The Art of Not Taking Home the Grand Prize

You know how on game shows, there may be 3 people vying for an awesome grand prize, such as a car or $10,000 round the world trip? But the people who come in second and third place often don’t just get shown the door. They get a consolation prize. 

I think the term “consolation prize” is cute and funny. It consoles you. “I’m sorry you didn’t get what you wanted, but here have this instead!” 

It’s actually a very kind move of the game shows, I think, to acknowledge the disappointment of a contestant who got all excited but then let down (in front of millions of people, to boot). It shows generosity and compassion.  

What if we gave ourselves consolation prizes when things didn’t go our way? Would that have a positive effect?

If might, if it helped us acknowledge and validate our own disappointment or distress. That’s a step up from denying our true feelings like, “nah, I shouldn’t be bothered...

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

Millions of busy adults suffer from food prep problems, which we're going to call "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...

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How To Conquer Your Trigger Foods

How many of you have foods that you try to steer clear of 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 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 at 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...

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