A Tale Of Three Cheeseburgers

I’m on Day 3 of my 30 day blogging journey.

You can read more about the why HERE.

This story is about “cheeseburgers”, except that it’s not.

I’ve changed the type of food to protect the innocent.

There are three burger joints I like to frequent.

A: Is the one furthest from my business. I like the staff. They’ve historically had the best prices and they serve the least amount of food of the other burger spots. I’ll come back to that distinction later.

B: Is closer to my business. I also like their staff. Their prices are higher than A, but they also serve more food in their orders.

C: Is geographically the closest to my business. The staff is very nice. They have the highest prices and they serve the most food of the three establishments.

If I’m REALLY hungry and I’m not terribly concerned about what I’m spending, I’ll go to C, even though it’s the most convenient place for me to get to.

I’ll go to B when I want a change of pace and I’m hungry but not feeling famished.

To be honest, I really like going to A because I never leave there stuffed to the gills.

However, recently A changed their prices and now they are roughly the same price as the other two places with no change to the quantity of food.

So, that makes me think harder about where I want to dine.

All three restaurants are local, mom-&-pop places. They aren’t chains.

And this makes me wonder why we become patrons of a business.

Is it because they’re the least expensive or because they’re the best?

Is it because of a personal connection or is there no personal connection?

If I buy a used book from Amazon because it’s a fraction of the cost of a new one, I’m not buying it because I have a great relationship with Jeff Bezos. It’s because I value the ability to buy a gently used book for $5 when the new one is $25 and, I own a LOT of books.

However, we buy things (products or services) for a lot of reasons: convenience, price, quality, scarcity (one of my personal vulnerabilities), relationship with the business/staff, and even for status.

And I know that, as I write this blog, everyone is raising their prices.

I haven’t followed suit yet for my brick-and-mortar business. My prices have been the same for the last 6 or so years.

My only solution (which many would disagree on) is to add more clients, which, in my defense, has worked pretty well.

I can’t say whether A should have raised their prices or not. I don’t see how they operate their business and what their overhead costs are. I do know that most restaurants have very small profit margins to work within and, it could be simply that the cost of goods for A’s food has gone up and they need to be able to make a living.

It also raises another question for me: Should A’s prices have been higher all along? Is it harder to go back there knowing that nothing else is changing with the food and it’s still the furthest path for me to travel?

What I do know is that very few of us buy completely through rationale. We buy through emotion, correctly or incorrectly.

How about you?

Whose cheeseburger would you be buying…and why?

(Photo courtesy of Amirali Mirhashemian)

Tip Your Server

I’m embarking on a 30 day journey of blogging.

This is Day 2.

If you’d like some background on this, read my post from Day 1.

I’m not sure if you’ve seen the classic scene at the beginning of Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs” where the group of leads are arguing over the merits of tipping your server. Here’s the scene if you’ve missed it. (There’s a fair amount of vulgar and offensive language).

I’ve always tipped and, more often than not, well above 20%.

It’s not because I’m wealthy.

It’s because I’m grateful.

You may share the views of Mr. Pink in the video. Perhaps you don’t tip or you rarely tip unless you feel the server has truly gone above and beyond.

I think this video carried some weight to it in a world that pre-existed the COVID pandemic.

The fact is, the food and beverage industry was a disaster in 2020 and, many dining establishments didn’t survive into 2021.

There are many today who feel that we’re still feeling the effects of people who don’t want to work, don’t want to interview for jobs, don’t want to stay at the jobs they’re hired for, etc.

So, when I go to a restaurant now (and I normally dine out for lunch during my work week), I try to be mindful that the person waiting my table may be the best option that establishment has.

Maybe they’re a great server, maybe they’re not.

I’m going to tip them well either way because I’m grateful they showed up.

I’m grateful they clocked in.

I’m grateful they got my food order right.

I’m grateful that particular restaurant survived the last few years.

I don’t go to restaurants to complain or to get my meal comped for me.

Recently, my wife and I stopped at a bar for a drink. We had a voucher with us that allowed us some points on an account if we spent above a certain amount at the bar. We actually came in a few dollars short. I told the bartender we had the voucher, fully expecting that he wouldn’t sign off on it because we didn’t meet the minimum.

I was wrong.

He signed off and and I thanked him for what he did (he certainly wasn’t obligated).

I also tipped him a considerable amount against the actual total on the bill.

In short, be nice to your server.

Rather, just be nice, in general.

And if you’re the type of person who dines out just to nitpick your meal so you can get a discount or a waive of the cost, perhaps you should just stay home.

There’s enough ugliness in the world without that behavior adding to it.

(Photo courtesy of Jessie McCall)

Any Food Allergies We Need To Know About?

I have been reading a book by Seth Godin recently. It’s a compilation of posts he made between 2006 and 2012.

I think he’s a wickedly brilliant person and while I can’t say that all of his work resonates with me, much of it does. 

There was an experiment he proposed which was to spend 30 days in a row blogging.

In his words: “…post once a day on how your favorite company can improve its products or services. Do it every day for a month; post one new, actionable idea each and every day. Within a few weeks, you’ll notice the change in the way you find, process and ship ideas.

I’m modifying this challenge slightly by highlighting behaviors that are either positive or negative in the businesses I am a patron of.

Here is Day 1.

Over the last couple of years, my wife has been dealing with a rather inconvenient truth that she can no longer tolerate dairy or gluten. 

She doesn’t have celiac disease but there is definitely something about gluten that sets her system off. 

She has some other sensitivities as well but these are the ones we’ve found which have been the most troubling for her.

As a result, many dining establishments are off limits for her. It’s too difficult to navigate gluten and dairy when it comes to dining out, except sushi. 

So, on the rare occasions that we eat at a restaurant, sushi has been the safest. 

Of course, not all sushi is safe. 

Soy sauce, for example, may have gluten in it so we have to make sure that we’ve considered that in her options. 

I recently made reservations at a sushi restaurant for us and it was the first time in recent memory I’ve explicitly had someone ask me: “Do you have any dietary intolerances we need to know about?” 

I was so pleased to hear the question that I thanked the staff member for asking. 

“As a matter of fact, my wife can’t do gluten or dairy.”

“No problem, sir. Just remind your server that you need gluten free soy sauce and I made a note about it as well on your reservation.” 

“Thank you so much. It’s extremely helpful.” 

Perhaps that’s a question more restaurants could or should be asking. 

While I don’t have the same dietary concerns that my wife does, it does benefit me when she’s not ill within minutes or hours of eating a meal. 

And yes, I know that many dining establishments post a sign up which might say something along the lines of cross-contamination so that customers are aware.

Others post up a sign that advises customers to let the server know about any intolerances.

But when it comes to actually asking each individual person who calls in or visits the restaurant, I think that’s the rarity.

Which is funny to me, because I feel as if intolerances and allergies are at a relative high.

Imagine if I didn’t ask my clients at my gym if they had any injuries they needed me to work around.

Imagine if a client came to me for nutrition coaching and we never discussed food allergies or intolerances.

It would make for a rather frustrating experience.

So, here’s my shout out to Sushi En in Twinsburg.

Thank you for the “extra step” in consideration of people like my wife.

(Photo courtesy of Jamie Street)

Behind You Is Pain…Ahead Of You Is Pain (And Redemption)

Come here, take my hand.

I’d like to show you something.

A quick glimpse at the highlight reel of my life and career shows smiling faces, happy children, a thriving business and a loving wife.

You’ll also see successful clients, personal records in the gym of those clients, and positive reviews of their experience at my gym.

In addition, you’ll see the smiles of my mother, my grandmother and anything else I can share on social media which brings me happiness, fulfillment and joy.

Here’s what you don’t see:


You don’t see the things that upset my children.

You don’t see the times I tell them they can’t have something.

You don’t see the tears.

You don’t see how we choose to discipline our children.

You don’t see the disagreements that occur between my wife and I about how parenting problems should be solved.


You didn’t see each of the close calls with my business where I thought I’d be shutting us down.

You didn’t see the points where I ran our finances so close I wasn’t sure I’d make payroll.

You don’t see the times my clients tried to give up on themselves and their goals.

You don’t see the tears they shed in my office.

You don’t see how hard they struggle to make it in for their workouts in spite of the demands of their life.

You don’t see every bailed lift.

You don’t see the injuries or the “gym fails”.

You don’t see the look on their faces if the number on the scale goes up instead of down.


You didn’t see the friction in my marriage.

You didn’t see the disagreements, the arguments or the fights.

You didn’t see the marriage that failed…you only see that marriage that succeeds.


You don’t see the grief my mother (and I) carry over losing my father.

You don’t see the disappointment in not being able to call him, hold him, hug him or share good news with him.

You don’t see the loneliness of my grandmother as not only does she watch her family members pass but her friends as well.

My Past

You didn’t see me hospitalized five times in my twenties trying to end my life.

You didn’t see me riddled with drugs for ten years.


You don’t see the doubt.

You don’t see the indecision.

You don’t see the sleepless nights.

For all the good I can show you, there’s an equal if not sometimes disproportionate amount of pain and struggle to reach that goodness.

You see the highlights because the highlights are positive. They show what can be done if you persevere, if you push, if you stay consistent, if you stay the course OR if you return to course after the detour.

There is my pain, there is our pain, there is your pain.

We all have it.

We all struggle.

We all lose our footing.

We all reach out for help.

We all want to know that someone is there to comfort us, to love us, to appreciate us, to fight for us, to fight with us.

Many people want easy. They want success to come with the least amount of resistance that life can provide.

I’m here to tell you it probably won’t happen that way.

All of the good (and great) things I have in my life came at a cost.

The picture you see above is one of my favorite pictures of us, but only at a glance. It was taken during one of the most challenging times in our marriage. The picture below is different. This is us currently: mended, better, indestructible. It took time to get there.

If you want better for yourself, be prepared to fight for it.

Be prepared to find it’s worth it.

Fear Of Fatness?

I recently read the book “‘You Just Need To Lose Weight’ and 19 Other Myths About Fat People” by Aubrey Gordon. My friend and fellow coach, Sumi Singh, recommended it to me.

Sumi is also an avid reader and I generally take her book recommendations to heart. I had no awareness of the author and I was curious to see what perspectives I could glean from reading it.

Like a lot of things related to health, it’s difficult to find black and white responses to the myriad questions we receive as coaches.

And, to this day, most of my clients come to me for fat loss.

Gordon’s book was not an easy read. I say that not because it was lengthy (it wasn’t) and not because it spoke over the head of it’s audience (it didn’t). It was difficult because Gordon brought a lot of things to light about fat people and fatness (terms I still struggle to use) that should give the general population a lot to consider.

In many of the chapters, she ends with some questions to ponder.

I decided to take a few of those questions as inspiration for this post and give my own take on them.

These reflection questions were pulled from the end of Myth 9: “But What About Your Health?”

-What does believing that fat people are emotionally damaged allow me to believe about myself and my own health? Do I feel virtuous by comparison? Frightened of becoming fat if I’m not vigilant enough with my own “emotional eating”?

It’s virtually impossible to separate how we eat from our emotions. Whether you associate with being an emotional eater, a boredom eater, or a mindless eater, there are emotions at play that signal and influence how, when, what and how much we eat. Through my 15+ years coaching fat loss, I find the link to trauma(s) more and more apparent. It’s one of the many reasons I tend to advocate for not just some degree of nutrition coaching but also counseling/psychotherapy. I should also state, that just because someone is overweight does not mean there is emotional damage to blame. Thinner individuals by any comparison can also be processing emotional damage (myself included). Achieving a thinner body doesn’t qualify someone as better than another. Fat loss can be a relatively easy process for some and markedly more difficult for others. Being thinner doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is healthier.

-What does believing that fat people are emotionally damaged allow me to believe about people who are fatter than me? What existing judgments of fat people does that belief serve?

Early in my career (and even now), I always had the deepest respect for anyone who trusted me with information about their past. If there was trauma, abuse, neglect, or emotional instability that a client felt contributed to the size of their current body, I was grateful they shared that information with me. Being a trauma survivor myself, it was a place where we could have common ground. Not every person is comfortable sharing that information. Some simply want a plan to follow because they don’t want to think about the circumstances which led to weight gain in their lives. All they want is to be smaller/thinner. Sadly, many people believe that a person gains weight because they are lazy, unmotivated, gluttonous and undisciplined. They conveniently forget that genetics play a significant role in this conversation. As the adage goes in our industry: genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger. I should also add (as this was a refresher for me out of the book) that some individuals consciously choose to be in larger bodies. In those cases, no emotional damage contributed to that outcome.

-Do I treat fat people differently if I believe they have experienced an eating disorder or major trauma? If so, how? What would it look like to extend compassion to all fat people, even those who haven’t offered me an explanation for their fat bodies?

As mentioned above, when I’ve found that I have some degree of common ground with someone in a larger body it helps me to consider how I might coach them. Much like I can relate to someone who has the same taste in music, movies or books, if I know that someone has experienced major trauma I may use different verbiage, different tools to help and may even have to be more mindful of potential triggers. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is to do my best not to judge a book by it’s cover. Someone in a larger body may or may not be interested in fat loss and my assumption that they would be just because they join my training facility would be an error on my end. It’s my goal to help people appreciate what their bodies are capable of, help them get stronger, gain confidence in themselves and, where appropriate or asked for, help them improve their diets. That’s not specific to fat people. That’s a universal goal.

Additional thoughts:

-While respecting the choice for some people to choose to be leaner versions of themselves, it’s helpful (arguably crucial) to embrace all sizes of individuals. I’ve rarely seen shame or bullying lead to healthy, sustainable change in anyone.

-If improved health is a goal, somewhere between 5-20% of a person’s starting weight can show tremendous improvements (only if an individual seeks to achieve it).

-Incorporating exercise can improve internal markers without a dietary intervention. While some may need to improve their dietary habits as well, an increase in energy expenditure is still a positive path.

-I recommend the book to anyone in the fitness/nutrition industry. While I did find some small areas of the book I disagreed with, they don’t take away from the author’s intent. I believe that if more coaches can understand our clients better, everyone wins.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Longevity (According To Gram)

Last year’s post about life lessons, written with the help of my Grandmother, was one of my most popular posts of the year.

This article will be released on the week that Gram turns 90.

I’m always fascinated to hear what advice anyone can give to living a longer life. Of course, it’s an n=1 example, and perhaps what worked for her may not work for the population at large, but it’s here for posterity and if it helps improve anyone’s life or livelihood, it’s worth the effort in writing it.

I’ll let Gram (also affectionately know as B’mama and RueRue) take over from here:

What is an aspect of your health that you’ve always tried to follow?

I’ve tried to always incorporate exercise, whether it was walking or adding more movement into my day. Of course, when you have children, it’s easy to keep moving. I’ve had four children and six grandchildren (and now twelve great-grandchildren) so I feel like I’m always moving! Because I saw the effects of smoking and drinking in my family, I’ve never been a smoker and I’ve never been a drinker.

Are there certain approaches to your diet that you’ve tried to focus on?

Years ago, I had a nurse tell me to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. I’ve never really had a big appetite but I do feel like that approach to eating has worked well for me.

You taught science and math for many years. How do you think those subjects reinforced the way you approach your health?

Because health was part of what we taught as a component of science, I taught my students about the importance of exercise and nutrition. Mind you, I taught in elementary school and many students didn’t have control over the food they had access to. This was a big learning experience for me. Just because I was able to choose a nutritious food over something that was less nutritious doesn’t mean that my students had the same abilities. I knew that McDonald’s wasn’t the healthiest option but, I also knew, that for some of my students, it was the most practical option for them. So, sometimes the best you can do is teach people to make the best decisions they can and hope that they can do so.

I’ve always marveled at the fact that you continue to challenge your mind. Whether you work on crossword puzzles, games on your iPad that appear to influence the way you solve problems, and even through being an avid reader, it’s inspiring to see. What keeps you motivated to engage in those activities?

I think I’ve just seen too many people get to a certain age and just give up on the things in their life that stimulate them. I like trying to keep my mind sharp. I know I’m moving at a slower pace than I like but my mind is always going and I want to keep it going in positive ways for as long as I can. I think when you stop using your mind, that’s when the trouble begins. I ask a lot of questions, I try to stay informed about what’s happening in the world and I try to stay active in my church. I think all of that helps me, as well.

We lost “Papoo” (my maternal grandfather) nearly 15 years ago and my Uncle Joe (Gram’s youngest son) two months later. Did their passing change the way you viewed your own health?

At the time that they passed, I was the person most involved in the life of my youngest granddaughter. I knew that I had to take care of myself so that I could be the best role model for her. It wasn’t always easy. I can’t describe the feeling of losing both my husband of 56 years and a child. But I wasn’t the only person who felt that loss and grieved those losses. The best that I could do for myself and my family was to stay active, stay involved and process my own grief.

In short, what do you attribute to an amazing 90 years of life?

My desire to live and learn and be with my family. I love life. I’m not afraid to die but I love life. It’s like I tell my prayer group: I am so happy that the Lord put me where I am. I’ve lived through the Great Depression and World War II and I’m just very fortunate to have lived the life I have and I’m not done yet.

A Letter To Terry

Terry, I don’t know how I can get this message to you. 

This year will mark three since you left us. 

And I still can’t seem to shake your presence from my life. 

I know I spoke about this before, in a piece I wrote that was so painful and so cathartic to write.

Yet, every time it’s shared with others, the popularity of it blows up again. 

Such was the impact of you, your life, and your passing on the rest of us. 

I write this to you, being a different man, a different coach, a different father and husband since you passed. 

Terry, admittedly, I’ve wanted to use your story to help others not follow your path. 

How do I express that from a place of love? 

When I coach someone who is struggling to put one foot in front of the other when it comes to reaching their goals, you are almost always the first example that comes to mind. 

When I am working with someone who makes time for everyone else but themselves, I think of you. 

When I see that someone has an overflowing love of life that they are always trying to do for others and constantly forgetting to point the care inwards, I see you.

I know that interventions don’t work the way we think they do and yet, I still want to send that article that I wrote about you to everyone who is struggling. 

And why? 

Because I want them to live long enough to see the fruits of their efforts. 

It’s an unfair statement. 

It assumes that if we had helped you get closer to your goals, that you’d still be alive. 

It assumes that fat loss by a greater measure would have kept you here longer. 

It assumes that you’d still be with your amazing family, that you’d still be able to throw those lavish parties with your friends, that you’d still be training with me and we could talk about the merits of The Smiths and Green Day. 

It’s a faulty belief. 

Because we don’t know for sure if it would have saved you.

We can only make assumptions. 

I look at the work I do now, especially with all that we know about weight loss medications, with the thought of: What if? 

What if we had access to these medications and were utilizing them when you were still alive?

Would it have made the difference?

Then all of those conversations about willpower, and discipline and healthy habits could have been shaped by something that would have had greater influence on your ability to get closer to the weight you wanted to be at. 

I know now that fat loss doesn’t solve every problem.

It only solves certain problems.

Terry, I shared that article with someone who never met you, who struggled like you did, who was willing to give up on themselves and I so desperately didn’t want them to give up. 

Not because of my own gain by keeping them as a client but simply due to the hope that your story would inspire change in others.

In reality, it was only one more reminder that no one changes until they’re ready; a piece of wisdom that I should know quite well from all of the years I was addicted to drugs.

I didn’t change until I was ready. 

Neither does anyone else.

And that’s a hard sell when I’m in the business of inspiring change. 

I write this not because I think this article will perform better than the last.

I doubt that it will. 

I write this because I still miss you.

I still think about you often, I still think we were all cheated out of more time with you and, as unfair as it is, I still hold myself responsible for not being a better coach for you. 

Maybe this article will be a light bulb moment for someone out there. 

Maybe this will be the catalyst for change for someone who needs it.

Oddly enough, losing you made me less aggressive with coaching fat loss for others.

Not because it didn’t interest me but because it taught me to give people more space to do it on their terms.

That if fat loss needs to happen, it needs to happen through autonomy.

That if someone needs to lose weight, they need to spend time making mistakes and learning from them.

Although, I remember saying to you at one point, somewhat exasperated by the direction you were heading, that maybe what I needed to do was just “dare you” to lose weight.

You laughed and said: “You know, that might just work for me.”

I kick myself all the time for not daring you.

Terry, it’s taken me all this time to write more to you. Not because the words and inspiration weren’t there but because I’m mad and I’m sad and I love you and I miss you.

I write these words two weeks from what will be 12 years since my father passed away.

That makes two great men I’m absolutely sick over not having in my life.

It’s a selfish thought.

But, that doesn’t make it any less true.

I’d do most anything to have you both back in this world.

Can I dare you back?

Fast Food…For The Record

I find myself coming to the defense of fast food quite often.

It’s not because I think it’s high in nutrients nor do I think it should comprise the majority of someone’s diet.

Fast food (I’ll define it as food that you purchase and receive through a drive-thru window) comprises maybe 5% of my total diet.

As a nutrition coach, I like the fact that you can get a reasonably accurate estimation of how many calories are in a fast food meal.

Also, as a parent, I understand that sometimes convenience is the best option and once you make it to the drive thru menu, it’s about ordering what makes sense and is sensible for you and your family.

I think dietary elitism is a joke at best and harmful at worst.

Some downsides to fast food as compared to a home cooked meal might be:

-low(er) in fiber

-not well balanced for micronutrients

-high(er) in saturated fat

-high(er) in sodium

There is also the chance that psychologically when someone purchases fast food, they feel guilty about that purchase and ultimately sabotage other areas of their diet because of these feelings.

Of course, when I make my defense known on social media, it brings the crazies out. Some might be led to believe I’m advocating for the consumption of these foods in place of something more nutritious.

I’m not.

If I’ve learned nothing else over these years it’s to do my very best at meeting people where they’re at. If someone eats fast food frequently, I find the path of least resistance to be: how can we reduce the calories in your meal(s) to get you closer to your goals as opposed to: I know you really like McDonald’s but have you tried making a salad at home with fresh cut veggies, organic grilled chicken and homemade dressing?

Some changes need a bit more nurturing…

In one of these posts recently, someone asked me if 3000 calories of donuts were the same as 3000 calories of chicken and broccoli. My response: from a calorie standpoint, basically the same. From a micronutrient, macronutrient and general-feeling-of-satiety standpoint, very different. (I failed to mention: thermic effect of food…)

And, as to be expected, someone wanted to take me to task on that by saying that it’s completely different because of the insulin response. Well, they’re not wrong buuuuuuuutttt…

The insulin response means very little if A) you’re not diabetic and B) you’re in a calorie deficit.

In other words, LOTS of things spike insulin. Not just carbzzzzzzzzzzzz and sugarzzzzzzzzzz…

For the record, I would love if you would eat a diet of “mostly” whole, minimally processed foods that have few ingredients listed to make them.

But I fully accept and advocate for people who can learn how to make things like “fast food” work for them in the context of a mostly balanced diet: foods for function, foods for longevity, foods to optimize health, foods for hedonic pleasure, and foods that have little to no nutritious value. Everything has a place.

Or in the words of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke: Everything in its right place.

(Photo courtesy of Jonathan Borba)

(More) Completely Random Fat Loss Tips

1-Catastrophizing your food choices does more “harm” to your diet than the actual food you ate. So you ate a pint of ice cream..so what? It’s done. It’s over. Move on. Those calories are consumed, accounted for (whether you counted them or not), and you can’t rewrite that part of the story. Change the next meal. The beautiful thing about the way we eat is that the next meal or the next snack or the next bite is an opportunity to make an improvement.

2-Maybe the only thing that I can think of that wrecks more people when trying to commit to a fat loss plan more than chronic guilt and shame is denial. Feeling bad about your food choices is one thing. It’s one particular obstacle to overcome. However, denying that you ate something is different. You owe it to yourself to stay honest and as accurate as you can be. How we eat is a very imperfect process as it is.

3-You CAN eat fast food and still lose fat. It’s not “ideal” and it’s not the most nutritious avenue you can travel but sometimes convenience wins. Be strategic about what you order and where a more nutritious option presents itself later, take that path where you can.

4-“Superfoods, organic foods and “clean foods” have calories. You cannot eat them with reckless abandon and not have a caloric cost. Be aware. Be mindful.

5-Most people do not have complex diet problems. They have haphazard diets. Many of the people I work with eat “mostly healthy” foods. They just consume too much of them.

6-I’ve worked with clients whose diets are 70% alcohol and clients who are 70% highly processed foods. I don’t judge. Everyone can stand to improve their diets slightly. If I can get someone who consumes 70% of their day in alcohol to reduce by 20% and consume a few vegetables and some lean protein, that’s a HUGE plus. Take the victories and stack them.

7-I absolutely hate when people say fat loss is easy. No it isn’t. It’s easy for some people, some of the time. Considering that many people who have struggled to lose fat for most of their life are also sorting through degrees of childhood trauma, neglect, shame, and bullying it’s little wonder that food is safety for them. Finding new ways for these same people to feel safe and secure is crucial.

8-This article is coming out during Eating Disorder Awareness week. What’s one tip that I can give to anyone who identifies with having an eating disorder? Don’t count calories. I’m serious. Spend that time working with a therapist to heal your relationship with your body and food.

9-If you want to change your body, every thing you need to learn is a skill: from the way you train, to the way you eat. Stop looking for shortcuts. You’ve likely wasted too many years of your life looking for hacks and shortcuts only to be further from your goals than you ever wanted to be. Polish…your…skills.

10-My broken record moment: Before you buy another diet book, download another diet app, follow some 30-60-90 day super-shred, lean-by-spring, program…hire a therapist. Food has a very special, integral, beautiful place in your life. But it can’t heal all wounds. Learn the skills to unpack your negative self-talk and practice living a life that supports strength and allows you to reduce stress. Food will always be there to support those goals. The business going on between your ears and the conversations you have with yourself when you see your reflection require other tools. Get those tools.

(Photo courtesy of Fuu J)

Nasty Little Habits

I’ve struggled with nail biting for over 30 years.

It started when I was in junior high and I recall my parents buying some type of polish that I could put on my nails as a deterrent.

The taste of the polish was bad but not so off-putting that I was able to stop the compulsive habit.

So, all of these years have passed where I’ve been aware of this unpleasant and unsightly pattern but have not conquered it.

I tried getting manicures some time back with the belief that if I spent the money to clean my nails up that I’d be less likely to start biting away. It didn’t really help, so that was money down the drain.

I couldn’t connect an actual pattern to how, when and why I would bite my nails. It wasn’t directly tied to stress, anxiety, or boredom (it was all of those things, not just one).

At the beginning of this year, I decided to look into other methods of eliminating the habit again. I found a polish on Amazon that seemed different from the one my parents had used when I was a child so I ordered it to give it a try.

That was nearly 6 weeks ago and I’ve not bitten my nails since.

Here are a few things I’ve noticed:

-The taste is absolutely repulsive. If I eat something with my hands and food gets on my fingertips, there’s an inclination to lick my fingers clean. It’s not advised. That taste can stay in my mouth for 10-15 minutes. It can almost ruin the rest of the meal for me.

-I still have no particular trigger for putting my hands to my mouth. I can be reading, watching TV, driving, etc. and I still have that instinctual pattern of bringing my fingers up and slightly grazing my lips even though I’ve ceased biting my nails.

-I’ve been using the polish for about 6 weeks. While I’ve succeeded at not nail biting because I really don’t want to taste the polish, I am very cognizant that I’ve not completely broken the habit of bringing my hands to my mouth at certain points of the day.

You might hear certain people say: It takes X amount of time to create and maintain a habit. I say, it takes as long as it takes.

I’m not going to undo 30 years of a compulsive behavior with ease. It’s going to take time and the polish is a HUGE motivator because the taste is so foul.

I write this to you because many of my readers are here for fat loss. They may have even recognized that their habits are keeping them from reaching their goals.

Unfortunately, there is no mechanism that I know of that makes food go from tasty to awful when you reach a certain threshold. If we think something is delicious, we’ll consume and overconsume until we’re satisfied. There’s no “shut off” valve unless you’re taking a GLP-1 medication to dampen those hunger and dopamine signals OR you can simply put the food down and push it away.

What I’d like you to take away from this is that our behaviors, especially the counterproductive and unappealing ones, are often deeply ingrained. They are often tied to our system of coping with anxiety, stress, or boredom.

When you hear someone say: “You didn’t gain X amount of weight overnight, you won’t lose it overnight”, this is accurate.

If you’re struggling with fat loss, make efforts to reduce temptation, make strides to craft a more conducive food environment, minimize your exposure to food pushers and saboteurs, and if you can’t minimize exposure then make your boundaries clear.

There is no polish on Amazon that you can paint on your tongue to reduce calorie intake (can you even imagine??)

There are our habits and behaviors, the productive and the less-so.

Focus on building better, stronger, healthier habits in accordance with your values.

And since I’m not devoid of having counterproductive habits of my own: I value having actual nails that aren’t bitten to the quick (not to mention any potential damage it does to my teeth) and using the tools I need to succeed with that.

These nasty little habits won’t solve themselves…