How To Have Healthier Lunch Meetings (Willpower Not Required)

by | Jul 14, 2014

Photo by Yarden Sachs

Len Markidan writes about productivity and work/life balance at Home Office Hero. He’s also the Director of Marketing at Groove. To get his latest posts, sign up for his newsletter or follow him on Twitter.

How To Have Healthier Lunch Meetings (Willpower Not Required)

by Len Markidan

A few years ago, I decided to start making healthier food choices.

I threw out the cookies and processed junk in my house and went on a farmers market shopping spree, where I finally learned to properly pronounce “jicama.”

I felt GREAT. I was a new man.

For the first eighteen hours or so, anyway.

Because eighteen hours later, you see, I had to meet a client for lunch.

And while I walked in confident about my commitment and eager to pick the healthiest salad on the menu, here’s what actually happened:

Len: [Open the menu and catch myself lingering on the cheeseburger description. Quickly flip to the salads.] Mmm, the spinach and chicken salad looks good. The avocado jicama one, too. [Look up to make sure everyone caught me pronouncing jicama like a boss.]

Client: I’ll have the bacon cheeseburger.

Len: [Slam menu closed, hate myself.] Make that two, please!

Willpower has never been my strong suit.

To deal with that, I’ve had to build systems to make myself less dependent on willpower, in all areas of life.
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For the Love of Food

by | Jul 11, 2014
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 learn how to become an “exercise person,” disturbing news about who is selling their tweets, and a compelling new reason to choose chicken over beef.

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 | Jun 20, 2014
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 senate calls BS on Dr. Oz (yay!), broccoli protects against pollution, and “natural” products are under fire (in the good way).

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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Introducing Homo nutritiocus: The Perfect Eater

by | Jun 18, 2014

Photo by Kaptain Kobold

Since the discovery of the vitamin, scientists have hypothesized the existence of a previously undiscovered species, Homo nutritiocus. Homo nutritiocus or Nutricons, as I like to call them, eat for one reason and one reason alone: optimal health and nutrition.

Nutricons are completely rational about their food decisions, which is why they are so insanely healthy. They eat three balanced meals every day and always include five to seven (depending on the current health recommendations) servings of fruits and vegetables.

Green leafy vegetables and lean protein are their favorite foods, of course. They never add extra salt to their food, because flavor is irrelevant. They do treat themselves to dessert every now and then, but only in moderation.
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7 Reasons Keeping a Food Journal is Better Than Counting Calories

by | Jun 16, 2014

Photo by Paul Papadimitriou

I’m often asked why I don’t put more emphasis on calories and calorie counting, particularly for people trying to lose weight. The answer is that while I think there is great value in understanding and monitoring the types and amounts of foods that you eat––especially if you’ve never paid attention––your effort is much better spent keeping a food journal than on an endless race between your mouth and the treadmill.

The idea behind calorie counting is that you write down the calories in everything you eat and make sure it stays below a certain number each day. If you want to take it even further you can monitor the calories you burn during exercise as well, and factor that into your daily allowance. In theory it helps to know your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories your body naturally burns if you sit around and do nothing all day––this is your baseline), but that involves an expensive test in which you breathe through a tube for 15 minutes. I’ve done it, it isn’t fun.

Food journaling also requires writing down everything you eat, but emphasizes portion sizes (e.g. ounces, grams, etc.) instead of calories. It can also include information like the time of day you eat, other activities related to eating (e.g. working out, watching TV, etc.), and how you feel after eating. In Foodist I recommend keeping a food journal for at least two weeks to build awareness of what, why, when and how much you eat. The ultimate goal is to help identify the habits (along with their triggers and rewards) that shape your healthstyle. You can then use this information to build on what works and learn from what doesn’t.

While I would never tell anyone to stop counting calories if it works for them, here are seven reasons I think keeping a food journal is more effective for most people.
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For the Love of Food

by | Jun 13, 2014
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 fun is necessary for weight loss, how self-identity shapes success, and why pregnant women need more fish.

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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Away Court Habits: Living Well on the Road

by | Jun 11, 2014

Photo by ikarl67

When I was a kid I used to dream of one day having a job that would take me all over the world.  I have always loved to travel, so in my brain I envisioned a non-stop vacation filled with exotic places, foods and adventures.

Of course, reality is nothing like that.

There is a huge difference between traveling occasionally (whether for work or play) and traveling regularly, several times per month. When traveling is a special occasion, there really are no rules. Foodists have accounted for periodic indulgences in their healthstyle already. But when travel becomes your normal, your Home Court Habits become diluted and you need to integrate a new set of (much more complex) habits to make up the difference.

This year for the first time, my travel schedule has moved from periodic to frequent. And adjusting my healthstyle to account for the change hasn’t been easy. Putting aside the difficulty of eating well at airports and on the plane, simply being outside your familiar environment can throw off even your most ingrained habits, like cooking and exercise.

After 6 months––and much trial and error––I’ve finally developed a set of Away Court Habits that help keep my healthstyle in check while traveling. I won’t pretend that these are as powerful as my Home Court Habits, but after nearly two weeks away on my last adventure I came home feeling pretty darn good about my state of health and fitness.
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Don’t Let the Ostrich Be Your Spirit Animal

by | Jun 9, 2014

Photo by vanz

I’ve always been very honest about the fact that I spent over a decade of my life struggling with food, health and body image. That getting to the place I am now was a process of trial and error. That I am not more gifted or special than anyone else trying to lose weight and get healthy, but that I have simply found a better method than the one we’ve been given by the dieting and health industries.

Yet something strange happens when you have a successful blog or book. People look at you differently. They don’t see all the struggles and failures that you went through to get where you are. They only see the result and assume that you’re blessed. They say things like, “I understood from reading your book that you have tried every diet out there, just as I had, but you are the original Foodist and how could I possibly ever be as good as you?” (an actual comment from a reader).

Like many of the limiting beliefs that hold us back, the idea that one person is uniquely talented and therefore her results cannot be replicated by regular people is a cognitive illusion.

I’m not a supermodel. I’m 5’5″ and probably always will be (fingers crossed for a growth spurt!). I’m not talking about changing your genetics or reaching the top 5% of hot bodies. I’m just talking about being a normal person with the goal of being healthy, looking your best and having a positive relationship with food. This is achievable by anyone.

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For the Love of Food

by | May 23, 2014
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 how your nose fools your brain, why olive oil is better than canola, and the secret to perfectly cooked veggies.

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 | May 16, 2014
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 “clean eating” gets the boot, exercise snacks control blood sugar, and why nutrition is so %&* confusing.

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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