Power Up Your Diet.

Screen shot 2009-09-24 at 4.39.47 PMAt The Hungry Heart, we know how difficult it can be to keep from emotionally overeating.  Yo-Yo Dieting is another common practice we see amongst our clients.  We find that it helps to have as many tips in our back pocket as possible to keep our diet on track.  Here are 5 suprising superfoods that will keep you on the right track!

When the experts want to get leaner, stronger, and healthier, they reach for these 10 surprising healthy food superstars. Meet your new mealtime secret weapons.

Tomato Salsa

This low-cal staple pumps up the flavor of everything from chicken breasts to scrambled eggs. “It’s jam-packed with antioxidants, including lycopene, which may reduce the risk of some cancers, and beta-carotene, which may help fight heart disease,” says Joan Salge Blake, RD, an associate clinical professor of nutrition at Boston University.

Eat It Up: Beta-carotene and lycopene are more easily absorbed by the body when consumed with a bit of healthy fat, so add some chopped avocado to your salsa-topped chicken. Or add salsa to Low Sodium V8 for extra fiber.

Nutrition facts per 2 tablespoons: 9 calories, 0g protein, 2g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0.5g fiber

Whole Wheat Pitas

Give your usual turkey sandwich a healthy upgrade by swapping the bread for a whole wheat pita pocket. If you put veggies in your sandwich, it’s usually a few lettuce leaves and a slice of tomato or else the bread falls apart. “But with a pita, you can stuff it full of vegetables and still get a healthy dose of whole grains,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a FITNESS advisory board member and author of The Flexitarian Diet. Just be sure to check the ingredients list: “enriched wheat flour” means the pita is an imposter. Look for the words “whole wheat.”

Eat It Up: Go Greek by filling your pita with feta, hummus, diced cucumbers and tomatoes, arugula, and black olives. Or put a Mexican spin on your sandwich by adding low-fat refried beans, salsa, avocado, and chopped romaine lettuce. Rather have a snack? Make pita chips. Cut a pita into triangles, drizzle with olive oil, add a pinch of salt, and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, or until crispy.

Nutrition facts per 1 large pita: 170 calories, 6g protein, 35g carbohydrate, 2g fat (0g saturated), 5g fiber


“Because it’s super-low in calories, popcorn is the perfect food for those times when you don’t want to worry about portion size,” says Sharon Richter, RD, a nutritionist in New York City. And it’s loaded with fiber, which is crucial for staying slim. In fact, people who maintain a healthy weight consume an average of 33 percent more fiber daily than those who are overweight, according to research.

Eat It Up: Save calories (and money) by getting a basic air popper. One we like: Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Hot Air Popper by Presto ($25, bedbathandbeyond.com). Pop the kernels with a bit of salt and toss with nuts and raisins for a tasty trail mix.

Nutrition facts per 1 cup air-popped: 31 calories, 1g protein, 6g carbohydrate, 0g fat, (0g saturated), 1g fiber


Apples get all the glory, but oranges are the unsung heroes of fresh fruit, says Susan Kraus, RD, a clinical dietitian at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. “They’re very low in calories and a good source of potassium, fiber, and folate,” Kraus says. Not to mention that a large orange has a day’s worth of immunity-boosting vitamin C.

Eat It Up: Add orange slices to a spinach salad topped with goat cheese, chopped nuts, and some slivered red onion. Or blend 1/2 orange, 1 cup yogurt, and 1/2 cup frozen blueberries for a delicious, nutritious smoothie.

Nutrition facts per large orange: 86 calories, 2g protein, 22g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 4g fiber

Plain Yogurt

“Yogurt contains the perfect ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat — the carbs give you instant energy, while the protein and fat are released more slowly, keeping you full longer,” Kraus says. In a recent study, dieters who consumed three 6-ounce servings of yogurt a day lost 61 percent more body fat overall than those who didn’t eat yogurt. The researchers believe that the calcium in dairy increases the activity of enzymes that break down fat cells. Look for yogurts that have at least 20 percent of the RDA.

Eat It Up: Mix plain yogurt with a teaspoon of cinnamon or top it with berries for an easy, low-sugar snack. Or use plain Greek yogurt for an extra protein boost in recipes that call for mayo or sour cream, like tuna salad, veggie dip, or salad dressings.

Nutrition facts per cup: 137 calories, 14g protein, 19g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber


Avoid Stress Eating.

Picture 25There is an empty pretzel bag on your desk, and all clues—looming deadline, lack of sleep, a cranky boss—point to you; even if you don’t actually have any recollection of eating a full bag of Rold Golds. “Stress eating is completely unconscious,” says New York City nutritionist Lauren Slayton, founder of foodtrainers.net. You just keep putting something in your mouth and chewing and hoping for calm and comfort. To avoid wood-chipping through an entire sleeve of Oreos, you have to recognize your triggers and find replacement activities, says Susan Roberts, a professor of nutrition and psychology at Tufts University. “Drinking a cup of sweetened hot tea works for some people. Simply brushing your teeth works for others.” New York City diet expert Stephen Gullo points out that it’s possible to feed your stress with healthful snacks such as broccoli dipped in nonfat Greek yogurt with a few teaspoons of onion soup mix. Slayton says to “make a rule that when you eat, you focus on the eating,” and not, say, on your email inbox. It also helps to write down everything that you eat.

Yo-Yo Dieting. Break the Cycle.

Picture 15Yo-Yo dieting causes a “starvation response”

One of the resulting problems of people looking for quick fixes and ignoring the timeless advice of “eat less and exercise more” is a phenomenon called weight cycling or yo-yo dieting. You see, the body goes through an adaptive process when it is exposed to chronic long term dieting without exercise. This process is called “the starvation response,” and it’s how our ancestors adapted to chronic food shortages. In short, our body has a built in mechanism of lowering our metabolic rate (the amount of calories we burn daily) to cope with “starvation”.

For example, prior to chronic dieting your body may have had a daily calorie need of 2000 calories per day to maintain your weight. However, after a few weeks on a severely reduced calorie “starvation diet” without regular exercise, your metabolic rate naturally falls. When you return to regular eating again (as most cannot follow a starvation type diet for too long) you may now have a daily metabolic rate of 1850 calories per day or a 150 calorie per day loss. This now translates into a weight gain of one pound every 24 days (3600 calories in excess = 1 pound weight gain) if you eat the way you ate prior to dieting.

The yo-yo diet cycle

The term “yo-yo dieting” comes from the process described above. In a nutshell, here’s how it works:

  1. You start a quick weight loss diet and don’t exercise, which results in a lowered metabolic rate (your body now burns less calories each day than it did before).
  2. You quit your diet.
  3. Now, you return to eating as much food (or more—because of a sense of deprivation) as you did before your diet.
  4. As a result, you gain weight gain beyond what you previously weighed due to your lowered metabolic rate (and/or because you are binging on previously “forbidden foods”).
  5. Frustrated with your weight gain, you go back on a diet.
  6. Your metabolic rate lowers further; you regain lost pounds and add more weight in the process.
  7. The cycle continues….

Why does yo-yo dieting occur?

There has been a lot of research to help us understand why weight cycling occurs. When we diet, our body still requires a set number of calories to function each day. If we do not get it from food, our body will break down its own energy stores in fat and muscle to survive. It has long been established that a diet that promotes more than a two-pound per week weight loss will break down muscle tissue for energy at a more rapid rate than it will break down fat stores for energy. Whereas, the slower one loses weight, the less our body uses lean muscle tissue for energy and the more it uses our fat stores. Lean muscle is the last thing a dieter wants to lose. Why? Muscle tissue IS the source of our metabolic rate. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn each day. The less you have, the less you burn each day. Thus, even slow weight loss diets will burn some muscle tissue for energy, particularly when unaccompanied by exercise. Choosing to lose weight fast without exercising is a no-win combination that is a strong predictor of weight cycling.

Break the cycle of the yo-yo Diet

So how can you avoid the phenomenon of weight cycling and, more importantly, maintain or increase metabolic rate while dieting? Just follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to a healthy, fit, metabolically active body:

  1. Stay away from fads that promise quick fixes.
  2. Strive for a weight loss of no more than 2 pounds per week, preferably less.
  3. Exercise regularly using your large muscles (i.e. the buttocks and the legs) doing activities such as walking, running, cycling and weight lifting. You will burn 50 more calories each day for every pound of muscle you gain. Unlike fat, one pound of muscle is tiny and will not produce a noticeable increase in body size like fat gain does. Muscle has a strong lean appearance, fat does not! Get rid of the fat and add some muscle and your body will appear sleek, lean and strong.
  4. Have small snacks throughout the day rather than large meals. Each time you eat, your body experiences an increase in metabolic rate. You will also stave off extreme hunger by eating throughout the day.

How do you deal with your emotions?

Picture 19

All of us experience a wide range of emotions in our lives. Usually, that’s a good thing. But sometimes we have difficulty controlling our emotions, even to the point of letting our emotions control our behavior. Usually, that’s not such a good thing. Here are some helpful suggestions for handling your emotions.

• Be honest with yourself.

Talk to somebody about your feelings.

Don’t ignore your emotions, they are telling you something.

• If you are having an unpleasant feeling, think of something you can do that will help, and then do it.

• Find positive ways to express anger that are not hurtful to others.

• Remember, whatever you are feeling, you’re not alone.

• Try not to get overwhelmed, things usually improve.

• If you do get overwhelmed—ask for help.

Sometimes it helps to get your feelings down on paper. Here are some ideas for writing that may help you deal with your emotions so you don’t turn to emotional overeating:

1. Write about a time when you felt like you had to hide your emotions. Have you ever tried to hide them even from yourself?

2. Describe one or two times when you had big emotional mood swings.

3. Describe a time when you felt like you were mad at the world. Were you really mad at the whole world, or just one or two things? Did you figure it out?

4. Who do you talk to when you are feeling down? What does this person do that helps? Do you ever do the same for others?

5. Have you ever felt like you are totally alone and no one else could possibly understand what you’re feeling?
Do you think other people sometimes feel that way too?

6. Watch a television program and write about one of the characters. What were the major emotions that motivated that character’s behavior? How did the character deal with those emotions? Did this character handle his/her emotions in a positive or negative (helpful or harmful) way? Can you think of a better way?

7. Imagine that some day you will have a child. Write a letter of advice for that child to read when he or she reaches the age you are right now. Tell the child about the moods and emotions you experienced at this age, and how you hope he/she will deal with his/her own moods and emotions at this age.

You might be an Emotional Overeater if…

More of us are emotional overeaters than we might think...

More of us are emotional overeaters than we might think...

Is your best friend Haagen Daz or Sara Lee? Do you snuggle up at night with potato chips and M&Ms? Have you eagerly awaited the end of an evening event so you could go home and eat? Do you welcome solitude so that you can have an uninterrupted food spree?

If you see yourself in any of these situations, you are an emotional overeater — a person who eats in response to his or her feelings — a person whose overeating has nothing do with hunger.

You will know it’s emotional overeating because the food is consumed in large quantities, is usually fast foods or snack foods, tends to be eaten very quickly (often barely tasted), and is usually consumed in secrecy Hunger will have nothing to do with it. And you will feel terrible about yourself afterwards…

When the most comforting though in your head is the candy bar stashed in your desk drawer, you know that you have a problem. Food, like tobacco or alcohol, can be addictive and the drug of choice. In particular, quick and easy high fat, high sugar foods are addictive because they numb out feelings. When life gets too stressful, boring or tense, food can be the emotional anesthetic that makes it better. for many people, food is an emotionally addictive anesthetic.

Emotional overeating protects people from tension and worries. As strange as it may seem, emotional overeating can be calming; it “works”, at least in the short run. And that is why it is a difficult cycle to break. The emotional facts are that it is often easier and less upsetting to be angry at yourself then it is to be tense upset or angry at an important person in your life. Perhaps you are afraid of the feelings of disruption, aloneness or abandonment that can come with being angry at a significant other…Picture 3

Often, an upset feeling can be transferred into emotional overeating. Through the distraction of food, repetitive chewing and swallowing, and obsessive food thoughts, intense feelings are redirected into overeating behavior. These behaviors tend to be psychologically safer than confrontations with a loved one which might cause conflict, arguments, disharmony or withdrawal.

The first step in breaking the emotional overeating cycle is to find out what feelings you are avoiding. Often, this is not easy to do. You have to be a bit of a detective and look for clue~ anytime you find yourself overeating or wanting to overeat.

If food has been your anesthetic, then to cure emotional overeating you will need to bear some discomfort–the discomfort of saying what you are really feeling, the discomfort of an argument, or the discomfort of someone “disconnecting” with you. The alternative — superficial harmony — is only attained through your silence and the act of swallowing your true feelings along with a large dose of food.

We all want warm loving accepting relationships. But real life is more complicated. Relationships between grown adults have differences, angers and tensions. Relationships are prickly not smooth The price tag on a smooth relationship is that one person (sometimes both) obliterate their opinions, values, thoughts or feelings.

So — the cure for emotional overeating is speaking up and spitting out — having the courage to express yourself to the persons meaningful in your life.

5 Minute Lunches!

Picture 295 minute Lunches
1.) If you are in a work place or environment where it is hard to stop for lunch, make sure you bring lunch with you. Stop on your way in or plan on Sunday for the week to bring the food with you for the week. Leave jarred or canned foods in the office so they are available when you need them, as well as bread, fruit, and vegetables. If you need early, bagel stores are usually open early. Instead of a bagel and cream cheese that has little nutrients or fiber. Get a tuna, chicken salad, turkey, etc on bagel with tomato and sprouts, if possible. Eat 1/2 at breakfast and 1/2 at midmorning or 1/2 at lunch and 1/2 at 3pm You can pick up 2 sandwiches if you are desperate to  carry you through the whole day. Also grab a piece or two of fruit  and coleslaw to help carry you through the day.
2.) Homemade tunafish (water based)  with Spectrum  mayonaise and  raisins, apple, almonds, walnuts, or celery. Its quick and easy. Have with good high fiber bread and a salad, soup, or fruit. You can eat the other 1/2 a sandwich at 3pm
3.) Good Bread with peanut butter, banana slivers, and drizzled honey with a glass of milk or soymilk. You will not be looking for anything sweet after this treat.
4.) Boca Burger or Garden Burger. Heat in toaster oven add tomato and precut up spinach. Bruchetta spread from Trader Joes or other store. Good bread and Spectrum Mayonaise and mustard.
5.) Soup and Sandwich or Salad and Sandwich. Eat 1/2 the sandwich and soup or salad. Save the other 1/2 a sandwich to eat at 3pm with some fruit.
6.) Left over fish from last nights dinner.  Toast a Fish Taco with Spectrum mayonaise and a little mustard.
7.) Stir fry from last nights diinner. Heat up rice or pasta noodles an add egg, vegetable protein mix, and frozen vegetables or left over vegetables. Add Braggs Amino Acid, taste like soy sauce, or tomato sauce.
8.) Left over chicken make chicken salad. Add raisins, grapes, or apple pieces with spectrum mayonaise and crackers or on healthy bread and fruit.
9.) You can buy frozen chicken or fish patties. Put in the toaster over and have with a premade salad and healthy chips.
10.) Eggless eggsalad or hummus and tabouli. You can buy premade add to good bread with some carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, sprouts. Buy precut vegetables and dip. 
11.) Split pea soup or chicken noodle soup and good high fiber bread.
12,) Prepare a large quantity of food over the weekend so you have it ready during the week. For example soup or lasagne and then you can have it as a snack or meal through out the day.
13.) Buy soy meatballs heat and cook 2 minutes of angel hair pasta, stir in some frozen vegetables.Soy Yves sandwich meat as an alternative, to ham or turkey.
14.) Take leftovers from the night before and freeze in a lunch portion for the next day.
15.) Health Valley chilli with corn bread or other good quality bread. Health Valley makes a turkey and vegetarian canned chilli. Quick and taste good.
16.) If you are eating out, get comfortable ordering it without creams, cheeses, oils, etc. It is expensive to eat out so we might as well have food prepared the way you like. Plan for your 3pm snack time. Plan to take left overs with you for your afternoon snack. Order an extra soup or fruit, so you can save some of your main meal for 3pm.

What is Stress-Related Eating?

Stress Eating?

Stress Eating?

In this modern age, almost all people face daily stress from sources such as a job, school, 
living conditions, or relationships as a matter of course. Health problems resulting from stress 
usually reside not with the actual cause of stress itself, but with the person`s 
answer to the stress. Unfortunately, many people choose to automatically respond 
to daily stress factors with food. Interestingly enough, a study in Finland that examined stress 
related eating discovered that the most common stressors for men were 
being single, unemployed, or having a low educational level, while for women, the most significant stressor 
was possessing a lack of emotional support.

Foods can change moods, 
as they trigger both chemical and emotional reactions in the body. These reactions can 
help to temporarily cause a feeling of calmness, but this positive feeling doesn`t last for 
long. The problems caused by stress related eating, such as unwanted weight gain and guilty emotions, can 
quickly eclipse these good feelings. The negative thoughts from these results of 
stress related eating can turn into a vicious cycle, causing you to eat more food, which then 
leads to more guilt, and so on.

 Good news, though! This cycle can be 
stopped with an effective program called The Hungry Heart-emotional eating 
help that curtails 
the need to feed emotional, rather than physical hunger.

Stress depletes the body`s neurotransmitters which 
help to stabilize emotions, but many options to food can 
boost these feel good triggers. Exercise is an exceptional 
choice, as it not only releases endorphins, but it also burns calories and increases health. An effective 
exercise program doesn`t need to be expensive or elaborate; anything that gets you in motion 
is a positive step. 

In any successful stress related eating program, it is also 
critical to understand the unique purpose that food is serving in your 
situation. Keeping a food diary can be beneficial; for a week, write down 
information on what, where, and when you eat, as well as your feelings before, while, and after eating. This 
diary can be helpful in identifying trigger situations that lead to stress 
related eating behaviors, which can be the first step to resolving the situation. Pay 
close scrutiny to the feelings identified in your food diary. Examine the 
feelings associated with stress related eating for patterns that point to past loss or trauma, 
which can be reactivated by a trigger event in the present. These past 
occurrences can be varied, such as an unstable childhood, abuse, or a serious injury or 
illness, but all these occurrences have the common trait of being 
potential triggers for present day stress related eating problems. Working with a Professional 
Counselor may be an effective solution to resolving the persistent feelings associated 
with past events.

 Mending stress related eating problems is a difficult 
procedure, but the more you find about yourself and care for your body and emotional 
health, the less likely you will abuse food to deal with stress.