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How to Eat Carbs Like a Sane Person

by | Nov 2, 2016

yogurt schnooze

When I first decided to stop dieting the single hardest thing for me to do was let myself eat carbs again.

Bread, rice and potatoes had been banned from my list of skinny-friendly foods for over 5 years. And even though I only weighed about 5 lbs less than when I ate them regularly, I couldn’t help but think of carbs as impossibly fattening. Given my body image issues at the time, I think I would have preferred to eat something laced with anthrax.

What is it about carbs that makes people act insane?

Getting over my fear of carbs required several critical steps. The first big one was digging into the science and learning that the healthiest, longest lived humans on the planet eat intact grains, tubers and legumes regularly. I grudgingly had to accept that they were not subsisting on protein bars and Diet Coke like I was.

The next big test was trying for myself. I slowly phased out processed “diet” foods and started teaching myself to cook vegetables and other Real Foods. I started eating fruit again. But the scariest part was letting myself eat things like oats, rice and breakfast cereal (still not the best choice, but it didn’t matter).

To my surprise and delight I didn’t gain weight. This was a huge win, since it was the first time in my adult life I remember not being constantly hungry. Then, slowly, I started to lose weight.

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How to Discover and Reach Your Ideal Weight

by | Aug 23, 2016
Photo by foshydog

Photo by foshydog

When I was a dieter I always had a goal weight that I thought would change my life. I’d get on the scale (if I was brave enough) and would hold my breath as I watched the needle move, calculating in my mind how many pounds away I was from happiness.

In retrospect I don’t know what I expected to happen at that magic number. If I had been less delusional I might have acknowledged that the few times I did manage to reach my goal I instantly adjusted it a few pounds downward, the flicker of joy suppressed by the sudden realization that an even smaller pair of jeans may be in my future.

Ugh. Dieting is the worst.

Okay, so what if you’re done with the dieting neurosis but still want to lose weight for health reasons? Is there a target or ideal weight you should shoot for?

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Does ‘The Biggest Loser’ Study Prove That Long-term Weight Loss is Impossible?

by | May 6, 2016

wow scale

Instead of our regularly scheduled Friday link love, today I’m going to discuss just one story that made a huge splash in the weight loss community.

On Monday the New York Times published an article titled “After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight” and about a million of you sent it to me asking for my opinion.

The new study (you can read the real thing here) is very interesting and also a little frustrating. In case you live on Mars, ‘The Biggest Loser’ is a reality TV show that takes a group of people with Class III obesity and subjects them to extreme exercise and caloric restriction, with the result of rapid and dramatic weight loss often close to 50% of body weight.

I’ve never been a fan. Not only does the show double down on the torturous methods of weight loss perpetuated by the dieting industry, but (as expected) virtually everyone who participates in the show gains the majority of the weight back.

I doubt many of us can fathom how devastating this must be to the contestants psychologically––to go through months of hell and achieve what seems like an impossible level of “success,” then have those hard earned victories evaporate over the following years, all under the public eye. It’s amazing to me that this level of cruelty is even legal in the US. There’s probably a joke about The Hunger Games in there somewhere, but I don’t have the heart to make it.

Thanks to this latest research, however, we now have a pretty clear understanding of how physically devastating it is to participate in ‘The Biggest Loser.’

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Skipping the Dressing Makes Your Salad Less Healthy (and Less Tasty)

by | Apr 26, 2016

Photo by juanpablo.santosrodriguez

When I was a teenager salad dressing was the enemy.

Sure I knew salads were the best choice for losing weight. But dressing, that evil temptress, tried her best to undo all the pain and suffering I just knew was necessary to get the body I wanted.

I remember once getting into an argument with my dad (the poor man had endured years of my refusing even a drop of fat on anything I ate).

He had made a substantial (and delicious) Cobb salad for dinner, and was offering me a bottle of low-fat ranch dressing to top it off.

I self-righteously retorted, “Salad dressing defeats the purpose of eating a salad.”

“No it doesn’t,” he explained with exasperation. “The purpose of eating a salad is to get your vegetables and leafy greens in for the day.”

Clearly we were speaking different languages.

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5 Things I Always Do When I Want to Lose Weight

by | Mar 29, 2016
Photo by angeloangelo

Photo by angeloangelo

I recently returned from an eight day vacation in Dubai. I never thought I would visit the Middle East in my life, so I was determined to make the most of this unique opportunity.

Every meal we had was lavish and indulgent. Every day we drank champagne and cocktails.

And although I logged over 100,000 steps during the week and made great use of the gym at our hotel, there was no denying that my clothes were uncomfortably tight when I got home.

Naturally, I regret nothing. I don’t mind how I look when I’m a few pounds heavier (most people wouldn’t notice), but I wanted to get back to my normal weight because I am more comfortable there. My clothes fit better and I feel more myself.

I’ve written before that I don’t believe in cleanses, detoxes or diets. Instead I rely on my Home Court Habits to get me back into my comfort zone.

But over the years I’ve noticed that there are certain habits I focus on more intently when I’m actively trying to lose weight.

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Ask Darya: How can I exercise harder without overeating?

by | Feb 23, 2016

Ask Darya exercise hunger

This week our Ask Darya question is from Leslie:

Hey Darya, I have a question for you about that sentence you inserted regarding your exercise regimen.

I’m a healthy person who just wants to stay where I am weight-wise, but I’m working on going from mild to moderate/high exercise in order to increase my endurance and strength. My current challenge is balancing enough exercise so that I’m making progress, but not so much that by body thinks I’m hungry all the time (hello, Hunger Tiger). I know that I’ve read on your site that you are familiar with this phenomenon, that too much exercise can throw your hunger off balance, leading you to overeat. However, I read your weekly exercise description–4x strength training, 2x HIIT, 1x pilates–and when I workout that amount, I get so, so hungry. I know everyone is different, but do you have any advice for how someone can discover a balance between the right amount of food and exercise?

This is a great question because she’s asking about a specific behavior she’s struggling with in her healthstyle. In this video I clarify my own workout habits (I’m not crazy, I swear) and offer some advice on how to modify your snacking habits so you don’t overeat on intense exercise days.

Want me to answer your question? Submit it on the Ask Darya page.

Cheers,

Darya

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How to Detox Without Starving Yourself

by | Jul 6, 2015
Photo by Robert Gourley

Photo by Robert Gourley

Earlier this year my husband and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. If you were following along, you might remember that we didn’t get to have much of a honeymoon after our wedding since my book was scheduled to launch just four weeks later. (Yes, I regret these events being so close together. C’est la vie.)

So for our first anniversary we felt we deserved a real break, a relaxing trip with no friends, family or even Toaster. We took five glorious days off and chilled on a beach in Mexico, making a point to spend more time in the spa than in the gym.

As you might expect we felt a little doughy when we got home, so we immediately called our local juice company and ordered a 7 day detox cleanse to make up for it.

JUST KIDDING.
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Wisdom Wednesday: Airports and Cakes Don’t Mix

by | Dec 10, 2014

Photo by David Basanta

Recently I was traveling overseas and had a two-hour layover at LAX. Not excited about the idea of eating on the plane, I searched the airport for something resembling Real Food to keep me satisfied for the long flight ahead.

As has been happening at airports more often lately, I was pleasantly surprise to find several decent options and ended up with a tasty pile of beans, cauliflower and roasted squash.

Score.

You see, there’s absolutely nothing special about airports. 95% of the time the food is gross––the pizza is just as nasty as the salads. And sitting on my butt in an uncomfortable seat for the next several hours is nothing near a special occasion.

Normally I avoid eating at airports at all costs, but sometimes it’s just impossible not to.

When I am forced to eat in an airport I just try to find the healthiest, least disgusting thing I can get my hands on and anxiously await arriving at my destination and rejoining the world of Real Food.

To me, airports are like purgatory.

That’s why as I was finishing my beans and cauliflower I was so astounded to see someone walk past my table carrying a giant, four layer slice of red velvet cake.

Cake. At the airport.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

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It’s Not Shallow to Care About How You Look

by | Dec 8, 2014
Photo by Pavel P.

Photo by Pavel P.

I had my first SlimFast shake when I was 11 years old and spent the next 15 years struggling my way through every diet under the sun.

Through all of high school and college I suffered from body image issues, fatigue, bad skin and thinning hair, all for a body I was embarrassed of.

If anyone knows how dangerous dieting can be for your mind, body and spirit it’s me.

At Summer Tomato my number one mission for the last five and half years has been to get people to stop dieting. Not only does it not work, it actually makes it harder to become fit and healthy.

Dieting also makes your life suck, and that is unacceptable.

I know this. But that doesn’t mean I believe you should give up on trying to look your best.

Far from it.

As strongly as I believe the word “diet” should be banished from our health lexicon, I feel equally that our bodies should be part of what makes life awesome. And that includes how we feel when we look in the mirror, and how others see us.

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An Uncommon Guide to Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

by | Nov 24, 2014

Photo by Bunches and Bits {Karina}

It’s official. Holiday season is here.

Starting this week health conscious people everywhere are bracing themselves for two solid months of parties, feasts and festivities.

To even the most dedicated foodists, it can be overwhelming.

Even though my #1 philosophy is that life should be awesome and you shouldn’t restrict yourself from things you enjoy, it can be helpful to enter the holidays with a plan to keep your healthstyle more or less on track.

These are the steps I personally take to make sure I don’t begin the New Year trying to make amends for the holidays.

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