Chocolate Can Help You -- Lose Weight!

Looking to shed some pounds in the new year?

How'd you like to reboot your body with a tasty diet that doesn't call for counting calories - but does allow chocolate every day?

Registered dietician Cynthia Sass lays it out in her new book, "Cinch!: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches. She shared highlights of the plan with "Early Show" viewers Monday in the first part of a weeklong series, "Lose It Early," all about healthy ways to trim down. Sass also served up some delicious sample recipes.

Sass says following her 30-day plan is as simple as putting together a puzzle -- with five easy pieces combined into four meals a day, with a chocolate treat. For those who need a jump-start to the diet, Sass has devised a five-day "Fast Forward" option that involves only five foods: spinach, almonds, raspberries, eggs and yogurt, which can help shed eight pounds quickly.

Sass notes that you don't have to resort to counting points, calories or grams to get real and lasting results. Her plan, she says, is in-sync with what consumers are looking for and get this -- it requires, yes requires eating chocolate every day.

According to Sass:
Counting calories is "out" with consumers. It's just too hard to do. According to new research, of those who are trying to lose weight only 19 percent say they keep track of calories. In another new survey, consumers ranked monitoring calories as "least likely to make a difference in their diets," and only 9 percent said it would be the easiest thing for them to do on a regular basis. Consumers want easy and that's exactly what "Cinch!" is all about.

"Cinch!" uses a simple puzzle concept: You eat four meals a day, each constructed as a unique "puzzle" made from five pieces:

Produce (fruit at the breakfast and snack meals, veggies at the lunch and dinner meals) - props of apples, pears, grapes, bell pepper, onion, carrots, mixed greens
WHY: These are not only loaded with nutrients but they're filling, and most of us aren't getting enough. If you added up all the fruit and vegetable servings the average American should have eaten but didn't over a lifetime they would fill an entire football field. With Cinch! they're included in every meal.

Whole grain - props of whole oats, whole grain bread, brown and wild rice, whole corn tortillas, whole wheat pasta
WHY: Whole grains provide fiber and slow burning carbs. In Cinch! meals the portions are enough to energize you but still allow you to lose weight.

Lean protein - props of chicken breast, salmon, nonfat yogurt, feta cheese, lentils, beans
WHY: Protein revs up metabolism and allows you to keep muscle mass, so you can stay toned and strong as you slim down.

Plant-based fat - props of extra virgin olive oil, avocado, natural peanut butter, almonds, green and black olives, black sesame seeds
WHY: Plant fats are heart healthy and boost satisfaction - they actually delay the emptying of your stomach so you stay fuller longer, and you need fat in order to absorb antioxidants.

And finally SASS, which stands for Slimming and Satiating Seasonings - props of fresh herbs such as basil and cilantro, fresh ginger, ground cinnamon, balsamic vinegar, jalapenos, chili peppers, loose green tea, lemons and limes
WHY: These seasonings add flavor and aroma to every meal with no sodium, and studies show that they pack a 1-2-3 weight loss punch. They 1) they help you burn more calories 2) boost satiety so you feel fuller while slimming down 3) they're packed with antioxidants, which aren't just disease protective - exciting new research has linked to a lower body weight, even without eating fewer calories.

Once you know what the 5 puzzle pieces are, and how much of each one to include, which will become second nature within the first week just by following the plan, you can use this strategy no matter where you are -- at home, at a restaurant, even on vacation, without counting anything.

The book includes 100 quick fix meals that follow the puzzle, as well as a chapter about how to use the 'puzzle principle' to create your own meals. And the plan is vegan, vegetarian and omnivore friendly.

Examples include:
Cherry Almond Green Tea Smoothie for breakfast
Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Jalapeno Guacamole for lunch
Pineapple Peppercorn Parfait snack
Salmon Ginger Rice Bowl for dinner

To learn about the required chocolate, the five-day jumpstart plan, go to Page 2.

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