All too often, my clients report “I don’t keep cookies in my house. If cookies are there, I end up eating the whole package. It’s easier to not have them around...”
While that may seem a wise solution to the eating-too-many-cookies problem, depriving yourself of cookies tends to backfire. That is, when the opportunity arises for you to eat cookies, you likely end up eating the whole plate because this is your “last chance” to ever eat a cookie. “Last chance eating” leads to food binges, weight gain and feelings of being powerless over food.
An alternative to staying away from cookies is to eat cookies every day, at every meal. This will take the power away from them. Think about it. Do apples have power over you? Doubtful. That’s because you can eat an apple whenever you want. So why do cookies have power over you? Because you deny yourself the privilege of enjoying cookies from time to time. After three days of cookies-at-every-meal, they will likely lose their power.
If you liked cookies as a kid and like them now, you will undoubtedly like them in the future. How about trying to make peace with cookies?
Many of my clients like to "save calories" by taking a calcium pill instead of drinking milk. While they may think that is a reasonable alternative, I disagree. Yes, a calcium pill does offer a lower calorie alternative to consuming the recommended three (8-ounce) glasses of (soy) milk or yogurt each day, but research indicates milk drinkers tend to be leaner than milk avoiders. That suggests milk is not fattening but rather slimming!
I encourage my clients to embrace milk as a “liquid food” that is satiating and curbs one appetite. That is, milk can be more filling than the same number of calories from soda or juice. Drinking a glass of milk with a meal can fill you up, as opposed to drinking water and then be left hankering for dessert (with far more calories than a glass of milk).
Most of my active female clients reduce weight on 1,800 calories; men on 2,100+ calories. That breaks down to 500 to 600 calories per meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and 300 calories for a snack. Enjoying low-fat (soy) milk on cereal, a mid-morning latte and a yogurt for a snack seems a powerful way to spend 300 of those calories and approach the recommended intake of 1,000 milligrams of calcium per for adults 19-50 years; 1,200 mg for adults older than 50 years, and 1,300 mg for kids 9-18 years.
If you are a parent, be a role model and drink (soy) milk at dinner to encourage a calcium-rich intake for your kids. Building strong bones during the ages of 10 to 18 is a wise investment for the future. Milk offers far more than just calcium; it’s a rich source of vitamin D, protein, riboflavin and a host of life-sustaining nutrients. Think twice before trading this wholesome food for an engineered pill.
Ever wonder about what's best to eat before, during or after exercise?
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-eating for health, enhanced performance and longevity
Question: I recently bought a really good bathroom scale and I weigh myself every morning. On days when I think I should have lost weight, the scale says I gained two pounds. This puts me in a really bad mood. What’s going on…?
The scale weighs not just changes in fat loss (or fat gain), but also changes in body water and intestinal contents. Hence, your weight can fluctuate one or two pounds daily depending on if you are constipated, have diarrhea, or are bloated pre-menstrually. Do not expect your body to consistently weigh, let’s say, 120 pounds. Allow your weight to vary within a range between 118 and 122 pounds.
Water-weight quickly comes and quickly goes. It is not permanent. It is not body fat. You should not let this normal fluctuation depress your mood for the day.
Many factors affect water-weight. These include:
• hormonal shifts that occur not only premenstrually, but also if you are stressed or over-tired.
• salty foods, such a Chinese dinner or a bag of popcorn.
• hot weather or a hot environment, such as a hot meeting room.
• overeating carbohydrates. When you “carbo-load”, you store about three ounces of water along with every ounce of carbohydrate.
Rather than weigh yourself every morning, I suggest you weigh yourself only once a week--or better yet, not at all! The scale rarely tells you anything you do not already know. If you feel thinner, if your clothes are looser, and if people are even commenting that you look leaner, then you have lost body fat--despite the number on the scale.
Rather than starting each day by weighing yourself, how about starting it by smiling at yourself in the mirror and appreciating your body for all the wonderful things it does to help you live a fulfilling life? That sounds more fruitful to me!
“I’ve struggled with my weight all my life. I remember going to Weight Watchers with my mom when I was 10 year old. That was humiliating! Ever since then, I’ve been on and off diets. I feel like such a failure,” lamented my client, a 38-year-old medical professional. Like most people who struggle with weight, he grew up with the message that he wasn’t “good enough” and that being over-fat was not acceptable.
To counter all of his negative self-talk, I encouraged Jim (not his real name) to remember that just as dogs come in differing sizes and shapes, so do people. And no one size or shape is “perfect” or able to transform him into a “better” person. I encouraged him to live on a fantasy island, where he could be “good enough” at his current weight.
I also shared these words of wisdom: “To compare is to despair.” I invited Jim to stop comparing himself to others and to simply appreciate all the wonderful things his body does for him. Easier said than done, but certainly a worthy goal.
If you, too, have struggled with being overweight for most of your life, you might also feel imperfect and inadequate. The solution is not to change your body from the outside in (by losing excess body fat) but to change yourself from the inside out. You can be a good person at any size. For help with improving your relationship with your body, you might want to read the chapter on body fat in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook.