Posted in food, mindset, physical health, tips

Getting a handle on food “treats”

First, let me just say that I hate that the word “treat” is used in describing food. We’re not dogs! I prefer healthy/unhealthy or something else less emotionally charged.

(Also, this post might push buttons and require a visit to the disclaimer post…)

We often talk about treats with regards to food. Some variation in how we define it, but for many people, sweets are treats. Sometimes fried or greasy food. Sometimes alcoholic or otherwise caloric beverages.

“Sometimes foods,” as they’re sometimes referred.

So in the context of how often we consume “sometimes foods” where we’re praising ourselves for not indulging often, most of the time, each item is being counted separately.

“I only have ice cream once a month. And beer just after running club. Wings only when we’re watching football. Cake just at parties. Pie at holidays. Chocolate for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and whenever someone gifts me some.”

For some of us, that would clean up our eating. And I’m not here to say that any of this is double-or-nothing. But if you’re deep enough into this process that the above describes your typical pattern and you’re not happy with how you feel, it might be time to tighten that up a bit.

Lump the treats.

ALL the sweets are one, so “once a week” means anything sweet once a week. (That includes the holiday AND the day after in the same week…)

ALL the fried and greasy are one, so “once a week” means anything fried or greasy once a week.

ALL the drinks are one, so “once a week” means any caloric beverage (beer, wine, milkshake, frappuccino, soda, sweet tea, and on and on) once a week.

If you’re already there and you’re not happy with how you feel, lump some of them: ALL the sweets AND fried/greasy are one, so “once a week” means pizza but not a cookie.

If you’re already there and you’re not happy with how you feel, lump ALL of them. Help your kids do it, too.


Keep them separate and lengthen the time between. Instead of once a week, once every two weeks. Once a month. Only meaningful foods at meaningful times. (My grandmom’s pie at Thanksgiving but not any of the junk at the Superbowl party.)

(The less you eat them, the less tempting they become over time. And many of them eventually don’t taste good any more.)




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Posted in exercise, food, know better do better, mindset, motivation, physical health

It’s normal. But is it good?

At some point recently, my Facebook memories claimed this quote:

“I have eaten a lot (for me) of junk food in the last week or two, and I feel like crap. It is amazing to me that how I feel right now used to be ‘normal.'”

If we’ve never been on a path with decent health habits (food, exercise, sleep, stress, connection), we have no idea how much better we could feel.

I had no idea.

How we feel is normal. But “used to it” and “good” aren’t synonyms.

Sometimes (read: usually) taking the first steps to healthier does not instantly yield the results we want. I know countless people who were completely sedentary, started exercising, and complained bitterly that they were exhausted and it was a myth that exercising gives you more energy.

It’s not a myth. But it’s also not a 5-hour-energy drink. Give it a couple of weeks or a month.

Any time I don’t feel like exercising and go out and do something anyway, I felt better after. Always. As a general rule, I feel better when I exercise regularly. I’m not an outlier in this.

Most of us know we feel better with a good amount of sleep. (What “a good amount” is varies pretty wildly.) It’ll take a week or more of regular, sufficient sleep before it yields results.

Stress is a huge weight. I go through periods where I’m able to relieve myself of some of it and feel much lighter. I’m working on managing what’s left better in hopes of maintaining some of that buoyancy when I’m dealing with situations that I can’t get off my plate.

Food plays an enormous role in mood and energy level (which are themselves linked). A reasonably healthy diet on a consistent basis is better fuel for your body. When you have good fuel, you run better. But again, it takes more than two days (or two meals haha) of eating well before you feel it. And if you’re eliminating allergens or irritants, it could take a month before it’s all cleared your system, depending on which food.

If you’re running on low energy, I challenge you to start tweaking your basic health habits and see how they help you. Start with just one.

Change your normal.



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Posted in about me, ebb & flow, exercise, follow-up, food, know better do better, mental health, mindset, motivation, physical health, thoughtfulness

Update: accountability to self

In January, I wrote about a chart I’d made to track behaviors of health and self-care.

I had thought—or, more accurately, hoped—that seeing holes in the list would spur me to do some of the things that simply haven’t been getting done, even if the increase was to once a week, or once every other week.

It did not.

The things that were already getting done are still getting done. The things that weren’t getting done still aren’t getting done.

So now, after two-and-a-half months of using it, I need to decide: should I somehow incentivize it? (Not with things that are counterproductive!) Or let it go? Because right now, it’s not really doing anything. I mean, I’m marking things off as they get done, but I’m affirming things I already knew. No new data, no behavior change.

I haven’t decided yet. Either way, as-is, it’s not working.

Did anyone else make one? (I got a lot of messages from people who were going to.) How’s it going?


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Posted in food, mindset, physical health, tips

Behind the “pitch it” mantra

Just want to go on record … I have been known to say—and will continue to say—that sweets aren’t really food and to pitch leftovers.

I’m not saying they’re not delicious or that they have no significance outside of health concerns.

There are lots of sweet treats that are fantastic! And many have significant emotional and cultural roots.

But leftovers? Or if there’s dessert that’s anything less than phenomenal—pitch it.

You can take a piece of cake, have a bite, realize it’s not as good as you’d hoped it would be, and get rid of the rest of the piece of cake. And then, once everyone has gotten a slice, pitch the rest of the cake. Because it’s not that good.

(Put it in the trash without the box or wrapper…)

You’re not wasting food. These confections are not really food. If you’re worried about food waste, go eat some of the veggies that are in your fridge before they get slimy and you throw them out.

Also, while we’re here, this all applies to food gifts.

If you don’t want sweets as gifts, let the people in your house know that. And friends. Or anyone who would be an appropriate audience for that information.

If you receive them anyway, or get them from people not in the know, it’s OK to throw them away. Not in front of the giver, and not in a place where the giver is going to see them in the trash.

There have been years when I have a good-sized pile of cookies and chocolate and hot chocolate mix and whatnot from students. It’s so nice of them to think of me and to go out of their way. But that doesn’t obligate me to eat it. I thank them, I thank their parents, I take it home … and, for the most part, it disappears. We don’t need to eat all that.

When The Kid trades his holiday candy stash (Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter) for a toy, the candy stash goes in the trash.

Throw. It. Away. (Or don’t buy it to start with, but that’s a whole separate ballgame.)

Posted in food, know better do better, physical health, tips

Turning veggie: a tip

Tagging on to the post the other day about eating vegetarian…

If you change your diet to have less or no meat, besides taking things out, you will likely need to add things in.

Our most common meals growing up included meat as the main, veggies and bread on the side.

Meat + veggie + bread – meat = boring (and not very filling)

When I went vegetarian, getting recipes was critical. (Still is!)

A friend gifted me with “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” by Mark Bittman, and it was wonderful. And still is. If you’re not offended by language, check out Thug Kitchen’s blog, and if you like their stuff, their recipe book is also full of tasty things. (And when I started, neither Pinterest nor the Instant Pot existed yet.)

Pick some that aren’t too complicated but look tasty. Wade into bigger gambles after you have a few wins under your belt.

Be aware of false friends: all of the “healthy substitutions” are different from what you want. Veggie burgers—made of a wide variety of things—can be really tasty, but they’re not burgers. No matter how you cut it, cauliflower isn’t rice. This isn’t to say that the substitutions are invalid or don’t work. But if you’re expecting it to be the same, you’re going to be disappointed, angry, disgusted, or some combination thereof.

Hit me up if you need help.


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