All Posts by Georgie Fear


About the Author

Georgie Fear RD CSSD is Chief Science Officer of One By One Nutrition, as well as an experienced coach, writer, and lover of listening to and helping people wherever she goes.

Sep 06

10 Reasons Why Emotional Eating Happens and 10 Ways to Stop

By Georgie Fear | Emotional Eating

1. Wanting to avoid a task.

I’ll get to that, right after a snack. Ok, now, time to get to that work I need to do…. Hmm, maybe just a bit more food first. Procrastineating is commonplace, and isn’t necessarily a problem unless it’s getting in the way of your health or productivity goals. It’s easy to see how stalling by nibbling can contribute to extra pounds, in addition to not getting as much done as we could be.

2. Delaying a confrontation.

This is really similar to the above problem of procrastineating, but specifically, avoiding a confrontation with another person has a separate element of squashing down our feelings, not just buying us a few more minutes.  

3. Needing a break from work, responsibility or pressure.

Try to keep yourself in perpetual work mode 24/7 and you’ll find out that it’s an impossible task. If you don’t plan and allow yourself breaks and rests to balance out your daily exertion and toil, you’ll end up sooner or later zoning out, often into food you don’t physically need.

4. Wanting to not feel anything.

Scientific evidence backs the numbing qualities of eating. We feel more physical and emotional pain in a fasted state, compared to when we are fed, but unfortunately, all the food in the world can’t numb strong pain completely or permanently. In the absence of other ways to cope with discomfort, though, it’s understandable how easily we can turn to food.

5. To lift and comfort ourselves in sadness.

Pleasant stimuli like creamy mouthfeel, rich flavors, crispiness, and sweetness are appealing when emotionally we feel empty, sad, or are grieving a loss. Even if we aren’t hungry or have no appetite, the temporary lift and distraction from taste and smell can make eating feel so rewarding that it becomes a recurring habit, potentially leading to weight gain.

6. For company during loneliness.

Humans don’t thrive on our own for unlimited stretches of time. Even introverts can thirst for conversation, company, or just someone to reassure us we aren’t alone and that our thoughts and ideas are understandable. Feeling commonality with other human beings is a basic psychological need. In the absence of that connection, we can reach for food or make purchases to try and feel better. “Maybe adding this to my world will help.”

7. For a diversion when we are bored.

Life contains a lot of patterns, such as daylight activity and nighttime routines, driving the same roads, walking the dog at the same times, and these rituals can help ease anxiety and make us feel safe and organized. However, spontaneity and change reward us by piquing our interest, and getting us to think in new ways. One of the ways we add variety to our lives is by trying new foods, or foods we haven’t had in a whille, or visiting a restaurant we haven’t dined at before. These can be enriching positive experiences, but turning to food as the default anytime we don’t know what else to do can mean that we eat many times a day when we aren’t hungry, or wander into the kitchen and start munching whenever we’re home alone for more than an hour.

8. To cope with tiredness.

Being tired isn’t comfy. It makes your head foggy, your eyelids droop, and your head subtly ache. It feels difficult to get up out of your chair to do a small task, yet at the same time hard to focus even if you sit still. And tiredness isn’t just a physical condition - it’s accompanied by emotional characteristics such as feeling easily bothered and low on patience. So in a sense, being fatigued can be as much an emotionally difficult state as a physically hampered one. And in this state, going to food may seem like a promising solution. Eating doesn’t require a lot of thought, focus, or physical exertion, we don’t have to talk or have our wits about us, it seems like an appealing thing to be doing when we’re tired as hell!

9. To soothe anxiety.

“Do something!”, anxiety says. “Do it now! This situation as it is is NOT OK.” Yet the vague not okayness and the something that we absolutely need to do about it may never seem to show themselves. Or, anxiety can bloom from caring deeply about something that it is simply beyond our control. We feel restless, discontent, and uncomfortable. Changing our state and doing ANYTHING can seem better than doing nothing, and grabbing food in those moments of anxiety is all too easy.

10. To act out, feel rebellious.

Damn the media and their ultra-thin beauty standards! This traffic makes me want to scream! To heck with my boss and his preferential treatment of people at work! Argh, why is my bank charging those fees to my account?! Many things in life can make us feel trapped, coerced, controlled and pinned down. Even our own diet rules about what we can or can’t eat can spark rebellion and a desire to do the exact opposite. What we choose to eat is one of the few things about which we actually do have free choice, so (like fashion) it’s an avenue by which our rebellious moments can erupt. Taking control of the world may not be possible, but grabbing food (especially food someone else would look down on) can be a hasty way we flip the bird to all the worldly forces trying to control us.

10 Things to Do About Emotional Eating

1. Let the feeling out by writing it down instead of burying it.

No matter what the feeling is, there’s a benefit to writing it down. “What on earth will that do?” you might be thinking. It’s true, no one will intervene because you’re feeling sad or step in and call a time out because you’re feeling overwhelmed. A white horse won’t stride up, ridden by a handsome knight to slay your feeling and set you free. However, getting rid of the feeling or getting out of your reality isn’t the goal.

If you jot down “I notice I’m feeling _______.” it does three key things. First, it requires you to put a name to your emotion. This helps you wrap your brain around it more and understand what is going on with you more than “Aaaaargh, bad feels…. Need cookie!!!!!” (Emotional brains don’t naturally pin specific words or descriptors to a situation, which can make the feeling seem all encompassing, like we’re surrounded by 360 degrees of BAD as far as the eye can see, feeling BAD in the past, present and future, all we can see, hear and touch is BAD. We are BAD.) Writing down the specific emotions you can identify is indescribably helpful in defining the feeling. And once something has a definition, it has borders.

Second, writing down “I notice I’m feeling _______” separates your observy brain from the emotional brain that is just feeling it. Now you’re able to step aside and notice it, observe it, not fuse your consciousness into one with the feeling. Now it’s more like a specimen under glass, or a weather phenomenon you can observe in the sky, it’s not YOU.

Third, it automatically generates a mindful moment. Getting a piece of paper, a pen or pencil, and finding a surface to scrawl on may only take 30 seconds but it’s a pause when you need it most. And it’s hard to get yourself to do, which is why it is so beneficial.

Deciding to take that pause is powerful because the urge to react or distract ourselves is going to be strong. Both of those are the opposite of mindfulness, they are focusing away from the feeling and they keep emotional eating patterns going strong. Intervene! By choosing to take those 30 seconds you are choosing to care for your own wellness and help yourself learn to be in control of how you act when your emotions are running high. Notice if you are continually refusing to take those 30 seconds, and be radically honest, asking yourself if you truly want to change.

2. Talk to someone, even yourself, out loud.

Does it make you feel silly? If it works, do you care? Similarly to writing down that you notice you’re feeling a certain way, verbalizing it checks a lot of the same proverbial boxes. Translating feelings into spoken (as opposed to written) words gives us the same benefits, plus there’s an added effect of communication with another person. It feels good to be understood, and get something off our chest, even if the other person just listens and gives no advice. (In fact, often we feel best if they don’t try and advise us!)  If you’re going to talk to yourself, start off with the same sentence stem as the writing suggestion above. “I notice I’m feeling _____.” And then, keep going!

3. Practice difficult conversations.

Not every fix for emotional eating has to be something you do in the thick of an emotional uproar. You can plan ahead and set yourself up for smooth sailing by acknowledging that if difficult conversations make you want to run off and hide with a box of Oreos, you can do something about it.

A lot of us are naturally conflict averse, even conflict phobic, and that can lead to not opening our mouths and speaking up when something is bothering us. It can lead to not asking for something that would make our lives easier (since we “don’t want to bother anyone”) and in the inevitable situation when we eventually have a disagreement with someone or get unfavorably reviewed… we can feel many degrees worse than we would if we had taken time to get comfortable with difficult conversations.

It’s outside the scope of this brief article to talk about the volumes of ways a person can work on their communication skills, but I did want to mention that it’s an immeasurable relief to stop feeling the heavy stone of dread in your stomach at every potential even mildly unfavorable interaction. (That used to be me.) And a little practice or even just reading can be a major player in not having icky-conversation-induced runs to the bakery (that would be me as well.) Two books which I recommend are:

Crucial Conversations

Communication Skills:

4. Stretch, move, or dance.

Moving your body has a way of decreasing alarm, releasing tension, and bringing in a sense of control. You hear people say all the time that feel more clear-headed after a run, or that they have more perspective after a yoga session. It’s not imaginary. You can thank changes in neurotransmitters and arousal level for exercise’s therapeutic effect during highly emotional times. Not to mention, once you’re outside moving, food won’t be within eyesight or arm’s reach, so instead of emotionally eating, you can focus on the fresh air, your breath, or how your muscles and limbs feel.  

5. Nap or go to sleep for the night.

Intense emotions are exhausting, and sometimes giving ourselves a break from feeling and thinking about whatever is bothering us leads to a breakthrough. Staying up late all too easily leads to munching, and shorting ourselves on sleep for just one night ramps up appetite for the following day.

6. Remind yourself that you always have choices.

Whatever caused the situation that’s sparking intense emotions - even if it’s completely out of our control - we get to choose how we react. We can choose to argue, to listen, to fight back, apologize or ask for an apology. We can choose to do nothing about it. We have complete autonomy over what we say and choose to do, and focusing on using that precious power in a way that fits our values can supplant the desire to react with food.  

7. Ensure that you take breaks to rest and play regularly.

After more than 10 years of coaching people who struggle with emotional eating, it would be impossible for me to ignore a clear pattern: people who habitually manage emotions with food also tend to habitually manage them through avoidance, aka working all the time. “I find it hard to sit still”, “I always feel like I could get more done”, or “I haven’t done enough” are common sentiments.

When was the last time you just hung out, relaxed or did nothing? Played tag or catch with your kid or fetch with your dog? Went to a movie or got a massage? Chronically lacking these experiences in favor of a perpetual must-be-productive mode might be just the thing you need to quell urges to eat when not hungry.

8. Chat with a friend or a group online.

Facebook and other forms of social media are tricky. They can be intensely isolating and depressing, (“look at all the fun other people are having while I’m cleaning up dog vomit, soothing a screaming toddler, and working overtime”) or they can help us feel connected to other people. The best way to feel supported is to have an interaction with others. That means not lurking, but touching keys to make and share words. If you’re most comfortable one on one, send a personal message to a close friend. If you have a supportive group you are a member of, sharing what is going on with you is likely to bring you into contact with many other people who can relate. If anyone’s remarks seem nasty or disrespectful, you have my permission to block them. I do. 🙂

9. Sit with your emotions and breathe. Remember that feelings are temporary, harmless.

The grandest change of all in the experience of emotions is when we realize what they actually are. While a feeling can seem like it’s forever, or we can believe that it will overpower us, kill us, or that we “can’t handle it”, none of these have actually ever happened to a person. Feelings are not dangerous. They can make people do dangerous, uncaring or hurtful things, or they can be unpleasant, but when you consider that a feeling is nothing more than temporary impulses along neurons, they become easier to handle. You can see a feeling as a thing you are having or experiencing, and that you can and will outlive it. What you do during uncomfortable moments is up to you, and you can choose to practice anything on this list instead of reaching for food if that isn’t, in the big picture, what you want for yourself.

10: If there's someone around that you feel safe with, get a hug. Hug yourself.

Human connection and touch have a physical calming effect as well as an emotionally healing one. Hugs are free, and often leave you feeling better than snacking would. I’ve never regretted a hug.

Aug 13

How To Conquer Your Trigger Foods

By Georgie Fear | Uncategorised

How many of you have foods that you try to steer clear from because you know - you just know! - that once you start, you can’t stop? Or perhaps you find yourself intentionally seeking that specific food out after a particularly trying day.

A trigger food is a food that you have a difficult time eating a reasonable portion of. Eating a little bit, in other words, usually leads to cleaning off the rest of the plate. These are oftentimes highly palatable foods including chips, cookies, or chocolate. Usually, individuals have an ongoing, tumultuous relationship with said trigger food, and while they may love the taste of it in the moment, it usually doesn’t end well.

Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to conquer trigger foods. Follow this 4-step process below to break free.

1. Accept that you are in control

Forgive the bluntness of this next statement, but it’s crucial to establish as a fact. Your brain controls the movement of your voluntary muscles, so moving your limbs, reaching out to put the food into your mouth, and swallowing it, is your choice. No person or potato chip or slick marketing can take over your limbs and jaws, even if you feel powerless or aren’t aware of your thoughts.

The reason that our sole locus of control is so important to hash out is that the facts can be very different from the way things feel to experience. We can find a lot of evidence (if we look for it) to build a case that we weren’t in control because it felt really compelling to do something. If we regret something after eating it, our natural cognitive protection mechanisms look for a way to not feel as bad, and that can lead to justifications to decrease the amount of responsibility we feel. “But I didn’t want to eat the chips, I just couldn’t help it,” “My brain shuts off when there is chocolate around”, and the like.

These insinuations that we weren’t in control in the moment do not help you change your behavior. You can’t effectively work on changing something you’re still partially in denial of. And if you’re reading this article, we can conclude you want to know how to change the phenomenon of trigger foods leading to overeating for yourself or someone else. So, commit with us right here that eating is a choice, and it’s a choice we can control.

That’s doesn’t mean it’s easy! That doesn’t mean we always choose in line with our values and goals -- far from it. It just means we accept our place as Head Honcho of Things Consumed, the most empowered stance to take. In fact, better to chuck the term “trigger food” altogether. It’s a food you have overeaten in the past. It’s a food you have struggled with moderating, perhaps. But no special status. It’s one of thousands of foods, made of carbon and oxygen and some nitrogen and other chemicals. There’s no wizardry; it’s just ordinary edible stuff, even if you have a bit of checkered history in how you chose to consume it.

2. Break the Cycle

Okay, Head Honcho, time to use those executive powers for good. Sounds like there’s a pattern that you’ve picked up on, and that is that your hands + a certain food = a situation that hasn’t ended well. And that’s okay, there’s exactly zero helpfulness in blaming yourself or looking at why, let’s focus on breaking that pattern. You and your so called trigger food can always reunite down the road, but a little separation for now will stop the recurring negative experience.

Do you need to get the food out of your kitchen or house? Do you need to chuck it, donate it, or just commit to a week of not seeing each other? Take charge and do it. Break the cycle of hurt and abuse, then you can re-form a healthy relationship.

3. Create Safe, Supported Scenarios for Reintroduction

Think about the negative experiences you had with that specific food in the past. What was going on? Where were you? What were you feeling? What time of day was it? Were you at home, in your car, at the office or your parents’ house? These factors all contribute to the ease or difficulty of eating in line with our values. This means you can engineer an easier scenario by thinking about when and where and with whom you are least likely to overeat a particular food. You don’t want to just rendezvous any old time and place, you want things to be different this time. Let’s use some examples:

Easier not to overeat ice cream:

I’ve bought a portion from the ice cream shop with my friends, mid-afternoon on Saturday, and I’m walk around the park eating it. What are the odds of going back for seconds? Pretty low. I’d have to go back, wait on line again, make another purchase… and it would be odd to do with the other people around who are doing the usual buy-and-eat-one pattern. If I were trying to establish a healthy moderate relationship with ice cream, this would be a good situation to put together. Invite a couple friends and you could make this happen. In the end, you’re likely to have scored one experience of your eating ice cream in the way you want to. High five.

Now, a situation in which it’s much much harder:

I get pulled over after a stressful day at work, and a rude cop gives me a hefty fine. I get home to see fraudulent charges on my credit card which now I have to deal with also. It’s cold and raining and my husband is away -- I feel alone and sad. I have no decent food in the fridge, and there’s a large container of Oreo ice cream in the freezer.

This is not a helpful scenario in which to decide it’s a good time to try eating ice cream again. If you have had difficulty moderating consumption of a particular food, it’s generally not favorable to try and change that when you’re emotional, stressed, not well slept, in the later hours of the day, alone, and have multiple servings in easy reach.

You can control when you choose to have the food again after your break from it. Do it when and where you are feeling assured of your success. Rig the game so you win.

4. Gradually Ease Up On Parameters As You Gain Confidence

Once you’ve had a chance to eat the food and stop at a place you feel good about, it’s not over. It will probably take many repetitions to bolster your confidence that this food is not, in fact, a volition-sapping delicacy.

Keep going. Get those positive experiences in when you are confident it will go your way. And over time, you’ll notice that confidence growing. Maybe after 6 or 7 times having ice cream from the shop with your friends, you feel okay to go on your own and buy a single serving and walk around the park enjoying it. You might not want to jump right away to having 16 flavors at home in bulk supply, so take small steps. You don’t HAVE to keep anything at home, and many people find their peace with sweets and alcohol when they choose to leave them at the store, not bring into their homes. Consider progressions like this (again, no need to go all the way to the last one if your life is easier without it):

  1. Having the food with company, out of the house

  2. Having the food on your own, out of the house

  3. Having the food with company at home (buying just enough for no leftovers)

  4. Having the food on your own at home (buying just enough for no leftovers)

  5. Having the food on your own at home, even if there’s leftovers

The Bottom Line:

You are in control of what and how much you eat. If you have particular difficulty with a certain food, that’s normal and not permanent. You can change that.

Start with a commitment to stop repeating what isn’t working so you don’t keep rehearsing the overeating experience with that food. Take a break from the food long enough to think of a specific situation in which you are darned sure you will not (even cannot) overeat it. When you’d like to have the food again, have it under your terms. Keep the supports in place to rack up many experiences where you eat that food in a way you are happy with. Ease off the supports if you feel you don’t need them any longer, but keep the ones which make your life easiest. Here’s a summary graphic to help keep it all fresh in your mind:

There are no medals for withstanding temptation, so consider it your lifetime right to choose where, when and how you meet particularly tempting foods.

This article was co-authored with Sohee Lee​, and if you haven't read her stuff and followed her yet, get on it, because you've been missing out!  Visit her site and follow her on Facebook!

Aug 05

10 Things No One Told You About Food Prep, Straight From a Dietitian

By Georgie Fear | Uncategorised

Millions of busy adults suffer from food prep problems, also known as FPP. Are you one of them? Symptoms of FPP include:

  • Possessing 3 or more items in your refrigerator which are furrier than your dog
  • Not having the right things on hand to assemble a meal, so your order Pizza or Chinese
  • Throwing out food on a weekly basis (that once would have been fine to eat)
  • Overeating because you skipped a meal earlier (may cause paradoxical weight gain brought on by grocery shortage)
  • Skipping meals during the workday because you’re too busy to go out and don’t have anything with you to eat
  • Two items in your crisper have achieved sentience, and are battling for dominion over the lower refrigerator
  • Your past google searches include “How many weeks past the ‘sell by’ date can I eat deli meat?”
  • Paleontologists have requested access to items in your freezer

Maybe these are all familiar to you (sounds like you’re afflicted)! Or maybe you’re not quite that bad off but you toss out more food than you’d like to, and get caught a time or two per month in a pinch, and don’t eat as well as you could on those instances. Either way, here are some tips to help you do a little bit better at the logistics of food prep, which can help you manage your weight more easily, save some cash, avoid those long overly hungry stretches (which aren’t fun, to say the least) and last but not least, avoid missing out on fun things because you got food poisoning from decrepit lasagna.

1. You’re not a bad person for throwing out food.

If you buy lots of fresh, whole foods and fall short of eating it all, of course you have to throw some out. It’s still worth being proud of yourself for surrounding yourself with the good stuff. Tossing food is a much better alternative than swearing off the produce section or eating food that is unsafe “to avoid wasting it”. With some more practice, you’ll get better at matching your purchasing habits to your consumption patterns, but all of us end up throwing things out sometimes. It’s okay, we’re all going to make it.

2. You’re also not a bad person for not knowing this already.

Some parents teach their kids kitchen skills, some… don’t. Some people pick up useful strategies from Home Ec class or some foodie roommate. A few lucky souls pair up with a food provider extraordinaire and marry their way into a steady supply of home cooking and lunches packed with love. But if you didn’t get culinarily inclined parents, your roomies lived on ramen and you and Martha Stewart just didn’t hit it off… no one taught you. Don’t fault yourself for being busy learning other things. No one springs from the womb, Saran wrap in hand, ready to make next week’s lunches this Sunday. We all start out not knowing, and we have to be taught or figure out the rest.

3. You don’t have to sacrifice your entire weekend.

If you feel good spending several hours shopping, washing, slicing and baking on a weekend day, rock on. But if you would rather do an extra 15 minutes every other night, that’s plenty! Using your time and appliances wisely is key here, not investing hours.

For example: Putting a pot of rice on to boil takes 2 minutes, IF you’re slow to measure out the rice and water. Then you can set a timer, walk away and do other stuff. About the same time would be needed to wrap some sweet potatoes in foil and pop them into the oven. Putting something in the slow cooker similarly can be a quick affair, and then you don’t have to hang in the kitchen. You can even go to bed and wake up to stick it it in the fridge. That’s right, you can literally cook dinner with your eyes closed.

4. You don’t need an extensive tupperware set, 60 dollar lunch box, portable cooler, or anything weird.

Just like investing lots of free time isn’t the key, neither are pricey doodads. Some tin foil and parchment make for easy cleanup, other than that you just need food and basic kitchen appliances like a stove and oven.

5. Some stuff preps well in advance, some stuff doesn’t.

Soup, stews, meats, grains and starches all work great to cook in advance. You can also prep veggies by rinsing or cutting them up ahead of time. However, there are a few things to steer clear of trying to do in advance:

  • Putting dressing on a lettuce or spinach salad ahead of time can make it soggy. Ditto for sandwiches, so you might want to wait until mealtime to add condiments. (Raw kale or cabbage salads however, can hold up better, so are possible exceptions.)
  • Any crispy breaded or roasted items (like chicken fingers or crispy home fries) won’t be crispy after storage. Sometimes they can be re-crisped using the oven or stovetop, but not always.
  • Do you like crunchy cereal or flaked almonds atop your yogurt? Me too. But don’t add them ahead of time, because they will get soft and lose their crunch.
  • I wouldn’t consider this a “deal breaker”, because it’s relatively minor and just cosmetic, but remember that cut apples, guacamole, and fresh basil or pesto tend to get brownish during storage.
  • Reheat fish at your own risk. The texture can be unforgiving.

6. Some foods freeze well, some don’t.

Did you know that if you mistakenly bought too much milk you could just freeze it? You can! Pasta dishes, cooked grains, sauces, soups and stews also tend to be great freezer candidates. But not everything can go in the icebox and come back to life with good results. Beware of freezing dairy based sauces or soups, because they often separate. Fruit and veggies can be frozen, but will be much softer when you pull them out. Think of them as good for smoothies or omelets, but not for salads.

7. Never cook a single piece of chicken, or one potato.

If you’re going to the trouble of heating up the pan, the grill or the oven, put several pieces on there so you have extra portions for coming days!

8. You can repeat meals if you want to, but it’s not necessary.

By the third time I’m eating a dish, the enjoyment has dropped precipitously. I’ve done the huge-ass pot of chili you eat all week. I’ve done massive egg bakes or frittatas. Oversized vegetable soups. Vats of stuffed cabbage. And if you enjoy one pot meals (and don’t mind reheating cooked eggs) these are perfectly fine meals for you to use. Personally, I find things a lot more enjoyable if I can make different meals from the components I cooked in advance.

9. If you cook up basics ahead of time, you can always season or flavor them differently at meal time.

A big pot of brown rice. A half dozen chicken breasts. Four baked potatoes. Two pounds of browned ground beef. These sort of staples on hand can go into a variety of different meals. The rice can be served plain or with soy sauce as a bed for stir fry, be mixed with the ground beef filling for stuffed peppers, or be flavored with garlic and butter for a side dish. Chicken can be sliced atop a salad, put into a sandwich, cubed and tossed with pasta and sauce, or used to fill a quesadilla. Baked potatoes can be topped with salsa and black beans, chopped into a green salad, Sauteed up for a side dish with eggs, or smothered in broccoli and cheese. Cooked ground beef can become stir fry, bolognese tomato sauce, stuffed peppers, salad, burritos. In general, starchy foods and proteins are best for prepping ahead of time.

10. Condiments, seasonings, canned goods and jars are your friend.

They’re smart, not inferior or lazy. When you have your pre-cooked proteins and starches on hand, putting a meal together comes down to doing something with some veggies, and making it all tasty. Veggies can be cut up and eaten raw as a salad, or you can steam or saute them in about 5 minutes. That leaves us with flavoring.

Having some sauces, salad dressings, and mixed seasonings on hand means you’re set. Sure you can make your own, but again, you don’t have to. I enjoy lots of bottled salad dressings and rarely make my own. Jarred pasta sauce, hot sauce, soy sauce, miso, ketchup, mustard, sesame oil, olive oil, lemon juice and vinegars can all help flavor your meal. Steak rub, Cajun, Italian, and Greek seasoning blends, lemon pepper, or Mrs. Dash can be added to already cooked meats to flavor them, or used on vegetables to give them some zing.

Lastly, despite their limited talent for pep talk, canned beans are a fantastic teammate to have in your corner. If you run short on starches or don’t feel like taking the time to boil pasta water or cook potatoes, open a can and you have a high fiber, vitamin rich side dish. Some of the easiest ways to jazz up canned beans include stirring cumin and or chili powder into black beans (add some cilantro if you have it), or mixing chana masala (an Indian spice blend), or tomato paste and curry powder with chickpeas. Frank’s Red Hot and a squeeze of lime juice work with lentils, kidney beans or black beans. Rosemary and olive oil are a perfect pairing for white beans, such as Great Northern Beans or Cannellini. And all the flavors I mentioned above are shelf stable things you can keep in your pantry for months or years. So buy them when you stock up on canned beans, and as long as you don’t lose the can opener, your Plan B side dish is always ready.

Bonus Tip #11. Stay safe.

If you’re cooking food to eat in the future, get it cooled down as soon as you can. Leftovers are safe for 3 or 4 days, but after that your risk of food poisoning increases. If you think you won’t use something within four days, freeze it right away. When I am hesitating on a particular food’s safety, making a judgement call on whether to taste something or toss it, I compare my dissatisfaction with throwing it out to my feelings on throwing it up, and that usually settles it decisively.

You know people who need these tips. They might be your kids, coworkers or friends, so please share it with them. Help us cure FPP. 

Jul 06

Why We Don’t Do Supplements

By Georgie Fear | Uncategorised

1. Generally, they don’t work.

The claims made by dietary supplement manufacturers are some of the biggest lies you can find in any industry’s advertising. Tricky wording is part of the deception: The bottle won’t say that it lowers blood pressure, it will say that it supports healthy blood pressure. Likewise, you can find pills to support everything from heart health, mood, energy, focus, bone health and of course, your sex life.

So why does this "support" word pop up everywhere? Because the flimsy laws regarding labels only specifically bar dietary supplements from a few words: diagnose, treat, cure and prevent are all verboten. So instead of saying that a supplement treats high blood sugar or prevents diabetes, they’ll say it helps to “maintain healthy blood sugar levels already within a normal range.” (source) That sounds reassuring, but when you read it carefully, it doesn’t actually mean anything. So if you have healthy blood sugar, this pill claims to help you stay the same.

It’s important to mention that some supplements are effective in specific uses, such as taking a specific nutrient for which someone has a diagnosed deficiency. Yet, sadly, these are the minority of cases in which people actually buy and use supplements. Most people aren’t treating a diagnosed deficiency, they are looking for a health boost or noticeable result which never happens.

2. Even if they do work, which is a very very small percentage of all sold, the effect is often miniscule, yet blown out of proportion in the media and in advertising.

A meta-analysis that reports that a particular probiotic “had a positive effect in weight loss in humans” (like this one, in which that quote appears will generate headlines and spikes sales of that supplement like wildfire. And you bet the supplement companies will plaster it all over their bottles and posters, positioning their probiotic next to bikini clad fitness models. But if you actually read the paper and look at the data you see that the effect amounted to just fractions of a pound over 6 months. You’d find the same thing in these two reports, when researchers have found a statistically significant effect of probiotics on weight loss, it is a pound at most and over several months.

And what they won’t show you are all of the studies or meta analyses that showed no significant effect like these:


Or studies that concluded that probiotics can cause weight and fat GAIN, like these:

For Americans, the National Institutes of Health sums it up beautifully: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not determine whether dietary supplements are effective before they are marketed.”

3. They have risks

Side effects are common from taking dietary supplements, even when taken as directed by the label. Most frequently, they aren’t dangerous and are merely uncomfortable, things like stomachaches or cramps, dizziness, constipation, headaches, unpleasant breath (like fish burps), tingling, flushing or lightheadedness. If you take more than is recommended, the risk of these discomforts increases. It’s also worth remembering that the food you eat may also provide some of the same compounds in the supplement, and total may be higher than the safe limit even if the supplement wasn’t. For example, your diet plus your supplement can lead to an excess of Vitamin A, giving you chronic headaches and weakening your bones. Eating iron rich food plus taking a multivitamin with iron could overload you on this mineral, causing nausea and vomiting, plus harm to your liver.

The risks of dietary supplements also include that they can deactivate or interact with a medication you’re taking in numerous ways. Birth control pills, cancer chemotherapy, blood thinners, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants can all be rendered less effective by pairing with the wrong supplements.

As scary as it sounds, there’s also a fair chance that your dietary supplement doesn’t contain what it says it does, or that it contains substances that aren’t declared on the label. I’ve read many reports of supplements which were labeled as containing only all-natural herbs actually being found to contain prescription medicines such as statins or Viagra. Muscle building supplements, sexual performance enhancers and so-called testosterone boosters are notorious for having undeclared steroids in them.

4. When it’s weight loss or fat loss, FOOD is what stands between you and your goal.

Any measure of energy that goes into purchasing or forming the habit of taking a supplement is energy that would be better spent on your eating behaviors. One of our roles as professional nutrition coaches is to focus every client’s mental and physical effort into avenues which will give them the biggest payoff. When a trainer, nutritionist or other coach tells you to put your effort and dollars into supplementation before they have examined and optimized your eating patterns - take it as a signal that they do not mind frittering away your money and time or that they don’t have enough expertise to know what gives the best results over the long run.

If it’s lasting changes to your body that you are after, your behaviors are the currency necessary to get them. What and how much you eat are the things that determine your body weight, and workouts are what make you stronger, faster and more muscular. You can take all the supplements in the world, but without proper nutrition and exercise, it won’t make a difference.

Think about what you do here, not at the supplement counter.

If you’ve tried traditional diet and exercise programs only to have them fail, it makes to want to do something different, but don’t let that steer you down the row of pills in the drugstore. You can do better. We’re dedicated to empowering people with what actually works in the real world, forever. It’s not following a limited diet or taking supplements, it’s new skills. So think about the skills you’d like to pick up, rather than a bottle of empty promises.

​Fat Loss Comes From Skills Not Pills. (Sorry, I couldn't resist).

Want to know what skills WILL make a difference in your body, permanently? Here they are. Most people are already good at some of them, but have plenty which they KNOW they need some improvement on to see results. And getting better at those skills is like anything else you want to get better at, you break it down to a level that fits where you are at NOW, and practice. If you need a hand, coaching offers the added direction and accountability to get you maximum results for your effort.

Jun 13

How To Handle A Loved One Going Low Carb

By Georgie Fear | Uncategorised

Dear Georgie,
My husband is starting the Atkins diet! On the bright side, I think this will make some things easier for me because he will be watching what he is eating and having less temptations around. But I'd love some reading on this, either for my knowledge or anything I should have him read. I'm concerned about his health. - Joan

Dear Joan, I agree that it will be helpful to you and your goals that your husband is choosing to do watch his intake, even if his approach isn't the same as yours. Your home will likely have fewer temptations, (especially alcohol and sweets) and hopefully it will help him with the results he wants to see. Maybe he'll start cooking more!

There are a lot of ways to do a low carb diet. A lot carb lunch might be a salmon filet and green salad with pecans.... or it might be bacon wrapped steak with butter-blue cheese sauce on it. If a person includes a lot of vegetables, and chooses healthier fats and proteins, it's not that bad health-wise.

The elements which can (but don't have to) make a low carb diet detrimental to health include:

  • Low intake of fiber (constipation is common)
  • Low intake of fruits and vegetables (especially during the first phase when carbohydrate intake is very limited, you can't even have all the vegetables you want. Vegetable intake is correlated with longer, healthier lives, less cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  • ​High fat intake. Diets which are higher than about 40% calories from fat are causally linked to the development of insulin resistance, leptin resistance, obesity, increased appetite and decreased satiety, increased inflammation, and unhealthy changes in gut flora which increase risk for further weight gain and abdominal pains/digestive pain when fibers or carbohydrates are reintroduced. (a-j).
  • Decreases in mental well-being (some but not all studies have found that low carbohydrate intake is related to worse moods). (k, l)
  • Impaired athletic ability (particularly speed/power) (m, n)

The first 3 you can do something about by making specific choices within the Atkins Diet parameters, but the last 2 are directly due to low carbohydrate intake, and you can't raise carbohydrate intake and be on the Atkins diet.

To maximize fiber: get as many vegetables as the phase will allow. Use avocado for some of your fats, since it also provides a good amount of fiber. Chia and flax seeds can also help provide fiber without many digestible carbohydrates. Don't use carbohydrate allowances for sugars or white bread. Use them for plants!

To minimize the health risks of a high fat diet, don't go sky high in fat (you don't have to put butter in your coffee), include seafood twice a week, choose more olive oil, nuts and avocado and less fatty red meat (bacon, hamburger, steak), and use cheese and butter less often. A Mediterranean diet pattern including 1-3 tablespoons (15-45 mL) of olive oil every day has been shown to improve triglycerides and markers of inflammation, so think in spoonfuls, not glugs straight from the bottle (o).

Also, if the individual is in a calorie deficit (calorie deficit = weight decreasing) then the risks to cholesterol levels and blood lipids are reduced. Even an "artery-clogging diet" doesn't have so many damaging effects to a person if they are losing weight, the weight loss benefits to blood lipids are very significant.

Lastly, while it's not a physical health issue, dietary monotony and restriction can be unfavorable for mental health and a person's relationship with food. Being unable to eat bread, beans, rice, desserts, etc isn't something most people are willing to do forever, so they do the low carb thing for a while and within 6 to 12 months, most people are back to eating carbs. So to "bring out the best" of this phase, I'd try to emphasize some helpful diet skills that your husband can practice and maintain, even after the diet is over. Even if he doesn't stay on a low carb diet forever (most people don't) he can practice cooking and enjoying vegetables in place of starches with dinner, looking for high fiber foods, reading food labels, appreciating whole foods, and get in a habit of choosing olive oil, avocado and seafood frequently.

Best of luck to you both! Feel free to pass on the links below or send a link to this article.

References ​