Snap Out of It!

Today, I'm shaking off the ridiculous depression I've let myself be imprisoned by over the past few days.  Anyone who's followed my rants and raves about food, dieting, exercise, blah, blah, blah, should know by now that I'm a stress induced eater.  If you don't, then let me introduce myself, hi, I'm Lisa, and I'm a stress eater.  I wish that had a more positive connotation, like "wow, she gets stressed and eats it for breakfast, what a champ!"  No, quite literally the opposite - if I get stressed, depressed, I am ready to rush over to Dairy Queen and drown my sorrows to the tune of a zillion calorie eating binge.  Difficulties with food and weight manifest themselves in a number of ways, this is the cross I have to bear. 

If you check out sites on stress/emotional eating, you'll find they'll give you an assortment of reasons associated with what drives this behavior.  Well, having gone through a divorce, losing my paternal grandmother in the past year, dealing with a stressful job, and a spiteful/vindictive ex-husband, it probably makes sense that I easily succumb to emotionally driven eating.

What to do then?  In my case, and speaking exclusively to such, I need to wake up, acknowledge the problem and resolve to do something about it.  While I still continue to work out 3-4 times a week, that's not going to be enough to keep my problem in check.  Here's my plan of action .....

  1. Water - Planning to practice what I preach here, water detoxifies, regulates body temperature, aids metabolism, to mention a few benefits.  And I'm suffering from all the symptoms of dehydration right now - migraines, tiredness, constipation, dry skin, etc.  It's not pretty.
  2. Diary - Yup, I've pulled out 'Losin' It' again and immediately saw my infractions and patterns emerging.  It's so hard to see what you're doing as you move through your day, I find this 30,000 foot perspective on my meals extremely revealing - I'll be planning the rest of my meals & snacks for the week through it.
  3. Vitamins - Yeah, vitamins.  I keep falling off the wagon with this one and need to take my vitamins more consistently.
  4. Random Acts of Activity - This is the fun one for me, it's like a puzzle.  Finding ways to incorporate activity through my day.  Started off the day with using steps only in my commute, accounting for over 100 steps!  I'll probably do some sets of 10 tricep push ups on the register in my office.  Little bits count too - try doing some sit ups while you're watching TV tonight.

The course of events in my life over the past few years resulted in a number of people that are openly critical of my choices.  Insecurity and self esteem has always been an issue for me.  In all objectivity, should I let the opinions of a few angry individuals influence my own perception of myself?  As I type this out, it's clearly ridiculous, but at those moments when I'm not feeling well, deadlines are pressing at work, and I'm pulled in several directions, logic and reason fly out the window.  Do you like yourself as a person?  When I ask that, I want you to not look in the mirror, but look inside yourself.  Are you a person you would be friends with?  There are redeeming qualities within everyone, I really don't believe anyone is inherently bad.  When I look inside myself, I like who I am, and it's taken years to feel that way.  That's the other, darker side to my emotional eating, the self esteem and insecurity.  Breaking the connection to feeding myself to fill that void, is another problem that runs concurrent with the stress eating for me.  I'm working to change that behavior, to not reach for food everytime I'm upset - a tough one to break if you had family members feeding you when you encountered tough times.  Food is such a comfort for me, but I need to break the connection to my emotions.

A friend once said to me years ago to "be a duck" and let things roll off my back.  It's a good piece of advice and one I should really try to put into practice more regularly.  Resilience is difficult for me, but a skill that will only serve to benefit me more, especially as it relates to my emotionally driven eating.  What to do when that next moment heart stopping stress arrives?  Instead of running to the vending machine, or pulling out a snack, my plan is to drink water, step back, take a breath and try to objectively put my situation into focus. 

Food for thought?  Definitely.  Am I (or we?) still works in progress?  Absolutely.  Remember, every day is a new opportunity to make a change.  Keeping my goal of a healthy lifestyle is what will help me get there. 


Resolve to Try Again

Who says resolutions belong exclusively to the new year?  I think I resolve to do something every few days to be perfectly honest.  Every day is a fresh start to me, a new opportunity to make myself better, fix something that's not working, change an attitude that's doing me a dis-service.  So it is in my relationship with food.  Ever changing, always being fixed, refined, tuned up.

As a nearly 20 year veteran of media, my work is insanely demanding on the best of days.  Fold into that running my home and taking care of my wonderful children, and thoughts of taking care of myself are usually the first thing to make the cut.  Shamefully bad decision on my part, especially now that I'm a single, working mom.  

Despite working out regularly, taking the stairs where I can, walking instead of riding where I can, etc., etc., etc. - all the stuff I point to in my blogs, food is always where I find the greatest difficulty.  And did I mention I have chronic fatigue?  It only gets better!  With all these demands in my life, and knowing that I have thyroid and potentially adrenal problems, you'd think I'd try a little harder, but I find it easy to neglect myself.  Which is why on the rare occasion I get sick, it's of epic proportion.  Rewind back to my 43rd birthday this year when I was deliriously sick for 2 days with a fever and a sore throat that felt as though I swallowed Draino.

What's the answer?  Planning.  It always comes back to planning for me, which is why I stopped off at the grocery store on the way home from the dojo tonight to pick up some fresh produce.  What for?  Well, I invested some time in myself this evening, and cooked up enough lunches for the week, and bagged up portions of cereal, veggies and fruit to take me through the end of the week.  If I plan ahead, take my vitamins (which I did tonight!), eat nutritionally balanced meals, I know I'll feel better, shake my brain fog and tame the crankiness that everyone around me is suffering because I'm not taking care of myself.  How much time and effort did I invest?  An hour, if that.  That's all it took to make a batch of lunches for the week.  What did I make?

  1. Breakfast - Raisin bran with fresh blueberries and goji berries - approximately 250 calories in total.  Bagging up a cup of raisin bran, a 1/4 cup of blueberries, and 2 tbl of goji berries will give me fiber to keep me full & regular, and plenty of antioxidants!
  2. Lunch - Brown Rice & Squash - I like to think of this as my "idiot's delight" since it's so easy to make! Check out my recipe below.  It's not pretty, but it packs a great nutritional punch in the combination of everything.
  3. Snacks - Fresh Veggies - As I sliced up my squash, I saved a few extras, along with the excess mushrooms, some grape tomatoes and fresh carrots with a tablespoon of hummus for dipping.  Yum!
  4. Dinner - Usually planned out ahead of time with my kids.  I "back fill" the meals for the rest of the day based on what I have going on for dinner.  

Shaking my nutritional neglect and taking control of my meals will definitely help me to feel better, clear my fog and hopefully make me a bit more pleasant to be around!  There's always an opportunity to make another attempt, our bodies are more forgiving and will fix and repair if given the chance.  Putting some efffort into planning my meals can only make me feel better and make my body function better.  An investment in time and effort with great dividends!  

Here's my own "idiot's delight" recipe (so named since it's simple enough for an idiot like me!) if you're interested in giving it a try.  Not pretty, but packed with fiber & nutrients!

Lisa's Idiot's Delight

  • 1 Cup Brown Rice
  • 1 Yellow Summer Squash
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 Chopped White Onion
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 2 Cups Sliced Mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup Seedless Raisins
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Salt
  • 2 Tsp Dried Parsley
  1. Cook or steam brown rice according to instructions.
  2. Slice & quarter squash & zucchini, along with onion and bell pepper.  Place into a pot with about 1/4" boiling water and "sweat" the vegetables down for about 15 minutes before adding in the sliced mushrooms and raisins, add in garlic salt and parsley and cook for about 15 more minutes.
  3. After the brown rice and vegetables are finished cooking, mix together in a large bowl, and voila!  You have a healthy & nutritious meal with only 133 calories per serving

 

 

 


A Dieter's Silver Bullet

Let's get real.  There is no silver bullet.  If your intentions are to crash diet, fast, drink some concoction that will melt off the weight, you're in for disappointment in the long run.  Years ago, I subscribed to a great diet newsletter, Toot's Diet Tips (or some name to that effect).  The one thing Toots emphasized on every email was that your everyday habits dictate your weight.  Pure and simple, yes, you are what you eat.  And if you pack away half a dozen cookies, a pint of ice cream along with 3 full means, yeah, you could end up with giant saddle bags as I did.  Unless you are one of the 3% of all human beings with screamingly high metabolisms.  Then, I envy you.

For the rest of us, eating 3,600 calories a day will translate into a pound of fat, beyond the regular metabolic demands our bodies (which vary from person to person).  Funny thing, I was flipping through a restaurant application on my iPad this morning, and was astounded at the calorie counts at some of my favorite stops.  Boston Market, being one of those, has really high calorie counts on some of what I thought were relatively good choice.  OK, well, maybe I got what I deserved with the sweet potatoes in brown sugar and marshmallows at nearly 450 calories per serving.  But thinking of what that one side dish potentially translated to when coupled with a meal.  I could easily reach nearly three quarters of what would translate into that pound in one meal.  When I started counting up the calories, my head was reeling.  It's no wonder I packed on the pounds so quickly.  But I was bewildered when I got on the scale.  WTF?  Where was it coming from?   Wasn't I making good choices?  

It occurred to me while chatting with a co-worker recently, that it's sometimes difficult to see weight gain.  She lost 10 pounds recently, and showed me pictures of herself roughly a month ago and you could see the difference in her appearance.  Granted, she was conscious of what she was eating, and adding a good morning walk into every day.  But, is it true?  Can a picture really reveal the truth?  Take a look at the before and after pictures on my blog and you'll see what I mean.  For the life of me, when I carried those 30 extra pounds, I would look in the mirror and not see what was vividly evident to everyone else.  For me, it was denial.  I was always the petite girl in school, how could I look like a beached whale? 

When my son was 5 years old, he asked me if I was having another baby.  Huh?  I was 3 years post partem with my daughter ... I looked pregnant?  And then I turned to the coverage in our family albums and home videos.  I took a hard look at myself and realized what complete denial my ego had put me into.  Regrettably, I could then see why he thought I was pregnant.

If you want to lose weight, here are some of my most coveted suggestions:

  1. Think of it as a journey, not a destination.  Weight loss is best achieved while striving to live a healthier lifestyle.
  2. Stick to the basics.  The food pyrmaid is based on good common sense, use it as a guideline and you'll find yourself making better choices.
  3. Drink water 'till you sprout gills.  OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but drink twice as much water as you think you need.  Water helps your body function better, and helps to wash out impurities in your body.
  4. You are what you eat.  Argh, this is an annoying cliche, but true.  How you eat on a daily basis will determine how your body metabolizes food.  And put genuine thought into your portion size.
  5. Balance the input with output.  Find ways to incorporate activity into your daily life.  Don't get caught up in thinking you need to block out an hour of time.  Do some crunches or lunges while watching your favorite TV show.  Take the stairs.  Walk where you can.  It all adds up.

Diet pills, food plans, so many of these options out in the marketplace are short term solutions.  I'm not suggesting they don't work.  Many folks have experienced successful weight loss.  But, there are lots of folks out there who have regained the weight later.  Make a commitment to yourself for a healthier life, and you'll find the road to weight loss and feeling better will naturally follow.

Cheers! 
~ Lisa


The Top Best Diet Plans

Opportunities2 There are so many diet plans out there. How do you tell them apart? Some may be controversial, some may take longer and have lesser results. Thankfully Findthebest.com has developed a great Diet Plan comparison chart that takes into account all sorts of diet plan attributes.

 

Here are the top 10 best diet plans according to FIndTheBest.com. Check out all available plans with their very useful and easy to use Diet Plan Comparison Chart:

Compare    Diet NameAdvertised Weight Loss (total)
Advertised amount of weight creators claim you could lose on this diet plan.
Advertised Length of Time
The amount of time the creators claim it will take to lose the advertised amount of weight if following diet plan.
Advertised Weight Loss (lbs per week)  Acceptance
How is the diet plan received in the health community? Most diet plans in our database are generally accepted, but be wary of diet plans that are controversial or have little to no scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of the plan.
7 Day Diet 11lbs 7 days 11.00 lbs/week No scientific evidence to support effectiveness of diet plan
Cabbage Soup Diet 10lbs 7 day 10.00 lbs/week Controversial
UltraSimple Diet 10lbs 7 days 10.00 lbs/week Generally accepted
The Scarsdale Diet 20lbs 14 days 10.00 lbs/week Some scientific evidence supporting effectiveness of diet plan
Jump Start Juicer System 10lbs One week 10.00 lbs/week Generally accepted, Some scientific evidence supporting effectiveness of diet plan
3 Apple a Day Diet 4lbs 3 days 9.30 lbs/week Some scientific evidence supporting effectiveness of diet plan
Weight Loss Cure 30lbs 30 days 7.50 lbs/week Controversial
Weight Loss Grail 28lbs 28 days 7.00 lbs/week Generally accepted
New York Diet 14lbs 2 weeks 7.00 lbs/week No scientific evidence to support effectiveness of diet plan
Martha's Vineyard Detox Diet 21lbs 21 days 7.00 lbs/week No scientific evidence to support effectiveness of diet plan

Signs of Spring

A recenet breath of spring in the middle of what's been an unusually brutal winter has most of my friends and family speculating about the early arrival of the season.  For me, a harsher reality reminded me that warm weather is looming on the horizon ... the Victoria's Secret bikini catalog.  Nothing snaps me back to reality than the subtle reminder that those heavy layers will be melting off to reveal any over-indulging I've packed on in colder weather.

With a bit of renewed inspiration, I've inflated my balance ball, broken out my hand weights, and prepared myself to get down to some serious exercise and diet control.   Currently, I'm about 5 lbs over my goal weight.  Whenever I feel the scale is nudging up, I make a beeline for one of my favorite free iPhone applications, Losin' It.  This great free app tracks daily food, allows for recipes to calculate caloric/nutritional count and adjusts for exercise.  I love it, because I can almost immediately identify all my food infractions.  

I think the trick in getting back on track is being conscious of food and activity.  It sounds so simplistic, but it's so incredibly easy to lose sight of those two variables.  In the past year, I've gone through a divorce, purchased a new home, and lost my grandmother.  Being a stress induced eater, 2010 wreaked havoc on me, it's a wonder at times I didn't gain back 30+ lbs by the time the year closed.  Fortunately, I managed to keep up my martial arts training, and tried to keep my day to day eating reasonable, so the damage by the end of the year wasn't as bad as it could have been.  

Life gets in the way sometimes.  Now that the air has cleared, and I can focus on my well being as opposed to lawyers and funeral homes, I'm ready to get back on track.  A gentle nudge from Victoria's Secret gave me the inspiration to set some new goals and get myself a bikini ready body in time for the summer.  Will you be ready? 

 

 

 


Feeding Frenzy

Generally, I consider myself a relatively calm, level-headed person.  Well, maybe I do have the occasional rant, or rave, I'm no different than anyone else out there, right?  So how is it that during times of emotional duress, I can eat like the world is about to explode?  Emotional eating is my Achilles heel.  It springs from something deep inside me, I'd venture to even say it's a subconscious tendency.  Even worse, it manifests itself like a physiological reaction - I can feel my hand reach across my desk seeking the nearest sugar fortified food to stuff in my face.  I don't think I even taste what I eat at times like this.  It's as though I become the black hole of eating - and I can't understand how someone with such resolve and determination can repeat this pattern, but I do.  I think it comes down to one thing...

I'm only human.

Well, that and the fact that I'm currently living through one of the most stressful periods of the human experience after death of a loved one, divorce.  There, I said it, the "D" word.  Yes dear blog readers, as this post goes up on Wednesday morning, I'll be standing in the Bergen County Superior Court, divesting myself from a man I've associated myself with for nearly 20 years.  For those survivors of divorce out there, you have a pretty good inclination of how stressful this can be.  And for an emotional eater like myself, this is like rocket fuel.  I've had to all but chain off the kitchen cabinets with my kid's snacks and goodies.  

When faced with emotionally trying times in life, whether it's family, work or relationships, many of us reach for food.  It's something that was conditioned in me from a very young age.  Have some kielbasa and cheese ... a few cookies will make you feel better ... a scoop of ice cream?  It always came back to food as a means of comfort, when it probably should have been some tea and sympathy instead.

Here are a few tactics I've picked up here and there to deal with emotional eating.  It's all common sense stuff, but they're good reminders to keep top of mind...

  1. Learn the difference between physical and emotional hunger, which is the difference between eating to fill a physical need and eating emotionally.
  2. Eat slowly and listen to your body for clues that you're physically satisfied.
  3. Don't eat mindlessly in front of the TV.
  4. Don't deprive yourself of foods you love – just don't overdo it.
  5. Don't eat in bed or on the sofa. Eat at the kitchen table. Stop emotional eating by eating in the same place all the time.
  6. Treat your body with respect: nourish it, move it around, listen to it, and pamper it. Tune in to your body to stop emotional eating.
  7. Look for connections between the events in your day and your cravings for food. Identify the triggers that push you over the line and make you want to eat mindlessly (eg, fights with your partner or child).
  8. Deal with your triggers. If you can't cut them from your life entirely, find better ways to cope with your feelings. Eating mindlessly makes things worse.

Controlling emotional easy is not an easy proposition.  If it were, than why do so many of us struggle with it?  It defies reason so far as I'm concerned.  So many of us are educated, rational people - emotional eating is like temporary insanity.  Take it one day at a time, and learn to be more forgiving of yourself.  Remember, each day is a new opportunity.  After all, we're only human, right?

 


Hi-Ho Cherries!

For whatever reason, I've had a massive craving for cherries this summer.  It's a wonder my skin hasn't developed a cherry colored blush as a result.  Cherries are another fruit (of many in my own person experience) that just don't get enough play.  They're sweet, tart and tasty, and pack a really great nutritional punch.  For such a small fruit, they really are incredibly beneficial to our bodies.

Densely packed with antioxidents, I was amazed to discover all the health benefits of this fruit.  So, I ran out to grab a half pound of cherries, and sat myself down to extoll their virtues!  According to medical research cherries are one of the best multi-taskers of the fruit world.  They ease the aches and pains of arthritis and gout, as well as reduce risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.  Because of their high levels of melatonin, they aid in regulating the body's regular sleep patterns, aid with memory loss and ease jet lag!  (hmmmmn, I wonder if they could do all this and pick up after my kids?)

But wait, there's more!  For those of us on the weight loss track, a diet that incorporates cherries may serve to lower total body weight, and could help to reduce that pesky weight around our mid sections (yeah, that one stopped me in my tracks too!).  According to the American Heart Association, cherries reduce inflammation and cholesterol, factors directly linked to heart disease.  One to two servings of cherries daily is all it takes to reap their benefits.  And if you're looking for a way to incorporate fiber into your day, look no further.  Cherries are an excellent source of dietary fiber.  How much is a serving?

  1. 1/2 Cup of dried cherries
  2. 1 Cup of frozen cherries
  3. 1 Cup of cherry juice
  4. 1 oz (or 2 tbsp) cherry concentrate

Before the summer's over, go red and grab some cherries while they're in season.  They're not just for pies anymore!  Here are some nutritional facts on cherries:

  • 1/2 cup Sweet Cherries provides: 46 calories, 0.7 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 9.3 g sugar, 1.5 g fiber
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cherries provides: 39 calories, 0.8 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 6.6 g sugar, 1.2 g fiber
  • 1/4 cup Dried Cherries provides: 136 calories, 1 g protein, 0 g fat, 27 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 30% DV vitamin A.
  • 1 Maraschino Cherry, canned, drained provides: 8 calories, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, 2 g sugar, 0.2 g fiber
  • 1/2 cup Ontario Red Tart Chilled and Pitted Cherries provides: 63 calories, 0.7 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 15.7 g carbohydrates, 0.8 g dietary fiber.

Skinny Girls Have it So Easy!

A few months back, my former (note the past tense) sitter and I were talking about the difficulties and frustrations with weight loss.  Now mind you, if you recall some of my earlier posts, I tipped the scales at 180 lbs right before I gave birth to my son back in 2002.  For someone with a 5'2" frame, I looked like a tick ready to explode.  My point?  I know what it's like to be overweight - been there.  The conversation continued and I offered some of my tactics and information collected during my own journey.  Then the she dropped the bomb on me ... "Well, it's easy for you, you're skinny."

Huh?  It's easy for me?  For a sugar addict that was 50 lbs above her post delivery weight, and struggled through depression and tears for about 6 years after the birth of her first child with an awful body image, this was a blow that sent me reeling.  My grandmother had a plaque in her kitchen that I memorized as a child with a great saying "Never judge a man (or woman!) until you've walked a mile in their moccasins."  It still holds true to me today.  Every person is unique and distinct with their own set of body challenges.  For me it came down to 3 specific things:

  1. Being honest with myself about the extent of my weight gain
  2. Becoming conscious of my intake versus what I would expend in any given day
  3. Realizing and acknowledging my own inherent issues when it came to food (all the behavioral stuff)

Losing weight is no easy task.  And if you think it's just a "task" you're doomed to failure.  Dropping "a few pounds for a special occasion is not going to translate into sustained loss.  It's going to come back sooner or later like a boomerang - take it from me, I've gained and lost 10 lbs repeatedly.  And it's a daily struggle for me, like it is for most people.  Operating under the misperception that your dissatisfaction with your body can be chaled up to being issued the wrong body type doesn't accomplish anything.  If you need to vent to make yourself feel better, I'll give you that.  But if you want to get down to business, make some serious progress towards a healthier life and well being, then get up and do something about your situation, it's in your hands.

For me, it was diagnosing a medical issue (my thyroid), taking a hard look at what I eat, and finding exercise and activities that I could commit myself to.  My Sensei, Craig Boone at Pace Karate in Wanaque is the person I credit with helping me to carve out the body I have today.  It's his constant pushing and challenging me that has inspired me to invest the sweat equity.  And guess what?  I looked so good at a recent music festival in my short skirt, that I was filmed by Sky TV!  Talk about a great ego trip!  I'm not suggesting that camera crews are going to beat down your doors if you get your body in order, but think of the pride in knowing that your body looks and feels it's best.  That's what keeps me going every day.

LisaK7-10


A Dieter's Muffin

Coming back after a long holiday weekend is always a drag - and I mean that more than metaphorically speaking.  I'm usually a bit more tired after all the running around associated with my rest & relaxation!  Which is why when Taste of Home Magazine posted this recipe, I jumped on it.  First of all, a friend of mine once caught a quote that "if it weren't for the 'word' muffin, I'd be eating cake for breakfast."  Let's be honest, isn't a muffin really a topless cupcake?  (topless meaning, no icing)

Here's a muffin recipe you can feel good about.  The calories are really low at 203, and there's lots of nutritional value that won't make your blood sugar soar.  I'll be making up a batch of these for myself!

Wheat Germ Streusel Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

Streusel:

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, beat the bananas, egg, oil and applesauce until well blended. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  • Coat muffin cups with cooking spray or use paper liners; fill two-thirds full with batter. For streusel, combine the brown sugar, wheat germ and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle over batter.
  • Bake at 375° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Yield: 10 muffins.

Nutrition Facts: 1 muffin equals 203 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 24 mg cholesterol, 242 mg sodium, 36 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein. 


Moments of Diet Insanity

Anyone with an inclination to slim down passes through at least one moment of weakness.  30 lbs later, and I'm no more immune to them then anyone else.  Those knee quivering moments when that bag of M&Ms suddenly seems the just reward for all the progress and self controlled we've exercised.  In reality, it's clutter we're sticking under our skin ultimately.  When you consume foods with little to no nutritional value, there's very little for your body to do, other than convert it into stored fat.  For me, it was stuffing the upholstering I wore all over my body - I looked like an over-stuffed couch at the worst end of it.

Here are the top 5 moments of my own diet insanity ....

  1. Zombie eating - It's come in all shapes and sizes for me.  I could clear out a pint of ice cream before you could say Haagen Dazs!  And plop me in front of the TV with a bag of M&Ms, and in a few short moments, I'll be looking around for what happened to all the M&Ms.  
    SOLUTION:  Portion control and sticking to it!
  2. Grazing - This usually strikes at parties, holidays and family get togethers.  We're such a food centered culture in the US, everything is an occasion for eating.  Calories in all these cute little finger foods accumulates quickly, so best watch out!
    SOLUTION:  Grab a reasonable bite to eat before you head into the land of the food pushers!  Having something like an apple or small salad before you head out will give you the strength to resist.  And if you do feel compelled to eat, stick with raw fruits and veggies if at all possible - be a good guest and bring a plate of your own to share!
  3. Eating Sprawl - This is something that I fall head over heels into if I don't plan out my week's meals.  Sprawl occurs when I'm not paying attention to what I've eaten through the course of the day.  Unplanned meals wreak havoc on my waistline!
    SOLUTION:  Planning ahead for my daily eating - and I work backward from dinner, when I eat with my children.  After I figure out what's for dinner, calculate out the calorie potential, I can figure out what I can afford to eat the rest of the day.
  4. Workout Denial - Now this may sound funny, but stick with me on this.  When the number of calories I consume is in excess of what I can realistically burn off in activity.  It's a matter of unbalanced logic - "wow, I've run up 50 steps, that means I can eat "x."  Inevitably, my eyes are bigger then then my calorie burn.
    SOLUTION:  Being more reasonable about what I can realistically burn off compared to what I've eaten during the day.  A good way to keep this in check is my "Losin' It" application on my iTouch.
  5. High & Dry:  I have a big problem staying hydrated through the day.  Yes, I pontificate about the virtues of drinking water, when I could be doing so much better about it myself.  Water is so important to many metabolic processes, I'm short changing myself by not drinking nearly enough.
    SOLUTION:  Keep it coming!  I have an application on my iTouch called "8 Glasses" that is a fun way to track how many glasses I've downed through the day.  

At the end of the day, dieting is really behavior modification.  Exchanging one set of behaviors for another.  Now, any way you look at it, change is a difficult proposition.  But take a moment to close your eyes, and think a moment about this.  Isn't it worth a little bit of effort to make changes over the short term, to improve your quality of living across the rest of your lifetime?  Now there's some food for thought!