Focus More on Your Brain and Less on Your Diet if You’re Serious About Losing Weight

by | Mar 31, 2014

Photo by Humphrey King

Weight loss is tricky business. Obviously what you eat has a huge impact on your health and body weight. But anyone who has ever tried to modify their diet for the sake of losing weight knows it isn’t so simple.

Most of us understand intuitively that broccoli is healthier than cookies. We can talk about sugar, fat, gluten and antioxidants all day, but that doesn’t change the fact that cookies taste good and you still want to eat them. Any weight loss plan that simply tells you what to eat and neglects why you make the choices you make is unlikely to help you in the long run.

Nutrition knowledge is important, but it is only one piece of the puzzle. The real secret is understanding your behaviors and motivations at their roots, and using this information to have a meaningful impact on your health. In this sense, good health starts in your brain, not on your plate.

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For the Love of Food

by | Dec 20, 2013
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 multivitamins are under attack, the truth about gluten and Alzheimer’s disease, and why you don’t know how many calories are actually in a pound.

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,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

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For the Love of Food

by | Dec 13, 2013
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 exercise is better than drugs, organic, full-fat milk attains nutritional superiority, and how dad’s diet affects baby’s health.

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,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

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For the Love of Food

by | Nov 1, 2013
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 dinner rituals are linked to body weight, deep frying gets a healthy makeover and the hidden value of peer pressure.

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,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

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For the Love of Food

by | Oct 25, 2013
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 nutrition of raw vs cooked veggies, the tremendous benefits of sleep for health, and how personal values motivate your food choices.

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,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

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For the Love of Food

by | Sep 6, 2013
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 video games reverse age-related cognitive decline, “natural” foods aren’t so natural, and fruit juice takes another hit.

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,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

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How To Break A Sugar Addiction

by | Feb 18, 2013
Photo by joe.oconnell

Photo by joe.oconnell

“I eat way too much sugar and have constant cravings for it that make me feel like I am addicted … do you have any suggestions for cutting back?”

There is still a debate over whether or not sugar is an addictive substance. From the data I’ve seen and people I’ve talked to, I’d guess it probably is.

But whatever the answer, the important question for most of us is how to kill the cravings that have us eating so much sugar in the first place.

Cravings exist in both the body and the mind, and you will have the best luck overcoming them if you address both simultaneously.

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How To Eat Healthy Without Being A Buzzkill

by | Jan 30, 2013

Photo by Monster Pete

Everyone knows we should all be eating healthier, working out more and generally making better life decisions. Problem is, once you actually start doing those things, nobody wants to hear about it.

As ridiculous as it sounds, people don’t like to know when other people are taking the initiative to do things they know they should be doing themselves but haven’t had the discipline to start. If you aren’t careful about it your best efforts can earn you enemies or worse, lose you friends.

No one likes to be reminded about their own failings, so how do you maintain your healthy habits without offending the people around you who don’t appreciate your efforts?

Over the past several years I’ve used a handful of different tactics to deflect the worst intentions of naysayers. Here are the one’s I’ve found to work best.

How To Eat Healthy Without Being A Buzzkill

1. Don’t get defensive

The worst thing you can do when some criticizes you for ordering a salad is to get defensive and start preaching your nutritional superiority. I’ve seen this done, and it doesn’t end well. Whatever you do, keep an upbeat tone and maintain perspective. Not everyone understands the importance of their daily food decisions, and it’s not your job to educate them.

Instead of:

“At least I’m not going to have diabetes by the time I’m 40!”

Try:

“Actually the salad here is tasty as hell, have you tried it?”

2. Use humor

Without getting defensive, you can still jab back a bit so long as it is clear you’re being playful and joking. If someone asks why you aren’t eating from the giant Costco tub of brownie bites, cracking a joke about how it isn’t your vice of choice today can break the ice and get the attention off your healthy decision.

Instead of:

“Eeeewwwww. Haven’t you ever eaten a REAL brownie?”

Try:

“Thanks, but I’m saving my heart attack for the weekend.”

3. Creative ordering

No one will make fun of you for making healthier decisions if they don’t notice. Ordering a burger and dissecting apart the meat from the bun is certain to draw attention, but there are plenty of things you can order that won’t attract a second thought.

Instead of:

“Do your meatballs have breadcrumbs? Ok, I’ll have the spaghetti and meatballs without the sauce and without the spaghetti, and with extra meatballs. Oh, and a side of steamed broccoli please.”

Try:

“I’ll have the steak and spinach salad with a glass of your best California cab please. And can I get some blue cheese with that as well?”

4. Happy honesty

It’s hard to say bad things about someone who is clearly happy and at peace with their decisions, especially if it’s clear you aren’t being motivated by your ego.

Instead of:

“I’m choosing salad because I’d really like to lose 10 lbs this year so I don’t end up looking like you.”

Try:

“I’m just trying to eat a little healthier these days to see how it makes me feel.”

5. Harmless lies

Honesty is always the best policy, except when you’re trying to get your jerk friends off your back so you can enjoy your lunch.

Instead of:

“I’m eating a smaller lunch today so I can hit the gym later.”

Try:

“I had a really big breakfast, I’m just not that hungry.”

6. Share alike

If you know in advance you’re going to be bringing your own food, you have the advantage of having a meal that looks, smells and tastes much better than anything your friends will find at the corner sandwich shop. Show off your amazing new flavors by bringing enough of something delicious to share.

Instead of:

“Yuck, I can’t believe you’re eating that disgusting excuse for a calzone.”

Try:

“Have you tried the mandarins from the farmers market this season? They’re freaking amazing! Here, I have an extra one.”

7. Accept and nibble

Friends can be very crafty and sometimes try and force you into eating unhealthy food by offering it to you point blank. Cheap office birthday cakes are particularly offensive. Politely turning down the objectionable substance is one strategy, but can easily backfire. Just gratefully accept the food and pretend to eat it.

Instead of:

“Just a small piece for me please.”

Try:

“Mmm…thanks.”

Take one bite, then keep smiling and continue the conversation while leaving the food nonchalantly on the table. When everyone else if finishing up, subtly drop it in the trash without making a fuss (trust me, nothing is going to waste). By that time, no one will care what you’re doing. If someone does say something, just blame it on how big the piece was.

8. Don’t offer unsolicited advice

No matter how tempting it is, don’t be the reverse jerk. Only offer nutrition advice to friends if they explicitly ask you for it, otherwise keep your trap shut. The best thing you can do to help your friends is show them what good healthy food looks and tastes like by setting a good example, then let them watch for themselves as you lose weight and get in shape.

Instead of:

“You know, that Lean Cuisine isn’t going to help you get rid of those thunder thighs.”

Try:

“Wow, I have lost weight! Thanks for noticing! Yeah, I’ve been reading this site called Summer Tomato. It’s great, you should check it out.”

How do you deal with friends who don’t want you to eat healthy?

Originally published January 26, 2011.

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For The Love Of Food

by | Jan 11, 2013

For The Love of Food

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

This week the importance of small amounts of exercise, new problems with fructose and why you shouldn’t eat at the wrong time of day.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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For The Love Of Food

by | Nov 2, 2012

For The Love of Food

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

A trifecta of exercise benefits, the secrets to maintaining weight loss & new benefits of language learning.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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