Archive for the ‘Food’ Category
As someone who was overweight for most of my life, weighed over 450 pounds by the time I graduated from college and then finally took off the weight sensibly without surgery or prescription medicine (and has kept the excess weight at bay for almost two decades), I’m often asked: “What’s the secret to successful dieting?” To which I often want to reply, “Don’t.” (Diet, that is.)
While this response might seem factitious to some, I assure you it’s not. It’s communicated with compassion and understanding.
I started to gain excess weight during the first grade. And my parents, thinking they were making smart decisions on my behalf, immediately put me on a strict diet, which taught me the rules of what and what not to eat. Naturally, I was more drawn to the “forbidden fruit” (the richer, more caloric foods) than I was to the iceberg lettuce and cottage cheese. So my parents next started locking up crackers, chips, sweets and any other foods they deemed not diet-worthy. Although still at a young age, I quickly learned the concept of being “on” and “off” of a diet.
For anyone reading this with a furled brow, I will quickly point out I do not demonize my parents for doing this. Again, they were making the best decisions they knew to make. My father was in the Air Force, so his whole family being perceived as trim and “in shape” was very important to him (and, he believed, to his job).
But mentally armed with knowing what it meant to be on a diet, I knew exactly how to go off of said diet. I eventually began stealing money out of my dad’s wallet and used the cash to buy sweets and treats that I would hide in my bedroom closet. My “secret stash” as it were. By the time I was a teenager (still being put on various diets—some even completely liquid-based), I was buying “contraband” food while my friends were trying to get their hands on “contraband” beer.
You can probably surmise that as my constant dieting efforts continued, so did the excess weight gain. Because we were stationed on an air base in Germany, I was forced to shop for clothes from the Sears Big & Tall catalog (nothing like forcing yourself into a pair of large-sized Toughskins jeans to remind you of even more ways you didn’t fit in at high school). But not even that kind of self-perceived shame kept me from going off of whatever diet I happened to be on. And certainly there were times I stayed on the diets. But that was usually just the first day of them—after which all bets were off.
I continued to try every kind of diet known to man as I gained more and more weight. Sometimes I’d actually lose weight on the diets. But I’d eventually re-gain the weight I lost along with some extra “bonus weight” when I finally went off of the diet I’d been most recently “successful” on.
On. Off. On. Off. On. Off. All with more and more weight gain. And what was the common denominator? The diets themselves.
It wasn’t until I finally dropped the diet mentality that I began to make some real progress toward getting healthy. Healthy being the key word. Suddenly I wasn’t as focused on getting thin (and getting out of those damned Toughskins jeans) as I was on feeling good. When weighing as much as I did, I would get breathless just talking on the phone. I would become winded walking up a single flight of stairs. And I even had broken a movie theater seat that buckled under my weight (while on a date no less).
When I focused more on feeling good and the benefits that working my way to a healthier weight would bring me, I realized the “diet” wasn’t as necessary of a tool as it had been originally presented as.
This doesn’t mean I didn’t do everything I could to learn about nutrition. But I also dedicated myself to embrace the concept of moderation. As I learned to enjoy food in a way that wasn’t like it was the last time I would ever have it, I didn’t have to overeat extreme amounts. I could have one scoop of ice cream because I knew there would be more reasonable amounts of ice cream in my future. The concept is simple I know. But sometimes it’s the simplest changes that lead to the biggest triumphs.
I did a lot of work on my mental self as well—realizing that after many years of child abuse (separate of the extreme diets I had been put on), I had as much mental weight to get rid of as I did physical weight. But this was all do-able. And it began with reminding myself of my true goals: Feeling good, being healthy and loving myself (no matter what brand or size of jeans I was wearing)—all while being able to enjoy the occasional rich food in moderation.
Don’t get me wrong. A reasonable (and nutritious) food plan is something that can definitely help you learn portion sizes. But you might want to drop the word “diet” while incorporating the food plan. And the plan shouldn’t be as much about restriction as it is about delicious, healthy choices in quantities that satisfy your hunger while fueling your body.
Dieting can be a concept that doesn’t work for a lot of people. Otherwise those of us with “diet mentalities” wouldn’t have to keep starting and re-starting diets over and over again. For some who are trying to change their lives and better their health, it might be time to try dropping the D-word from their vocabulary as they commit to their overall goal of living a happier, healthier life.
I’ll be the first to tell you that when I met Joy Bauer, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was appearing on the Today show for the first time and she was kind enough to be inducting me into her Joy Fit Club. Needless to say, we hit it off instantly and she soon became my “Diet Wife” and I her “Diet Husband.” She is truly one of the kindest and funniest people I know. And she’s also super committed to helping people live their happiest and healthiest lives.
That’s why I’m so excited about her brand new book, Joy Bauer’s Superfood!: 150 Recipes for Eternal Youth. After reviewing countless studies and analyzing the eating habits of people around the world living the longest lives, Joy uses nutritious ingredients to whip up delicious recipes that taste incredible while adding to our overall health. The 150 recipes in the new book include everything from Buffalo wings to deep-dish pan pizza to salted caramel milkshakes to nachos and more.
I begged Joy to let me share a recipe from the book and she kindly let me pick one out to share with Just Stoppers. So here’s one of my favorite recipes from the breakfast category. But trust me that there are tons of amazing recipes in the book. All really easy and even fun to make. And I promise I’m not saying this because Joy paid me. As I recently joked on Instagram, Joy’s too cheap for that. (Ha!) I hope you enjoy this recipe and I hope you check out her book. Besides being full of tips and recipes, it’s also got gorgeous photography (making it a great gift and perfect coffee table book).
Here’s a recipe from her new book that Joy so generously let me share:
Dirty Chai Overnight Oats
SERVES: 2 PREP TIME: 5 MINUTES, PLUS AT LEAST 6 HOURS SOAKING
Recipe by Joy Bauer, from her book, Joy Bauer’s Superfood!: 150 Recipes for Eternal Youth
Chai isn’t just for tea. I love working its Indian-inspired flavors—cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves—into foods because of their complexity and warmth. The standard dirty chai recipe gets its “dirty” moniker because it features a shot of espresso. My version actually calls for brewed coffee—but you can use whichever you prefer. When I’m rushing to an early morning TV shoot or meeting and I don’t have time to prepare breakfast, I’ve come to rely on overnight oats. There’s nothing easier: I prep them the night before in a sealable jar, refrigerate, and then simply give a quick shake or stir when I wake up. Don’t expect a sugary sweet experience; this delivers a creamy bowl of goodness filled with several distinct layers of flavorful spice—pretty darn fabulous, IMO! Of course, you can easily sweeten it up with additional honey, if you prefer. Pro tip: This overnight creation is delicious straight from the fridge, but you can warm it up, too. Just stir in ½ cup extra milk and microwave for a minute or so.
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
¼ cup brewed coffee, cooled
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons chia seeds
In a small bowl, combine the milk, coffee, honey, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, allspice, and cloves. Whisk to dissolve the honey. Stir in the oats and chia seeds until everything is evenly incorporated and the oats are submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight for the mixture to soften and firm.
Recipe and photographs used with permission. All rights reserved.
Like it or not, Thanksgiving (AKA the granddaddy of all eating holidays) is upon us. But 2019 is going to be different. Why? Because this year, you’re staying in control (you are stronger than Pumpkin Pie, after all). And you’re also going to exercise your newfound knowledge regarding the difference between a Splurge Meal and a Binge.
In the book Just Stop Eating So Much!, I write about Splurge Meal options when you get close to or reach your goal weight. Yes, at a Splurge Meal you can enjoy your favorite foods and beverages – but you’re encouraged to do it within reason (paying attention to portion sizes and pushing the plate away before the waistline of your jeans starts cutting off circulation to the upper half of your body).
The trick is to really enjoy a meal – not an entire day (or weekend, week, month or season) of splurging. Because when continuing to eat after the one meal, splurging becomesbingeing – and that leads to disaster for both your mental and physical health.
But here’s the good news! This Thanksgiving, whether you’re at, near – or far from – your goal weight, you have permission to enjoy a Splurge Meal. If you just enjoy the one Thanksgiving meal and eat and drink according to healthier food and portion guidelines for the rest of the holiday weekend, you won’t hurt your efforts to look and feel great.
And when it comes to splurging on Thanksgiving dinner, try and make sure you enjoy all aspects of it and don’t make it about eating as many sweet potatoes as you can, since you know you’re back to your commitment to eating healthier resumes right after the meal is over. Instead, really taste the food with each bite. Savor every morsel – and enjoy all of the different the flavor sensations – while also enjoying the people you’re dining with and listing the reasons you’re thankful in your head.
So this Turkey Day, eat, drink and be merry – all without guilt. But don’t be a glutton. Stop before you’re too full and don’t mourn not being able to have a turkey sandwich later. After all, your weight loss efforts are a choice. You are choosing to get healthy, to look better, to fit into your skinny jeans and to turn a few heads by Christmastime.
By successfully living through an “eating holiday,” you will prove once and for all that this time you’re really in control. And that’s definitely cause for celebration!
Image Source: POPSUGAR.
If dieting and weight loss has been a recurring theme in your life or if you struggle with mastering your own motivation or making peace with food and your body, I have something exciting to tell you about. My fellow coach, colleague and pal, Lisa Goldberg, has invited me and over twenty other well-known experts to join in a discussion that can help you discover the real reasons why dieting fails, and how mindset techniques and strategies are the key to not only losing weight and keeping the weight off, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle. These are people who have overcome incredible challenges and have made it their life’s mission to help others do the same. You will feel inspired and ready, fully equipped to meet and maintain your goals, free yourself from dieting, master your own mindset, and change your life forever. This online event is 100% free, but what you will learn is 100% priceless.
This event can help you to:
• End the struggle with emotional eating and create a healthy relationship with food – and stop dieting for GOOD
• Have more confidence in yourself and your body’s progress to see real and lasting results
• Break down your barriers to health and wellness success
• Discover real solutions that are delivering lasting results for people just like you
• Learn the importance of mindset in weight loss
• End Self-sabotage
• Make peace with food and heal your relationship with yourself and your body
• And more
Starting January 10th, you can listen in as these renowned health experts discuss the mindset of success, healthy lifestyle techniques, building confidence, self-care, and finally having the body and life you deserve! I’ve been invited to speak at one of the sessions, but I also personally plan on listening to each speaker so that I can gain important insights from other professionals to help my clients stop settling for less in life than they deserve, start feeling good about themselves every day and finally have the peace and health they’ve always wanted.