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.

FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: The Western Diet gives you the munchies (literally), when to expect fitness results, and vegetables trump pesticides

by | Jan 20, 2017

For the Love of Food

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

A quick reminder that next week’s Mindful Meal Challenge will start again on Monday. Sign up now to join us!

This week the Western diet gives you the munchies (literally), when to expect fitness results, and vegetables trump pesticides.

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

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.

Read the rest of this story »

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

How Being Too Productive Can Lead to Overeating (and How to Stop It)

by | Dec 5, 2016

Foodist_Podcast

Shelbey came to me wondering why she has the habit of overeating when she’s alone and supposed to be studying. She sits down to eat and turns on the TV, planning to finish dinner and then hit the books. But instead she usually keeps eating through the entire show until she feels so sicks she can’t do anything at all.

To her credit Shelbey has already thought through possible psychological reasons she’s doing this, but hasn’t come up with any solutions. She’s a very hard working woman who is always pushing herself for self-improvement. She’s a good student, exercises regularly, and meditates often. What she never does is give herself permission to relax.

One of the symptoms of being too productive is having anxiety about down time. All humans need to relax and recharge both physically and mentally, but highly productive people often feel guilty and anxious about taking these much needed breaks. If this goes on for too long it can lead to avoidance behaviors like overeating.

It can be difficult to acknowledge that rest is needed, but Shelbey and I come up with a plan for her to recognize her anxiety and give her the space to unwind.

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.

 

Related links:

Imposter Syndrome

What I Learned from 10 Days of Silence

 

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: , ,

How to Stop Post-Meal Snacking

by | Oct 10, 2016

Foodist_Podcast

Keli has a great healthstyle, but there are a few lingering bad habits she’d like to break. After lunch and after dinner, she finds herself reaching for more (often not-so-healthy) food even though she is no longer hungry and it makes her feel sick afterward.

While she doesn’t have any particular health or weight loss goals, it bothers her that she maintains this habit even though it is something she doesn’t like. Together we investigate what is triggering her to keep eating and develop strategies to help her choose different activities after meals.

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.

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: , , , ,

How to Stop Overeating When Emotional Eating Combines With Food Moralizing

by | Oct 3, 2016

Foodist_Podcast

Over the years Saba has learned to eat healthy by cutting down on processed foods. But her new healthstyle has caused her to forego nearly all the foods she loved as a child since she has moralized them as “bad and unhealthy.” Now she uses her “good behavior” to justify overeating “healthier” snacks like nuts, even though she eats so much she feels sick afterward. It’s a cycle she would like to break.

Saba’s issue combines both food moralizing and emotional eating, which makes both issues more complex and difficult to unravel. Together we come up with a plan for her to move forward.

Relevant links:

Why I’ll Never Tell You to Eat “Heart Healthy” Foods

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.

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: , ,

How Can Julie Stop Overeating at Dinner Parties?

by | Sep 1, 2016

Foodist_Podcast

 

Julie came to me with a mystery. Her eating habits are excellent at home and even in restaurants, but when she gets into a dinner party situation it doesn’t matter what food is served or how hungry she is, she turns into a mindless eating machine.

What could be going on here?

We first explored whether she was actually satisfied with her normal eating routine. Is it possible she was still restricting herself too much and experiencing the What-the-Hell Effect at parties? This didn’t seem to be the case, as Julie had already explored and tested this hypothesis using her foodist mindset.

Ultimately we uncovered a subconscious cue that was triggering her overeating. This revelation helped Julie feel much more at ease and in control of the situation, knowing it was something that was solvable.

Julie’s case is particularly interesting because she is triggered by positive emotions rather than negative emotions, which are more often the cause of overeating. Armed with this knowledge we came up with a strategy for channeling her feelings in a way that is more aligned with her current values.

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.

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: ,

Ask Darya: How can I exercise harder without overeating?

by | Feb 23, 2016

Ask Darya exercise hunger

This week our Ask Darya question is from Leslie:

Hey Darya, I have a question for you about that sentence you inserted regarding your exercise regimen.

I’m a healthy person who just wants to stay where I am weight-wise, but I’m working on going from mild to moderate/high exercise in order to increase my endurance and strength. My current challenge is balancing enough exercise so that I’m making progress, but not so much that by body thinks I’m hungry all the time (hello, Hunger Tiger). I know that I’ve read on your site that you are familiar with this phenomenon, that too much exercise can throw your hunger off balance, leading you to overeat. However, I read your weekly exercise description–4x strength training, 2x HIIT, 1x pilates–and when I workout that amount, I get so, so hungry. I know everyone is different, but do you have any advice for how someone can discover a balance between the right amount of food and exercise?

This is a great question because she’s asking about a specific behavior she’s struggling with in her healthstyle. In this video I clarify my own workout habits (I’m not crazy, I swear) and offer some advice on how to modify your snacking habits so you don’t overeat on intense exercise days.

Want me to answer your question? Submit it on the Ask Darya page.

Cheers,

Darya

Read the rest of this story »

Tags: , , , , , ,

FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: Picky eating is unhealthy, a big win for organic meat, and why you should eat more collagen

by | Feb 19, 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 picky eating is unhealthy, a big win for organic meat, and why you should eat more collagen.

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.

Read the rest of this story »

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

How to Know When You’ve Eaten Enough

by | Jul 2, 2014

Photo by Wiertz Sébastien

When I was in college I was pretty much always on a diet. Except when I wasn’t.

The way it worked was I’d grab either a protein bar or diet shake from my kitchen on my way out the door in the morning. At lunch time I would hit one of my favorite three salad places near campus. In the evening I’d either get another salad or make a chicken and vegetable stir fry at home.

I should have weighed nothing, but I was nearly 20 lbs heavier than I am now. Or, more accurately, I’d fluctuate between 10 and 20 lbs heavier, depending on how long I’d be able to go without having a burrito or ice cream meltdown.

My problem was that I was basically starving myself as much as I could, then would periodically eat a 15″ tortilla filled with rice, beans, cheese, guac and a mountain of carne asada. Or maybe in my weakness I’d buy a pint or two of Ben & Jerry’s and eat the entire thing during The Simpsons.

So much wrongness.

I could point to dozens of reasons my actions were idiotic, and I have. But today I want to focus on one of the long-term consequences of restricted eating (then overeating) that recovering dieters need to learn to overcome: knowing the amount of food you really should be eating.
Read the rest of this story »

Tags: , , ,

Thanksgiving Healthy Eating Tip: Slow Down

by | Nov 14, 2011

Photo by Photo Monkey

Worrying about carbs, calories and diets is one of the most unproductive things you can do on a holiday that celebrates thankfulness. Instead of giving you a list of healthy side dishes or tips on how to cut out calories, this Thanksgiving I offer just a single piece of advice: slow down.

The actual content of your Thanksgiving dinner matters very little in the grand scheme of things. A few hundred calories here or there can make a difference when projected over weeks and years, but for one meal the impact is negligible. Your body will adjust naturally and you’ll burn off those extra calories the next day, so don’t worry about it.

But for people trying to get healthy or lose weight, not worrying about food can feel very strange. There is always the fear that if you aren’t vigilant and conscious of what and how much you eat you may gorge yourself stupid and all your hopes of fitting into your favorite jeans by the end of the year will be ruined.

Overeating is certainly a possibility when food anxiety is a constant force in your life, but Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity to start getting over it. Really. It may seem counterintuitive that such a food-forward holiday can be stress free, but let’s not forget that the real point of Thanksgiving isn’t turkey or pie, but being thankful.

Since most of us won’t be harvesting our own meals this year (hats off to anyone who is), it is silly to pretend this particular dinner requires more thankfulness than any other meal we eat. Turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce are tradition, but do not necessarily reflect our 21st century needs and values.

With the emergence of modern media, there are other essential pieces of our lives that we can no longer afford to take for granted. Free time is one. Exercise is another. But most important of all these is our real, human, non-Twitter relationships, particularly those with family and friends. It is far too easy to neglect these basic elements of our existence when we have so many other obligations and distractions, but failure to nurture them can severely affect our overall quality of life.

If you care about your health and want to keep your eating under control on Thanksgiving, why not focus your attention on strengthening relationships and spending time with the people you care about? Instead of worrying about yourself and what you want to accomplish, ask people about themselves and discuss mutual interests.

Let food be part of the celebration, but not the purpose of your day.

Once food is no longer the center of attention the only thing you need to keep in mind is to eat slowly–it is pretty tough to overeat if you are biting and chewing at a snail’s pace.

Slow eating helps you eat less food and appreciate it more. It also helps you make wiser food choices, since decisions about what to put on your plate are made less impulsively.

But slow eating does require some conscious effort. If you are in the habit of shoveling food in your mouth without taking time to put down your fork and chew (or breathe), it is easy to slip back into this pattern. Also, if people around you are all guzzling their food in a fury, you might feel a natural compulsion to keep pace and match their eating speed.

I’ve written before about how to become a slow eater, but at large family dinners some of these tactics can be particularly useful. Start by actively trying to keep conversations engaged while you eat. Chewing and talking are (hopefully) mutually exclusive, so the more you converse the longer it will take you to get through your meal.

Making an effort to put your fork down between bites is another effective way to slow your pace at the dining table. To give your hands something to do between bites, reach for your glass and take regular sips of your water (it is best not to rely exclusively on wine for this tactic) or wipe your lips with your napkin.

And don’t forget to chew.

Trying to eat slowly is much easier than trying to summon the will power to skip the mashed potatoes and biscuits. And slowly savoring the foods you love is far more enjoyable than inventing a clever recipe to replace the sugar or fat in your pumpkin pie.

Spend time with people, enjoy your meal and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

How do you approach health and food on Turkey Day?

Originally published November 23, 2009.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Healthstyle Milestones: What Are Your Health Goals?

by | Oct 11, 2010
By woodleywonderworks

By woodleywonderworks

Abandoning the idea of “going on a diet” is one of the most difficult and important adjustments to make when you are trying to lose weight and improve your health. To achieve and maintain your fitness goals, learning to think in the long-term instead of the short-term is a necessity.

We’ve been conditioned to think about our health as a temporary endeavor. When we find ourselves getting a bit out of shape we assume we need to start a new diet plan and maybe join a gym or cardio class.

“But, you know, things are busy right now and I’ll get to it in a couple weeks when I have more time.”

Even if we do start the plan and lose some weight, how long will it be before we slip back into our old routine and the pounds creep back on?

If you learn only one thing from Summer Tomato I hope it’s that diets don’t work. Calorie restriction in any form can induce temporary weight loss, but the vast majority of people emerge worse off than before they subjected themselves to the difficult and demoralizing task of losing weight and inevitably gaining it (plus a little extra) back.

The science is painfully clear that only long-term and consistent healthy lifestyle choices result in permanent weight loss and improved health.

To really win this war you need to shift your focus from short-term diets and weight loss goals to lifelong habits that promote good nutrition and a healthy metabolism–changes that, in my opinion, should be welcome and enjoyable.

It is never too late (or too early) to get started on your upgrade.

But once you’ve made the commitment to a better healthstyle, how do you know you are making progress without the specific goals and endpoints you get from a temporary diet plan?

This is an excellent question and something worth taking a minute to think about. The answer will be different for everyone and depend substantially on where you start and how you define success.

An example of a fantastic healthstyle goal would be getting off cholesterol, blood pressure or diabetes medication, something attainable by the majority of people taking them. For others the goal may be avoiding meds in the first place by reaching a healthy body mass index (BMI). Health goals like these are obviously a first priority for anyone facing them.

But healthstyle is not just for people with serious health problems. After all, the “normal” BMI range is pretty lenient and you may still have the goal of fitting back into a certain pant size or reaching a specific body fat percentage. These are certainly reasonable goals, especially when you are not approaching them from an all-or-none, feast or famine mentality.

But in my experience, specific number-oriented goals have little stay power when health is your top priority.

When you focus on eating delicious, healthy foods and getting regular exercise (in any form), as the months and years pass goals like reaching a certain body weight or jeans size start to feel a bit contrived. This isn’t because physical appearance or achievements aren’t important, but as your metabolism changes and your body gets healthier it becomes clear that you can feel and look a lot better than you ever really imagined.

What exactly defines the perfect weight or size anyway?

I am not trying to trivialize specific fitness goals nor the effort required to attain them. If you’ve read my diet history you know that I am not immune to aspirations like these. But over time feeling good becomes a more meaningful and satisfying goal than fitting into your jeans. And in my experience, the more energy I put into being healthy and living well, the smaller my jeans get anyway.

For awhile now my healthstyle goals have had little to do with body weight. Instead I choose to focus on habits I can develop that will improve my life and health overall. These include cultivating my cooking skills, learning to eat mindfully and figuring out the best lunch for an awesome afternoon workout.

Here are some of my recent healthstyle goals, which are changing constantly.

This article was originally published Oct 26, 2009, and I have left the original goals intact. However I have added my new list of 2010 goals below so you can see how my healthstyle has evolved. I’m happy to see that I’ve made progress on many of my goals from last year, and most of my new goals reflect bigger life changes that have occurred in the past year.

Healthstyle Goals 2009

  • Experiment with new vegetables
  • Recreate favorite restaurant dishes at home
  • Get enough sleep
  • Try new spices
  • Eat slowly and mindfully
  • Find great foodie resources in my neighborhood
  • Get away from my computer at least twice per day
  • Make friends with farmers
  • Seek new challenges at the gym
  • Take the stairs even when I don’t feel like it
  • Learn new cooking techniques
  • Get new pans
  • Discover fabulous restaurants
  • Recognize and avoid overeating cues
  • Take advantage of seasonal produce
  • Eat more legumes
  • Prevent food cravings with good nutrition
  • Eat more fish
  • Take more walks
  • Use usual ingredients in unusual ways
  • Eat better when out of town
  • Cook more ethnic cuisines
  • Get more sun
  • Develop a taste for my least favorite foods
  • Make more soup
  • Cook more for friends
  • Eat out less than twice per week

Healthstyle Goals 2010

  • Adjust to more frequent dining out
  • Cook more at home (this is harder these days)
  • Improve at cooking for two
  • Buy more cookbooks
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Get better sleep
  • Explore tea
  • Cook more soup
  • Eat slowly, even when very hungry
  • Optimize food storage
  • Practice meditation
  • Cook more for friends
  • Eat well and exercise while traveling
  • Share great food discoveries
  • Make friends with more farmers

What are your healthstyle goals?

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