favorites too!
Hot Cocoa Mix
For Hot Cocoa Mix
- 1+1/2 cups cocoa powder, unsweetened (I used a mix between regular and "special dark" – both Hershey brand)
- 2+1/2 cups nonfat powdered milk (I used Carnation brand)
- 2 cups powdered/confectioners sugar
- 1 cup nonfat powdered creamer (I used Coffeemate "Original")
For 12oz cup of Hot Cocoa
- 12 oz water or milk (I use Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk. If you use something else, the nutritional values will be different)
For Hot Cocoa Mix
- Place all Hot Cocoa Mix ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk together until everything is thoroughly combined (this is important. If you don't mix it well enough, your cups of cocoa may taste too much like one ingredient and not another)
- Store in a large airtight glass container in a cool place.
For 12oz Cup of Hot Cocoa
- Whisk the cocoa mix each time before use.
- Mix 3 Tbsp. of Hot Cocoa Mix with 12oz boiling water or milk. Stir vigorously until completely dissolved.
- Add 1/4 tsp. additional powdered sugar if it's not sweet enough for you. Also, I usually make using 8oz boiling water and 4oz cold Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk.