Sign up

You deserve to feel great, look great & LOVE your body

Enter your email for your FREE starter kit to get healthy & lose weight without dieting:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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.

Read the rest of this story »

Tags: , , , ,

Why It’s Worth It to Keep Trying Foods You Don’t Like

by | Sep 13, 2016

Sardine on a stick in Kyoto

When I was kid (you know, before my relationship with food was completely warped by my mother’s dieting habit), I was actually pretty normal.

I loved ice cream, grilled cheese sandwiches, and the strawberries I picked with my grandma.

I shamelessly copied the food preferences of my fellow classmates, and rejected things like onions and tuna fish for fear of looking uncool.

And of course, there were many foods I absolutely hated. At the top of the list were cilantro, lima beans, spinach and brussels sprouts. But I was also not a fan of eggplant, cucumber, beets, egg yolks, most fish and rye bread. The list goes on.

With time I grew out of my childhood tastes. Little by little I learned that spinach can be delicious in a fresh salad as opposed to the frozen gray-green slop my parents served, and that cilantro tastes completely different when used in Vietnamese cooking compared to the Mexican food I was raised on.

That’s normal, and you probably have similar stories of foods you’ve come to love as your palate has matured.

But I’ve noticed something funny about people over the age of 25. From what I can tell many––if not most––of the adults I speak to about their food preferences have reverted to the stubbornness of childhood when it comes to certain foods.

The argument goes something like, “I’ve tried olives a zillion times. I just don’t like them, so what’s the point of trying again?”

This line of reasoning makes intuitive sense. Life is short, so you shouldn’t waste your time on things that don’t make you happy. YOLO.

But you can probably guess that I don’t feel this way. Ant rants aside, my opinion is based on a somewhat unique set of experiences that, if you haven’t been through them yourself, you might not fully appreciate.

I’ve witnessed firsthand how much more enjoyable life is when you choose to like more things, and for this reason I feel compelled to share my story and hope to convince you to try again.

Read the rest of this story »

Tags: , , ,

How Can Ruediger Switch to Weight Maintenance After Losing 120 lbs From Strict Dieting?

by | May 30, 2016

Foodist_Podcast

Ruediger faces one of the most difficult questions related to weight control, which is how to maintain your weight after achieving significant weight loss as a result of strict dieting.

Although he has already made huge progress finding an exercise regimen he enjoys, food is more difficult for him. He has only ever known subsiding on lots of junk food or restricting his calories to just 500 per day. Switching to a more moderate approach based on Real Food and not counting calories is appealing to him in theory, but he worries that he will not be able to maintain control of his weight without strongly restricting his eating habits.

Another issue Ruediger faces is that he has a very limited palate as a result of eating mostly processed and convenience foods for most of his life. He’s concerned that at the age of 44 he will be restricted to the handful of vegetables he actually enjoys and not have adequate nutrition. He also struggles with finding the motivation to prepare nutritious foods at home, since chopping, cooking and cleaning rarely feel worth the effort.

Together we examine the limiting beliefs that make changing his eating habits seem difficult and come up with strategies to overcome them.

Wish you had more time to listen to the podcast? I use an app called Overcast (no affiliation) to play back my favorite podcasts at faster speeds, dynamically shortening silences in talk shows so it doesn’t sound weird. It’s pretty rad.

 

Links for this episode:

The Foodist’s Plate

The Convenience Illusion

 

Listen:

Listen on iTunes

Listen on Stitcher

Listen on Soundcloud

 

 

If you’d like to be a guest on the show, please fill out the form here and tell us your story.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The No.1 Thing That Prevents You from Changing Your Habits

by | Nov 10, 2015
limitingbelief

Photo by Steve Rhodes

When I first went to college the last thing I cared about was learning to cook. Neither of my parents had a degree, and by the time I was in middle school it was clear to me that higher education was my only ticket to salvation.

I remember running errands with my mom one afternoon and seeing her bump into an old classmate she knew from high school. “Oh, hi! Wow, I haven’t seen you in 20 years.”

They exchanged pleasantries and parted ways. It was obvious the two of them had no real desire to keep up with each other and that they were just being polite for etiquette’s sake. We were all glad when it was over.

The school they both attended was only a few blocks down the street and I knew it would be my fate to go there as well. Class of ’97. Go Vanguards.

Oh shit.

It didn’t take much for my brain to leap forward 24 years and imagine myself in her position, shopping at the same Albertson’s with my own children in tow, casually running into one of the mean kids who called me names and harassed me all year long when I was 14.

At the time I couldn’t imagine anything worse.

Read the rest of this story »

Tags: ,

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.

Read the rest of this story »

Tags: , , ,

For the Love of Food

by | May 8, 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 your BMI is lying to you, your brain’s role in late-night snacking, and the best way to reduce diabetes risk.

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. (Yes, I took that picture of the pepper heart myself.)

Read the rest of this story »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Single Most Important Habit You Need for Better Health

by | Apr 27, 2015

Woman Chopping Parsley

Have you ever tried something new for your health because you heard it was good––like buying cereal with extra fiber and calcium––but didn’t notice any real difference in how you look or feel?

You *hope* it is helping you be healthier and strengthening your bones, but you don’t have any way to know if it’s actually doing anything.

Most new habits people try fit into this category. They’re low impact and you get very little or no immediate feedback on how it will impact your life in the long run.

There’s no immediate benefit and, when it comes down to it, you have no good reason to keep doing it.

There are many problems with habits like these. One big one is that with no feedback you don’t know if what you’re doing is helping, hurting or just plain pointless. You have to act on faith that nutrition science (or wherever your advice came from) is steering you in the right direction––not something I’d recommend.

But an even bigger problem is that habits without an immediate and meaningful reward are the first to slip when life gets the better of you.

Would you rearrange your day to make sure you can do something that may or may not be important to you at some unspecified future time? I know I wouldn’t.

Read the rest of this story »

Tags: , , ,

Away Court Habits: Living Well on the Road

by | Apr 20, 2015

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.

Recently 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.
Read the rest of this story »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

For the Love of Food

by | Apr 10, 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 feminism and dieting don’t mix, willpower is redeemed, and how to improve your vision.

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.)

Read the rest of this story »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Am I Obsessed With Losing Weight?

by | Mar 9, 2015
Vacation stats

Vacation stats

Last week I wrote about the 5 Things I Always Do When I Want to Lose Weight. It is about how I handle it when I come home from vacation and feel uncomfortable in my clothes.

In general people loved it and it performed really well. But a couple of people took issue with it, claiming that it came off as too “obsessive.”

They said that I shouldn’t be spending vacation time in the gym and shouldn’t care so much about getting healthy when I return home. The implication being that these actions were somehow emotionally unhealthy.

At first I was really confused. For nearly 6 years here at Summer Tomato I’ve been writing about the dangers of dieting, paying special attention to the psychology of food, health and body image. I even wrote a book about it.

Do these guys seriously think I have an unhealthy obsession with weight loss after all that? That I don’t know the value of taking breaks and enjoying vacation? That I feel guilty about indulging in delicious food? That I don’t realize that intentional self-restriction is a terrible idea?

Read the rest of this story »

Tags: , , ,