The 50 Million Pound Challenge continues, and I’ve been pretty proud of myself so far. Thanks to your delicious recipe recommendations, I made some yummy and nutritious soups to tide me over the wisdom teeth blues. Thank you, bellas!

Recovery has led me to steer clear of the kind of foods that were doing me no favors.

I’m happy to report that potato chips haven’t touched my lips in the past two weeks.

But this weekend I am totally going to the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

The four-day Food Network fiesta is an exercise in excess if ever I’ve seen one. The grand tasting village is described as “the Olympic Games of gastronomy.” Look at these people! Everybody’s eating! And all of my favorite Food Network stars will be there, mixing, mingling, presenting cooking demonstrations, and eating from little plates. So my question is — how do I keep my eyes on the weight loss prize when I’m hoping to hobnob with The Neelys and Paula Deen?

There is a way, and it has everything to do with my attitude towards food.

Excess and portion control issues have been part of my lifelong battle with food, and in the past my response has always been to go on a DIE with a T, and take it to the opposite extreme. This has resulted in a whole lotta yo-yoing on the scale.
I lost 40 pounds on the Atkins Diet, but I couldn’t wait for my “induction period” to be over. And when it ended, the slowly-introducing-regular-food part of the diet failed miserably. And then I blamed myself for not having the discipline Dr. Atkins’ plan demanded.

That particular plan didn’t mesh well with my psyche. I learned that despite the fact that I know better, the concept of dieting eventually leads me to want to rebel. To not diet. And that leads me to overindulge, and occasionally binge on the foods I’d been trying to steer clear of in the first place. I got on a see-saw of punishing myself with food, then over-rewarding myself with food.

No more of that.

Part of reconciling myself to a slow and steady get healthy strategy means throwing out those old ways of thinking.

I’m not on a diet, or a weight loss plan. This is a lifestyle change, and a mental alteration to my approach to food.

I want to nourish myself as best as I can. I want to eat foods that are fresh and healthy and good for me, not the kinds of foods I know are unhealthy.

So armed with that resolve, I’m ready to go out and enjoy myself without the OMG all-you-can-eat buffet mentality. Next week, back to cooking for myself and making healthy dinners. So at the South Beach Wine and Food Fest, I’m looking for fresh ideas. It doesn’t have to be about overindulging, it can be about finding inspiration!

If you’re like me and have had issues with porton control or food cravings, this site suggests healthy alternatives and explanations. And these tips have helped me realize some of my nutritional downfalls. For example, more than half of the time that I just feel a craving for cookies or macaroni and cheese, or chocolate, my body is really just crying out for a tall glass of water.

When I come home from work before I cook dinner, sometimes I’m starving and want to reach for a bad-for-me snack. That bag of marshmallows up on the top shelf of the pantry where it’s just out of reach but always within sight might satisfy my sweet tooth in a soft, chewy instant, but eating a small handful of my favorite vanilla-flavored almonds will satisfy my hunger until I make myself a healthy dinner. Little changes like this are helping me slow my roll and make better, more informed decisions about what I eat on a daily basis.

Do you have any special tips or techniques you use to resist temptation when it’s staring you in the face? Share with me!

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Bebroma says:
February 19, 2009, 1:38 pm
Baby carrots. Lots of chewing and crunching involved. They keep your mouth busy, they're healthy, they're bulky in the mouth and tummy, and they help tide you over until you can finish cooking or get past the need-a-snack hump. They're extremely portable, AND very few calories. They're also sweet.
Jewelry Rockstar says:
February 19, 2009, 2:15 pm
I've lost about 7 lbs since I started that challenge. I am happy I did. I like getting the emails to remind to weigh, it helps me to see progress. Concerning the dieting thing, I'v sworn off it all together. However, I tuned in last year to a guy who said he could make me thinner and he did. It is all about checking in with your stomach while you eat. Instead of putting a bunch on your plate and deciding it all has to be eaten. Eat slow and ask yourself if you are still hungry along the way. It works. I consider myself ahead if I don't weigh more than the previous year, but hey if I lose anything I feel like I am really on the move.
MoniMoni says:
February 19, 2009, 8:55 pm
I agree with Bebroma, carrots are a life saver, I have a crunch problem. I like potato chips for the crunch, so carrots and cucumbers help me out tremendously... So far, I've lost 4lbs. I'm hoping to lose 2 lbs more next week.
MoniMoni says:
February 19, 2009, 9:08 pm
Bella, Now YOU KNOW you can't be messing with the Neelys' and Paula. Paula worships butter! *side note: that's how I got into trouble in the first place, I like to cook! Paula, Neelys, Big Daddy, Diners, Dives and Drive Ins, the Cookin Loft and The Barefoot Contessa! Not to mention All of Patti Labelle's cookbooks! No more Food Network! LOL!
SoFrolushes says:
February 20, 2009, 5:42 am
I am so glad that you have started to chronicle your healthier lifestyle journey. I am really starting to focus on what I eat. To start me off I am loosely using the WW points system. It is allowing me to see where I have over indulged or under eating. I aim to plan my meals and wherever hubs cooks to akways have a salad nearby so portions are cut down. I am suffering now as I have no pc at home. But will use what knowledge I have till I am back on line. keep up the good work. you are inspiring
Creative1k says:
February 20, 2009, 9:01 am
Bella, I too, am working on this lifestyle change, and I have to say that motivation is one of my concerns as well as gaining what I've currently lost back. I promised myself that I must go further than I've ever went before, because it's just that important. I'm sure that there will be some Health Gurus, Vegan, Veggie, and Modern chefs there to assist those going through transitions at the festival. We all know when we're tempted. Remember it's all bout self control. Keep up the good work!!! C1k
E-Fresh says:
February 20, 2009, 1:04 pm
An edit find for "exercise" on this page yielded only one result and only in the context of will power. Have you been active and getting your exercise? That is a crucial part of any diet program. Keep it up and good luck!
Lysandra says:
February 20, 2009, 2:45 pm
Oh my goodness! I hope they come to Atlanta. MoniMoni is right. I am a foodnetwork junky and love and adore all the shows mentioned. Just don't let them tempt you. Paula is the self-professed "butter" queen and Mrs. Neely calls herself the "spice" fairie:)
warrior11209 says:
February 20, 2009, 2:51 pm
For those "nights out " - I have tried the following 1. never go to an event hungry 2. choose a little bit of everything , concentrating on fruits and vegetables 3. up my exercise minutes the day before and after the event 4. if I still over-ate - I now realize that one meal does not make a down-fall.I get right back to journaling what I have eaten and usually by the end of the week I am ok - it is when I over-eat one day and then that turns into a week of overeating that results with a weight gain. So far I have gone from 252 - 195 yes it took me from 2007 and I am still losing but I have not gone through any of the yo-yo periods . Bella - you can do this - enjoy the company of all those at the grand tasting village! Let me know it the Neeleys are as cute in-person as they are on the tube!
dettygirl says:
February 20, 2009, 3:10 pm
What has helped me is to change my thinking about my plate. You can plan great snacks & salads to eat all day, but when it time to sit down and actually EAT is where I have always fallen short. I was raised to clean my plate. Add that to the fact that I do NOT like to waste (time, energy, food, etc...) has left me a fulltime member of the clean plate club. I have taught my little one & I to "eat until you're full" and that's it. so i take my time do just that & try to enjoy whatever it is i'm eating.
Kelly says:
February 20, 2009, 4:37 pm
Great great tips here. I'm going to have to remember that one meal will not ruin me. Before you write the Food Network off, check out Elie Krieger and her show "healthy living". She is about adding vegetables, MEASURING the oil you use, and taking the healthy shortcuts where and when you can. She makes a mean mac and cheese that uses 4 cheeses and sneaks in a veggie that you wouldn't even know was there unless you cooked it. Also, for more great tips check out She has some great breakfast ideas that are quick. You're an inspiration Bella!
Annie says:
February 20, 2009, 7:06 pm
Something that I find VERY helpful is to keep a food journal. Writing down everything you eat and drink really keeps you mindful of the choices you make. It will show you patterns in your eating. It reveals to you where you are lacking. And it motivates you to want to keep it healthy and junk free. Also, I find that if I want some kind of dessert, it is better to go out and buy a single serving (just a slice of cake or just a couple Subway cookies) and eat it as opposed to buying a whole bag with the intention of "Oh, I'll just have a little." A bag of cookies in the house will all get eaten in 2-3 days. It's best to not bring that bag into the house in the first place!!
BSQUARED86 says:
February 21, 2009, 6:54 am
Good luck to Bella and the other folks making this lifestyle change!
LBell says:
February 21, 2009, 12:54 pm
Co-signing the food journal...although I only did it for one day. That was all I needed to see where my problems were. That food cravings link is great! Thanks. Have fun at the festival!
browne says:
February 21, 2009, 11:00 pm
Exercise, exercise, exercise. Not over eating is important, but do not underestimate the importance of exercise. In LA I'm take public transit and ride my bike and I will tell you I do indulge in food, but my active lifestyle helps my body be extremely forgiving. Walk to the grocery store. Walk a mile a day. Consider taking up cycling or yoga. You should be doing 30 minutes of exercise five times a week and probably more, but you don't want to over do it at first.
Sumatra77 says:
February 22, 2009, 10:32 am
I'm on WW and have lost about 7lbs. I really took to the program and what it's brought to the forefront of my mind is just how much EXTRA I was eating than I needed. I think the single most important thing is to track what you eat in the portions you eat it. It might be an over or under approximation but at least you have it there on paper so you know when to stop. Exercise is also very important. I have a lot more energy than I did about a month ago and the desire to work out is more of a natural process than it was before. I hated working out but now I almost look forward to it. Good luck w/ the plan, Bella!
mochachoc says:
February 22, 2009, 10:34 am
I started reading books like: 'fat land', 'not on the label', 'in defence of food'and yes 'dr atkins diet revolution' etc. these books helped me to see there is a wider political big business motivation in keeping (in particular poor) people fat. They helped me to realise that when we eat real food we rarely get fat because real food is satisfying. I never eat the diet low fat version of ANYTHING. I'm not afraid of REAL butter. I no longer have an appetite for manufactured foods. I cook what I eat. I am not virtuous because I love traditional British puddings which use lashings of cream, suet and butter. but i make it. of course the usual mantra is that we should not eat this kind of food. However, I do. My weight only increases when I include alcohol and pasta. I am of the opinion that we should limit our consumption of starch and sugars as much as we can. When I do eat starch i eat brown rice, wholemeal pasta and wholemeal flour but rarely. I always have a good breakfast. For me this is a cooked breakfast. be it poached eggs on sourdough bread, liver and onions (yes i can hear the protests) or my leftover dinner. I never get hungry until 3 in the afternoon. I became a foodie in search of QUALITY (there are many out there egullet is a good start). When you look for quality believe me you don't want to put all that pretend food in your mouth. and you certainly dont need to eat loads of it. I'm afraid American portions (and sadly increasingly all over the globe) tend to be outrageous. I can remember the first time I saw a large sized bag of crisps I was amazed. Up until those appeared British crisps were very small. These large portions were advertised as family portions. It wasn't long before we were greedily eating them all by ourselves. A lot of the time it is as if the food is so cheap to produce and with so little care they need to get rid of it. so we just got used to eating larger and larger portions of this rubbishy poisonous food. yes this way of eating requires planning. but i will not listen to the protests that there is not enough time to cook. Well my mother raised four children, worked full time and we had a proper cooked meal EVERY DAy. It was manageable then, why not now?
NiKita W ( says:
February 23, 2009, 3:21 pm
I have a great recipe for raw broccoli that even the children love to eat! Just take fresh broccoli and drench it in olive oil, lightly season with minced garlic or garlic powder and add a bit of salt to taste. It's quick easy and delicious!


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