Image for post
Image for post
Courtesy of Artem Labunsky on Unsplash

Ever feel like you can manage your hunger just fine during the day, but then get ravenous for everything in your fridge at night?

I used to grab some salted nuts and iced tea at three o’clock every day before I picked my kids up from school. It was a way to gear up for mom-time. Then I eased into cooking dinner at five-thirty with a glass of wine and some popcorn. At supper time I served myself a hefty portion, then later rooted around in the freezer for ice cream.

I am a trained chef and lifelong foodie, and eating was my comfort. I struggled with portion control, and night time was the hardest. …


Image for post
Image for post
Courtesy of Mike Mayer from Unsplash

I was born a food-lover. Meals were the highlight of my day. My Italian father cared deeply about eating well, and my mother diligently prepared home-cooked meals worth savoring. As I grew older I developed a discerning palate. I relished the opportunity to dine out and discover new flavors.

My passion for delicious ingredients and fine dining was insatiable. After college, I abandoned a graduate program to pursue my dream of attending culinary school. To eat well, I needed to refine my culinary prowess. This evolved into a career as a private chef. …


Image for post
Image for post
Courtesy of Eugenia Maximova from Unsplash

One of the stumbling blocks to weight loss is food gossip. Ever heard of this? It’s when you eat behind your own back and justify it with dishonest self-talk.

Don’t think that sounds like you?

What about making a plan to just eat salad for lunch, and then someone brings donuts into the office and you just can’t resist them? Or deciding to restart your diet on Monday, then seeing that last piece of pizza from the weekend staring you in the face?

But the donuts are free. And the pizza will go to waste if I throw it away.

You start arguing against those good intentions to lose weight. You talk yourself into abandoning your diet. …


Image for post
Image for post
Courtesy of Malvestida Magazine

Each of us has the same 24 hours in a day. But it’s so easy to say “I don’t have enough time.” The question is not, “how much time do you really have?”

We already know the answer.

Instead, how are you spending your time? The actions you take everyday generate the results you get.

When I started to lose weight, I suddenly had more available time.

How long does it take each day to plan daily meals that fuel your body?

5 minutes.

How long does it take each day to prepare 2–3 simple meals?

1 hour.

How long does it take to eat one regular portion meal? …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash

There is a place we often resist going. We do anything in our power to distract, avoid, hide or numb ourselves from staying there. It is the space between the past and the future, and it is called now.

To find relief during a crisis, like the coronavirus, one of the best things we can tune into is the present moment. The experience of what we have in the here and now. Usually, the reality of life as it unfolds before us is not nearly as bad as we project it to be in the future.

Most of us are healthy, well-fed and in comfortable homes. We are surviving, at least physically. The trouble starts when mentally we spend our time someplace else. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

When a crisis hits, instinct sends us to the store to stock up. Water? Check. Ice cream? Check. Frozen lasagna? Check. Better make that double of everything, just in case. We stock our pantry, the fridge, the freezer, and the back-up chest in the garage. There is enough food for days, weeks even, in the event that, what, a nuclear bomb hits? A snowstorm traps us indefinitely inside the four walls of our home, or the coronavirus threatens to keep us quarantined indefinitely?

We react irrationally, thinking this behavior will protect us, hoping we can stay safe. Then we come home and panic because we feel out of control. It is a field day for the primitive part of our brain that functions in survival mode. It does whatever it can to try and keep us safe, to make things comfortable, to help us feel better in the moment. With the world around us in chaos, the primitive brain does not have to look far to find relief. …


de·sire

/dəˈzī(ə)r/

noun

a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes

Desire is finite. We only have so much on any given day. It can motivate us towards our life’s purpose or lead us into a persistent cycle of self-soothing. For forty years I burned through my desire pursuing the next best thing to eat. It was my life’s work until my body could no longer sustain it.

Now I am a weight loss coach, but I used to be an executive chef. From a very young age, food was my best friend.

I grew up in a family where food was the center of attention. My Italian father often finished breakfast by asking “what’s for dinner?” and my mother spent a good portion of the day procuring the best ingredients to cook with. I hovered on the outskirts of the kitchen absorbing the scent of onions, garlic and tomatoes wafting from a pan and learning to set the table each night with crushed red pepper, Tellicherry peppercorns, and Parmigiana-Reggiano stamped in black print along the rind. My father used these ingredients religiously to season plates placed before him. …


Image for post
Image for post

There is a quickening. It feels fast. My heart races, and the thoughts swirl. I cannot pinpoint where it comes from. I just know it is urgent. I need to act right away.

It is Friday night and the accumulation of a week’s worth of stress feels heavy. Traffic, a last minute meeting, the parent who flipped me off in the carpool line, a note from my son’s teacher, and the back-handed comment from my mother. Now I have a moment to myself, and I need some relief.

The urge comes on suddenly, and I know what it demands.

A bowl of ice cream. There is a $10 jar of Belgian chocolate hot fudge in the fridge. The good stuff I splurged on last week at the store. I know where the pint of sea salt caramel Talenti is stashed, too. Same place I left it a few days ago. In the back of the freezer door under the bag of peas. Where my husband would not find it. …


Image for post
Image for post

It starts with an olive.

I use two fingers to hook a pale green Castelvetrano from its briny pool out of the jar in my fridge and pop it in my mouth. It is 5 o’clock, and I have a half-hour to prep dinner. My three boys are momentarily subdued by screens and the weight of the day hits me. It is time to unwind.

The olive is salty and toothsome and immediately takes the edge off while I get to work steaming broccoli and defrosting chicken. I reach for two more. But what’s an olive without a glass of Sauvignon Blanc? …


Image for post
Image for post

Recently the head chef of an acclaimed restaurant in Manchester, Vermont died suddenly. Henry Bronson ran the Wine Spectator award-winning Bistro Henry for 26 years before his life ended. A few weeks prior, the claimed Los Angeles chef Joe Miller died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest. Miller’s restaurant, Joe’s, earned a Michelin star in 2007.

Both men made it their life’s work to create the perfect bite. Their meals were not simply food on a plate, but sensory experiences that elevated basic ingredients into works of art.

It is the difference between culinary arts and domestic cooking, and it comes with a high price. …

About

Molly Zemek

I am a weight loss coach for food-lovers who want to lose weight permanently and still enjoy the food they love. You can learn more at www.mollyzemek.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store