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How to Know When You’ve Gotten “Enough” Exercise

by | Jan 11, 2017
Photo by SnoShuu

Photo by SnoShuu

Recently I was having a conversation about exercise with a friend who is trying to lose weight. He had just hired a super hardcore trainer who wanted him to workout 2 hours a day, four days a week, for the next several months. This was paired with a strict diet of chicken breasts, broccoli and brown rice.

“Are you sure that’s realistic?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

I’m pretty fit, but such a training schedule would be difficult for me if for no other reason than it is a huge time commitment and I would have to sacrifice other things I care about in my life to make it work. My friend has been sedentary for most of his adult life, and is constantly complaining about being too tired and too busy to take care of himself. There was no way this would last.

My friend went on to explain that he knew it would be challenging, but it was something he needed to do. His doctor recently told him that he had to lose 40 lbs to clear up his sleep apnea and control his cholesterol and blood pressure. And drastic situations call for drastic measures.

I could see my friend’s logic on the surface, and he took an impressive step by deciding to take more control of his health. But I could also see that he had fallen into what I call the Not Enough Fallacy.

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What “Thigh Gap” Taught Me About Changing My Habits

by | Oct 26, 2016

Photo by jenny downing

One of my favorite things to do as a kid was sit in bed with my parents and read books. On one particular afternoon I was getting ready to read with my mom, resting my back against the headboard with my knees bent to prop my book.

While waiting for her to join me, I noticed with curiosity that when my knees were together the rest of my legs didn’t touch at all. I thought that was biologically interesting and pointed it out to my mom.

“That gap better stay there,” she retorted unsympathetically.

I was shocked. I simultaneously felt chastised, judged and confused. I was only 8 years old, and obviously had never heard of “thigh gap.” It was also the first time in my life I felt self-conscious about my body.

I didn’t say a word, and we never discussed it again. But for the following days, weeks and years the message sank in: being thin was incredibly important and my mom would be disappointed if I let my appearance slip.

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FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: Children change parents’ habits, science-based pregnancy advice, and the real truth about saturated fat

by | Apr 22, 2016
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 children change parents’ habits, science-based pregnancy advice, and the real truth about saturated fat.

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 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.

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The “I Don’t Feel Like It” Fallacy

by | Mar 1, 2016

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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The Healthstyle Struggles I’ve Faced Since Launching Summer Tomato

by | Jun 29, 2015

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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The Convenience Illusion

by | Jul 28, 2014

Photo by dickuhne

The number one excuse I hear for why someone can’t eat healthier is lack of time. Fast food is just so convenient, they argue. Cooking is so much work, they insist. Then there’s the shopping. Who has time for that?

Why can’t there just be healthy fast food?

Healthy fast food is the holy grail for some, but if you look more carefully you’ll see it is an illusion.

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