When I first start talking to a new client, she often tells me sheepishly about some of her most embarrassing food habits. It’s my job to put her at ease, making it okay for her to openly share these perceived shameful behaviors. I tell her that I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to overeat in secret, and so do all of the other women who come to me. A lot of times, my client will start crying on this initial call, saying things like, “Wow, I thought I was the only one. It’s so nice to hear that it’s not just me.”
Way more women have these secret food behaviors than you probably realize. These behaviors are a direct result of having a diet mentality (since it teaches you that sticking to your diet makes you “good” and eating things not on it makes you “bad”). Because so many women diet, it makes sense that many of them also find themselves eating in secret.
Here’s a sampling of what they told me:
“I don’t tell anyone, but when I make chocolate chip cookies, I like to eat the batter. Since the batter is not a ‘cookie’ yet, I can’t tell how many I’ve had, so it feels like it doesn’t count. In actuality, it’s probably eight raw cookies. Then I need to try one fresh out of the oven and also another once it’s cooled to make sure that they are good! By then end, I’ve probably eaten about 10 cookies—but only count them as two.”
RELATED: How to Become a More ‘Normal’ Eater
“When we have a family over for dinner, I do a lot of cooking and menu planning. When they arrive, we have a lovely meal together with laughter and food and conversation. But when they leave, I dig into the leftover dessert as though everybody at the party had told me not to touch it and I just can’t hold back any longer. Why? Still figuring that out.”
“Even though I love school and learning, grad school stresses me out constantly. I remember sitting in class from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and always fantasizing about what foods I could indulge in when I got home. On occasion, I wouldn’t be able to find anything to satisfy my cravings, so I would have to get creative. I would eat bags of chocolate chips or spoonfuls of Cool Whip. Occasionally, I’d be so secretive about my odd food choices that I would hide out in the bathroom or my bedroom and feast on these sugary foods late at night.”
“I used to always look forward to babysitting my nieces and nephews because I knew I could raid my sister’s refrigerator and cupboards. She keeps all the good ‘junk’ food that I never allowed myself to buy or eat, including ice cream, granola, chocolate, cereal, etc. I couldn’t wait until I would see her car backing out of the driveway so I could start eating. I would hide the wrappers in my purse so there was no evidence in the trashcan. And if I ate too much of one item, like leftover birthday cake, I would tell my sister that I allowed the kids to have an extra snack. Looking back, I feel really horrible because I spent more time eating than I did playing with the kids.”
“Sometimes, when someone would buy a communal bag of candy at work, I’d eat the entire thing and then sneak out and buy a new one so no one would know it was me.”
“I eat secretly on the way home from work in my car. I feel ashamed, like I don’t want my husband to know that I’m eating cookies or candy bars because it’ll make me gain weight—even though he’s never said a word about my weight and proposed to me when I was at my heaviest. I throw the trash away in an outside garbage can or before I get home so no one knows.”
Women are ashamed of these behaviors and beat themselves up about them—and I can empathize because I used to do say the same things to myself when I overate: What’s wrong with me? I’m such a pig. I’m disgusting. I’ll never get out of this horrible cycle.
The issue is that through years or even decades of dieting, you can come to think of food in a really unhealthy and twisted way. Your mentality towards food is what’s causing this behavior.
So what’s the answer? Ditch the diet think. The second you start to label foods as “good” and “bad,” you give food the power to wreak havoc on your emotions. Foods like cookies, ice cream, and bread become things you aren’t “supposed” to have.
The thing is, though, that you’re only human—and wanting to take something from your coworker’s candy bowl on a Tuesday afternoon doesn’t make you “bad”—it just makes you normal. So why make yourself miserable because you had this perfectly understandable urge and you gave into it?
Lead a healthy lifestyle, yes—but you can (and I strongly believe should) do that without living by arbitrary rules someone else has established for you.
What if you still engage in your secret eating habit? As you’re going through the process of changing your relationship with food, you will have moments when this happens. That’s okay! Instead of beating yourself up about it, take some time to think through why you’re being so hard on yourself. What food are you still labeling as off-limits and therefore are placing on a pedestal? How can you reframe your thinking to take some of that pressure off of yourself so you can set yourself up for better habits—and less mental torment—in the future?
Above all else, remember: There is nothing wrong with you. Food can only make you feel badly about yourself if you give it the power to.
Jamie Mendell is a holistic health coach who specializes in helping women lose weight without dieting. To find out more about her philosophy, check out her website.
Losing weight can be an exercise in trial and error: Try a diet, and see if it works. And as any weight-loss warrior can attest, a lot of the time, it doesn’t.
Though it’s a tedious process, the mistakes can teach you a lot about what a sustainable diet and exercise routine should look and feel like—and what you should stay far, far away from (we’re looking at you garcinia cambogia).
To help you steer clear of weight-loss fails before they happen, we spoke with seven women who’ve been there, done that, and found what works. Check out what they discovered about losing weight the hard way (so you don’t have to).
“My experience on the Master Cleanse was nothing short of terrifying. I thought, ‘The longer I do this, the better the results will be,’ and stuck to the diet for a full 40 days. I lost some weight at first, but around day 20, I totally plateaued and didn’t lose anymore. While living on water, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and maple syrup, I started to feel low on energy, dehydrated, and depressed. Then, I started hallucinating. I started seeing these dark shadowy figures. It was really scary. On top of that, I started to forget everything; my brain just didn’t work.
“Afterward, I realized that the physical, emotional, and mental torture of doing a cleanse is not worth the water weight and muscle I lost—and I might actually end up gaining the weight back in the long-term. Working out, eating a wholesome, nutrient-rich diet, and even giving myself some wiggle room for treats are the best things I did for my body. The pounds just fall off, no deprivation required!” —Antonia Donato, 27
“When I was trying to lose weight before a wedding, I decided I needed to cut out carbs to reach my goal. I still ate plenty of fruits and veggies, but I cut out starchy vegetables like potatoes and, of course, bread, pasta, and crackers. Within a couple of days, I was seriously dragging a**. I couldn’t complete my usual workouts, and some days, I couldn’t even get to the gym. I probably was burning fewer calories than I was before.
“Though I managed to lose a couple of pounds, it was all water weight. As soon as I ‘caved’ and ate a piece of bread, I gained it all back. After all of that, I decided that I could benefit by minimizing how many refined carbs I eat, switched to whole-grain bread and pasta, and stayed away from processed cookies and crackers as much as possible—within reason. Now, I actually have the energy to complete my workouts, and I don’t have the post-carb comas I used to get all the time. I’m losing real weight. It’s slow, but it’s steady.” —Sheila Ray, 23
“I tried the juicing fad after the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead reeled me in. After watching it, I ordered a pretty legit juicer and bought nearly $200 worth of veggies and fruits. I decided I would give up caffeine and food all in the same day because it seemed like the way to set myself up for a big win. The morning juice was delicious, and I felt like I was crossing the starting line to a better me. By noon, I had to introduce kale, which I hate. I did manage to make my way through it, but it wasn’t fun. I was hungry and suffering from withdrawal from sugar, food, caffeine, fun. Drinking liquid kale wasn’t so great, either.
“Around dinnertime, I was like, ‘f*ck this.’ I called up one of my friends, and we went out for Mexican food and margaritas. Lessons learned: Juice is not a meal, and no matter how many people tell you to eat kale, you don’t have to!” —Carrie Dowling, 30
“A couple of my friends who have Celiac disease sang the praises of a gluten-free diet. By cutting gluten, they felt better, had more energy, and lost a pretty good chunk of weight. I thought it could work for me, too, so I gave it shot. Following the diet was the biggest pain ever. I spent so much money on gluten-free pasta and bread. And I spent even more time trying to avoid gluten in the things I had in my fridge. Did you know it’s in a lot of medications and soy sauce? Seriously, it’s everywhere.
“Not only did I not lose weight—I actually managed to gain a few pounds during my gluten-free months. Plus, I was so low on energy that I went to my doctor to find out why. Some tests revealed that I was anemic—extremely low in both iron and B vitamins. I didn’t realize that a lot of gluten-containing foods are actually pretty good sources of those nutrients. My bad. Well, after talking to my doctor about why I was on the diet to begin with, we had a heart-to-heart and she convinced me to leave the gluten-free diets to those with true intolerances.” —Georgia Smith, 34
“I’ve tried several quick-fix diets to lose weight, like the one where you eat soup for three days or only eat tuna. They always left me feeling unsatisfied. By restricting myself to only certain foods or drinks for a number of days, I was constantly hungry—so sooner or later, I ate everything in sight. I never felt like I was becoming healthier or losing weight. After a few failed diets, I learned that trying to starve myself just doesn’t work.” —Natasha Suttle, 29
“I’ve gained and lost probably 500 pounds in my lifetime. I’ve had success with programs like Weight Watchers and counting calories like it’s my job, but I’ve never kept it off. For me, maintenance is the hard part. Once I lose the weight, I always think, ‘Yes! Now I’m done and can do what I want.’ But that just isn’t true. The really hard work comes after you reach your goal.” —Jesse McPhail Ramsay, 40
“I tried a diet plan that revolves around eating all of your food out of portion-controlled containers that come in different sizes and colors to represent different food groups—like protein, fruit, and veggies. The idea is that if each of your meals fit into the array of containers, you’re set. Your meals are both portion-controlled and balanced. But I had so much trouble figuring out how to use them and cooking every meal from scratch that I basically gave up. While those damn containers were a struggle, they did teach me the importance of portion controlling your meals and making your food ahead of time—but I don’t need color-coded food storage to do it.” —Blake Stuffel, 29
Breakfast is important, but so is your schedule—and you have places to be! These healthy picks will fill you up.
Build your own! One idea: eggs, avocado, spinach, and tomato on nine-grain bread.
390 calories, 14 g fat, 670 mg sodium
RELATED: Salad for Breakfast? HECK YEAH.
Pick up the delish Hearty Blueberry Whole-Grain Oatmeal.
220 calories, 2.5 g fat, 125 mg sodium
Gulp down a fat-free Green Passion Power Smoothie.
200 calories, 0 g fat, 30 mg sodium
For more ways to have a healthier (and happier!) morning, pick up the September 2015 issue of Women’s Health, on newsstands now.
With an all-day breakfast menu, coffee served by Yardstick-trained baristas (roasting their in-house brand of beans), and a pretty memorable donut recipe as their ammo, the recently installed Frank & Dean could definitely make a dent in the wallets of the brunch-having BGC crowd. However, the place also appears to have some crisis of faith […]
The Telegraph warns that the salt content in your favorite fast food meals might be higher than what you are used to when you eat abroad. For example, a serving of a Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal in Britain contains just 0.7 g of salt, but if you were to order the same meal in South Africa, you’ll be getting 1.67 g of salt. In […]
Exciting news if you’re trying to avoid artificial flavoring but are as obsessed as we are with pumpkin spice lattes: Both Starbucks and Panera announced today that their PSLs will be made with REAL pumpkin this season.
“After hearing from customers and partners about ingredients, we took another look at this beverage and why we created it so many years ago,” Peter Dukes, Starbucks’ espresso brand manager, wrote on the company’s blog. “It was simple—espresso, perfectly steamed milk, [and] warm fall spices with delicious flavor of pumpkin pie that reminds you of the cool, crisp days of autumn. So with that great taste you know and love, the PSL returns this fall, and this time it will be made with real pumpkin and without caramel coloring.”
Panera Bread visited our office last week to share the details on its own pumpkin spice latte. “Our pumpkin offerings have long included real pumpkin—and this year our pumpkin spice latte takes real a step further,” says Dan Kish, Panera’s head chef.
Here’s how the ingredient lists for each compare:
- Pumpkin Spice Flavored Sauce (Sugar, Condensed Skim Milk, Pumpkin Puree, Contains 2% or Less of Fruit and Vegetable Juice for Color, Natural Flavors, Annatto (Color), Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Salt)
- Whipped Cream (Light Whipping Cream [Cream, Mono and Diglycerides, Carrageenan])
- Starbucks Vanilla Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Citric Acid)
- Pumpkin Spice Topping (Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove)
- Reduced-Fat Milk
- Pumpkin Spice Flavored Syrup (Sugar, Glycerin, Pumpkin, Organic Invert Cane Syrup, Molasses, Water, Dark Brown Sugar, Natural Flavors, Allspice, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, Annatto and Turmeric (for color), Gellan Gum
- Whipped Cream (Cream, Skim milk, Sugar, Sorbitan Monostearate, Carrageenan, Dextrose, Natural Vanilla Flavor)
- Salted Caramel Sauce (Sweetened Condensed Milk, Tapioca Syrup, Cane Sugar, Organic Invert Cane Sugar, Glycerin, Light Brown Sugar, Butter, Heavy Cream, Salt, Natural Flavors, Sunflower Lecithin)
Starbucks hasn’t released any sort of nutrition stats, but Panera let us know that its 16-ounce small size clocks in around 450 calories. (It will also offer the drink made with almond milk and/or without the caramel and whipped cream upon request.) We got to sample Panera’s drink, too. Here’s what our tasters had to say about it:
“I was surprised by how much I liked it! I take my sweet indulgences pretty seriously, so I can be a tough judge, but all in all the latte was very tasty and the natural ingredients were noticeable (in a good way), from the richness of the pumpkin puree flavor to the spices at the bottom of the cup. The calorie count is high, so I would definitely opt for a ‘skinny’ size, but I prefer almond milk over cow’s milk anyway.”
“I loved it! I thought it tasted light and fresh even with the regular milk but also naturally sweet. Other PSLs taste like artificial pumpkin flavoring syrup, but this one had little bits of spices at the bottom, which made it certifiably fresh and authentic.”
“It was extremely sweet—this drink is definitely an indulgence. I could smell the pumpkin before I even tasted the coffee, which is a huge plus because if I’m ordering a pumpkin spice latte, then I want actual pumpkin.”
“It was very cinnamon-y and you could see the chunks of seasoning in it. The milk in it upset my stomach a little, so the option to have almond instead will be great.”
Related Link: All the Ingredients in Your Coffee That Aren’t Coffee
Panera’s latte will be available for sampling at Victor Steinbrueck Park near Pike’s Place in Seattle tomorrow from 7 a.m. to noon PST—and it will be available at Panera locations nationwide starting September 9. No word yet on when Starbucks’ will be available.
This article was written by Lizzie Fuhr and repurposed with permission from POPSUGAR Fitness.
A big weight-loss journey requires consistency, determination, and commitment. However, many of our readers have noted that those last 10 pounds are some of the hardest to take off. If you’re dealing with a similar predicament, these expert tips offer the advice you need to hit your weight-loss goal—and keep those pounds off for good.
1. Go High Protein, Not Just Low Calorie
If you’re having a hard time shedding weight, you might be focusing too much on counting calories and not enough on protein. Esther Blum, R.D., author of Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat, says high-protein foods take more work to “digest, metabolize, and use, which means you burn more calories processing them.” Esther says that eating adequate protein also ensures that you keep your precious muscle tissue—something that is often lost with a low-calorie diet.
2. Lift (Heavier) Weights
All of the fitness and health experts we reached out to shared one common thread: lift weights, and don’t be afraid of heavy ones! Former Canyon Ranch director and group fitness expert Aimee Nicotera says that lifting heavier weights than you’re used to might be the “nudge your body needs to change.” She also promises that you won’t bulk up from this shift.
Blum explains that lifting heavy weights raises our body’s hormone levels, which gives your body the “natural ability to burn fat for a full 24 hours after your workout.” If that’s not enough proof to head to the weight room, I don’t know what is!
RELATED: 9 Healthy Changes That Burn More Fat
3. Manage Your Stress
According to trainer and lifestyle coach Julie Barrett, R.D., achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight really boils down to one thing: stress management. Julie says that when our bodies are under stress, “our adrenal glands pump out excessive amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, causing an imbalance in our bodies’ natural hormonal rhythms.” This imbalance reduces your ability to burn fat, hindering your body from reaching that goal weight.
Barrett says that “not all stress is bad” (and we can’t completely eliminate stress from our lives), but there are some stressors we have control over such as “poorly controlled blood sugar, excessive caffeine consumption, over training, and poor digestion.” If you start working through stressors, you’ll start seeing results.
4. Hire a Trainer
If your gym routine is feeling ineffective and you’re not sure how to make the proper changes, group fitness expert Aimee Nicotera says that hiring a personal trainer can make a huge difference. She recognizes that this isn’t an easy financial decision for most people, but a good trainer will “meet your individual needs, hold you accountable, and challenge you.” Even a handful of sessions with a professional can totally revamp your workout routine and help you reach your goals.
5. Up Your (Healthy) Fat Intake
Just the word “fat” makes some people steer clear, but adding more healthy fats to your diet can help your body shed weight. Barrett says to eat more fat from organic plant sources like “coconut oil and nuts” and to choose “grass-fed, organic, pasture-raised animal sources.” Many sources of healthy fats, like avocados, olive oil, salmon, and walnuts, offer the added bonus of being high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help fight inflammation.
6. Change Up Your Workouts
Keeping things fresh and mixing up a workout is important for so many reasons. Not only does it stop your body from hitting a hard plateau, but you’ll also be less likely to get burnt out. Esther Blum says that the same old workouts week after week will only “maintain your fitness levels and make no strength or muscle gains whatsoever.” If you want to see changes, you’ve got to make changes.
If you’ve always wanted to start running, kick off your program with our 35-minute interval plan that alternates between walking and running. For ladies who have been timid about heading into a yoga class, try our beginner sequence.
Click here for four more ways to lose the last 10 pounds from POPSUGAR FITNESS
When I was a kid, I would binge on nachos, ice cream, and cookies when I was anxious or stressed. I never cared about what I ate. And while most kids can eat lots of junk food and stay at a relatively healthy weight, I didn’t do any kind of physical activity—so the pounds just packed on. By the time I was 16, I weighed 186 pounds, which wasn’t very healthy for my 5’4″ frame.
Besides being visibly overweight, I was constantly reminded during my yearly checkups that I was at risk for diabetes and had crazy-high cholesterol levels for someone my age. I knew I needed to lose weight, but it just seemed too hard. Sometimes, I would get frustrated about being the biggest girl out of all of my friends, and so I would restrict my eating by giving up certain snacks or watching my portion sizes. I did that several times throughout high school and usually felt more energized because of it (I don’t know how much weight I lost because I avoided the scale except for the doctor’s office). But I never stuck with those changes. It was especially tough because my family went out to dinner really frequently as a family activity, so I would be tempted to order unhealthy foods. Plus, my friends and I always hung out at fast food restaurants for fun, and it was hard to be the only one not eating.
One day, I was driving by a gym, and I noticed that it was pretty cheap to join. I knew that I had to take action if I wanted to get healthier, and this was the time to do it. So I signed up! Before that point, I’d tried going on walks with my mom, but beyond that, I didn’t do any kind of physical activity. After activating my membership, I started walking and then jogging on the treadmill and using the elliptical for about a half hour three times a week. I started to use exercise as an outlet when I was stressed or upset instead of resorting to emotional eating.
Even though exercise helped eliminate my urge to down lots of snacks, I knew I had to start eating healthier in other ways, too. Not long after starting up my workout routine, I began eating 100-calorie pack snacks and fruit to soothe my sugar cravings and snacking habits. For the rest of my meals, I ate the same foods, but I tried to focus on making my portion sizes smaller instead of eating to the point where I was stuffed.
As a young person, it was really hard to say no to fast food and other snacks my friends and I always ate. Whenever we went out for dinner or to hang out with other kids, I had to tell myself that I’d just worked out really hard and I didn’t want to sacrifice that effort for a taco or a burger that wasn’t even that great. After about six months, I’d lost roughly 10 pounds. More importantly, I’d started to feel better about my body and had way more energy.
When I began college, I didn’t put on the freshman 15 because I lived at home and didn’t have the temptation of dining hall food—but I still struggled to find ways to eat healthy on days when I’d be in class for up to 12 hours. Most of the time, I packed a lunch and healthy snacks or tried to drive home quickly to have a meal that I knew was good for me.
As I continued to get stronger at the gym, I started working out six days a week and decided to start lifting weights. I found that strength training was really therapeutic because I was only focused on my form and how many reps and sets I was doing, rather than all of the other stuff that was going on in my life.
Unfortunately, my love for the gym turned into a bit of an obsession. When I started seeing results, I was even more driven to keep up my workouts. It was motivating, but I got really upset if I had to miss a workout because I wasn’t feeling good or I just didn’t have time. On those days, I tried to follow a very strict diet to make up for the calories I wasn’t burning at the gym, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how I needed to be working out. It got to the point where I would cancel plans with friends to squeeze in gym time. I was happy about my results, but I knew this mentality wasn’t healthy. It took a while for me to come the realization that working out is supposed to benefit my life and my health, not make me feel guilty. I started telling myself that if I missed a workout, I wasn’t going to instantly slide back into my old ways or gain a ton of weight—but it’s still something I occasionally struggle with.
After gradually making healthy changes and integrating fitness into my life over the course of four years, I’ve lost 51 pounds. Yes, I would have loved to have lost the weight faster, but I think that by taking it slow I’ve been able to keep the weight off for good because I truly changed my life—I didn’t just do a crash diet.
Now, I love being the fit girl in my group. A lot of my friends ask me for advice on losing weight or getting in shape, and it makes me feel good because I never thought that I would be the athletic person people turned to for tips on living a healthy life.
Now, when I go out with my girls, I feel really confident about myself. I’m not afraid to approach a guy or meet new friends like I was before.
Don’t get discouraged. In my experience, the weight doesn’t always come off as fast as you’d like it to, but that doesn’t mean you should just give up on your new habits. It takes time to see the results you want, so you have to stick with it.
Don’t lose weight just to be skinny. Having the mentality that I just wanted to be skinny led me to obsess about the gym. But when I changed my thinking to be more about health and taking things in moderation, that’s when I could make peace with my anxiety about missing workouts.
Treat yourself and don’t feel bad about it. I found that depriving myself of the foods I loved just made me want them more. It took a while, but I came to the conclusion that I can enjoy my favorite foods and not feel guilty about it. It’s all about moderation.
Every Wednesday at 3 p.m. EST, WomensHealthMag.com hosts a live broadcast on Periscope called “Snack Sesh” with fun new ideas for health-conscious snackers. Make sure to tune in live—you’ll be able to ask us questions and make comments in real time—and in the meantime, here’s a recap of the recipes we cooked up this week!
Who doesn’t love a good yogurt parfait? But we thought we could have a little more fun with the concept. And while it’s still summer (and hot!) outside, we wanted to do something to make these creamy treats weather-appropriate. Behold: frozen yogurt parfaits. Not ones that you need to make with froyo; just your typical yogurt parfait that you throw in the freezer and then enjoy after they’ve had a chance to chill for four or five hours.
While you can use this trick with your standard berries-and-Greek yogurt parfait (or even just a single-serve tub of flavored yogurt if you want to go the easy route), we didn’t stop there. We came up with some fresh topping ideas, too. And let us tell you: They. Are. So. Good. (Anyone who tuned into our Periscope broadcast on these can attest to the looks of joy on our faces as we tasted these bad boys.) You can nosh on any of these parfaits right after you make them—but we highly recommend putting them in the freezer for a few hours first to get the full effect.
For this one, we recommend sprinkling some cinnamon over the apple chunks and microwaving them for two minutes before you layer them into the parfait. It’ll help infuse the spice’s flavor into the apples—and also soften them up so it really feels like you’re eating a piece of pie. The creaminess of the Greek yogurt almost makes it feel like you’re having a slice a la mode.
RELATED: 11 Delicious Apple Treats
If you like piña coladas… (sorry, couldn’t resist). But seriously, it’s kind of shocking how similar eating this felt to sipping on the classic pool-side drink. But with this version, you have way fewer calories, grams of fat, and grams of sugar.
Sometimes, you’re just in the mood for a cookie in the afternoon. This is the next best thing. When you leave the parfait in the freezer for a few hours, the graham cracker pieces absorb a lot of the moisture from the yogurt—so they actually have the consistency of cookie dough. Mmmmmm.
The great thing about all of these recipes is how customizable they are—you can add as much or as little of each ingredient as you want. Enjoy these, and be sure to tune in to next week’s edition of “Snack Sesh!” (New to Periscope? Just download the app onto your smartphone—it’s linked to your Twitter account—and you’ll be ready to watch.)
It’s a Friday night once again and the week has most likely given you something to celebrate or something to mull over. Given the force by which Instagram, retweets, and #goals have changed the way we look at life, our reasons to drink have also turned to a particular taste. So maybe tonight you’re looking for that specific spirit that represents […]
This article was written by Kit Fox and provided by our partners at Runner’s World.
You just went for a run. How many calories did you blast? Chances are, your guess outpaces reality—to the tune of, say, a Frappuccino. Overestimating calorie burn is the most common weight-loss mistake runners make, says Lisa Ellis, M.S., R.D., a nutritionist in Westchester, New York. But it’s not the only misstep. Sneaky slipups can derail the weight-loss efforts of even health-savvy runners. Here’s how to avoid eight common mistakes.
It’s true that running eats up more calories than nearly any other activity: The average man burns 124 calories per mile, and the average woman burns 105, which means a three-miler nets you a 315- to 372-calorie deficit. But you can easily overspend your calorie deficit with something as simple as a flavored latte and a chocolate-chip cookie.
Fix it: Get a better estimate of your calorie burn with an online calculator, like this one, or with a GPS watch that allows you to input your height, weight, and other stats. If you’re prone to overindulging postrun, avoid blowing your calorie deficit by finding a couple “reward” foods with easily controllable portions, like bite-size cookies or single-serving chips.
Feeling virtuous with your dry toast, naked salads, and splash of watery skim milk in your coffee? Not so fast. Your body needs fat to absorb vitamins like A, D, E, and K, as well as to regulate hunger; fats are digested more slowly than carbs and protein, keeping hunger at bay longer. It’s also believed that fat helps your body sense the appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin, says Ellis. A no-fat or very low-fat diet leaves those hormones out of whack.
Fix it: Fat should make up 20 to 30 percent of your daily calories. But avoid trans fats (in processed foods) and limit saturated fats (meat, dairy). Rely on mono- and polyunsaturated fats (olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, fish); these protect your heart and promote satiety. A recent study found that even the aroma of some fats, particularly olive oil, may prompt the release of satiety-inducing hormones.
You may have heard this one: Hit the road without breakfast, and your body will burn fat. But it doesn’t work the way you’d hope. Rather than seeking out fat immediately, your muscles first use carbs that have been stored in your muscles as glycogen, says Rachel Berman, R.D. When those stored carbs run out and your body starts to burn fat, your energy plummets, forcing you to slow down and burn fewer calories than if you had properly fueled up.
Fix it: If you’re heading out for 30 minutes or less on an easy run, you can skip a prerun snack since you probably have enough glycogen to power you. But if you run longer or harder, you should have a 100- to 200-calorie snack about an hour before your run. Choose carbs and a bit of protein, such as a banana with peanut butter, and drink water to hydrate.
RELATED: Snack Attacks for Runners
After longer or tougher workouts, your muscles have gobbled up all the glycogen they needed, and now they’re hungry. Thing is, you might not be; many runners find their appetite is suppressed just after working out. “But later, when your body settles in and ‘realizes’ its glycogen stores are low, you’ll feel much hungrier,” says Berman, leaving you prone to inhaling everything in sight.
Fix it: Aim to refuel within an hour of tougher workouts to re-power your muscles and stave off hunger later. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a 4-to-1 ratio of carbs to protein. Keep this snack to fewer than 200 calories. With 160 calories per cup, low-fat chocolate milk fits the bill nicely, providing the ideal mix of carbs and protein.
Addicted to mid-run refueling? You may be piling on more calories than you need by overdependence on energy bars, gels, drinks, and shakes. “Calories from mid-race fuels are dense, add up quickly, and usually don’t do much to suppress hunger,” says Berman.
Fix it: For runs shorter than 60 minutes, skip the gels and sports drinks; water is fine. Go longer, and you should consume 30 to 60 grams of carbs (one or two energy gels or 16 to 32 ounces of sports drink) per hour of exercise.
Calories in a cup count just as much as those on your plate, and alcohol is particularly sneaky. According to a 2012 report by the Centers for Disease Control, American adults consume an average of 100 calories a day from alcohol. Add in sweetened beverages like coffee, tea, soda, and juice, and you could be overdoing it big-time. Studies show that, in general, liquid calories don’t contribute to satiety the way solids do. That means if you down 200 calories at the bar, you won’t compensate by eating 200 fewer calories at dinner.
Fix it: Most of the liquid you drink should be calorie-free, like water, seltzer, unsweetened tea. Remember that alcohol may trigger overeating as your inhibitions drop. “Moderate drinking means one a day for women, two for men,” says Berman. “Cut calories by choosing light beer, wine, or liquor mixed with seltzer. Avoid frozen drinks, which are high in sugar.”
Blame overblown weight-loss expectations on celeb-endorsed juice cleanses or reality shows like The Biggest Loser. But trying to change everything at once or reaching for TV-ready results is often overwhelming enough to cause you to abandon your weight-loss plan, says Berman. If you are dropping a pound to two pounds per week, that’s a sustainable pace, she says.
Fix it: Make small changes, one at a time. Try to eat a healthy breakfast every day, for example. Swap out chips for an apple at lunch. It’s not sexy, but it works. Rather than zeroing in on the scale, reward yourself with a manicure or piece of gear as changes morph into habits.
It’s a physiological fact: Bigger bodies burn more calories, even at rest. That’s why the more you have to lose, the quicker you’ll see weight-loss results. But as you shed pounds, your body adjusts and, frustratingly, burns fewer calories (including while running). So what worked initially will need to be tweaked as you slim down.
Fix it: Every time you lose 10 to 15 percent of your weight, readjust your daily calorie intake, says Berman. Find your new (smaller) needs here. Recalculate your exercise burn, too, since that also decreases as you slim down.
Sure, you could reach for a cup of joe when you need a pick-me-up. But that’s not the only (or even the most effective) way to increase your energy levels. We tapped experts and research to find 10 ways to feel more invigorated on the fly. Bonus: They won’t give you the jitters or coffee-stained teeth.
Here are some more details on each strategy:
Your body runs on a lot of things, but its number-one fuel is oxygen. Try taking some deep belly breaths, expanding your ribcage and stomach with every inhale and pushing your belly button into your spine with every exhale. Doing so will get more oxygen to your brain and throughout the body to give you an instant wave of energy, says Barbara Walker, Ph.D., a clinical and sports psychologist with the Center for Human Performance in Cincinnati.
There’s a reason you can’t work out without your favorite tunes. Research consistently shows that people instinctually synchronize their movements and expressions to music. So play some upbeat, energetics songs, and you’ll automatically feel that way yourself, says Walker. (If you manage to bust out a few dance moves, even better, she says.)
Whether you stretch, walk, perform a few asanas, or hammer out some burpees, you can expect a lasting pick-me-up. In fact, in a review published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise, researchers found that workouts as brief as 10 minutes keep you energized for up to four hours. “At the most cellular level, when you exercise, your mitochondria kick into gear in order to produce ATP, which is used for energy to keep up with the demands of your body,” says trainer Mike Donavanik, certified strength and conditioning specialist. Even a walk around the office will get your blood moving so more oxygen reaches your tired command center, he says. If you want to do something a little more vigorous, check out the Fit in 10 DVD from our sister publication, Prevention.
Hitting your high O releases a cocktail of neurotransmitters and hormones, including dopamine, prolactin, serotonin, and oxytocin. “It leads to a greater ability to focus and concentrate and a subsequent burst of mental clarity and energy, if you will,” says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., coauthor of V is for Vagina. Plus, double clicking your own mouse might be more energizing than a partnered session in the sack, which is more likely to be acrobatic, sweaty, and tire you out, she says.
Work out or sit on a bench; all it takes to increase your energy and feelings of vitality is to be outside, according to a review published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. Bonus points if you can combine the trick with number three (a.k.a. getting moving). Walking outside increases energy levels even more than indoor walking, per a review published in Environmental Science and Technology.
Are you really tired? Or are you just thirsty? “One of the biggest indicators of lethargy or low energy is that you are dehydrated,” says nutritionist Rania Batayneh, M.P.H., author of the best-selling book The One One One Diet. “Because water aids in both body regulation and brain function, it is also closely related to balancing out our moods. If you are feeling that your focus isn’t as sharp as you would like it to be, you can boost your alertness and low energy levels with water.”
In one University of Nebraska study, participants who watched a funny video enjoyed greater post-vid energy levels. That may be because laughing increases your blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of feel-good neurotransmitters, says Walker.
People are truly solar-powered. Light is what clues your body into the fact that, yep, you’re supposed to be awake. That’s why research from Technische Universiteit Eindhoven in the Netherlands shows that people are more energetic and alert after having been exposed to bright light. Try taking a trip to the nearest window, step outside, or fire up the old light box for a few minutes. They aren’t just for the wintertime.
When it comes to energizing snacks, a mix of carbs, protein, and fat are where it’s at. “Combining complex carbohydrates with lean protein and healthy fat provides lasting energy,” says Lori Zanini, R.D., a dietician and certified diabetes educator with HealthCare Partners. “The fiber, protein, and fat take longer to digest and provide sustained energy. Sugary foods can raise our blood-sugar levels quickly and give us energy in the moment, but the crash that follows will leave you right where you started.” Try Greek yogurt with berries and walnuts or avocado spread on a piece of whole wheat toast topped with a scrambled egg.
Besides possibly making you horny, thinking about your lover can give you a jolt of energy, per research from University of Western Ontario in Canada. While working with 183 men and women, scientists found that thinking about their current partners increased their blood-sugar levels and, thus, their energy levels.
The woman who is trying to make the world a better place one healthy lifestyle blog post at a time took her passion for clean eating to Capitol Hill today. Along with her mom, Blythe Danner, Gwyneth Paltrow planned to meet with lawmakers to discuss clearly labeling whether foods contain genetically modified organisms (or GMOs), according to the Washington Post.
The GOOP founder set out on this mission after the House of Representatives recently passed legislation that would prevent states from passing mandatory labeling laws for foods containing GMOs, according to The Hill.
While Gwyneth and several other celebrities involved in the “Just Label It” movement are rooting for official labels on all products, very little research has suggested that those engineered organisms do cause humans harm. (Worth noting: Critics of GMOs point out that we can’t know yet what the potential side effects of eating them might be since they’ve been in our food supply for a relatively short time.)
So let’s discuss. Share your thoughts on GMO labeling in our poll below, and check back in to see the results.
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When you dive into a fruit salad or chomp your way through an apple, you might pat yourself on the back for choosing the healthy, satisfying option instead of diving into a bag of chips or a pint of ice cream. But then…your pants feel tight. Um, WTH?
Listen up, ladies. It’s not you; it’s the fruit. While fruit is full of nutrients your body needs, some of those sweet, healthy treats can cause you to feel like you just devoured a tub of ramen noodles. Here’s why: Fruit is loaded with sugar, in particular fructose and sorbitol (a sugar alcohol), and both of those nutrients can cause gas and bloating. It’s also full of fiber—which, in addition to keeping your belly flat in the long term by moving your GI tract along, can be hard to digest and create gas as a result.
Though you shouldn’t nix these delish and nutrish fruits from your diet, you might want to take extra steps to avoid feeling puffy post-snack. Here, why some fruits make you prone to bloat—and how to deal.
Apples are loaded with antioxidants. In fact, a green apple contains more antioxidants than berries. But it may not be your belly’s favorite daily treat. This fruit is loaded fructose, or fruit sugar, which some people have a tough time digesting. So when their system starts to break down all that sugar, they feel gassy—as in unbuttoning-your-pants-at-your-desk level of gassy. If this sounds like you, try eating half the apple instead of the whole thing—and chew it slowly. Since you’re eating less fruit, you’ll reduce the amount of fructose you’re consuming. And taking your sweet time to chew gives your body more of an opportunity to digest the fiber-packed snack.
RELATED: 21 Recipes to Help Beat Belly Bloat
As part of a healthy diet, pears get a thumbs way up because they contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol and keeps you full. Unfortunately, pears also contain a small amount of sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that can occur naturally and is also added into things like chewing gum. And while a little bit of this type of sugar can be helpful for keeping your digestive system moving, some people might experience serious bloating—even from just a small amount of it. Since sorbitol is absorbed more slowly into the small intestine than other varieties of sugar, it can pass into your colon, where it ferments—which can cause bloating, gas, and cramps in some people. Womp. Unfortunately, there’s no way to reduce the effects of this sugar alcohol other than to avoid it. However, exercise will move that gas through your bod and reduce the bloating.
RELATED: 4 Ways to De-Bloat During Breakfast
Cherries, Grapes, Mango, and Pineapple
Who doesn’t secretly love spitting out cherry pits? But in addition to their fun factor and delicious taste, cherries—along with grapes, mangos, and pineapple—contain a lot of, you guessed it, sugar. Occasionally, some of that sugar doesn’t get completely absorbed in the small intestine—so it ends up getting stuck in the large intestine and causes you to fill up like a parade balloon. The best way to help your body completely digest all of the sugar so it doesn’t make its way into large instestine is to chew these fruits as thoroughly as possible. Sticking with a one-cup serving and limiting the amount of carbohydrates and sugars you eat the rest of the day can also help keep you de-puffed.
RELATED: 15 Ways to Debloat ASAP
Dried Apricots, Raisins, and Prunes
Dried fruit can help make those trips to the bathroom more, um, productive, but it can also cause you to feel like the Michelin man. That’s because it’s a concentrated source of sugar and fiber, and the bacteria in your colon love it. Those little guys get to work fermenting the sugar and fiber that didn’t get digested and produce gas, which makes you feel four months pregnant. When indulging in this sweet fruit, make sure you consume it with extra water to keep your bowels moving and help eliminate bloat.
If you find that you’re consistently filled with hot air after eating these fruits, you may want to start a taking a probiotic supplement to improve the quality of the bacteria in your gut.
Keri Glassman, R.D., is on Women’s Health’s advisory board and is the founder of Nutritious Life.
Anthony Bourdain had the right idea: When traveling, food shouldn’t be an afterthought. More people (nearly 40 million) have caught on and are planning trips around epic meals, rather than settling for crappy theme-park corn dogs. It’s called food tourism, and it’s blowing up. Prepare to star in your own culinary adventure with our guide to great eats anywhere. Because, hey, you’re on vacation. The best part? We skipped the tourist traps to find the super-buzzy bites in summer’s most visited cities.
NEW YORK CITY
1. Spit-roasted pork tacos at Empellon Al Pastor. This new spot’s version calls for house-made corn tortillas filled with chili-rubbed pork shoulder and caramelized pineapple. empellon.com/al-pastor
2. “Drunken-style” whole wood-oven fish at Mission Chinese Food. Chef Danny Bowien uses Xiaoxing (a Chinese fermented rice wine) as the base for the dish’s spicy sauce. mcfny.com
3. Garlic bread croissants at Dominique Ansel Kitchen. Meet the cronut’s savory counterpart—flaky, golden, and worth every last carb. dominiqueanselkitchen.com
4. Margherita pizza at Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca. The stars at Mario Batali’s latest restaurant are these thincrust 12-inch pies, fired to perfection in a 1,000°F wood-burning oven. babbopizzeria.com
5. Mama Chang’s pork and chive dumplings at Myers + Chang. They’re part of an inexpensive dim sum brunch, and one of the few constants on a menu that changes weekly. myersandchang.com
6. Maine lobster roll at James Hook + Co. Bitesize chunks of meat are so fresh and sweet, they need only the most cursory kiss of mayo. jameshooklobster.com
7. Tamales at Dove’s Luncheonette. The fillings change seasonally (e.g., calabaza squash, gulf shrimp), but the tamale’s always hot at this southern-inspired Mexican joint. doveschicago.com
8. Tchai-de-Bonzo (Buddhist monk vegetable meal) at Fat Rice. Hearty noodles and seasonal veggies meet cold-smoked shiitakes and crunchy fried tofu puffs. eatfatrice.com
9. Malted custard French toast at Jam. Thick-cut brioche is geniusly griddled and topped with cherries and lime whipped cream. jamrestaurant.com
10. Hot-pressed sandwich with Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese at Tartine Bakery & Cafe. Award-winning local dairy on house-baked walnut bread makes the ultimate melt. tartinebakery.com
11. The CA state bird (that would be quail) at State Bird Provisions. Golden tenders are marinated in buttermilk, then coated in pumpkin seeds and breadcrumbs. statebirdsf.com
12. Salted caramel ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop. Small batches + house-made flavors = as fresh as it gets. biritecreamery.com
13. Charcoal-grilled yellowtail with glazed soy sauce at Aburiya Raku. Umami flavor with a touch of smokiness is the hallmark of this off-the-Strip eatery’s standout order. raku-grill.com
14. Reina pepiada arepa (say that three times fast!) at Viva Las Arepas. The griddled Venezuelan corn patty teems with garlicky avocado and shredded chicken. vivalasarepas.com
15. Lindsay Ranch OR Washugyu steak at Bazaar Meat. Yes, it’s $95, but the perfectly marbled, oh-so-tender beef may be the most luxe way to spend your winnings in Sin City. slslasvegas.com
16. Eden quinoa bowl at Beefsteak Vegetables. At chef Jose Andres’s new healthy grab-and-go spot, $8 gets you this bonanza of produce topped with yogurt sauce and lemon-honey dressing. beefsteakveggies.com
17. Classic ramen at Toki Underground. Hand-pulled noodles and a pork-bone broth spiked with grilled seaweed set this slurp apart. tokiunderground.com
18. Creme brulee doughnut at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken. Filled with pastry cream and topped with vanilla glaze and sugar. Yeah, it’s kinda amazing. astrodoughnuts.com
19. Spareribs at 4 Rivers Smokehouse. It’s worth the hour-long wait for bites of this falling-off-the-bone smoked meat. 4rsmokehouse.com
20. Line-caught fish at K Restaurant. A local in-season fish, like mahi, is pan-seared and served with a succotash seasoned with herbs from this farm-to-table restaurant’s garden. krestaurant.net
21. French Toastie Cupcake at Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC. Breakfast masquerading as dessert, this maple-topped treat is also gluten-free. erinmckennasbakery.com
22. Grazing Vegetarians tasting menu at Fruition. For $25, nab two meat-free courses like open-faced lasagna made with heirloom tomatoes and squash. fruitionrestaurant.com
23. Rotisserie “Boulder local” chicken at Blackbelly. At Top Chef winner Hosea Rosenberg’s restaurant, the free-range bird is raised on a nearby farm. blackbelly.com
24. Toasted farro carbonara at Mercantile Dining & Provision. Nutrient-packed farro replaces pasta in this riff on the classic dish. mercantiledenver.com
25. Dungeness crab and avocado dip at Chippy’s Fish & Drink. A heartier take on guacamole with house-made potato chips for scooping. ethanstowellrestaurants.com
26. Braised lamb shoulder at Westward. Served whole with herb and onion salad, tzatziki, and flatbread for a DIY gyro situation. westwardseattle.com
27. Caesar salad sandwich at Damn the Weather. An egg is cooked into the slice of toasted brioche that crowns this totally filling lunch. damntheweather.com
28. Salumi at Bestia. The incredible house-cured meats make a perfect meal or starter before a handmade pasta dish. bestiala.com
29. The Office Burger at Father’s Office. Made with beef that’s dry-aged on-site (a method used by only a handful of U.S. steak houses), it’s topped with caramelized onion and two kinds of cheese. fathersoffice.com
30. The Slut at Eggslut. A coddled egg served on potato puree with a mini baguette: So major, it deserves a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. eggslut.com
For more tips on what to eat when traveling this summer, pick up the July/August issue of Women’s Health, on newsstands now.
Okay, you’ll have to forgive us for making a “go ahead and play with your food” pun here. But look!
That’s a portrait that artist Jessie Bearden made out of Wheaties. Of Caitlyn Jenner. It doesn’t get much more inspired (and well-executed) than that.
“I got really sick of painting because it was just too limiting,” Jessie told People. “And pop culture seemed like a natural subject for me.”
Here are some of our other favorite creations of hers:
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We don’t know about you, but we’re feeling pretty inspired to play with our food right about now.