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How I stopped overeating before dinner...

I don't know about you, but I love cooking dinner. I know many parents dread this time of day, but it's one of my favorites. It gives me a little me time to unwind, to listen to one of my favorite podcasts or The Beatles, and I love to create new, healthy recipes for my family to try.
The only issue is that when I'm chopping and stirring, I'm so hungry! I would nibble, taste, and eat the entire time I cooked. I not only reached for handfuls of food from the snack pantry, like premeasured containers of almonds, but I also taste-tested dinner along the way as it cooked.
I ended up completely full by the time I sat down with my family to the delicious meal I'd prepared. And I ate that too! Oh, the discomfort and bloating I felt from overeating! I was so stuffed, I just wanted to lie on the couch and didn't have the energy to do the dishes or play with my kids. I went to bed feeling so puffy, and sometimes I'd wake up still feeling that way, which would affect my ability to work out, and sometimes would make me skip it altogether. 
I knew this couldn't continue, so I brainstormed a strategy. Now, on Sundays, I meal prep chopped veggies. This serves two purposes. When my boys come off the bus starving, I put the veggies on the counter with some hummus, or guacamole, or Greek yogurt dip. It satisfies their hunger while also getting my boys to eat more veggies. It also serves as my pre-dinner "snack."

I cut up carrots, peppers, and cucumbers and stored them in separate containers. Each afternoon, I arranged them on a platter with the dips for the boys. Each night while cooking dinner, I grab some off the platter and crunch while I cook. The veggies satisfy my hunger, but they are light enough that I don't feel stuffed when I sit down to enjoy the balsamic chicken and green beanscheesesteak zucchini boatschicken pesto stuffed spaghetti squash, or whatever healthy dinner I made. 
This little Sunday snack hack, which takes under 10 minutes to prep, has been the key to preventing overeating at dinnertime. Now, my boys and I crunch together, and in addition to helping to satisfy predinner hunger and prevent overeating, I feel good knowing we're all getting some extra fiber and nutrients.

I hope if you're like me, this little snack can work for you too! 

My favorite health and wellness podcasts!

As a woman growing up in the thick of diet culture, I've developed body-image issues and disordered eating behaviors that have been difficult to navigate on my own. But I found a wealth of knowledge, support, and encouragement to embrace intuitive eating and self-love through the wonderful world of podcasts. Here are five of my favorites, along with must-listen-to episodes.

1. Food Psych podcast

The Food Pysch podcast is probably the one podcast that impacted my relationship with food and my body the most. Led by Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN, it's all about health at every size, intuitive eating, eating disorder recovery, and rejecting diet culture.

In the first five to 20 minutes of each episode, she answers a reader's question to help them navigate a personal issue regarding anything from antidieting to body issues. The last 40 to 60 minutes, she brings on an expert to discuss topics such as binge eating, healing body dysmorphia, and eating disorder recovery. I love that she always begins the interview saying, "Tell me about your relationship with food growing up." Her podcast has helped me regain trust in my own intuitions about food and exercise and encouraged positive self-talk.

Episodes I love:
  • Episode 74: "The Truth About Emotional Eating With Isabel Foxen Duke, Anti-Diet Health Coach"
  • Episode 129: "Health at Every Size and Eating Disorder Recovery With Kristie Amadio of Recovered Living"
  • Episode 149: "The Truth About Binge Eating With Amy Pershing, Anti-Diet Therapist and Binge Eating Disorder Expert"
2.  Love, Food Podcast

This is the podcast I've been listening to lately, specifically in the car. Led by Julie Duffy Dillon, RDN, the Love, Food podcast is in the form of readers' letters written to food — yes, the readers actually begin with "Dear Food." All the questions are so relatable, and Julie calls on fellow experts to help answer the readers' questions. Some examples are how to be OK with gaining weight with intuitive eating, dealing with feeling embarrassed about having struggles with food, and how to control eating out of anger or sadness; it's so helpful and informative.

This podcast is easy to listen to, and I always feel like I learned a tidbit or tip to help understand my history with dieting and improve my relationship with food. 

Episodes I love:
  • Episode 122: "I Think About Food All Day Long"
  • Episode 128: "I'm Afraid of Relapse While Raising My Kids"
  • Episode 134: "Why Hasn't Intuitive Eating Made Me Thin?"
3. Body Kindness

When beginning my journey exploring intuitive eating, I found this podcast. Body Kindness by certified exercise physiologist Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, talks about how to be healthy and improve your physical and emotional well-being with kindness and self-love and with zero emphasis on weight loss.

This podcast helped remind me to have compassion toward myself and to quiet that inner self-critiquing voice, and it gave me the tools to start breaking free of dieting mentality and the need to change. Her interviews with fellow dietitians and other experts include topics about self-care, sleep, body image, and sex.

Episodes I love:
  • Episode 51: "Why Diets Are Bad For Your Brain With Neuroscientist and TED Talk Superstar Sandra Aamodt, PhD in Neuroscience"
  • Episode 79: "Diets Can Kiss My A** With Jess Baker, Author of Landwhaleand Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls"
  • Episode 92: "Talking About Food and Bodies in the Home With Anna Lutz, RDN"
4. The BodyLove Project

The BodyLove Project podcast led by Jessi Haggerty, RDN, CPT, is great, since she's both a registered dietitian and a personal trainer. She discusses topics including diet culture, body image and body positivity, and how to get off the diet-binge roller coaster.

Jessi's interviews with experts, including fellow registered dietitians, writers covering intuitive eating, and doctors, let me know that others shared my experiences with food, diet, and body image. Knowing I was not alone in my emotions and habits helped me feel supported in my rejection of diet culture.

Episodes I love:
  • Episode 001: "Intro to Intuitive Eating"
  • Episode 048: "Caroline Dooner, Founder of the Only 'Diet' I'll Stand Behind"
  • Episode 052: "How Diet Culture Impacts Our Body Image With Katherine Zavodni"
This was the very first podcast I started listening to. I wanted to start my day with positivity, and I listened to this as I got dressed and applied my make up. Chalene always lifts me up, and makes me see how confident and fabulous I am! She gives top tips & practical steps for diet, fitness, organization, and self improvement. It's for anyone making all around health a priority with advice from Chalene and experts she interviews to  improve relationships and productivity. No BS. Chalene delivers straight talk and simple strategies (with a side of humor) so that every show delivers a return on your investment of time. The Chalene Show is life coaching, personal development, nutrition, exercise, focus, faith, family & fun all rolled into one! Want to be happier, healthier and more organized?

Episodes I love:
  • Episode 336: "Moving Meditation/You Are Amazing"
  • Episode 360: "What To Do If You Just Feel Meh"
  • Episode 367: "From Failure to Fabulous"
  • Episode 406: "I'm Fat and Other Damaging Stories we tell ourselves"
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Why I eat dessert every night

I want to first say, that you should eat whatever you want, whenever they want. Food is food, not "good" or "bad" foods,  just foods that are more nutritious than others. Nothing should be "off-limits," and if you're trying to lose weight (that's great if that's your goal, but don't feel pressured to!), you shouldn't deprive yourself.

OK, now that we got that out of the way, I should admit that I am one of those people on a weight-loss journey. Not because I'm trying to achieve a certain aesthetic or because I feel pressured to — I feel healthy ad strong— but I noticed my weight creeping up the last couple years. Since I am in perimenopause and staring at menopause in the near future, I'm more at risk for gaining weight, and all the health implications that come along with that, as well as more weight stresses bones and joints.  I also suffer from anxiety, and experimented with which foods can help my mood. I want to be healthy and happy control, and also be a little lighter so I can power through my workouts (less weight to try and pull during pull-ups!), keep my strength and agility.

I've been using a macro and calorie-tracking app to track my food and I aim to stay within a macro and calorie range each day. Since I don't follow a regimented, strict diet and my only goal is to hit a specific macro and calorie range, no foods are "off-limits." This gives me room to enjoy my favorite foods (in moderation, of course) and never feel deprived.

I should also admit that love sweets: cake, muffins, and creme brûlée are my weaknesses, while I feel no temptation from chips, pretzels, and snack-type foods. I would rather have a cinnamon chip coffee cake muffin, than dive into a bag of Lay's. Knowing this, I won't deprive myself of something  sweet after dinner. If I told myself dessert was completely off limits, it would make me crave it more, leading to an unhealthy binge and probable weight gain. So I enjoy dessert every night. It has not impacted my weightloss, and here's why.

I always recommend my clients enjoy 150 calories of whatever they want at the end of the day, even if they are trying to lose weight. Everyone needs a little break from dieting, and I feel 150 calories each day of discretionary calories won't break the bank, especially if it's budgeted in. Think of it like the carrot at the end of the day. An end-of-day treat doesn't necessarily have to be dessert; it can be a glass of wine, a small bowl of chips, or a mini bag of popcorn. It will help you get through each day and help you stick to your plan.

If you can budget for this 150 calories within your daily calorie target, it won't have an impact on your weight-loss goals at all. But even if you go over by 150 calories every once in a while, it won't totally derail your progress.


I eat the foods I enjoy. A handful of berries won't cut is as dessert if I crave a piece of chocolate. So to  make it work, I'm careful to measure out portion sizes. I'm a big fan of Skinny Dipped Almonds, and budget for a serving (about 15 almonds) of the Chocolate Peanut Butter. I love chocolate and peanut butter, so eating these chocolate-covered almonds was enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. Each serving had about 150 calories, 12 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbs, and seven grams of sugar.

My other go-to treat is dark chocolate caramel wedges from Trader Joe's. I buy the little tins of the  from the checkout line. Two pieces are big enough and sweet enough to be satisfying. Two chocolate caramel wedges have about 60 calories, four grams of fat, seven grams of carbs, and five grams of sugar. I'm usually satisfied after one or two pieces.

Other desserts I reach for are four squares of Lilly's Chocolate (sweetened with stevia) which comes in many flavors, my favorite is the salted caramel which contains 54 calories, 5 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbs, and 0 grams of sugar per four squares, or one of my homemade gluten free chocolate chip cookies (100 calories, 7 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs, 5 grams of sugar per cookie).

Since I know the nutritional information for everything I eat, I factor it into my daily calorie budget. But even if I don't allot for dessert that day and go over my daily calorie target with dinner, I still treate myself every night.

My weight fluctuates like crazy and the scale continues to surprise me — I could gain three pounds overnight or lose a half a pound after a weekend eating nothing but pizza and Nutella. But what I find eating dessert each night, is that there are less binges, and I still can lose weight. It's a reminder that I can eat the foods I love and crave without impeding my progress.

I should also note that, in general, I weigh myself every few days. I have a fraught history with the scale — I used to weigh myself obsessively every day — and while the number on it used to have a huge impact on my mood (positively and negatively), I no longer tie my happiness to what the scale says. If it's a higher number than I'm expecting, I acknowledge that and move on with my day.


When I would try (unhealthily) to lose weight in the past, I had an all-or-nothing mentality. I would cut out everything I considered "bad," including sweets and dessert, all in the name of losing weight. I could last for maybe a week or two, but would crave sweets and sugary carbs so heavily. Inevitably, I would not only give in to my cravings, but go on a full-on binge buying candy from CVS or giant muffins from the bakery.

By eating a little bit of something sweet each night after dinner, I honor my cravings without going on a sugar binge. This habit satisfies my sweet tooth and leaves me feeling satisfied after dinner  — without a sugar rush or inevitable crash and stomachache like after a dessert binge.

Sometimes I don't crave something sweet after dinner, in which case I'm totally satisfied with my evening meal. But other times I do, and I know that if I reach for one of my go-to desserts, I shouldn't beat myself up about it. I can enjoy the foods I love and still stay on track with my goals.