Five Secret Tricks to Regain Control of Your Eating (Part 4)

Welcome back to this series of life-changing tips which are very simple to use!

To recap, we use going to use the “Half Plate Habit” everywhere, chew gum while shopping, and move temptations at the office out of sight.

But many of us eat one or more meals away from home and office. What about when we eat at a restaurant? How can you use the “Half Plate Habit” when you are not in charge of plating your food?

I will offer a few simple actions. Oh, I know, you already know the trick about having the server pack up half the entrée before they even bring it to the table. That will prevent you from eating the entire meal without thinking.

(Do you do that? I don’t. I should, but I don’t.)

And we probably should order all those “heart healthy” foods. You know, those foods with the little heart logo. But do we? Not usually. Sometimes those foods just don’t look appetizing, or the portions seem too small, but for whatever reason, we ignore those options.

So what can we do? I have three simple suggestions.

  • One is seating location. Ask for a seat near a window or a well-lit location. When people sit in a booth, in the far corner, dark and isolated, people tend to order more and then eat more. Sitting near a window or on the outdoor patio, generally helps people make healthier choices. When you can be seen, you will usually do what you “should do.”
  • The second step is when you order a meal, remember to use the “Half Plate Habit”. Instead of a starchy side dish, ask for extra vegetable or a side salad. And when the server arrives, immediately ask for a glass of water with a lemon or cucumber slice, and ask him or her to not bring the dinner roll basket.
  • Lastly, you should try to limit alcohol consumption. Not only is alcohol empty calories, but one of the first effects of alcohol is to put our “decider brain” into a deep sleep. That is why we tend to eat when we drink. But if you are sitting near the window you probably will also not be sitting near the bar, so that decision will be easier. 

If you really want to throw caution to the winds, and bypass everything we’ve learned so far, order food while sitting at a dimly lit bar, during double-bubble happy hour, and with 2 televisions going.

But if you really want to do that, we will need to have a one-on-one session.

And just a reminder, if you do not want to wait, you can listen to last week’s podcast, where I list all five suggestions. The show is about 30 minutes long, and you can find it here. You can also subscribe to my podcast in iTunes (for users of Apple products) or Stitcher (non-Apple devices.)


I want to acknowledge Dr. Brian Wansink and both of his excellent books, “Mindless Eating” and “Slim By Design”. His research and more importantly, his well-written and easy to read books were the source of these suggestions. 

Achieve Success on Your First Attempt!

“Character consists of what you do on your third and fourth tries.” James Michener, US author

How many people reading this have tried to lose weight just one time and achieved permanent success?

Has anyone ever grabbed their skateboard and landed a 360 kickflip on their first try?
How many people started a blog, podcast or any online business and immediately became a success?
I didn’t think so. Weight loss,  skateboarding, blogging, and podcasting, like almost everything in life, is not smooth, easy, and predictable. It requires the ability to try and try again, repeating it over and over if needed. What do you think about the person who attempts something difficult and quits the first time they encounter an obstacle? Maybe you mentally label them a “quitter.” Maybe you look on them with scorn and tell yourself that you would be stronger than that. Maybe you feel pity for them, because you are sympathetic to their plight.
But does anyone look at that person with increased caring and concern? Probably not. But here is the kicker. No matter how other people look at the person, no matter what label we apply, that is nothing compared to what he/she feels of themselves. It is utter failure. Again. It is further proof that we are not good enough, that we don’t deserve success.
And that is what tarnishes the character of the person. Their self-doubts, their assumption of inevitable loss, their inability to stop looking backwards at previous attempts, all play a role in future failures. I know. This is not my first attempt at weight loss. I felt all those feelings. I understand the feelings of defeat and despair.
But this is my first successful attempt at weight loss. (I won’t claim success in launching my podcast quite yet.) I don’t know how to put into words what was different this time. I think I finally reached my breaking point. I think I started looking at things with a sense of realistic dread of what my path was leading to. I didn’t want to be the patient in the ER who required four people to move in bed. I didn’t want to have a heart attack or stroke. I was developing uncontrolled high blood pressure, so high that the Red Cross continually deferred me from donating blood.
Some people would call it an epiphany. I just call it life changing. I decided that I didn’t care how many times I had failed to reach my goals; I was not going to stop this time. I would not let anything deter me. My goal was my priority. It helped me make difficult decisions, and it kept my focus laser-sharp. Honestly, I was scared. I was fat and scared.
I don’t know if I would have been as successful losing weight without LoseIt and Fitbit. Maybe I would have, but I’m glad I don’t need to find out. I am almost 18 months at or below goal weight. I will not go back. It isn’t even an option. My entire being is now focused on the idea of staying where I am, staying healthy, and enjoying life. With that attitude, choosing to not get an ice cream cone is easier. (Not “easy”, just “easier.”) It also helps that I still use LoseIt and Fitbit, and will forever (or until LoseIt goes away.)
And I must thank my friend Meron Bareket and his Podcast Starter Kit because that is how I was able to launch my podcast. Meron didn’t promise success. No one can promise you success in anything. But Meron, and I, give the tools that are needed to work toward goals. You still need to add the magic ingredients: determination, drive, and the right effort.
My character used to be defined by my failures, by my willingness to quit when it got challenging. Now it is defined by my successes. Everyone here has those same choices to make. You can decide to take the easy way out, stop measuring your food, or log only occasionally, or drive when you could walk. You can choose to have a “cheat day” (which then can become “cheat days”) or you can decide this isn’t fast enough and find something else. Or you can decide that your health and well-being are more important than that extra donut at the office, and that happiness with yourself is worth more than sitting on your butt and watching TV.

Our actions and choices create our character. How do you want to define your character?

Note: the links to LoseIt, Fitbit and the Podcast Starter Kit are my affiliate links. That means if you click on those and buy one (or all) I will receive a small commission. It does not change your cost at all, but it will help me continue to provide recipes and advice here and in my podcast Make Your Someday Today. That is the only firm of payment I have here, or in the podcast. I tell you about tools that worked for, and if you belief they can help you, your purchase keeps my work going. And for that, I thank you!

Note: the links to LoseIt, Fitbit and the Podcast Starter Kit are my affiliate links. That means if you click on those and buy one (or all) I will receive a small commission. It does not change your cost at all, but it will help me continue to provide recipes and advice here and in my podcast Make Your Someday Today. That is the only firm of payment I have here, or in the podcast. I tell you about tools that worked for, and if you belief they can help you, your purchase keeps my work going. And for that, I thank you!
Photo courtesy of and Victor Erixon.

Unsplash License:  “All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.”

How to Make Crispy, Crunchy Fried Chicken

Crispy, crunchy, breaded chicken is easy. Simply deep fry it.
But if you are looking for a healthier version, that requires baking it, and sometimes the results are not as crisp or crunchy as desired. I tried several versions, and found that the secret ingredient is Panko Bread crumbs. (My preferred brand is Kikkoman.)

Panko Crumbs adds an excellent and light crunch to everything!
In both versions, I used a buttermilk wash and seasoned flour. I baked the chicken on a cooking rack to allow airflow around the chicken, but the pieces that were given a second coating with panko turned out demonstrably crisper and crunchier.
These pieces had a crisp and satisfying crunch and that contributed to the excellent flavor.

This was very flavorful, but lacked the crunch.
The specific details:
I used chicken legs (thighs and drumstick.) I left the skin on (because sometimes I just want all the flavor possible.) I think this technique would work with skinless chicken, and I will run that test soon.
I seasoned 1 cup whole wheat flour with 
  • 2 tsp onion powder 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon rubbed sage. 

My wash was buttermilk.

The flour-only version was dipped in buttermilk and rolled in flour. The panko version was rolled in the seasoned flour first, then dipped in buttermilk and coated in panko.

Bake on a cooking rack in another shallow pan (I used a 10x15in jelly roll pan) at 425F/225C for 15 minutes, then 375/190C for 30-35 minutes or until the internal temp is 165F/74C.
Don’t bake solely based on time. If you remove the chicken at 165F/74C, you will have perfectly cooked chicken that isn’t dry. However, the downside of this is you don’t get the beautiful golden-brown color of deep-fried chicken. (I can live without the color!)
This recipe was requested from Tosha, one of the listeners of my podcast, Make Your Someday Today. In MYST 53, Tosha left a message on my voicemail system (Speakpipe) which you can find on my home page. If you have a question, please give me a call!

I Love Writing to You, But I Have a Request

I do. I really enjoy the process of putting my thoughts on paper. It helps me get organized (because often I experience rambling, stream-of-conscious thoughts, sort of ADD and …oh, look at that squirrel outside!)


Seriously, I do enjoy the writing process. It is simultaneously energizing and relaxing.


It takes time. Food posts are relatively easy. I take a picture and pair it to my already recorded recipe and BOOM! A new post.

Writing a thoughtful post takes more time. And since I never know how long my post will be, or even the exact topics my post will cover, writing tends to consume a lot of time.

So, I am asking for help.

Are you a blogger, one who writes about topics that you see here? Food, motivation, inspiration, and the frustrations of daily life?

If yes, would you like the chance to be a guest blogger here? Depending on the response to this proposal, I might need a guest blogger once a month or once a week. I just don’t know. The blog posts would be cross-promoted to my podcast, as well as my Twitter and Facebook.

Here is my podcast links to various sources. You can listen to see if the content will match yours.

If you are interested, send me a message to my email If you know someone who might be interested, send them a link to this blog post or just tell them.

There won’t be any cash involved, but you will earn my happiness and respect, and I will spread the word of your message as far as I can.

Success Is Internal, But The Growth is External

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”
Ayn Rand
My wife and I are re-watching the TV series “Mad Men” and one of the characters likes Ayn Rand. I like her quote above, but I would replace “creative” with the word “successful”.

My awesome wife, Tammy!

We are competing internally. I don’t care how many challenges you join on LoseIt, the battle for weight management is a fight with your own body and mind. The battle for success in the field of podcasting or blogging lies inside you, with your ability to create a quality product and connect with your audience. It does not matter who else is podcasting or how many other blogs exist. Their success will not diminish your potential success. 
True success occurs because you want to become the person that you really are, not by wanting to lose weight faster than your neighbor, or publish more blog posts. If you entered a marathon, would you prefer to define your personal success based on how well you placed compared to the other runners, or based on the percentage of improvement over your last marathon? Why would it be any different here?
Achieving success is more than a number on a scale or download numbers on iTunes. It is being part of a group effort, of working for the common good. My guess is that people who are not interactive here and in the forums are the people who rapidly give up. When we post to each other and respond in the forum, we are all doing what we can to support someone else. We sometimes give them a new idea to try. Sometimes we are the bucket of cold water trying to bring some reality to the situation. But in either case, we are part of a team and looked at from afar, everyone gets better.
Looking back at running for a moment, which is run faster, four people competing in a one mile race or a team of four running the 4×440 relay as a team?  It is the same distance, but the relay will be completed MUCH faster, because each person does their part for the whole team.
The people of “Mad Men” competed externally and internally. They were all afraid of losing business to another firm and they all wanted to be the most productive account executive for personal rewards. They generally succeeded but I just wonder what they could have accomplished if the various departments and people acted as if they were integrated rather than separate units. If everyone were part owner instead of a salaried employee, there would be incentive to make sure you help the person next to you instead of sneak behind them for personal glory.
Make Your Someday Today is all about individual choices and responsibility, but it is also about everyone helping someone else. We all have knowledge and expertise. We all have needs and weaknesses. We can all participate in making others successful, because choirs sing best when many voices are singing the same song.
Personal experience: I would guess that many people reading this know the song “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. My wife and I attended a Billy Joel/Elton John concert back in 1995 at Milwaukee County Stadium with 54,000 people in the stadium. At the end of the concert, in the final curtain call, both singers came out without their bands and backup singers. They sat at their respective pianos for two final songs. The first song they both sang was “Good Bye, Norma Jean”. It was beautiful. And then they both played “Piano Man.” I love that song. I always have and always will. It is a beautiful solo ballad. But to this day, I still get a shiver down my spine when I think of 54,000 people rising to their feet and singing “Piano Man” in unison. I will never hear anything like that again. It wasn’t a planned sing-along. The performers didn’t invite us to serenade them. It was a spontaneous event.
There were good singers in the crowd. There were also singers who sang like me. And I am sure we sang in many different keys. None of that mattered. Our combined voices created a one-of-a-kind choir. The applause afterwards was deafening, because we were applauding ourselves for helping each other be better. There were a few tears, as well, for no apparent reason other than beauty takes many unexpected forms.
We can all do that here. Everyone here can be helped and at the same time be helped. The only saying is that the rising tide raises all boats.  Be part of the tide that raises everyone around you.

(Post-script:  As I sit here proofing this essay, with my iPod on shuffle, “Piano Man” begins to play.)

Accepting Praise for Your Successes

Brian Dunning is from the podcast, and he was the most recent guest on my podcast Make Your Someday Today.

Success will bring recognition. In business, that could be in the form of a pay raise, a bonus, a promotion, or a bigger office. In sports, that could be medals or sponsorships. Those are relatively easy to accept. They are tangible rewards, something that is measurable and comparable to other people.

In weight loss, the recognition is different. People will say things like “Have you lost weight?” or “You are getting so thin” or “You really shouldn’t lose any more weight.” Those can be handled with a simple “Yes”, “Not really” and “My goal is to be healthy”, respectively.

But what do you say to people who give verbal praise? (This can be in any of the above successes.) Peers and family who are unable to give that tangible recognition but are only able to say “You did great on that project” or “You were the fastest in that race” or “You look great!”

Think about those comments. What are your first responses that come to mind. Most likely the response will sound something like “I was just doing my job” or “That’s just because I practiced a lot” or “Oh, I didn’t lose that much!” People tend to be humble when presented with praise. We downplay our successes. We try to not seem boastful.

That is really wrong. In my Booster episode from today (May 8, 2014) I talk about this problem in greater detail. Listen to the entire show for my rationale and a challenge that I am putting out to everyone. You can find the show in iTunes here, in Stitcher (for non-Apple devices) here, and directly from my website here.

Also, I gave a few more shout-outs to reviewers. Do you want to hear your name? Give me a rating and review on iTunes today!

A Success Story! Have You Heard It Yet?

This is a shameless plug for my podcast.

You can easily find MakeYourSomedayToday (in iTunes) or (in Stitcher). If you like what you hear, please leave me a review on one of those sites (or both!) Ratings and reviews serve to demonstrate to each company that my podcast is worth promoting. That is the only way I can grow–if you, my readers and listeners give feedback to iTunes and Stitcher!

I am asking for everyone here to listen to a show or two (or all 10?) and then give me honest ratings and reviews.

The next show that I will promote here is the most recent episode, and it will feature a few unusual foods. If you listened already, you know what I am talking about. I will show pictures and give basic recipes.

By the way, if you want to hear my story, you can find it in MYST Episode 1 at either of the links about or directly from my website.

Have You Listened Yet?

My podcast is now available on iTunes and Stitcher

Have you listened to it yet? If not, please go out to one of those sites (iTunes if you use an iPhone, iPad, or iPod) and Stitcher (if you use an Android phone), subscribe and listen.

I want to grow my audience, but the only way that will happen is if more people can easily find it. And that only happens if I can make–and maintain–an appearance in iTunes New & Noteworthy. New & Noteworthy is only possible for the first eight weeks of a podcast’s life. Just 56 days. And Make Your Someday Today is already 10 days old.

Podcasts are measured by the number of subscriptions, ratings and reviews. Can you be my superhero and save the day for me? 

After you help me by subscribing, rating and reviewing, drop me a line on Twitter and tell me, okay? @TrevorLaRene

The Podcast is Up and Running!

I rarely directly ask for help here, but I AM asking now! I need everyone’s help!

I want to let everyone know that my podcast has launched successfully, with three episodes published, and the fourth to be released on Monday, Apr 14. I have 8 more interviews recorded, edited and scheduled for weekly releases, every Monday. I am recording more people every week to stay ahead of schedule. This podcast will run smoothly, with at least one new episode every week.

Make Your Someday Today is available on iTunes right now. 
I am waiting for acceptance to Stitcher, Windows, and Blackberry. You can also listen to it, or download it directly from my website. To be totally honest, the website is rough, but it works. Now that I have a grip (slippery, but it is a grip) on the podcast, I am going to focus on the web page.
When you listen to the show, please go to the website and leave comments on the show notes. If you download from iTunes (or any of the other sources mentioned) please go back after listening, subscribe to get future episodes automatically and leave me a 5 star review!
A few details:
The podcast is focused on helping you succeed, in any goal. I believe that reaching success requires the same steps whether you are trying to lose 50 pounds, write a book, run a marathon, or get A’s in school. It is an interview-based show (most of the episodes, at least) so you won’t be listening to me for the entire show, but rather others who faced challenges and yet persevered to reach success, and now are returning that success to others. You may know of some of my guests, especially if you already listen to podcasts, but the majority of my guests are going to be people like you and me, who set a goal, worked hard, and achieved success. We will learn their strategies.
Most of the interview shows run about 40 minutes. The non-interview shows run 15-30 minutes. The first episode was rough (in terms of sound quality) but I quickly got better.
  • The first episode is my story, and why I feel that I can help you succeed in your goals.
  • The second episode is about how the podcast will work, and the four key steps in succeeding at anything.
  • The third episode is a podcaster/entrepreneur who had plenty of challenges, and stepped outside his comfort zone to help create success for others around the world.
  • The fourth episode (available Monday, Apr 14) is a major blogger (250K hits a month) and cookbook author, who teaches a common sense way to enjoy life and still lose weight.
  • The fifth (available Monday, Apr 21) is the first LoseIt member. Many LoseIt friends will make an appearance on the podcast over the next 2-3 months.
  • The sixth episode will be a podcaster from Wisconsin who experienced a ton of challenges, and yet rose to become a successful business woman and entrepreneur.
  • The seventh will be a LoseIt member from Canada.
  • The eighth is a science podcaster, with 180K downloads a week.
If you want to know more, you need to subscribe and listen! And if you like what you hear (and so far, everyone is giving me good reviews) PLEASE tell others about the podcast in your preferred social media platform. (And a second reminder to leave a 5 star review on iTunes. That is critical to helping others find me easily in the iTunes directory, because placement is based on reviews.)

Do You Need Motivation? Then Find Your Why!

A powerful question. If you want to achieve something, knowing “how” is important, knowing “what” is important, but knowing “why” is the make-or-break question.
If you currently are working, why are you working? The most likely answer is that someone pays you to do some form of work. If suddenly, the manager of your workplace informed you that beginning tomorrow, no one would get compensated in an way. Everyone would become a volunteer worker. Would you keep working at your current job?
Are you a marathoner? Why? What drives you to run 26.2 miles? Is it because you find enjoyment and fulfill a sense of purpose when you run? Why do you feel fulfilled when you run?
Why do you drive the car you drive? If it is a new car, why are you driving a new car? A ten year old car will get you where you need to go. You drive your specific car because it fills a need, whether it is social need or has capabilities that other cars lack.
If you own a home, why? There are certainly apartments that you could rent or condos to own, but you own a home because it offers something that other buildings don’t
If you are losing weight–or want to lose weight–why?
When you know WHY you need to do something, you will also have your motivation. Webster says that “motive” is “an emotion, desire, physiological need, or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action.” A motive incites action. It isn’t something that you are assigned. It isn’t a societal standard. It isn’t a wish, or hope, or dream, or prayer. All those are passive. A motive must lead to an action, otherwise is a merely a thought.
I read often on LoseIt, “I need to lose X pounds. Please motivate me!” We can’t motivate you. We can inspire you with our personal success. We can suggest courses of action. We can provide encouragement when journey gets rough (and it will get rough.) But we can’t tell you WHY you want/need to lose. If you don’t know why, you have just placed a large obstacle in your path.
Do you need to lose weight for health reasons, like me? Then your motivation is to regain your health. Do you want to lose weight so you can fit into your favorite outfit? Then that dress/suit/whatever is your motivator. Do you want to go on a flight and not need to ask for a seat belt extender again? (That happened to me in 2005. It was bad, but not enough for me to take action.)
Everyone has a WHY. You need to look inside and honestly ask the question “Why am I doing this?” When you have your answer, you have your motivation. 
However, the next question is “Is my reason important enough to make permanent changes?” That special outfit might not be enough of a reason to take action. That too-short seatbelt was an embarrassment, but it didn’t make me change my actions. After all, you can buy a larger suit. You can ask for a seatbelt extender. (I didn’t…but I could have.)
But you can’t take back that stroke. Or heart attack. Or the loss of a toe to diabetes.  You can’t ask for a do-over after the fact because you were too big to play football with your children, or too embarrassed to go on the beach with your family while on a once in a lifetime vacation.

When you know your WHY and when you know your why is so important that nothing else can stand in your way of success, you will achieve success. Until then, you are just dreaming.
I told you my “WHY”. What is your “Why?” Tell us below.