End Your Weight And Food Struggles Once And For All

By now we all know that diets don’t work, right? Even so, with a 68 billion dollar weight loss industry constantly enticing us to jump on the diet-and-deprivation bandwagon, it’s hard to just say no. I get it.
But here’s the thing: Going on a diet is like putting a Band-Aid on a broken arm. They’re ineffective and exasperating at best, emotionally damaging and physically harmful at worst.
Diets don’t help you understand WHY you overeat in the first place, so they don’t get to the root of the issue. Diets also don’t show you HOW to eat, or teach you how to form a healthy relationship with food and your body.
And without those critical (and I mean CRITICAL) missing pieces of the weight-loss puzzle, you’re going to struggle. The allure of dieting is everywhere, but diets—most of which only focus on WHAT to eat—not only create an obsessive relationship with food and throw your metabolism out of whack, they also set you up for failure and frustration.
Please let go of the idea that there is a perfect diet or cleanse that will finally solve your weight problems. Realize that the answer lies within you. You have the power to transform your relationship with food, your hunger, and yourself.
Here’s how to lose weight without dieting in 4 (simple-ish) steps…

Step 1: Modify Your Mindset
Don’t start by changing what you eat; start by changing how you think. Do the mental work first.
First things first: Stop criticizing yourself…
Accept and love yourself exactly as you are, extra weight and all. You’re not giving up, you’re empowering yourself to feel good now, so that you can take positive actions towards your goals with confidence. Start now (yes, right now!) by forgiving yourself for the past. You did the best you could with the weight loss resources you had at that time, period. Release the past and begin again.
Next, start asking the hard questions…
What is the downside of losing the weight? For example, are you using weight as an excuse for failure? (“Because of my weight, I can’t be successful, I can’t get a boyfriend, I can’t be happy, etc. etc.”) Or does the weight make you feel safe or protected in some way? Are you terrified of being abused, abandoned or rejected once you’re thin? Once you understand your fears, you can gently work your way through them, and this will give you the psychological green light you need to lose the weight, for good.
Finally, shift your shadow beliefs…
We all have a set of memorized behaviors, emotional reactions, beliefs, and attitudes that run behind the scenes. This subconscious program determines how we live and make decisions on a moment-to-moment basis. And when you have limiting beliefs that don’t support your health goals, you end up constantly sabotaging yourself. Shift your beliefs and you’ll fast track your success.
(For more help modifying your mindset, please check out my Smaller Size Bigger Life group coaching program – you can hop on the waitlist and sign up for a free introductory weight loss class HERE).
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Step 2: Eat Only Foods You Love
If you’re thinking…
“Hold up, Heather. I LOVE French fries, chocolate, burgers, and pasta. How can I possibly eat those foods and still lose weight!?”
Here’s the thing: You do not have to give up the foods you love to lose weight.
Try to stop seeing foods as “good” or “bad.” If you eat only when you’re physically hungry (see Step 4) and stop before you’re uncomfortably full (see Step 3), you can eat anything (yes, anything) you want… and still lose weight.
But you’ll reach your goal weight a lot faster, and you’ll feel a heck of a lot better, if you nourish yourself with whole and delicious REAL foods more often than not. Here’s what I do…
Most of the time (maybe about 85% or so) I eat nutrient-dense, clean foods I love (I shop at farmers’ markets, I drink green smoothies, I cook delicious real-food recipes, and I search out healthy foods everywhere I go). And the rest of the time, well, I just don’t worry about it. And neither should you. It’s all about eating real food in the real world
I also incorporate movement into my daily life, I eat mindfully and I stay in tune with my body…

Step 3: Tune Into Your Body
Remember when you were a kid and you instinctively knew when and how much to eat? It’s 100% possible for you to find that kind of freedom with food again.
Your (perfect and beautifully designed) body instinctively knows exactly what it needs to thrive and naturally reach its ideal weight—you just have listen to it.
Think of your hunger as a scale…
Once you reach a 1, 2, or 3 on the scale (the Danger Zone), you’ll trigger your primal drive to overeat. And then you can kiss moderation, mindfulness, and conscious eating (not to mention weight loss) goodbye. And H-ANGRY is never pretty!
As often as possible, eat in the Fuel Zone. Start eating at around a 4 or 5. Eat mindfully and stop when you get to a 6 or 7. Also, eat only foods you love (see step 2 above), and, as often as possible, eat REAL food, not food-like products that your body can’t process or identify.
Honoring your hunger and respecting your fullness will help you build trust with yourself and food. And it will help you reconnect with your body’s natural cues which, I’m guessing, have become pretty blurry from years of controlling and binging.
A balanced meal plan can help you get a feel for portions and nutrient combos while you start tuning in. But remember, your body knows better than any expert (including me!) how much to eat, when to eat, and when it’s time to stop eating.

Step 4: Deal With Your Emotions Directly
If you find yourself heading (OK, sometimes running) for the fridge when you’re at a 7 or above on the Hunger Scale, most likely you’re using food for emotional relief—to comfort, to reduce anxiety, or to reward. And it’s no wonder…
Eating is a seductive distraction that immediately soothes negative feelings. And certain foods (sugar and carbs, I’m looking at you!) trigger a release of feel-good chemicals in the brain.
But, as you know, the relief found in food is temporary. In fact, it lasts all of five seconds—then you go back to feeling sad or stressed… and now you also feel guilty, stuffed, and disgusted.
There’s a big difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger…
The truth is this: If your food craving doesn’t come from physical hunger, then you can be sure that eating is not going to satisfy it.
The next time you have an intense emotional food craving, try this: First take a few deep breaths and really acknowledge any accompanying feelings of fear, anxiety, or whatever. Once you make yourself aware of your feelings, simply say to yourself, “OK this is how I’m feeling right now, and that’s OK, I have a right to my feelings.”
Next dig into the feelings. Write out exactly what you are feeling (and why), or what you are trying NOT to feel (and why). And then for ninety seconds (set a timer) just sit with the feelings. Honor and allow the feelings and let them just pass through you.
Then take a few more deep breathes and say, “I choose to see this differently” or “All is well. Out of this situation only good can come, and I am safe.” or “I choose to see peace instead of this.” Concentrate on your breathing and just repeat a mantra until you feel a little calmer.
This begins a powerful new habit of accepting and releasing your fears instead of stuffing them down with food, ignoring them, or resisting them. We often think our emotions are too big or too scary or just too much. We think they are unacceptable in some way.
But here’s what you need to know… ALL of your emotions are absolutely valid (even the guilt or shame after a binge!) they are a part of being a human being, and ALL your emotions deserve to be acknowledged, welcomed, and felt.And once you train yourself to do that (and you CAN do that), you will stop emotional eating.
(For more help with emotional eating, go HERE to sign up for my free weight loss class.)
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So what do you think? Are you ready to ditch dieting, forever? And please let me know if you have any questions, I’m here to help.

Much love,


Create A Healthier And Happier Relationship With Food

Instead of dieting, depriving and or making yourself crazy with an all-or-nothing eating mind-set, try this: Build a better relationship with food, one day, one meal, and one moment at a time.

Because you absolutely have the power to …

* Pay attention to what you think and say about food, weight and your body, and to start consistently choosing supportive thoughts. (I have a free challenge HERE that will help you do exactly this.)

* Be honest with yourself about not only about what you eat, but also why you eat, and to stop eating mindlessly when you’re bored or just out of habit.

* Honor and FEEL your emotions instead of ignoring them or burying them with food. (For more help with emotional eating sign up for my free class HERE.)

* Learn more about clean eating and cooking, and choose better-for-you real foods more often than not.

* Tune out what everyone one else thinks is the right weight-loss plan for you, and tune in to what you intuitively know you need to do and eat to feel your best. (Learn more about intuitive eating HERE.)

* Make food choices that honor your health, your hunger, and your taste buds.

And once-a-week meal prep is an awesome tool that will help you eat healthy AND save time AND eat real foods AND form a healthier and much, much happier relationship with food.

By investing a few hours on the weekend preparing for the week ahead, you can buy yourself a whole week of fuss-free and good-for-you breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners that will make healthy (and waist-friendly) eating a no-brainer.

So today I’m sharing another week of my meals and food prep. This is exactly what I ate, and exactly what I prepped, for one week. I never create a set meal plan; I just prep a bunch of meals that I can mix-and-match throughout the week. That way when things come up, I can adjust as need be.

(You’ll find additional food prep posts HERE, HERE and HERE. And go HERE to read my top three food prep tips.)



Note: I cook for just two people (me and my fiancé Aaron), so 1 recipe yields 2 or 3 meals for us. If you’re feeding more or less, just adjust your menu and prep as need be. Also, obviously, use the freshest and best ingredients you can find. Check out this must-read book for more on this.



Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats from Fit Foodie Finds
As the weather get warmer, I swap my hot bowl of oatmeal for cold overnight oats. If you haven’t tried overnight oats yet you REALLY should. I’m obsessed. This simple recipe from Fit Foodie Finds is my hands-down favorite, but you’ll find lots of other options HERE.

Avo Banana Kale Smoothie from Simple Green Smoothies
The avocado in this smoothie creates a super creamy texture, and the healthy fats also make it a lot more satisfying. And I always feel good starting my day with greens! Another avocado smoothie to try is this one from Back to Her Roots. BTW, if you’re new to green smoothies, go HERE to learn the basics. (Tip: I use Trader Joe’s Baby Kale in my green smoothies because the mild flavor in these greens doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.)

Make-Ahead Fruit And Yogurt Parfaits from The Lemon Bowl
These parfaits from Liz at The Lemon Bowl are perfect for prepping on Sunday and enjoying throughout the week (see Meal Prep below). Also check out this post from Liz – 7 Ways To Lose Weight Without Trying – so good.



Crock Pot Asian Pork With Mushrooms from Skinnytaste
I’ve been working with Gina, the talented creator of Skinnytaste, for a few years now (I’m the nutrition expert for the best-selling The Skinnytaste Cookbook), so I’ve tried a TON of Skinnytaste recipes, and this is still one of my favorites. It’s the perfect make-ahead recipe, and since it makes a ton, you can freeze half and still have lots for leftovers.

Shrimp Zoodles Parmesan from Skinnytaste
This easy and delicious shrimp dish made with zucchini noodles is ready in under 30 minutes. If you prep the zucchini noodles (see Meal Prep below) it’s comes together even faster.

Grilled Maple Dijon & Chili Chicken Drumsticks from Cookin’ Canuck
Forget chicken breasts… I’m all about drumsticks! I grill these on my prep day (see Meal Prep below) and eat the leftovers for lunch during the week. You can serve this with a salad or just about any veggie side dish. (You can read the inspiring weight loss and health journey from Dara, the creator or Cookin’ Canuck, HERE – love this.)

Spiralized Greek Cucumber Salad from Skinnytaste
Fresh cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, olives, red onion, oregano, lemon juice, olive oil and fresh feta – it’s filling, high in fiber and protein, and perfect for lunch or dinner. If you’re not spiralizing (AKA making noodles out of vegetables) yet, you absolutely should. The site Inspiralized is packed with recipes and tips, and HERE you can read about how the creator of the Inspiralizer got healthy and lost 25 pounds thanks to veggie noodles!

Spicy California Shrimp Stack from Skinnytaste
These EASY shrimp stacks will definitely satisfy a sushi craving! Layered with cucumber, avocado, shrimp, brown rice and  topped with a spicy mayo – YUM. Using Trader Joe’s Frozen Brown Rice makes this even easier to prepare.



Fruit + Hard Boiled Egg

Larabars (I always keep these in my purse.)

Dark Chocolate

5-Ingredient Chocolate Brownie Energy Bites from The Lemon Bowl (These naturally sweetened and protein-packed energy bites taste just like a chocolate walnut brownie!)

Avo Banana Kale Smoothie from Simple Green Smoothies



Get the drumsticks in this recipe marinating. (Do this before you move on to the rest of the food prep).

Make the Asian Pork with Mushrooms. (Get the pork into the slow cooker before you move on to the rest of the food prep.)

Prepare the Make-Ahead Fruit And Yogurt Parfaits.

Make the Chocolate Brownie Energy Bites.

Hard boil eggs.

Spiralize the zucchini noodles for this recipe. (In a sealed airtight container, zucchini noodles will last around 4 or 5 days in the fridge.)

Grill the drumsticks that have been marinating.

Infuse a pitcher of water. (In spring and summer I keep my fridge stocked with fruit-infused water. Love these combos from Back to Her Roots.)


The Summer Sweat Series

Are you looking to refocus your eating habits and clean up your diet?

Do you want to be a part of a community of inspiring friends who love food and healthy living?

Do you want to kick up your fitness routine this summer?

Today I want to introduce you to the Summer Sweat Series!
The Summer Sweat Series is an online fitness and nutrition plan starting June 5th led by Lee of Fit Foodie Finds and Monique of Ambitious Kitchen. The program is dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to feel and look incredible and includes workouts, balanced meal plans, grocery lists and motivation via social media. Here’s what you need to know…

When does the program start?

The program starts on June 5th. After that, they will post new workouts and meal plans on Sundays for the next four weeks. You can print them out or take them along to the grocery store via your phone. Everything is easily accessible.

Why should I join?

This program isn’t about losing weight, restricting calories or going on a cleanse; the Summer Sweat Series is focused on helping your achieve your wellness goals by teaching you healthy eating habits, encouraging cooking/meal prep, eating wholesome nutrient dense food and of course, getting in a little exercise!

Okay, so how do I sign up?

Just head to either Fit Foodie Finds or Ambitious Kitchen on June 5th to find your first week of grocery lists, meal plans & workouts.

And CLICK HERE to request to join the Summer Sweat Series Facebook group. Being in this group also qualifies you for amazing giveaways, motivation, and the ability to ask the community questions.