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Why “Only Eat When You’re Hungry” Is Terrible Diet Advice

by | Sep 6, 2017

I hear it all the time. People reach out to me who have been trying desperately to eat healthier or lose weight, lamenting their lack of willpower.

“I try to eat only when I’m hungry, but I just can’t seem to keep my hands out of the snack bowl at work.”

It isn’t always the snack bowl. Sometimes it’s the cracker box before dinner or the peanut butter at night. Whatever the source of the downfall it is always laden with a side of guilt and self-loathing.

On the surface the idea makes sense. If you only eat when you’re hungry then you should be providing yourself just enough fuel to be healthy without overdoing it on calories.

The problem is that you aren’t a car (or a Nutricon), and fuel isn’t the only reason you eat. And the longer you pretend that’s an achievable goal, the longer you will suffer.

Humans eat for many reasons. Hunger is obviously a big one, but there are several others.

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How to Be Happy: It Isn’t About the Dopamine

by | Mar 22, 2016


Last weekend I attended a fabulous party. There was excellent champagne, illustrious guests, spectacular food and beautiful live music. The setting was divine, and the cocktails were SO GOOD.

The only thing missing was water. I’m normally pretty good at staying hydrated, but there wasn’t an obvious water station. So to stay cool and keep my mouth from drying out I kept finding myself at the bar.

At least, that was my excuse.

One of the most notorious effects of alcohol is that it effectively shuts down your frontal lobes, lowering your inhibition and turning your mind over to your more primitive impulses.

It is absolutely insane to believe that the best way to keep cool at a party is to have a cold cocktail. It cools you down for maybe 10 minutes and only worsens your feeling of dehydration.

But the part of my brain that considers my long-term happiness was out of commission. My reward pathway had taken over.

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For the Love of Food

by | Oct 18, 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 homemade is the new organic, standing is as good as running marathons, and the creepy Big Brother-ish future of food marketing.

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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