How to Maintain A Fighting Spirit

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."

So the saying goes about boxing. But it strikes me that the same thing can be said about eating, fitness, or any other endeavour. Like a glazed-over boxer staggered by his opponent, making a blunder, facing the unknown or simply being under a lot of stress can stagger us, and we forget all about the … "Plan? What plan? Did I have a strategy?"

I've learned many lessons in my life about managing stress, and consider myself relatively resilient and capable as a baseline, but I would be a fool to deny that many times in my life, adversity has made me want to light my plan on fire, and find the fastest escape or gratification possible. And many times, I did.

So as that quote about being punched in the face ran across my mind, I decided to hunt down some martial artists -- since they have literally been punched in face (in the name of sport) and ask how they learned to keep their wits about them. These were some of the...

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Your Questions About Eating Just Enough, Answered

There are 16 habits in my book Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss, and several dozen other actions I regularly use with clients as assignments or “behavioral test-drives”. They cover everything from eating disorder recovery to sports nutrition, communicating, finding joy, boosting fiber intake, and managing sleep. And this one is (according to my clients), the hardest one: Eating Just Enough.

It’s Chapter 3 in the book, and from here on you’ll see the abbreviation we often use in my Facebook groups, EJE.

It’s the one most often that people say they work on for a long time. 

It’s the one people revisit most often after they’ve gone through all the other skills.

It’s also the one that, on average, people just entering my world have the lowest skill in. (Most of them report the highest level of skill in Eating Mostly Whole Foods, if you’re curious).

Here’s an example, because we like data, right? Look at this graph....

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6 Ways Eating More Can Help You Lose Weight

hunger weight loss Jul 30, 2019

You know that a calorie deficit is key to losing fat. So, we want to avoid excess calories where we can to make that happen, right? Yes. Mostly.

I’m a great example of someone whose default is to try and buy the least expensive item, whether that means saving 10 cents on a can of tomatoes or buying the lower calorie salad dressing when I can’t decide on a flavor. Where possible, why not save a little?

However, always trying for a minimal calorie intake can backfire, much like buying the cheapest car or blender can leave you spending more money in the long run. I’ve seen a few clients get derailed by this sort of thinking in recent weeks, so I’d like to prevent it from happening to you. Real skill in eating for lifelong leanness is knowing when to eat a little more, choose the higher calorie thing, or choose to eat instead of passing on food.

We have to make dozens, or even hundreds, of food related decisions each day. An effort to reduce calories here can...

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20 Things MyFitnessPal Doesn't Tell You About Your Calories

“I know counting calories is bad,” she stammers, but “and I hate it but, I…. I… really don’t think I can stop.” 

“Hang on a second,” I offer. “It’s okay if you count calories, I’m not for or against it, but let’s see if it’s helping you. And then we can decide if you want to keep doing it, or stop completely, or somewhere in between. And what you want this week might change form how you feel in a month, so we’ll adjust as we go. Deal?”

She looks and sounds massively relieved, and proceeds to tell me about her daily routine, calorie allowance, and what a day looks like when it goes well. Then we get to when it doesn’t go well, and the full picture comes into color and focus. This happens over and over in my nutrition assessments. I meet lots of people who have been counting calories and dislike it, and I meet a few who are actually finding it effective and happy to keep...

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How to Rock at Fat Loss When You Can't Work Out

Being unable to exercise can be a truly miserable circumstance. It usually happens for reasons which are themselves unpleasant (we’re sick, injured, had surgery, or life is just nuts with commitments and we’ve got no time to tend to our own needs). Additionally, it’s tougher to cope with these stresses if breaking a sweat is your normal stress-relief practice! If you then pile on the feeling of “I’m getting fatter and weaker by the day…” it’s pretty dismal. Arffxlqfs4o2tjqxnmnl things only calorie counters know

I've been there. More times than I like to think about. At times I thought I couldn't take it. And one could argue that my sanity was questionable, because after all, there I was crutching up and down my boyfriend's driveway in the snow after ACL surgery. Being inside and immobile was a pain greater than the impressively intense signals coming from my severed and stitched flesh. 

If you find yourself injured, sick, or for some other reason barred from getting our...

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Solving The Bread Dilemma

"When I eat bread, it's like a monster comes out. I have to stay away from it. Sugar too."


And that started my coaching call with Beth, a client who came to me for help losing weight and stopping binge eating. We had already completed several sessions and talked about her food difficulties, goals, and lifestyle but something in her voice told me, “This just got real. It’s honesty time.”  I love those moments. As a coach, it’s when I get to begin my most meaningful work. 


Beth continues to tell me how the last few days have been terrible, eating wise. She felt drained from work, yet the work kept coming. For the next 3 months, it wouldn't let up. Instead of sleeping enough, or walking outside to deal with the intense pressure, she bought and finished a box of crackers. Then cake. Then lots of bread, one slice at a time, until the loaf was gone.  A Mars bar wrapper on her desk stared at her, reminding her of more things she must have eaten but...

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How To Stop Wrecking Your Diet Every Evening

Uncategorized Dec 28, 2018

For a lot of people, from the instant the alarm sounds in the morning, we’re on a schedule. We have to be in the shower by a certain time, out the door at a certain time, get to our desk at a certain time, and that’s just the beginning.

Opening our calendars we peer at the day ahead and it looks like…. more things on a schedule. Meetings, phone calls, picking up kids and even stuff we might want to do like get to a hairstylist all happen in their respective time slots.

Into the evening hours, tasks continue. You might be picking up or dropping off kids, figuring out the grocery situation, or seeing if you can get a workout in. The dog needs a walk, and that stack of mail that came today needs to be looked through.

While this organization of our day can go a long way to helping us be productive, many people look forward to the end of their day when there is nothing on the agenda. Usually, dinner is the last “event”, and after that,...

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From Binge Eating To Weight Loss

As nutrition coaches, people come to us when they are stuck and not making progress. One particularly challenging and recurring example of this is people who struggle with binge eating and excess weight, both of which they would like to lose for good. It's not hard to see that binge eating (consuming objectively large amounts of food in a single sitting while feeling out of control) is counterproductive to weight loss. What's harder to see is why someone in this situation actually shouldn't try to work on both goals at the same time.

Working on weight loss is counterproductive to binge eating recovery, however, binge eating recovery is the single best step toward attaining a healthy weight.

Is that a mind-bender or what? Let's explore.

Friends and families of our clients who fit this profile often know them as the Super Healthy Eaters, who never seem to eat any sweets, or maybe they are the strict Paleo dieter in their circle of friends. They may have "always been on...

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How To Handle Your Spouse Going On The Keto Diet

Dear Georgie,
My husband is starting the keto 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 keto 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...

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Why We (Mostly) Don't Do Supplements

My clients, their results, and their personal happiness, matter to me. I work on holidays if they need me, I answer emails at strange times and places, and I read research for hours a week so I can bring them the best practices. It's my responsibility to stay informed on the latest science in nutrition, psychology, and behavior change because they deserve it and I want to call myself an expert and still sleep at night. I want to know my craft, and do it better than anyone else. 

That brings me to the topic of dietary supplements, and why I rarely spend time talking about them, while I talk about all sorts of other things, like sleep, stress, joy, activity, and the benefits of furry pets. 

To say it briefly, my clients have goals involving weight loss, muscle gain, improving sports performance, and eating disorder recovery. In these contexts, supplements are generally a waste of time, and I have mountains of evidence-based, effective strategies...

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