Emotional eating and peanut butter banana sammies

This topic hits really close to home. I crave food the most when I am sad, stressed, nervous, made, or anxious. Basically it hits when I “just can’t deal”. For many years, emotional eating derailed me from succeeding on whatever diet plan I was on at the moment (we need to discuss the word diet at some point. I really hate that word. It’s a lifestyle change… once I realized the difference between diet and lifestyle change, my world changed).

Cortisol is a stress hormone that triggers cravings for foods that give immediate pleasure like high fat foods, foods that are salty and sweet. My go to foods were always pasta and breads and if I wasn’t home, man oh man, the most comforting food to me was Wendy’s #6- spicy chicken sandwich. Eating that food gave me such a temporary high. It reduced all my stress and made me feel like everything was ok in the world. But then I would get so mad at myself for eating those bad foods. What a vicious cycle from sadness and stress to anger and around and around we’d go.

Emotions are sometimes hard to control, BUT, we can control how we consume foods. I have my moments of weakness but not as bad as before and I definitely don’t beat myself up over it anymore because guilt is just another negative emotion.

Here are ways I’ve been able to help myself and I hope my experiences can help you too.

 Know yourself. Know what sets you off and be prepared.

Example: Work stressors. Keep healthy, satisfying snacks around. I always make sure to have something laying around like nuts (I love Emerald’s 100 cal packs of Cocoa Roast Almonds), apples, bananas, protein bars, or my recent favorite, banana peanut butter sandwiches (see recipe below).

 Find ways to cope.

Examples:

-Take your lunch break and go for a walk. Get the blood flowing, get some fresh air and relax. Enjoy the world around you.

-Keep a journal; sort out your thoughts, word vomit all over those pages!

-Take a breath! Breathing is a powerful tool that can prompt relaxation. Check this link out for some useful breathing techniques: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00521/three-breathing-exercises.html

Get a hobby!

– I’ve had an on again off again love affair with Cycling. It’s back on and we are strong as ever and determined to make it work.

-How about art? Coloring? Check out these adult coloring books: http://www.amazon.com/Adult-Coloring-Book-Relieving-Patterns/dp/1941325122

-Watch animal videos on you-tube. I promise, this helps.

Talk to someone

There are a few people in life that can make me feel better- my husband, my parents, and my besties. Thanks guys, I love you!

If you have a moment, let us know what coping techniques you’ve used.

Banana and peanut butter sandwiches to the rescue:

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What you will need:

1 Banana

2 tablespoons peanut butter

Freezer safe Tupperware

Directions:

Cut banana into dime size pieces, you should be able to make 8-10 “sandwiches”

Spread thin layer of PB on a slice and top with another slice of banana

Put your sandwiches inside a freezer safe dish and freeze at least an hour before eating

Enjoy!

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How to get 8 Times More Beta-Carotene from Your Carrots

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cool as a carrot

I love carrots. So obviously I hulked out with rage and excitement when I learned these easy tricks to maximize their nutritional content. This comes from one of my favorite books, “Eating on the Wild Side,” by Jo Robinson.

If you follow these steps, you can increase the nutritional value of your carrots by up to 800%. So do it!

  1. Choose mature carrots over baby carrots.

Baby carrots are not the same as human babies. They come from ugly looking mature carrots, with the outer parts cut off and thrown away. Come to think of it, they are kind of like human babies after all.

But here is why you have a problem. Like many fruits and veggies, the greatest concentration of anti-oxidants and nutrients in carrots can be found in the skin, as well as in the tissues immediately below the skin.

From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes sense. Anti-oxidants are needed in the outermost layers of the plant, so that it can best protect itself from pests and disease. And also from the growing influence of America’s far right.

Opt for regular mature carrots, and you will have access to the healthiest parts of the carrot.

2. Eat fresh rather than frozen carrots.

Unlike some other veggies, carrots lose much of their nutritional value when frozen or thawed. Opt for fresh carrots over frozen.

3. Steam or sauté your carrots rather than boiling them.

When you boil your carrot, some of the water soluble nutrients end up in the cooking water. Avoid this by steaming or sautéing your carrots.

You can also avoid some of this nutritional loss by cooking your carrots whole, and cutting them afterward.

4. Eat your carrots with fat.

A little bit of fat will help you absorb the most beta-carotene from your carrot. That’s because beta-carotene is fat soluble.

This makes me happy, because fat tastes like heaven.  Carrot flavored ice cream anyone?

Happy munching 🙂

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Netflix and Chill

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Snowed in on a Saturday night? Me too.

Here are just a few of my favorite health and weight loss  documentaries for you to to cuddle up with tonight.

Youtube 

1. BBC Horizon “The Truth About Exercise” 

I’ve really admired Dr. Michael Mosley ever since I read his book “The Fast Diet.”  This short doc is so different and fascinating. Even if you’re a fitness fanatic, I promise you will learn a thing or two.

Watch it here.

2. BBC Horizon “Eat Fast and Live Longer”

If you know me, you know I fast regularly. Fascinating doc, again featuring Dr. Mosley. It’s not about weight loss as much as it is about the latest cutting edge science in aging.

Watch it here.

3. BBC Horizon “Why are thin people not fat?”

Ok, last one with Dr. Mosley, I swear! This documentary covers an interesting experiment where a diverse group of ‘naturally thin’ people are made to put on weight in order to help use better understand the mechanics behind weight gain. Love it.

Watch it here.

Netflix

1. Fat Sick and Nearly Dead 

Follow Australian businessman Joe Cross as he embarks on an extended juice fast while traveling across the USA.

You may or may not agree with his method, but either way you’ll hear from a lot of great doctors (like Dr. Joel Fuhrman), and also from other people who use green juices and smoothies as intro to a more balanced lifestyle .

2. Fat Sick and Nearly Dead 2

..the sequel. Follow up with Joe Cross as well as some of the people from the first movie, five years later. Learn how to maintain your weight with a plant based diet.

3. Fed Up

This movie is important. It tracks the struggle of obese and overweight children. It’s sad, it’s infuriating, and it might make you change your ways completely about nutrition and food marketing

What are some of your favorites???

Happy Binging 🙂

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Garlic: You’re Doing it Wrong

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“I smell but I’m good for you.” – Garlic

We all know that garlic is good for you. But did you know that if you prepare garlic improperly, you may be destroying many of its health benefits?

Luckily, the fix is easy. And interesting. Because…..science.

Alliin + Allinase —> Allicin.

Fresh garlic contains a compound called alliin and an enzyme called allinaseThese two work together to produce a magical ingredient called allicin. If you aren’t a complete toolbag you probably want some  allicin in your life.

Allicin has antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral properties. Allicin even has antiprotozoal properties! I hear that vampires fear allicin. In nature, allicin protects the plant from a host of pests.

But Here’s the Problem

Unlike your terrifying stalker, allicin isn’t always  just there.  To produce allicin, you must smash together the two precursor ingredients (alliin and allinase). You can do this by chopping or crushing the garlic. Crushing is better.

From an evolutionary standpoint this makes sense. It’s physical distress which causes the anti-pest ingredient to kick into gear.

So when fresh garlic is chopped or crushed, allicin will form.

Heat Destroys Allinase 

Allinase, the enzyme needed to produce allicin, is destroyed by heat.  So if you crush garlic and throw it immediately into a hot pan or oven, you won’t get allicin.

Before you know it, you will be sad, old, and lonely – simply because you didn’t do garlic the right way. No one will be your friend, and no one will invite you to Mahjong.

The Fix

Raw Garlic
If you eat raw garlic, you’re fine. The mechanical action of your mechanical teeth is enough to crush the garlic. And because you are not exposing the allinase to high heat before the allicin has a chance to form, you are not ruining your whole life by preparing garlic the wrong way.

But if you cook your garlic, Behold!
Simply crush or chop your garlic, then let it sit for ten minutes at room temperature before exposing it to heat.

During this time, the allicin will have time to form. Once the ten minutes are up, you can prepare your garlic however you want without destroying the health benefits. Just don’t complain to me about your bad breath because I will pretend I do not know you.

Enjoy 🙂

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We’d love to hear about your progress.
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Don’t Be A Lameass

“‘I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.” – Louis CK

One of the top reasons people say they find themselves eating is because they are bored.

To this I say: the boredom may be a bigger problem than the food.

Ok, first of all, no one should ever allow themselves the opportunity to be bored or boring. Idle time leads to bad habits. Sitting around, snacking, watching too much TV and just a general lack of productivity – which is lame.

Don’t be lame! Be fun! Be un-boring!

Here’s an idea! Find awesome ways to fill your time.

  1. Find projects around the house you’ve been meaning to do
  2. Find a hobby: start a bowling league, paint some more, write some more, learn to do magic tricks (Did you know that people that pull rabbits out of hats tend to be 28% leaner on average than those who do not pursue this hobby #uncitedsource)
  3. Make a list of activities to do and keep adding to it. Even add them to your calendar and invite your friends: ice skating, hiking, going to a museum, going camping, making sculptures out of matchsticks (making and maintaining the list is an activity itself, doing these things are bonus points)
  4. Go for a walk!
  5. Get a tattoo on an area other than your face (plus it’s a great way burn through any money you may have accidentally saved up)
  6. Learn to spell accidentally (hint: it took me a long time to write #5)
  7. Write a manifesto, or at least make a zine
  8. Learn to play the jaw harp
  9. Write some angry Yelp reviews *
  10. Read the comment section on any Insane Clown Posse YouTube videos**While laughter burns calories, these activities are often enjoyed sitting, so not as highly advised, yet still very entertaining and good fodder for small talk at parties.

Stay fun, my friends!

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Preparing for the Storm: The Fat Girls Fitness Way

 

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Ok – so what if I live like a sad bachelor?

A blizzard is coming! News anchors are telling you to stock up on food and essentials. Inclement weather alert!!! Now is the perfect time to gain five pounds over the weekend and sabotage your weight loss efforts 4 life.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Don’t kid yourself. Winter preparedness does not mean you need Wonder Bread, American Cheese, and Donuts. Nutella is great – but do you really need it to survive the storm?

Maybe. I don’t know. It is really tasty….

One of the hardest parts of losing weight is avoiding temptation. And with a potential blizzard on the way, everyone is trying to sell you something comforting and delicious to increase your dress size. But if you care about your pants, it’s helpful to keep those tempting foods outside of the house and/or apartment altogether.

So the above photo? That’s my actual fridge right now. Of course I’ll make sure I have the essentials: water, toilet paper, basic foods to make sure I won’t die. And I’m not a crazy person, so of course I’ll keep plenty of rum on hand. In fact I’ll probably head out and add some wine to my collection.

But notice what isn’t in my fridge: anything extra (other than alcohol).

I’m not suggesting you deprive yourself. Have fun, have a snow day. Eat some terrible stuff if you are so inclined. But I find one of the most helpful steps to leading a healthy lifestyle is keeping crap out of the house. Sure, I eat crap from time to time. But the fact that crap is not available to me two feet from my living room helps more than you might think.

If I want to make an inadvisable food choice, and I often do – I have to walk two blocks to 7/11. That’s not far, but it’s enough of an impediment that I’ll usually just reach for a fruit instead.

So yes – I’m irresponsible. I haven’t done my “emergency shopping” just yet. But when I do, I’ll stock up on fruits, veggies, and maybe some canned beans. Fine maybe one little Twix bar.  But just one!

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Plateau Busting: The Two Pound Goal Post

I’m slightly worried this post might betray my weirdness, but here is a mental technique I used to help me lose weight once I began to plateau.

Preface: Goals are great. But if you keep making them, and not meeting them – they can be very discouraging. Goals should be achievable, but just barely so.

Step One: Calculate your “Goal Date”

Pick a day 10 days in the future. This is your goal date.
Example: Today is January 22. Therefore, my goal date = February 1.

Step Two: Calculate Your “Goal Weight Range”

Weigh yourself today (in the morning, before you eat or drink!). Subtract two pounds from that weight, but only counting the whole number.
Example: So let’s say today I weigh 165.9, 165.5, or even 165.1 – my Goal Weight Range would be “163 point anything”.

Step Three: Put It on a Calendar

Hold yourself accountable by physically writing or typing your Goal Weight Range on your calendar.
Example: In this case, I would write “163 point anything” on February 1st in my calendar

Step Four: The Mental Work

Every morning while you brush your teeth (assuming you brush your teeth!), take a look in the mirror and remind yourself of your specific goal. Promise yourself that you will make healthy choices, just for today – in order to be one day closer to your Goal Weight Range on your Goal Date.

Realize that you whether you make your goal or not, it’s OK. In any event, you’re going to make good choices today to get there.

Step Five: The Weigh In

Sometimes, you won’t make your weight, and sometimes you will. This is simply what happens when you are close to a healthy weight and losing weight becomes harder.

But here is the key: if you make good choices for a 10 day period, sometimes you will lose one pound in 10 days, and sometimes you might lose three. This is especially true for females. No matter what – you repeat the process on your weigh in day. Always with a two pound weight range as your goal.

Step Six: The Repeat

The key is to do this consistently (and also to be gentle with yourself) until your reach your ultimate goal weight.

What I like about this method is that your goal resets every 10 days. And because we are rounding, sometimes your goal is actually closer to one pound, and sometimes it’s closer to three (depending on your start weight).

Because your goal continues to reset, you can kiss your history goodbye. All that matters is what choices you make today.

Because of monthly hormonal fluctuations (and fluctuations in my eating habits) I personally found that I meet or EXCEED my goals about 3/4 of the time, and usually miss them 1 in 4 times. Over a period of a month – I generally averaged somewhere between 7 and 10 pounds with this method.

If you miss your goal two times in a row, it’s probably a good indication that there are changes you can make to your eating habits if your goal is to continue losing weight.

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