Okay, so they’re not exactly secrets, but they are still some great reminders from bakers, cooks, & chefs of all kinds on how they avoid packing on extra pounds when they have food around them all the time. They’ve built up some serious willpower! How? I’ve mentioned some techniques before, but try these tricks of the trade too:

1. Front-load your calories. Eat that high-protein breakfast (& lunch) like egg whites with basil & tomatoes or brown rice sushi or chicken & broccoli. Feeling satisfied and fuller earlier in the day can prevent extra snacking.

2. Savor the sips. Literally, slip slowly & enjoy that glass of wine. Just 1 glass.

3. Freshen up. A taste of peppermint in your mouth discourages noshing.

4. Downsize your utensils. Smaller spoon, fewer calories. Try an espresso spoon with your next chocolate pudding cake or coffee ice cream. And don’t finish the whole thing.

5. Fill up on bubbly H20. Mix textures with meals, like sparkling water with lunch. It can give the sensation of being full.

6. Ditch the traditional sidekick with snacks. Instead of eating that piece of goat cheese with a cracker or piece of bread, put it on a slice of apple or eat it alone.

7. Nut up. The crunchy texture requires a good bit of chewing, so you feel like you’re really eating something when you eat good-for-you nuts. Plus they’re incredibly portable.

8. Make plans to indulge. If you have 1 thing you look forward to, like an afternoon cappuccino with cocoa dusted on top, you may be able to behave throughout the day.

9. Preserve the goodies. Freeze things like brownies & cookie dough so you don’t eat them right away. You may even forget about them all together.

10. Be crazed in a good way. Staying busy instead of thinking about it can also burn more calories.

11. Think afternoon delight. Don’t eat sweets before 1pm, make it a rule. If you’re still craving that cookie, have just 1 after that.

12. Soup up. Make a big healthy stew for the week and when hunger strikes, reach for it instead of something else.

13. Weigh your options. Always ask yourself if that extra snack is worth the extra calories. You may find that nougat with nuts & fruits dipped in dark chocolate is worth it but gummy candies & potato chips are not.

14. Do a doggie bag. Don’t scarf down a whole plate of food when you’re eating out. Savor each bite and take 1/2 the food home to enjoy again the same way another day.

Researchers are finding some unexpected results when it comes to obsessing about certain cravings too. For some people thinking about a desired food makes them less likely to eat it. Why? Being over-exposed to a temptation, even in just your thoughts, causes you to be less responsive to it. You build up self-control by getting used to avoiding it the longer you’re exposed to it.

So for some people, they can keep that untouchable food in the pantry and it’s actually helping them. Personally, I would give in! So I don’t keep it around in the house if I can help it, which is the other more common recommendation.

I have found that I am starting to build up some resistance in general though, the further I get into this new way of eating. I have caved in over the past 2 months on occasion to both regular cravings and random temptations (no point lying!), but there’s a lot more internal dialogue going on about the issue before it happens. To me, this means I am starting to change my perception of food at a subconscious level in addition to the conscious decisions I’ve been making. Why else would my brain be having this conflicting conversation with itself, right?

I have another battle going on between me & exercise still. In Portland, we had 30 days of rain out of 31 days in the month of March alone, which didn’t make it any easier to find motivation to get moving. With this new month (and some new dry weather already) ahead, I am looking at what single workout tip could help me just get going.

In a new study published in the Journal of Physiology, subjects were fed a high-fat, high-calorie diet for 6 weeks and worked out 4 times a week (twice for 60 mins. & twice for 90 mins.) either before or after breakfast. The result: “fasted training”-or exercising on an empty stomach-prevented weight gain. So there’s a fat-burning secret for you, work out before breakfast!

(I’m going to try something before this sunny day is over too-taking the dogs for a walk and taking in the beginning of a new season!)

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