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Maybe you’ve worked really hard to lose weight this year. Maybe you’ve started eating better, no matter what your weight. Maybe it’s been on-again/off-again, but you’re pushing for more “on-again”. No matter what, this is the “perfect storm” season for backtracking: lots of tempting food, everywhere. Stress, family pressures, too much to do. More alcohol, less sleep. Routines out of whack. It’s hard to avoid setback, yet so rewarding when setback’s at least minimized. January 1st comes soon and hard enough without 10 pounds to lose.
To help you through, check out these links, to the Eat Sanely holiday archives (note especially “The Joys of Just Maintaining“), and to our favorite help-you-through-the-holidays articles from. Some of this support hones specifically on the holiday overloads; some can serve you well all year long. Read the rest of this entry »
As we near our most weight-challenging season, I think about those who manage to navigate without gaining a “holiday seven”…..especially, those who now move through the feasts and parties and candies and dips without regaining. There’s useful advice to be found in the media, on planning ahead, lightening traditional foods, taming stress. A factor often neglected in weight discussions, though, is time. Those who make lasting habit changes usually have come to appreciate the role of time. And this sticks with them throughout even the challenging periods.
In contrast to lose-it-quick dieters, people who grasp the time factor might note something like, “It’s taken me 27 years to put the pounds on…..I guess it might take two to get if off.” Whether they know it or not, they’re confirming the idea that “change is a process”. And that time-limited dieting will never lead to the kind of day-in, day-out, year-in, year-out, habits and attitudes that maintain thinner physiques. Read the rest of this entry »
I reprint here my latest Thin From Within blog from Psychology Today:
Those of us concerned with diet, health, weight, eating disorders, and addiction follow what I call “Sugar News” with great interest. Starting, perhaps, in 2011, with the New York Times story “Is Sugar Toxic?”, followed by a 60-Minutes segment with the same name, the public has had increasing exposure to what Overeaters Anonymous has known for years: some people just can’t stop. We’ve learned that sugar lights up addicts’ brains as clearly as drugs do. Further, we’ve learned that it may be sugar, and not fat, fueling diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and other diseases on the rise.
National Geographic now steps forward as the latest major magazine headlining Sugar News. “Sugar Love: A Not So Sweet Story”, by Rich Cohen, recounts our species’ historical love affair, and its significant struggles, with the substance that was once used sparingly, as a rare spice. (We now consume, on average, 78 lbs. per person, per year—some spice!) Cohen not only reviews sugar’s health tolls but provides deep perspective on why and how it spurs such rampant problems.
Other recent news, however, jars in contrast. For the latest review of our nation’s eating trends, well summarized by the New York Times’ Jane Brody last week, shows little change in our sweet consumption. That 78 lbs. per person remains stable, even if it is down somewhat from its all-time high. It’s still way too high, about 22 teaspoons per day. “….Cut back, many of the ill effects disappear…..”, one prominent medical researcher admonishes. But it seems the increasingly frequent headlines—calling sugar a toxin, a poison, a drug—haven’t nudged our behavior all that much, at least not yet.
Realistically speaking, however, mass changes can take a long time. It might take decades for these relatively recent findings to affect individual habits. It might in fact require changes in public health policy (think here of tobacco research). In the shorter run, though, Sugar News most certainly bolsters a group that sometimes does, and sometimes does not, overlap with the obesity stats: the binge eaters, or self-identified food addicts. Many in these groups benefit immediately from Sugar News. Indeed, new and affirming paths for healing open as a result. Read the rest of this entry »
Throughout the fall, I’ll be picking up on the dozen “fall change” targets listed in the recent Eat Sanely newsletter (see just below). The first idea? Bringing your own lunch to work. If you’re not in the habit of doing so, prepare for calorie reduction, better nutrition, and possibly even less grazing later on. All from this one habit shift.
People who successfully make this change report things like: “I don’t go to the food court every day anymore”, “I end up with more energy and don’t get as hungry in the afternoon”, “It’s easier to eat more vegetables”, “It keeps me out of the conference room, where the big spread always tempts me”.
What to bring? Coincidentally, the New York Times “Flexitarian” columnist, Mark Bittman, recently published “Thinking Inside the Bag” on this very topic. His ideas emphasize the delicious and satisfying. They include nice, fresh ingredients. You can do even less, though, in the way of prep. Consider these routine alterations: Read the rest of this entry »
Eat Sanely’s September 2013 Newsletter is reprinted here….also, we’re again offering a dozen free Kindle downloads of our self-help workbook: Eat Sanely: Get Off the Diet Roller Coaster for Good. Just send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org
As we say farewell to summer and return to fall routines, know that this is a potent time for planting the seeds of new eating habits. For a variety of reasons, fall resolutions can work better than those made on January 1. This means better chances of weight loss success and improved fitness. What’s more, planting now means habits can take root by the holiday season, maybe saving you from inevitable weight gain then.
Regular followers know that Eat Sanely promotes lasting habit change as the key to weight loss and maintenance. Any of the dozen ideas below can become a significant step forward toward your healthy weight goals. Pick one or two to focus on, stick with them as best you can, pick yourself up and refocus if you get off track. Later in the season, you’ll see that change for the better. And success with that first one or two can breed more success with other targets. So use this time of readjustment to get real change underway!
I reprint here the most recent post from my Psychology Today “Thin From Within” blog:
In a true sign of our times, binge eaters have shown up significantly in the pages of several novels I’ve read this year. In one fine example, The Middlesteins, by Jami Attenberg, the powerful, overeating protagonist affects the lives of family and friends in far-reaching ways. In the end, one character comprehends how “….food is a wonderful place to hide.”
For many, starting in childhood or beyond, food becomes a source of solace and a companion–not only in hard times, but at the end of even normally stressful days. It’s something to look forward to, something that’s reliably there. This powerful emotional bond may be fully conscious, or not. When it exists, as it does for many who overeat, it’s no wonder that the diet of the moment won’t work, or that new regimes don’t last. In the lists of which foods to eat and avoid, dealing with the loss of this sanctuary gets missed, and the cycle of dieting and overeating resumes. Read the rest of this entry »
From time to time Eat Sanely highlights the ways that home cooking helps our health, our weight, our “eating sanity” overall. The following link came to my attention recently: “30 of the Best Blogs with Healthy Breakfast Recipes for the Whole Family“. Starting off the day well can set the tone for better eating throughout the day. And no matter how the day goes, the good start is never truly in vain. I hope you find some inspiration and ideas!
Although Eat Sanely’s content focuses mainly on adults, our concern extends to kids as well. We can all agree on the importance of getting a good start on healthy habits, and healthy attitudes toward food. With that in mind, I recently found the following post, “Ten
Processed Food Alternatives Kids Will Love”, which I share here:
For more on “feeding kids well” , visit the Eat Sanely “Kids” article archive.
I offer here a revision of the 2011 post “Cooking to Eat More Sanely”, with an updated resource list. Preparing our own food helps weight and sane eating in countless ways that are worth revisiting….
It would certainly be great to adopt
all those habits that lead to better weight loss and health. But here’s one to tackle that you might underestimate in your search for diet solutions. It’s simple: Cook more often.
Cooking can check weight and improve health even if you’re not an expert chef. When we cook at home, we avoid the added salt, sugar, and fats in take-out, fast-food, or restaurant fare. We can control portions better. We can boost the vegetables, shrink the starches, make more of those foods we don’t gorge on. We can make extras for dinner to bring for lunch and thereby avoid the cafeteria. We can get used to, and develop preferences for, real fresh foods that are good for us and our waistlines.
Two myths can stand in the way of our cooking more: Read the rest of this entry »
In case you haven’t received our Summer 2013 newsletter, we reprint it here. Check the useful links for keeping your good habits through the season….
It can be a lot easier to eat sanely in the summer….but the season does bring some challenges as well. The abundance of fresh, affordable—and delicious—produce makes it easy to eat lots more vegetables. We know that eating more vegetables, all by itself, helps our weight. Many people also find it easier to exercise in the summer. No icy roads to keep you inside! On the other hand, vacations can throw people off their routines. And the heat, for some, can hinder exercise in the same way that the cold can for others.
That all said, it’s as important as ever to keep up your healthy habits—as best you can, anyway—whatever the season. Some ideas to help in that direction: Read the rest of this entry »
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