It’s that time of year again: those adorable little Girl Scouts are starting to be seen all around, and their colorful cookie boxes are showing up on every street corner, at your office–or maybe even your front door!
Sure, Girl Scout cookies aren’t the healthiest snacks around, but sometimes you do decide that there’s no way to avoid indulging in these seasonal, nostalgic treats
If you’re like me, you probably want to eat the most cookies you can for the least amount of calories, right? So which Girl Scout cookies will give you the biggest bang for your calorie buck?
Savannah Smiles is the winner! You can indulge in five cookies for a reasonable 150 calories. Runner Up: Trefoils cookies at 5 cookies for 160 calories.
All Girl Scout cookies have fewer than 200 calories per serving. Thus, the most pressing question to ask yourself when you see those sweet eyes looking up at you to see if you’ll buy a box isn’t how many calories for how many cookies, it’s how many cookies are you likely to eat?
The 3 Bite Rule is pretty simple if you can put it into practice. I didn’t invent it, but I am grateful for the eating behaviorist that did! Simply stated, The 3 Bite Rule is a strategy to enjoy your favorite “bad boyfriend” foods out of the house by taking three bites, and then stopping. Note: I find it works best if the portion is already small at the get-go, and if you have dining companions who are good sharers!
Back to the 3 Bite Rule. It is simply:
When faced with bad boyfriend foods outside the house, eat three bites and then stop. Not too hard, right?
Why does it work?
Three bites of ice cream or pizza or a bacon cheeseburger never made anyone fat. Three bites of cheesecake, three French fries or three M&M’s is not the cause of the obesity epidemic. Now entire portions of those foods on a regular basis would certainly have the scale moving in the wrong direction, since it is an overall calorie surplus that packs on the pounds. With the 3 Bite Rule you get 100% of the enjoyment, and 5% of the guilt (let’s face it, there’s a little). Studies show the first taste of a food is the most pleasurable. The second is still pretty awesome. But then the pleasure factor starts declining. And after the third bite, it’s really just eating.
The 3 Bite Rule in practice:
Imagine you are dining at a fine restaurant with friends and have enjoyed a reasonably low calorie meal of grilled salmon, steamed veggies and salad with dressing on the side. Suddenly some thin chick at the table decides to order dessert. You see chocolate lava cake on the menu and your heart sinks. No need to be depressed! Order that lava cake for the table!
The trick is to eat just three bites of chocolate, fudgy goodness and then stop. Either give the rest of your dessert to someone at the table. Pour salt on it. Or just ask the waiter to take it away before it damages your waistline, and you start the whole disheartening and demoralizing “why did I just eat ALL of that” routine that keeps you up at night.
The 3 Bite Rule also works well at buffets or potluck parties. There may be a large variety of dishes to try, which normally sends dieters like me into a panic. No worries! Just have three bites of each. Can this rule be taken to extremes and abused? Absolutely. We are adults here, so if you follow the letter of the law but break the spirit of the law you are only hurting yourself. In other words, three bites of 100 different foods could be a slight problem. Just use your good judgment.
Dine like you’re a food critic. Or a celebrity chef on the Today show. Eat slowly, and chew thoroughly. So, let’s repeat:
Eat your three bites.
Enjoy each one like crazy.
And then put down the fork and get that bad boy out of your sight and reach ASAP.
Remember, the first 3 bites taste the best. After that, it’s just eating.
Are you a healthy eater but the weight isn’t budging? Maybe it’s time to look at your old habits in this New Year. Here are eight common mistakes I see my clients, friends and even myself (sometimes) making.
Your Portions Are Too Big
Trade in your dinner plate for a salad sized plate. The bigger your plate, the more calories you’ll eat. If you eat off a smaller plate, your can reduce your intake anywhere from 20% to 40%, plus your meal will look bigger. Use pre-measured serving bowls. A 16 oz. box of spaghetti should serve 16 people. If it doesn’t feed that many people in your house, you are not alone. To cut back, use a 1-cup serving bowl to eat out of. This way you will know how much you are eating.
You Eat Your Kids Scrapes
Those BLT’s (bites, licks and tastes) add up fast! And just 100 extra calories a day can be the difference between weight loss and weight maintenance. Make it a new rule: When kids are done eating, they must take their plates to the kitchen and scrape leftover food into a container that gets dumped into the trash or compost bin. This not only eliminates temptation, but also eliminates a chore that has likely been falling to you!
You Eat In Front Of The TV Late Night
Put a lid on your nighttime snacking. Have a defined end point to your evening eating. It can be a time (8pm), a final snack/cup of caffeine free tea, brushing your teeth or turning off the lights in the kitchen. It’s a signal to get out of the kitchen and to start getting ready for bed. You’ll end your day’s diet on a good note and be ready to start tomorrow on a diet positive one, too!
You Binge On The Weekend
During the week, your diet is on track. However, come the weekend, all discretion flies out the window. French fries are a vegetable, right? Guacamole and corn chips are vegan, right? Red wine is good for you, right? Before you know it, you’ve given back all the calories you cut during the week in 48 hours. And one splurge meal can take 2 days of dieting to take off.
You Oil Up Your Food
If your food looks like an oil spill occurred on it, you are adding hundreds of extra calories to your meal. Just one tablespoon of oil is 120 calories. Douse your steamed broccoli with a quick “splash” of olive oil and you can easily add two tablespoons of oil- that translates into 240 calories! To save calories and fat, pick up an oil mister, sprayer or zero calorie oil cooking spray. Spritz your food to give it some zip and taste without the extra calories.
You Don’t Keep Track Of What You Are Eating
Thanks to multi- tasking, grabbing food on the go, and munching in the carpool line, we often barely register what we’ve eaten. Even if you do pay attention, most people low ball calories by about 10%. The simple solution is to get a reality check of how many calories you consume by keeping a food diary. It may be one of the best predictors of whether you will lose weight as it doesn’t just aid weight loss, it turbo charges it!
You Eat With Your Eyes
Those warehouse clubs may be a bargain for your wallet, but they are no bargain for your waistline. If food is in sight, we eat it. Buy individual portions and order the smallest portion of everything. If you’re out and ordering a sub, get the 6-inch sandwich. Buy small popcorn, a kid’s meal, or a cupcake. We eat what’s in front of us, even though we feel just as full on less.
Your Kitchen Is Dirty
People eat what’s easiest to access and what they can see. Keep your kitchen clean. Don’t buy tempting foods to keep in the house. If you don’t buy chips, you can’t eat them. Conceal junk food. Keep tempting foods in opaque containers on high shelves in your pantry, not in full view or easy reach. Food manufacturers know how to lure you in. Red and yellow colors increase your appetite and entice you to eat more. The color blue has a calming effect and is an appetite suppressant.
The Week Resolutions Die: It’s this week. The third week in January. Our resolve starts to fade. Today, recommit to one mini food goal- eat half your plate in veggies at dinner, close the kitchen at 8pm, eat only 5oz of protein at dinner, not 8oz (ok- that’s mine), or end your affair with a bad boyfriend food for the time being! (See ya, Frosted Shredded Wheat!).
Need some motivation, keep reading!
The End of an Affair
Why do we hang in with these “bad boyfriend” foods even when every fiber of our being, not to mention our scales and waistlines, tells us they aren’t the right fit?
Just like our real-life bad boyfriends, we enter into these relationships with heavy expectations. We spend countless hours and a lot of energy thinking about how we can work them into our lives. Like the handsome Lothario we make excuses for, or the multiple offender who showers us with blinding bling, certain foods make us do everything possible to make them a good match. How many times have your caught yourself saying, “It’s okay. I’ll have just a bite of cake or a handful of tortilla chips”?
In fact, this wouldn’t be a problem at all if you could limit yourself to a single bite or handful. In the clear light of day, if you look at all of the time, energy, money, and aggravation your bad boyfriend food has cost you, then you’ll soon come to the realization that this is a relationship that just won’t work. It’s a moment’s pleasure for a lifetime of misery. Honestly, is there a food worth eating that constantly causes you to feel out of control, makes you do ad things, and damages your self-esteem?
It’s time to grow up in the world of food. With the right strategies, nearly anyone can muster the strength and courage needed to say “good riddance” to a bad boyfriend food. Just like our romantic relationships, a healthy food relationship should be based on self-love and acceptance. It should fuel our self-esteem and allow us to thrive and feel happy.
Maya Angelou once said, “When you know better, you do better”. The better you know the foods that work for you and the foods that work against you, the sooner you can stop obsessing and start living thin in the world of food. A healthy relationship with food doesn’t have to involve sacrifice and denial. However, it does involve knowing the right strategies, tips and food swaps so that food doesn’t rule you. You are the queen of your castle, and you will rule the food.
On a recent episode of Shark Tank, entrepreneur Makenzie Marzluff received $600k in funding for her dessert hummus company Delighted By, the vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and low-sugar treat that she described as tasting like cookie dough. The Sharks were surprised to like it—though all noted how weird it was—and Mark Cuban exclaimed, “this shit is good!” before investing more than half a million dollars in it for a 25 percent stake in the company.
It comes in five flavors: brownie batter, snickerdoodle, vanilla bean, choco-mint, and chocolate chip cookie dough. Marzluff suggested eating them as a dessert dip, spread, or even “healthy frosting on a cupcake.” I was a little skeptical, but since trying new food swaps are a huge turn-on for me, I held out hope.
Not going to lie…the morning after it aired on Shark Tank, I told my husband I was going to the gym (that part was a lie), ducked out of my morning mom duties and made a special trip to Whole Foods. The shelf was almost completely cleared, but I managed to score 2 tubs of brownie batter. Since I enjoy food shopping more than shoe shopping, I am not ashamed to say that I opened the tub right there in the parking lot and dug in with my Whole Foods plastic spoon. Its good! (I guess if you add enough sugar to anything it will taste good). Not too sweet, decent if grainy texture. Had a little chickpea aftertaste. Maybe not as decedent as I was hoping, but it is made from chickpeas after all.
2 tablespoons are 60-80 calories. Similar in calories to regular hummus, but fewer calories than 2 tablespoons of frosting (2 tablespoons of Dunkin Hines frosting is 140 calories). And if you like it enough to make it a food swap for frosting, then you are one lucky chick with very confused taste buds!
You ate all Thanksgiving weekend… a lot. Don’t panic. You may feel like a big fat failure, but you’re not. It’s just time to break that “Oops, I did it again” cycle and get back on the post-holiday diet bandwagon. Get going with these 6 steps:
Don’t Procrastinate. Thanksgiving is over and the damage is done. Get back to your regular eating schedule ASAP. I know you may be tempted to starve yourself or skip meals, but this will come back to bite you. Dieters who skip meals end up making up the skipped calories, and then some, when they finally do eat. Just eat less.
Manage Your Mistake. Starting Now.“It” Girls manage their slip-ups as soon as they happen. It’s easier to come back from two pounds than five. Go back to basics- track your food, weigh portions, go back to the diet plan that worked for you before the holiday derailment.
Stop Eating Out For One Week. Exert total control over food and drink choices for one week. Bring your lunch to work, cook meals at home, and buy packaged foods with calorie counts that work for you. Had a lunch plan? Postpone until next week or meet for coffee or a spin class, instead.
Go Food Shopping. Yes, your fridge contains half a sweet potato casserole and enough cookies to feed a small country. That’s exactly why it’s time to hit the supermarket. If all you have in your house is Thanksgiving leftovers that is all you will have to eat. Restock your house with the foods you need to implement your weight loss program for the week. Which, brings me to tip #5…
Clean Up Your Kitchen. I am not talking about Windex here. That pecan pie might look festive on the countertop, but it will tempt you and keep your cravings activated. Freeze in the basement freezer, give it away, or just toss those last two slices. We eat with our eyes, and just seeing tempting foods intensifies our desire for them. Out of sight, out of mouth.
Institute A Boredom Diet. For a few days eat very monotonous. Variety stimulates appetite, which stimulates consumption (aka calories!). Science shows a strong link between monotony of food choices and reduced caloric intake. Boring is best for weight loss and craving control!
Learn From Your Mistakes. Hanukkah is almost here, and Christmas and New Year’s are just around the corner. Take the lessons you’ve learned from Thanksgiving and use them throughout the holiday season. Viewing the occasional mistake as a learning experience can keep it from growing into something larger. Think about what went wrong and how you can prevent a similar situation during the festive days ahead. Then-most important- forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s time to carry on.
According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 3,000 calories during a typical Thanksgiving dinner. From appetizers to dessert, dieters beware: You want to stuff the bird, not yourself!
1. Eat before the big meal. Yes, you read that correctly! Showing up for the feast with a rumbling tummy is a recipe for over-eating, so be sure to pre-game by having some low-calorie mini-meals or snacks earlier in the day. Bank calories for the big meal, but don’t fast all day.
2. Dress to impress. Save your baggy, comfy clothes for running errands. On Thanksgiving, break out a form-fitting garment — think skinny jeans or a curve-hugging dress. You’ll be less likely to overeat if you’re wearing something a little snug, because you’ll start feeling uncomfortable more quickly. And bust out the holiday make up and hairstyle! When you feel prettier, you eat better. When I can make it through the meal without having to undo the top button of my pants, I know I’m in good shape.
3. Make single-size versions of decadent dishes. Want to be the perfect host? Add flair to the table and stop everyone, including you, from overdoing it by offering individual portions of the fattiest items on the menu. For instance, bake stuffing in cups of a muffin pan; serve cranberry sauce in individual ramekins: ladle creamy soups into espresso cups; serve gravy in shot glasses, and bake pumpkin cupcakes instead of serving a pie. Pre-sizing eliminates the opportunity to spoon piles on your plate. And your buffet will look like a Martha Stewart magazine cover!
4. Don’t worry, be picky. Before sitting down at the dinner table, have a few favorite foods in mind that you plan to indulge in — and don’t be afraid to change course if the first taste proves to be a 5 rather than a 10! If it isn’t everything you’d hoped it would be, don’t waste calories on it. Wouldn’t you rather fill up on delicious fare rather than an average dish?
5. Make some food swaps. Can’t limit yourself to a small scoop of buttery spuds? Then bypass them entirely in favor of cauliflower. For a delicious stand-in, boil cauliflower, mash it, and add a little skim milk, light butter spread and garlic. The similar texture and color will trick you into thinking you’re getting the real thing. I always bake a sweet potato for myself (and any guests who request it), and enjoy that as my personal alternative to sweet potato pie. There are tons of recipes for “faux” Thanksgiving fare online! (Check out my blog from November 8th for easy cauliflower stuffing on lyssaweiss.com).
6. Mix up a 45-calorie cocktail. If liquor and dessert are equally essential to you enjoying the holiday, at least choose your libation wisely. For a mere 45 calories you can have a “Skinny Spritzer”: Simply combine 1 cup sparkling water, 2 ounces vodka, 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice and 6 raspberries. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
7. Eat off colorful plates. Research has found that the more contrast between your food and plate color, the less you’ll eat. Leave the fancy white china in the cabinet. You’ll likely eat more when light-colored foods, such as turkey and mashed potatoes, are served on white or cream plates.
8. Go to the back of the line. Heading to a holiday buffet? Be selfishly polite and let others get their fill first. Once the food has been picked over it won’t seem nearly as enticing. Plus, there is no bigger bummer than being finished with your meal and then watching someone sit down with a full plate of food. It’s why so many of us go up for seconds! As hard as it may be, fight the urge to be number one.
9. Draw a clear finish line. Once you’ve had your fair share, reach for peppermint mints or gum to prevent you from picking at whatever’s in front of you. Reapplying your lip-gloss helps, too. Another trick: Pour some water or pepper on your plate so you won’t want to use it anymore — just make sure no one’s watching.
10. Join the cleanup crew. Getting away from the table sooner rather than later can save hundreds of calories. And keeping your hands busy with dishes helps to keep them from mindlessly reaching for extra munches. Plus your host will be grateful!
I am involved in a workout group called #wedohardstuff. Most of the workouts are physical but there are some that aren’t. One of the challenges this month entails writing an uplifting letter to someone. You were the first person that I thought of! I need to thank you so much for guiding me and supporting me through my weight loss journey. Looking back at photos, I didn’t even realize how many years I had been struggling to lose weight. (About 7). I had tried many different diets, juice cleanses, other nutritionists and I was never successful until I met you. I also felt defeated and I stopped working out which is unheard of to anyone that knows me because I used to be a workout fanatic. I finally feel back to my old self, I am working out again, I can get dressed every day without negative thoughts and stress and I feel great! I hope you realize how much you’ve helped me.I definitely couldn’t have been successful without all of your helpful tips. I always feel satisfied and when I was unsuccessful during the process you always offered support to “fix” the slip. Anyone who compliments me on “how good I look,” I always recommend you because I truly believe that you are amazing. I have lost 38 pounds on my scale. I can’t thank you enough! I look forward to continuing our relationship as I know this is a life-long process and I am sure that I will need to check in here and there.
One of the secrets to ending emotional eating is to practice the Pleasure Principle. So many of us turn to food for pleasure when we lack it in other areas of our day (or lives!). Give your mind and body other ways of feeling good, aside from eating. Many times emotional eating is just our bodies attempt to experience some daily pleasure and joy, even if momentary.
However, there is a hitch to it. Finding what gives you daily pleasure must be quick, easy and accessible, just like eating all the icing off the leftover Entenmann’s cake is. Also, you should look forward to it! To get your juices flowing, here are some of my daily pleasures at the moment:
I love to slip my feet into these cozy slippers once my workday ends. The feel of the faux fur literally makes my heartbeat come down.
I am binge watching Ray Donovan right now (I love you, Ray!). It literally helps me close my kitchen at night sooner rather than later so I can watch an episode. I am also known to save a Bravo TV show to watch as my reward at the end of the day (no judgment on other peoples’ pleasures, please).
If I have downtime while the kids are in their rooms doing homework, rather than rummage around the pantry, I will lie in bed and sneak in a few pages of a favorite book. Right now I am reading Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and I love it.
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