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You know those people who claim to not really like dessert, or who say they prefer salty flavours to sweet ones? I'm not one of them.

Dessert has always been a big thing for me. I'm generally a pretty clean eater who will happily order the side salad over the fries and have a smoothie or veggie scramble for breakfast. (Most of the time, anyway.) But put me face to face with a fudgy brownie or a scoop of fruit crumble with ice cream, and I'll never be able to say no—even when I'm already full.

For years, I was convinced that I just couldn't let myself enjoy treats whenever I felt like it, because I would inevitably spiral out of control and gain 40 kilos. So I managed my cravings by giving myself permission to have dessert once or twice a week. This never really worked, though. Since I knew my opportunities to indulge were limited, I'd almost always end up eating to the point of feeling uncomfortably stuffed—not to mention, guilty.

Then, about a year ago, all of this changed. My husband and I decided to travel for several months, which shook up my routine. In the past, dessert was almost always homemade, and we'd usually eat it on Friday nights while we vegged out in front of the TV. But suddenly, I didn't have the time (or the kitchen space) to bake homemade treats anymore. Plus, Friday nights usually involved something more interesting than sugar and screen time—like hanging out with new friends, exploring unfamiliar neighbourhoods, and, yes, trying local foods.

Though I didn't want to overdo it, I knew it would be silly to pass up an incredible treat I wouldn’t find at home (honeycomb ice cream, anyone?) just because I already had dessert that week. Before long, my old rigid habits had fallen away, and I found myself indulging whenever I wanted—which was pretty much every day. It's something I've continued to do since we returned home five months ago, and it's so much better than my old approach.

Here's how giving into my sweet tooth influenced my health and my day-to-day routine, plus, a few reasons you might want to consider loosening the reins a bit, too. (Did you know your body has six key fat-fighting hormones? See how easy it is to balance them so you can lose weight—even if you have a sweet tooth—with The Hormone Fix.)