CHECK THE CLOCK, NOT JUST THE CALORIES: Late-Night Snacks With Your Sweetie May Speed Weight Gain 17.09.09

bfbcouchcrop-300x189There’s more than calories to consider the next time you’re about to commit a midnight snack run with your sweetie. Researchers at Northwestern University found a link between eating during the hours your body thinks it should be sleeping and weight gain. Why does it matter when you munch? The body’s internal clock, aka circadian rhythm, may play a role in metabolism.

“We have found causal evidence that eating during the ‘wrong’ circadian time leads to weight gain in mice,” said lead researcher Deanna Arble, a doctoral candidate in Northwestern University’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology.

“While I do not believe the field is advanced enough to prescribe appropriate eating times for each individual, I believe we can at least say that humans should avoid eating during their normal sleeping phase because this could lead to increased weight gain,” she said.

Mice fed high-fat diets during their normal sleeping hours for six weeks gained 28 percent more weight than mice who chowed down during their normal waking hours. The sleepy eaters’ overall weight gain was also made up of more fat and they were less active than regular eaters. Continue Reading →

FAT CHAT: Lauren Conrad Has a Big Fat Boyfriend! 14.09.09

alg_lauren_conrad_shapeI need to get my book to LC! In the September issue of Shape, former Hills star Lauren Conrad revealed that in the beginning of her relationship with actor Kyle Howard, she gained more than a new best friend:

“I call it the ‘boyfriend layer’,” she says. “We were having more romantic dinners out, and I was exercising less.”

So how did the California girl reclaim her stunning bikini bod in time to make the magazine’s September cover?

By hitting the gym with her honey.

“I just ask Kyle, ‘You feel like working out?’” she says, adding that they spend most of their together time outside anyway.

“We like doing outdoor stuff: tennis, bike riding, kayaking, surfing, hiking,” she says. “It’s more fun than hitting the gym alone.”

Good for them for getting outside and moving more! What’s the last active thing you did with your honey? (And does anyone have Lauren’s address?) ;)


YBFB Test Kitchen: Super-Simple Balsamic and Feta Edamame 08.09.09

chapter8_kitchenwebI put this dish together a few weeks ago and now I cannot get enough of it. I love frozen edamame beans because they’re packed with protein and fiber—a half-cup serving has 120 calories, 8 grams of carbs (5 of which are fiber), and 10 grams of protein.

Whip this up as a simple side dish for you and your BFB (just be prepared that you may have to explain that even though they look suspiciously like lima beans, they’re actually soybeans) or as a quick, energy-packed meal for one. And consider keeping a package of these in his freezer for moments when he’s nuking the hot dogs he hasn’t kept wrapped in his fridge or reaching for takeout menus. Continue Reading →

FAT CHAT: Do Men Care What Women Eat? 29.08.09

090805114616-largeNot that I should answer for them, but my guess is a big, fat “NO” here. At least not in the sense that it’s unattractive for a woman to dig into a burger or savor a glass of wine with an out-of-this-world cheese plate. Any man I’ve ever had the pleasure of dating or talking to about their thoughts on women and food, has always, always said something with a similar meaning to this: “I want a girl who eats. Food is a hugely enjoyable part of life, and I want someone to enjoy it with me.”

I ask the question because a recent article posted on stated “If you are a woman who dines with a man, chances are you choose food with fewer calories than if you dine with a woman.” Though it supports the beginning stages of the entire BFB phenomenon—check out chapter 1, The Downward Slide Into Fat Pants, for the full recap— this article was based around a study published in the online version of the international journal Appetite that  found women eating in university cafeterias chose foods lower in calories—i.e., salads, etc.—when they were sitting with men than when they were dining with other women.

Why the difference?  Meredith Young, PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University in Ontario and study author believes it has to do with something entirely outside of health reasons or personal tastes: Continue Reading →

SMART SNACK: Four Bean Wasabi Mix 24.08.09

displayphpI picked up a pack of Sunbird Snack’s Four Bean Wasabi Mix a few days ago and have been snacking on them ever since. A 1/3-cup serving of the spicy, sinus-clearing beans — as in SOYbeans — has 140 calories, 13 grams of total carbs, 5 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of hunger-staving protein. They’re also spicy enough—at least by this girl’s taste buds —

to keep you from snacking through the entire bag in one sitting. The pack has been tucked happily away in my purse for the last three days, pulled out at key, stomach-growling points (instead of the all-in-one-sitting snack-fest that a bag of pretzels or other crunchy noshes can evoke). 

So try ‘em and let me know what you — and your BFB —


De-Stress With Your Sweetie to Lose Belly Fat and Fight Heart Disease 05.08.09

destress-and-make-love-again-afA new study by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine found that social stress may lead to heart disease by causing the body to deposit more visceral fat in the abdominal cavity and speeding up the buildup of harmful plaque in blood vessels—the perfect storm for the world’s number one killer.

Obesity and heart disease have also been linked to lower socioeconomic status, and Carol A. Shively, Ph.D., a professor of pathology and the study’s principal investigator, says it may be because the fewer resources you have to buffer yourself from the stresses of life (aka bills, long hours at work, hard-to-please bosses, or staying in an unhealthy relationship), the more likely you are to experience these health problems.

But why do they think it’s stress and not just multiple meals off the Dollar Menu? Continue Reading →

YBFB REVIEW: “… filled with brilliant ideas and strategies for how women can keep their bodies healthy fit, and safe from BFB’s destructive eating habits.” 27.07.09

blog023It never ceases to amaze me when I find out that someone new has picked up YBFB and connected with it and found it useful. So the other day when this writeup by Kaydeelynn from her blog The Last Ten popped up on my BlackBerry, I was, of course, smiling the rest of the afternoon and more excited than ever to get into my kitchen and try out a new turkey chili recipe (more on that soon!). She had lots of sweet things to say, and you can check out her thoughts on why YBFB got the thumbs up below. (My favorite line, because I think it sums up why you can embrace your makeup-loving, “tries on seven different outfits before choosing your favorite sundress anyway” side while still being super-smart, has to be: “Truly educational and truly girly. I highly recommend it.” Thanks, Kaydeelynn! So happy you liked it! Xoxo! Continue Reading →

Bugles: One Snack That’s Bad Enough to Blacklist 21.07.09

picture-1Okay, there are very few foods that I will put on my will-not-eat list. Blacklisting foods isn’t necessary, realistic, or very fun at all, as you can pretty much enjoy your fave not-so-healthy foods if you have a serving or so and workout and eat well the rest of the time. But I have found a food that isn’t worth the energy it takes to chew: Bugles.

Why you ask? Let me tell you. When my brother—who is currently relocating to Philly for a new job and is staying at my place until he finds his own—plopped down on my couch with a bag of Bugles two nights ago, I was curious. Okay, okay, I was secretly happy. I hadn’t seen Bugles since back in the days of, I don’t know, elementary school, and totally was too happy to snag one from him. But once I popped it in my mouth, it wasn’t the happy flashback to childhood snacking I thought it would be. It was so greasy and fat-filled that I had to flip the bag over and check out the nutritional stats ASAP.

There are EIGHT GRAMS OF SATURATED FAT in a single serving of Bugles. Eight grams! Of saturated fat! That’s 40 percent of the daily allowance for a 2,000-calorie diet and one more gram of saturated fat than a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder! And this is the kind of fat that clogs up arteries and can lead to a host of horrible things, including heart disease.

Of course, upon telling my grows-muscles-in-his-sleep brother, his response was the reason why he’ll make some lucky girl the perfect BFB: “Yeah,” he said, smiling, tossing a few more Bugles back for good measure. “It’s like eating fried corn filled with air.” Ha. Isn’t that lovely?

Well, even if he won’t blacklist them, it’s one less of his snacks that are now laying around the apartment that will be tempting me! I’d rather go have a burger!

WEIGH IN: What’s the worst nutritional sticker shock you’ve had lately?? I want to know!


SHOP SMART: 5 Ways to Up Your Buy-Local IQ 14.07.09

38603_article1Hey, guys! I’m also the health and fitness editor at Philadelphia magazine, and I love, love, love our health and wellness newsletter, Healthy Life. It’s packed with such great stuff that I’ve decided to start sharing things whenever I think they can help out you and your darling BFB! So here’s the first re-post. Even though it has a Philly slant, the basic ideas are still really useful and should help you when you’re out at those local stands this season! Happy summer eating!

Shop Smart: 5 Ways to Up Your Buy-Local IQ
Liz Solms, owner of Sweet Pea Nourishment, shares her local shopping secrets and tells us how to make sure “local” produce is legit
By Jenna Bergen

You’ve long heard the buying local buzz, but it can be much easier to do in theory than in real life, where the Acmes and Whole Foods of the world make one-stop shopping entirely too easy. And even worse, sometimes what you buy at a farmstand that appears to be local, actually isn’t. So we chatted with Liz Solms, owner of Sweet Pea Nourishment — a Philly catering company that only uses local ingredients — to get the lowdown. Continue Reading →

YBFB REVIEW: “Loved this book and was immediately inspired to live healthier … Highly recommended for all women, whether you have a better half or no.” 05.07.09

picture-6I can’t tell you how happy I was to find this review by Eva G. on her blog, Knowledge Is Cool. It toally made my day! While writing YBFB, I can’t tell you how much I hoped people would relate to the book, and how much I wanted to find a way to talk about diet and fitness that would inspire women and couples to eat well and be well, without hitting any of the extremes. It’s about having fun, loving life, and making choices that make you feel good without overanalyzing food or, God forbid, “going on a diet!” But, anyway, Eva says it much better than me, so check out her thoughts below. Thank you so much, Eva! You totaly made my day! Xoxo!

Your Big Fat Boyfriend: by Jenna Bergen
The reason I picked up this book was because since I had quit smoking, I started gaining quite a bit of weight. Though it appears I have started to get my weight under control, I still wanted to discover ways to make healthy eating and exercise a sustainable part of my life. Surprisingly, this book might be the ONLY reference I’ll need. It was fantastic and one of my luckiest book picks ever. It was such a fulfilling read, no pun intended.

Normally I’d never sit down to read A) A self-help book or B) a diet book, but the weight gain from quitting smoking created the need to reach out. But wait - this is NOT a diet book, though it is a self-help title. The author, Jenna Bergen, does a great job of providing a ton of helpful, practical advise in a little, one-sitting book. Topics include ways to add nutrition to your diet, ways to get your boyfriend interested in different foods, calculating your dietary needs and getting exercise out of everyday, fun activities. Not once was Bergen preachy or bitchy. (I tried the “Bitch in the Kitch” series and wanted to gouge my eyes out.)

Also, it’s important to note that my boyfriend is not big and fat, quite the contrary. He is very lean, eats very well, and is in good shape. The book made me really introspective and I realized I was the Big Fat Boyfriend (BFB). I realized it was not HIM eating a ton of pizza with ranch dressing. Nor did he make me eat that enormous bacon, cheeseburger. He’s also not the one keeping me in bed when I should be up and at ‘em, working out. You get the drift. This book is not about boyfriend bashing. I found the author really found a way to connect real life and the choices we have to make when part of a relationship.

Bergen keeps it really fun, lighthearted and simple all while inspiring you to eat better and get your but moving. Plus, I literally laughed out loud a couple of times. The writing is good, very to the point and Bergen wastes few words on rhetoric. It’s not the “starve yourself” option or the cut carb option or all the other diet-like crap that’s out there. It’s about identifying your specific problems, whether they be about eating or exercise, and taking specific, easy steps to make the change.

Loved this book and was immediately inspired to live healthier than I have been. Highly recommended for all women, whether you have a better half or no.