Category: "Watching Your Weight?"

How to redeem yourself after you binge eat

June 27th, 2014 | no comments

We’ve all been there! Something happens in life, causing you to become emotionally off balance and then…bring on the hot fudge sundae!

Despite what you may be thinking, all hope is NOT lost! You are actually standing right in the middle of a fork in the road. Should you go left and continue the binge or go right and reclaim control?

If you choose to go right, watch my latest video to learn three steps to help you get back on track and take control of your life:

 

 

 

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

Stop your food phobia!

June 16th, 2014 | no comments

Eat this, not that!

Milk is bad!

Eggs are evil!

How many times have you heard a negative claim about a food and then the very next day you hear someone say the exact opposite? How confused and frustrated are you when this happens? This can (and often does) lead to a fear of food and eating altogether!

How do you know who or what to believe anymore?

Click on the video below to learn how to stop your food phobia for good! I’ll also share my dirty little secret of how I manage to stay in the best shape of my life! Juicy, juicy stuff….

 

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

Why you may be struggling with your weight

June 6th, 2014 | no comments

Have you tried and tried (and tried again) to control your weight but always wind up right back where you started? You start out following the meal plan down to the very last detail. You’re even exercising more than ever before. A couple of weeks go by and you notice that the excitement and motivation have fizzled out. Slowly you return back to your more “comfortable” lifestyle and go back to practicing the habits that are keeping you stuck (i.e. snacking a little too much; not making time for exercise; saying “what the hell…give me another glass of wine.”) 

So what’s the deal?

Is it that you aren’t motivated enough?

NO!

Is it that you just haven’t found the right meal plan?

I doubt it!

Is it that you are genetically screwed and destined to be out of shape for the rest of your life?

Nope…that’s not it either (even though I know many of you feel this way!)

Click on the video below to discover the real reason why you may be struggling to control your weight:

If you loved this week’s Food for Thought and think it can help someone else get unstuck and on the road to a healthier body… please share it!

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

Should you drink juice?

May 17th, 2014 | no comments

This is a question I get asked quite often. If you’ve been reading my posts for any length of time, you know my motto is: No Food Is Forbidden. I stand by this statement and live it every day of my life. It helps support a healthy life-balance and gives me the freedom to choose. It puts the ball in my court. So juice-drinkers, breathe a sigh of relief—I’m not going to suggest you give it up. Not even for a second! (-;

But (there’s always a but, isn’t there?) there’s something you may not have considered about your favorite fruity beverage. While it’s true that 100% juice comes from fruit, contains no added sugar and offers up plenty of vitamin C, because it’s stripped of dietary fiber, juice does very little to count towards the f-factor of a meal. The f-factor is a term I use to describe a food’s ability to take hunger away for an extended period of time. This means if you drink a 16-ounce glass of apple juice with dinner, you’re downing about 240 calories and eating just as much food as you would’ve had you drank no juice. Why? Because liquid calories (as yummy as they are) do not satisfy like solid calories, so you won’t compensate by eating any less. Bummer!

Here’s what to do:

Think of the caloric-equivalent of that 16-ounce glass of juice and picture it as solid food sitting on your plate. For example, let’s say you’re sitting down to a dinner of grilled pork chops, seasoned rice and grilled veggies. The juice has about the same amount of calories as a 3-ounce pork chop. So it’s just like putting another pork chop on your plate! After this consideration, if you still decide to drink the juice, try shrinking the portion to make it fit. I recommend capping juice at four ounces a day. You still get to enjoy the deliciousness but with much less impact!

If you decide that it’s really not worth it, how about having a piece of fruit with that meal instead? Because it has a generous amount of dietary fiber, whole fruit (especially fruit eaten with the skin on, like apples and pears) really helps put a dent in the f-factor of the meal. Eat a sliced apple with the pork chop dinner and I guarantee you will feel the difference (and probably leave some food on your plate!)

Bottom Line: Liquid calories do not satisfy like solid ones. If you decide you can’t live without it, 100% juice can fit into a healthy meal plan! Just pay attention to portion size and you will be fine!

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

An Easter I Will NEVER Forget

April 12th, 2014 | no comments

Easter 1998 stands out for one reason—I was miserable. The first Easter with the man of my dreams and I wasn’t floating on a cloud? Let me explain. Wayne (my then-boyfriend-now-husband) made me a beautiful Easter basket to celebrate the occasion. I can still picture it vividly in my mind—an oversized brown wicker basket filled with green Easter grass. In the middle sat a solid milk chocolate bunny surrounded by Reese’s Peanut Butter eggs, jellybeans, purple marshmallow Peeps and Cadbury eggs. As if that wasn’t “Willie Wonka” enough, he managed to spiral a two-foot pink and yellow marshmallow rope around the handle of the basket. The gift of that Easter basket (as deliciously special as it was) was like wrapping up a bottle of whiskey and giving it to an alcoholic for Christmas. Poor Wayne…he didn’t know. In fact no one knew…that I was battling binge eating disorder and sugar was my “drug” of choice.

I can remember disappearing up to my bedroom several times throughout the day to sneak some candy. A couple of peanut butter eggs here, a few handfuls of jellybeans there. After about three trips, Wayne finally asked: “Mel…why do you keep going upstairs?” Of course I couldn’t tell him the real reason—that I was devouring my Easter basket like a pack of starving raccoons feasting on a post-picnic garbage can! I mean, how could I tell this wonderful guy that I am a junk food junkie in the middle of a completely out-of-control-sugar binge? Instead, I did what any woman would do when she’s trying to impress the man of her dreams…I told him my stomach was bothering me and I had to use the bathroom. Imagine me preferring that this devastatingly handsome guy picture me on the toilet rather than eating a Reese’s peanut butter egg! That’s how ashamed I was.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want you to know that no matter how out-of-control your eating habits are, there is hope. No matter how stuck in an unhealthy rut you are, there is hope. No matter how hopeless you feel, there is hope. And it starts by recognizing the almost magical power of your body to CRAVE what it is being fed. Put another way—what you feed your body most, it will crave.

When I ate nothing but crap, I craved nothing but crap! It wasn’t until I said a big SCREW YOU to the diet industry and their evil way of making me feel like a failure when I ate a piece of damn chocolate, that I was free. Free to choose a healthier life. Free to feed my body nutritious foods and yes…a little chocolate. Free to give my body the chance to CRAVE healthy food.

No matter what mile-marker you’re at on your road to a healthier body, you must understand that you absolutely have the power to crave healthy food. There’s only one rule—you must start eating healthy food.

Make It Happen:
Take out a piece of paper and write down all of the foods you crave on a daily basis. When your list is complete, study it. What foods are missing? Are there any veggies or fruits on your list? How about water? Think about all of the foods you would love to start craving. How can you begin to build them into your meal plan? Maybe you pack an apple in your lunch instead of visiting the vending machine for your daily potato chip-fix. Maybe you choose a nice hot cup of green tea instead of your usual morning sugar-bombed coffee drink. Choose one food to begin craving and find a way to feed it to your body today, tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that and……

If you were inspired by this post and want that feeling to spread like wildfire, share it with those you love!

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

Plan Healthy Meals in 3 Easy Steps!

March 29th, 2014 | no comments

If you want to get healthy, the best place to start is with your plate! You won’t even believe how easy this is. Here is a simple 3-step process to build healthy meals (you’ll actually want to eat) with nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and Good-4-YOU Fats. In my Healthy YOU program, I walk you through this step-by-step process in greater detail, but for now, here’s what you need to know about healthy meal planning in a flash!

Step One: Choose 2-4 Servings of Good-4-YOU Carbs

They serve as the base of your meal, providing you with the energy you need to get through your day. They also contribute a load of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants-so don’t be shy! Load your plate with two to four servings of fruits, vegetables, beans, low-fat milk/yogurt or whole grains. Each icon above counts as one serving of Good-4-YOU Carbs.

Portion sizes:
1/2 cup cooked grain; 1 cup fruit or veggies; 8 ounces of milk or yogurt; 1/2 cup of beans


Step Two: Add 1-3 ounces of Good-4-YOU Protein


Choose from fish, poultry, lean beef or pork or go meatless with eggs, beans, soy (tofu, veggie burgers), nuts, nut butter, low-fat cottage cheese or reduced fat hard cheese. The icon above counts as one ounce of Good-4-YOU Protein.

Portion sizes: One ounce equals: 1 egg; 1/4 cup cottage cheese; 1/8 cup of nuts; 1 Tbsp peanut/almond butter; 1/4 cup beans; Three ounce portion of meat = size of deck of cards


Step Three: Round out your meal with 1-2 Servings of Good-4-YOU Fat

Whether it comes from the extra-virgin olive oil you use to stir-fry your veggies, the oil and vinegar you dress your salad with or the dab of peanut butter you smear on your whole-wheat toast, Good-4-YOU Fat is essential to help you feel satisfied. Keep in mind, if you’re eating a meal with cheese, fatty cuts of meat or other fats added during the cooking process (butter or high-fat dairy products like cream, 2% or whole milk), there’s no need to add extra fat. Remember, to build a healthy body, it’s best to choose lean meats and low-fat dairy products and add your own Good-4-YOU Fat during cooking or seasoning. This way you have control over what and how much fat you use. The icon above counts as one serving of Good-4-YOU Fat.

Portion sizes: 1 Tbsp. oil; 2 Tbsp salad dressing; 1/8 cup nuts; 1 Tbsp nut butter; 1/2 medium avocado or 1/4 cup guacamole.

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

Eating soup can save you calories!

February 14th, 2014 | no comments

No, it’s not some sort of whacky soup diet…soup consumption really IS linked to eating fewer calories. What’s more, recent studies have revealed that soup consumption is associated with a lower risk of obesity and aids in body weight management.

There’s only one problem however– soup (especially if it’s canned) tends to be pretty high in sodium. Some canned soups on the market today have upwards of 1000 milligrams of sodium per serving. I won’t even mention the hidden sodium in restaurant soups! OK…maybe just one example: A bowl of chicken noodle soup at your neighborhood Panera Bread will cost you a whopping 1380 milligrams of sodium! If you want to keep your heart in tiptop shape, you should really strive to eat under 2300 milligrams of sodium per day.

So what should you be looking for on a food label? The goal is to aim for less than 500 milligrams of sodium per serving. Don’t worry, there are plenty of tasty, reduced sodium soups out there. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Amy’s Organic Light in Sodium Soups (Cream of Tomato, Butternut Squash, Lentil Vegetable, Split Pea, Spicy Chili and Minestrone). Less than 350 milligrams of sodium per serving.
  • Pacific Organic Soups (Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato, Creamy Butternut Squash, Creamy Tomato). Less than 400 milligrams of sodium per serving.

NOTE: Most soups contain two servings per container! Eating the entire can means you’ll be downing double the sodium.

Of course if you really want to control your soup sodium, homemade is always your best bet. Click here for a few delicious recipes to try out!

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

How Chia Seeds Can Benefit Your Health

February 7th, 2014 | no comments

Do you remember those silly commercials years ago featuring the chia pet? You know, those terracotta figurines in the shape of different animals that grew sprouts similar to alfalfa sprouts? Fast forward twenty years and it turns out those sprouted seeds—called none other than chia seeds—are actually little nutrition powerhouses!

One ounce of chia seeds (about 2 tablespoons) contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals. They are a great source of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids (an even better source of omega-3’s than flaxseeds). They have a mild, nutty flavor and can be added to beverages, mixed in hot cereal or cold cereal, stirred into yogurt or even added to vegetable or rice dishes.

How will eating chia seeds benefit you? Omega-3 fatty acids are important for a healthy brain and heart and fiber is essential for a healthy digestive track. Add to that the high antioxidant level of chia seeds, which can help protect you from certain cancers! Oh…one more thing– when added to liquid, the chia seed forms a high fiber gel that can help you feel full longer.

Pick up a bag of chia seeds at your local grocery store or whole foods store today and bring on the benefits!

Raw Chocolate-Chia Energy Bars

Makes 8 bars
30 minutes or fewer
  • 1 ½ cups pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup raw unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup whole chia seeds, such as ReNew Life Ultimate ChiaLife
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract, optional
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract, optional
  • 1 cup raw slivered almonds or raw shelled pistachios
  • Oat flour for dusting, optional
  1. Place dates in bowl of food processor; purée until thick paste forms. Add cocoa powder, chia seeds, and vanilla and almond extracts, if using. Pulse until all ingredients are combined. Add almonds; pulse until nuts are finely chopped and well distributed through date mixture.
  2. Spread large sheet of wax paper on work surface, and dust with oat flour, if using. Transfer date mixture to wax paper, and use paper to press mixture into ½-inch-thick rectangle. Wrap tightly, and chill overnight.
  3. Unwrap block, and cut into 8 bars. Dust edges and sides with oat flour, if using, to prevent sticking. Rewrap each bar in wax paper.

(Source: Vegetarian Times)

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

11 ways to fit more veggies into your diet

January 24th, 2014 | no comments

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), compared with people who consume a diet with small amount of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts reduce their risks of chronic diseases, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The likelihood of having a stroke is also reduced. In most cases, cancer and heart disease are preventable, and eating your fruits and veggies is a small step you can take every day to protect yourself. Aim for three cups of vegetables each day. Try one of these ideas:

  1. Add one cup of baby carrots to your smoothie and blend!
  2. Add two handfuls of spinach or kale to your smoothie and blend!
  3. Toss some peppers, mushrooms and onions into your morning omelet
  4. Eat a side salad with your lunch
  5. Pile your sandwich with spinach, alfalfa sprouts, shaved carrots and tomato slices
  6. Fill half of your dinner plate with two cups of steamed broccoli
  7. Whip up some pureed cauliflower and serve as a side dish
  8. Add extra veggies (chopped green beans, carrots, potatoes) to your soup
  9. Snack on cherry tomatoes and cauliflower florets with hummus or peanut butter dip!
  10. Drink eight ounces of low-sodium V8 juice for a snack
  11. Puree a cooked medium sweet potato and mix into your mac-n-cheese! (I did this the other day for dinner using the recipe below!)

Click here for the Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese recipe!

Nutrition Bonus per serving of Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese: Vitamin A (218% daily value), Calcium (45% dv), Magnesium (31% dv), Vitamin C & Zinc (22% dv), Iron & Potassium (18% dv), Folate (16% dv), B12 (15% dv)

 

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

10 Healthy (and easy) things to do for your body

January 13th, 2014 | no comments

Right this very moment, you are sitting on a gold mine. It’s called opportunity. Each and every day you have a fresh 24-hours to make a difference in the health of your body. They don’t have to be a perfect 24 hours—in fact I highly discourage aiming for perfection (hint: there’s no such thing!)

All too often, we fail to see the big picture. We’re so busy chastising ourselves for eating that cookie or skipping our workout, that we become blind to the power of the itty-bitty healthy choices we are making. There is much momentum attached to doing something good for your body. It’s a sort of healthy “high” that leaves you wanting more.

Here is a list of ten healthy things you can do for your body today. Pick one or two and very simply, notice the lift in your self-esteem, mood and energy. It’s there…so pay attention!

  1. Shop from the perimeter! Fill 75% of your shopping cart with foods from the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where the produce, dairy, fresh meats/seafood are housed. TIP: Spend most of your time loading up on the fruits and vegetables.
  2. Use more spice. Whether it’s a dash of cinnamon in your coffee, a sprinkle of cumin mixed with brown rice or a pinch of basil in your pasta sauce, spices are loaded with antioxidants that help protect your body against disease. TIP: Choose salt-free spices for extra benefit!
  3. Drink a cup of green or black tea. Both can help prevent cardiovascular disease by reducing your LDL (bad) cholesterol and keeping your blood pressure in check! In fact, a 2004 study in Taiwan showed a 46% lower risk of developing high blood pressure in those who drank between 4-20 ounces of tea per day compared to those who didn’t drink it regularly. TIP: Sweeten with just a teaspoon of honey or a couple of sugar cubes. Squeeze in a little lemon for a real pick-me-up!
  4. Ditch any food in your kitchen with the words partially hydrogenated oils, hydrogenated oils, or shortening in the list of ingredients. They offer nothing but trouble for your heart and are found in mostly processed foods, such as: cookies, crackers, doughnuts, canned frosting, pastries, microwave popcorn, margarine, potato chips, snack mixes and coffee creamer.
  5. Make a BIG salad for dinner one night a week. Click here for ideas!
  6. Trade your regular pasta for whole grain. Or mix half and half until you get used to the texture.
  7. Eat a cruciferous vegetable! Packed with disease-fighting phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber, cruciferous veggies include:
    • Arugula
    • Bok choy
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Cabbage
    • Cauliflower
    • Collard greens
    • Horseradish
    • Kale
    • Radishes
    • Rutabaga
    • Turnips
    • Watercress
    • Wasabi
  8. Meditate. Stress is just as harmful to the body as a poor diet. Sit quietly on a soft cushion or chair for ten minutes every day and just breathe. TIP: Do this first thing in the morning, otherwise it’s easy to bail out.
  9. Keep a food journal. You don’t have to do this forever, just a few days. It’s amazing how the simple act of writing down everything you eat makes you aware of things you didn’t even realize you were doing.
  10. Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Maintaining adequate sleep duration and quality can reduce inflammation in your body. BONUS: Getting enough sleep may help reduce overeating!

Healthy habits breed more healthy habits. So stop focusing on what you THINK you’ve done wrong and give yourself the opportunity to do something right…then pat yourself on the back for doing it!

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!