This is the key to fast-tracking weight loss, according to a psychologist

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Everywhere you look, you’ll find dieting companies and fitness influencers giving “advice” on how to curb your chocolate cravings.

So, should we be trying to avoid chocolate entirely? Absolutely not.

In fact, denying yourself a few chocolate treats is more likely to hamper your weight loss attempts, one expert claims.

Clinical psychologist Dr Helen McCarthy, aka the Appetite Doctor, believes that having a little of what you fancy is the key to ending unsustainable yo-yo dieting.

She told Femail: “If you just want chocolate eggs for dinner one night, do it – so long as it’s not a regular thing, and you’re eating a balanced diet the rest of the time.”

By imposing a total ban on treats is just a one-way street to disordered eating patterns.

In fact, Dr McCarthy, who is an eating disorders specialist, says that she even advises her clients to try the occasional “pudding-only” meal to help put the joy back into food after years of dieting.

Avoiding sugary treats completely doesn’t work

Unless you’ve been advised to do it by a GP, trying to swerve sugary foods altogether is counter-productive.

And if you really crave something sweet but you’ve only got savoury stuff on offer, that craving will still be there, Dr McCarthy explained.

So she advises people to just indulge in a pudding in the first place to dull the senses and to treat it as being as important as a main meal.

Eat your chocolate egg from a plate with cutlery and give it your full attention.

“You’ll get much more pleasure from much less of it, and you can start to discover how much of it your body actually wants,” she claimed.

“When you really focus on the tastiness of what you’re eating, you need much less food to get the same amount of pleasure. This is the antidote to denying your favourite treat, but then bingeing on it in secret when the self-denial cracks.”

‘Eat your chocolate with cutlery’

She also advises to always incorporate your favourite foods into your diet to help with weight loss and to wait until you’re really hungry before you eat.

Once you sit down to enjoy food, really focus on every mouthful and stop when you are “just full”.

And Dr McCarthy isn’t the only expert who believes that denying ourselves Easter chocolate is a bad idea.

Sophie Bertrand, Registered Associate Nutritionist at Rhitrition, told The Sun: “We always hear that phrase ‘everything in moderation’, but that may mean something completely different to everyone.

“If chocolate makes you happy, give yourself full permission to eat it! Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for eating and enjoying the foods you love.”

This article originally appeared on The Sun and is republished here with permission.