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 know better do better, mindset, motivation, tips

Talking to myself, time travel edition

One of the reasons Americans are bad at making health choices or long-term financial planning is that we are disconnected from our future selves.

There have been a couple of studies in the financial realm where, if shown an age-progressed photo of themselves, people invest more in their 401K options than if they’re shown a current photo. No other change in variables.

There are some fascinating studies about language that feed into this as well. As it turns out, languages that don’t have a future tense (where present and future are the same verb conjugation), people are healthier and plan for the future better. English, of course, isn’t one of those languages, and so the present and the future are linguistically disconnected.

That means we need to work harder to help our future selves.

I have a habit — well, I fall in and out of it, so I’m not sure it’s really a habit — of talking to Past Heat and Future Heat.

For a while, I was prepping breakfast and lunch for the week on the weekend. It was a pain. But especially during weeks that were busier than usual, it was really nice not to be starting from scratch when throwing a lunch together. (And there was no day that ready-to-go breakfast was unappreciated.) Many Thursdays, I paused for a moment and thanked Sunday Heat for taking the time to make me lunch for today.

So many of us eat with abandon from time to time and then feel guilty. Either let go of the guilt or don’t do the eating. Have a chat with your future self. The one right after the meal. Or the one trying to button pants in a couple of days. Or the one that’s going to feel like crap and be out of commission for half a day. (Depends on the consequences of the binge, really.)

When you’re at a decision point, pause and talk to You in Two Hours, or You in A Week, or whichever You is going to be grateful that you paused and took the path of delayed gratification.

It doesn’t work all the time (at least for me), but it does work sometimes.

Appropriate for eating, drinking, exercise, sleep, financial decisions, parenting, and on and on and on…

Honestly, I think sometimes just the pause is sufficient, but the glance down the road? It helps.



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Posted in about me, know better do better, mindset, physical health, tips

Laziness saves

I am, in some ways, incredibly lazy.

Laziness has saved me from so much junk food.

If I’m at home and am craving something, almost always, I’m too lazy to go out and get it.

(This is most likely because the craving is trying to fill the hole created by lazy/bored/maybe sad, and going to get it contradicts the mood.)

For this reason, it’s been really important to me not to keep junk food in the house. If junk food is in the house, I don’t have to go out. And that doesn’t work out well. At these points in time, there is no moderation.

Stick it in the freezer? I’ve learned that candy and cookies are delicious frozen.

As an added bonus, I can tell The Kid that he’s welcome to snack on anything because there’s nothing in the house that is junk.

If you are like me at all—whether it’s because you’re lazy or because you would logistically not be able to go get something—I highly recommend not keeping it in the house.

Laziness saves.


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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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