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Active Expert: Nancy Clark RD CSSD

4 Posts tagged with the binge tag

Do you have food(s) that you try to stay away from because you fear you will overeat it once you start with a small bite?

For many of my clients, cookies, peanut butter, and bagels fit into this category of “trouble foods.”  These hungry athletes try to stay away from these “fattening foods.” They believe that eating, let’s say, one cookie will lead to eating 200 cookies, and they will end up  getting instantly fat. Sound familiar?


If a food has too much power over you, try this experiment (as suggested in the book Beating Your Eating Disorder):

• Weigh yourself (first thing in the morning) on Day 1 of the experiment.

• Make one dietary change that you are sure will make you get fat (such as eating a big cookie at breakfast).

• Maintain this one change for 7 days (without making any other food or exercise changes), then weigh yourself again.

• Repeat this experiment for another 7 days. Take the average of the weights. (Weight fluctuates due to shifts in water.)

Have you gotten fat? Doubtful.


Take note: if the scale has gone up a tiny bit, the gain is likely due to replenishment of depleted muscle glycogen (carb) stores. For each one ounce of carbs stored in your muscles as glycogen, you also store about three ounces of water. Hence, do not obsess about a number on the scale. Rather, observe how much better you feel during the day and also during your workout.


While food experiments sound like a good idea, the reality is they can be very anxiety provoking and hard work. Eating more calories is hard because you are giving up control without being sure you will feel better in the long run. To learn how to take the power away from trigger foods, try reading Beating Your Eating Disorder. Other self-help books are available at


Just imagine how nice life will be for you and your loved ones when you can wake up without food fears and rigid food rules…  this is a change worth making!


Eat wisely and be well,



For additional reading: Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, chapter on Dieting Gone Awry.

1,301 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: binge, when_food_has_power_over_you, eating_disorder, anorexia, overeat, food_rules

Happy Day-After-Valentine’s-Day! Or maybe it’s not so happy if your sweetie gave you a chocolate-filled heart and you are staring at it, trying to “stay away” from the yummy treats. Do you eat them all today to “get rid of them”? Or can you enjoy one every day for the next few weeks?


If you are like too many of my clients, you believe you cannot eat just one chocolate. As one marathoner reported “I am addicted to chocolate... I ate the whole candy-filled heart in two hours.”


I beg to differ with her. I doubt if she is “addicted” to chocolate. My hunch is, she doesn’t give herself permission to eat chocolate very often. Hence, when chocolate crosses her path, this becomes her “last chance” to eat the stuff. You know “I’d better it all now to get rid of it, because I can never ever eat chocolate again. It’s a “bad” food…”


When a food has power over you, you need to eat it more often, not stay away from it. How about a little (preferably dark) chocolate every day with lunch? With time, you’ll get tired of the stuff. And remember, chocolate is not a “bad” food. Actually, it is quite delicious! The trick is to learn how to eat it in moderation.


Eat wisely and be well,



For help with taking the power away from food, see Chapter 16: Dieting Gone Awry in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

You might also want to meet with a sports dietitian for personalized help. To find a local expert, use the referral network at

1,478 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: chocolate, nancy_clark, binge, sports_nutrition_guidebook, power_over_food

Too many active people believe eating candy is bad for their health. They avoid M&Ms and Hershey’s Kisses like the plague. Instead, they opt for "healthy foods" like raisins and bananas. (That is, until the day comes when the go off ‘the deep end.”) While the natural goodness of fruit is indeed the more nutritious choice, a candy bar can also fit into a healthy diet. It’s far better to enjoy an occasional candy bar as a part of your overall well balanced diet than it is to binge-eat the whole bag of Kisses on a “bad diet day”, thinking "this is my last chance to ever eat chocolate before I go back on my diet, so I'd better eat the whole thing now."


Keep in mind, your brain has a memory for the delightful taste of chocolate (or whatever food you crave). If you try to ignore your urge for chocolate, you’ll end up eating the candy bar eventually – often after having tried to curb your craving with an apple, crackers, pretzels, sugar-free fudgesicle, anything but the candy bar…. and then, 500 calories later, you succumb to the Milky Way. You could have more wisely enjoyed it in the first place.


Next time you have a craving for a specific food, relax, eat the treat slowly, taste it, savor the flavor, and enjoy the treat -- guilt-free. One candy bar will not ruin your health forever. In fact, it might enhance your (mental) health. Moderation is the key!



Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD

2,771 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: chocolate, binge, craving

As I mentioned in my previous blog, too many active people starve by day, in their efforts to lose weight, and then blow their diet by night. They think they lack "will power" when they overeat at night. Wrong. They lack nutrition "skill power."


Hunger is physiological—as is the need to urinate. That is, if you need to pee at 11:00 a.m., do you make yourself wait until noon to go to the bathroom? Doubtful. But if you are hungry at 11:00 a.m., do you make yourself wait until noon to have lunch? Likely. And when the skimpy lunch does not fill you up, you then make yourself wait until dinner to eat, at which time you are too hungry to have control over food. You overeat, and that is physiology of hunger!


Once you understand that hunger is physiological and allow yourself to eat adequately during the day, life is easier and more enjoyable, and weight loss become more successful.


Think of it this way: if you were babysitting and the child was crying because it was hungry, not feeding that child would be called child abuse. Yet, if you under eat all day and are hungry, you are simply "on a diet." Wrong, you are abusing your body.


You can lose weight by eating just a little bit less at night. There's a big difference between being "starving" and "not quite full." Chip away at weight loss by eating just 100 to 200 calories less at night, and you’ll be more successful in the long run than trying to live hungry all day. Give it a try!


Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD

1,523 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: weight_reduction, hunger, starvation, binge

Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Member since: Jul 8, 2007

Hi! I specialize in nutrition for exercise, and help active people figure out how to manage food, weight, exercise, energy and enjoyment of eating. Let me know if you have any questions!

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