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What it Feels Like to Have Iron Willpower

by | Jan 26, 2015

Photo by Kalexanderson

“I need to get motivated.”

“I need to stop being so lazy.”

“I wish I had her determination.”

“I need to just DO IT.”

I constantly hear people saying these things when they talk about eating better, exercising, or losing weight.

It’s also ingrained in the psyche of our culture. “No pain, no gain.”

Of course, these are all just different ways of saying you wish you had more willpower.

I get it. Willpower is an amazing thing sometimes. And having a strong reserve of it certainly has its advantages.

But there are also serious disadvantages.

I spend a lot of time here on Summer Tomato talking about how willpower doesn’t work for long-term goals. That our brains are built to run on habits, and that self-control should be used sparingly since it takes up so much mental energy.

Whether you agree with this premise or not (apparently this guy doesn’t), today I want to show you that even if you could get healthy through the strength of your iron will, you shouldn’t want to.

I know, because I have really strong willpower. And I used it ruthlessly for 15 years.

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For the Love of Food

by | Jan 23, 2015
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week getting over the resolution hump, how thoughts beget actions, and why cooking “light” is a bad idea.

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app I just discovered to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (Yes, I took that picture of the pepper heart myself.)

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Wisdom Wednesday: You Never Regret a Workout

by | Jan 21, 2015

Photo by Randy Son Of Robert

It’s a common misconception that San Francisco is warm and sunny. It isn’t. At least not usually.

As locals know, Karl the Fog is a year-round resident of the City by the Bay.

Karl’s favorite seasons are summer and winter. During the summer he likes to roll into my hood around 4pm, which is why SF residents always bring a jacket when we leave the house. Always.

In the winter Karl doesn’t restrict his visits to evenings, but pretty much hangs around all day.

Born and raised in SoCal, this took some getting used to. It’s normally pretty easy for me to stick to my habits, but nothing saps my motivation like day after day of gray skies.

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The “I Don’t Feel Like It” Fallacy

by | Jan 19, 2015

bored-kitchen

Sometimes the subtlest thing can derail a habit.

Of all the Home Court Habits I maintain to keep my healthstyle on track, cooking food at home is the most important. When I cook regularly (4-5 days a week) I can eat practically anything I want, maintain my weight and energy, and almost never get sick.

I don’t love to cook, but I don’t mind it. And over the years I’ve developed a system of supporting habits to make sure I do it regularly. It works for me.

Then last week, it stopped working. Despite having attended two dinners at the homes of friends (when I notably didn’t have to cook), when Thursday rolled around I had zero interest in making dinner.

Just the thought of going to the grocery store, picking out one of the same boring meals and going home and putting it together sounded like torture. So I turned on the charm and convinced my husband to join me at a restaurant instead.

I was relieved, but the situation didn’t sit well with me. I had only cooked dinner once this week, the weekend was fast approaching, and I already had plans for the next two nights. Normally I would jump at the opportunity to control what’s on my plate for one additional meal.

Where was my resistance coming from?

The easy thing to do would be to ignore my disinclination to cook this evening or chalk it up to laziness or my general apathy toward the kitchen. But that would be a mistake.

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For the Love of Food

by | Jan 16, 2015
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week the truth about calories, the magic of broth, and why weight loss requires more than Real Food.

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app I just discovered to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (Yes, I took that picture of the pepper heart myself.)

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In the Future Everything is Perfect

by | Jan 12, 2015

Photo by rhett maxwell

This week is so crazy, you guys. Today alone I have a client meeting, a lunch meeting, a 2-hour home repair that took months to get on the calendar, and I’m giving a talk before dinner. That’s on top of my normal writing deadline, dog walks and workout––not to mention eating, showering and looking presentable.

Tomorrow isn’t looking much better. And I’m traveling to five different cities in the next four weeks.

Last year with my wedding, site redesign, and book launch, I didn’t think my life could get any busier or more stressful. Somehow my schedule for this year is already more intense.

We all have things that make our lives crazy. If you aren’t juggling 12 projects and an insane travel schedule, maybe you have a demanding full-time job plus kids to raise, or you’re taking 20 units this semester and working part time to meet your ever-growing tuition bills.

The question is: where does this leave us if we want to start doing something new, like regular exercise or cooking? How will we ever be able to squeeze one more thing onto our to-do list?

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For the Love of Food

by | Jan 9, 2015
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week an easy way to slow aging, the secret to changing your life, and the importance of a personal mission statement.

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app I just discovered to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (Yes, I took that picture of the pepper heart myself.)

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Wisdom Wednesday: Flakes Don’t Grow on Trees

by | Jan 7, 2015

Photo by Chicago Man

When I first took my “leap of science” to stop dieting and start eating Real Food, carbs were the scariest thing. I hadn’t eaten anything resembling a grain in years and didn’t know where to start.

So like any good American consumer I went to the cereal aisle and chose what looked like the “healthiest” cereal. It was a brown flake cereal with lots of fiber and omega-3s. It had the word “Nature” in the brand too.

I felt super virtuous.

Little did I know that even then I was being sucked in by marketing and pseudoscience.

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How to Eat Half a Donut

by | Jan 5, 2015

Photo by rpavich

Donuts are tasty, and foodists eat things that are tasty. I, therefore, eat donuts.

Although I’ve explained extensively what it means to be a foodist, people are often surprised to learn that I really do eat donuts and other indulgent foods. And I eat them whenever I feel like it.

But I’m so thin, how is this possible? If I can eat something so good at any time, why am I not currently lying in a pile of donuts and stuffing my face with glee?

This is an important question, because one of the most common concerns I hear from readers is that they feel out of control around snacks and other indulgent foods, and don’t know how to reign in their habit of overeating.

If you often feel helpless and out of control around certain foods and wish you could change your behavior but don’t know how, put away your phone and close your email. This one will require your full attention.
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Best of Summer Tomato 2014

by | Jan 2, 2015

Follow my food adventures on Instagram @daryarose

Happy New Year!

As I’m ramping back up to start 2015, I wanted to take a moment to THANK YOU for your encouragement and support over the past 12 months.

The Summer Tomato community has grown tremendously this past year, and I’m continually astounded at the quality of the dialogue we maintain.

On most sites with a readership of this size the comments would have degenerated into cesspool of ignorance and vitriol. Yet even in the face of disagreement you guys are respectful of both me and each other, and have helped create an atmosphere of learning and cooperation.

You restore my faith in humanity. Thanks for making life awesome for all of us.

I’ve got some really exciting things planned for this year that I cannot wait to share with you. The first sneak peak will only be available to subscribers though, so be sure to sign up if you want early access.

Next week we’ll resume our regularly scheduled program of posts and links. For today, here’s a quick recap of my most popular new posts of 2014.

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