Living Lite

Shot-Gun Dieting: Simple Tips to Lose Weight NOW

January 3, 2013

Factors besides hunger cause you to eat - or overeat. Becoming aware of these factors can help you control your eating more easily, eat foods you love, and ultimately help you control your weight and health. Certain foods, for instance, can actually aid weight loss. Once you incorporate more of these foods into your daily routine, you can begin to lose weight effortlessly.

Classic studies have found that as long as the volume of the food is high, people can feel full with fewer calories. In one study, drinking milkshakes with more air incorporated into them, compared with the same shakes containing less air, caused subjects to eat 12 percent less at the next meal without realizing it. In another study, researchers varied the amount of water in a food eaten as a first course and found similar results. Subjects were  exposed to one of three conditions. They were fed either 1) chicken rice casserole, 2) chicken rice casserole served with a glass of water, or 3) chicken rice soup (the casserole with water). The subjects who ate the soup consumed 26 percent fewer calories at the main course compared to the other conditions, even though each of the three choices contained the same amount of calories.

In another study, the researchers served salads of various sizes and calorie levels before a main course to determine the effect on the calorie intake of the whole meal. They found that people consumed the fewest overall calories—100 calories fewer—when they were served the largest, lowest-calorie salad before a meal.

Vegetables and soups have a naturally high water content (as do fruits). The higher a food’s water content, the higher its volume, but the lower its calorie density.

Researchers surmise that a large food volume caused by water or air, even without added calories, influences satiety - allowing you to eat more food for fewer calories - in a variety of ways. It causes stomach stretching and slows stomach emptying, stimulating the nerves and hormones that signal feelings of fullness. Also, visually seeing a large volume of food can increase your ability to feel satisfied by it. Finally, the larger a meal and the longer a meal goes on, studies show, your satisfaction declines and you lose interest in completing it. Water is the component in food which has the largest influence on how much you eat. These studies show eating a high-water-content, low-calorie first course enhances satiety and reduces calorie intake at the next course. This effect persists over time.

Pump It up

  • To lower the calories and increase the portion size of a favorite recipe, pump up the volume by adding vegetables as often as you can. This way, you can eat your usual portion for fewer calories,
  • Choose fresh fruits over dried fruits or juices. For 100 calories, you could eat 1/4 cup of raisins or two cups of grapes. (You’re more likely to fill up on the grapes),
  • Whip air into your yogurt and fruit snack by pureeing it in a blender with ice and turning it into a smoothie,
  • Try air-popped popcorn (3 cups is only 90 calories) or flaky or puffed cereals,
  • Start lunch or dinner with a bowl of broth-based vegetable soup or a big vegetable salad,
  • Turn main courses into soups or salads by adding broth or vegetables,
  • Try some of Katherine's Diet Simple Batch Soups...

I love soups … Warm … Filling … Comforting … Psychologically Satisfying. What could be better right now than curling up with a hearty, delicious bowl of, say, Butternut Squash Soup with Curry and Ginger, Cauliflower Vichyssoise, and some of my most popular soups found in Diet Simple, such as … Michel Richard's Chicken, Mushroom and Barley Soup, The Border Grill's Mexican Turkey Meatball Soup, Spiced Red Lentil Soup with Mint-Cilantro Raita, Simple Chinese Hot and Sour Soup ...

And it doesn’t hurt that studies show soups make it very easy to lose weight.

Diet Simple Bottom Line: Lose 20 pounds

Start lunch or dinner with a bowl of broth-based vegetable soup OR turn main courses into soups by adding water or broth. Save 200 calories a day! Do this every day and lose twenty pounds in one year… Wasn’t that SIMPLE? And oh…. so painless!

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New Year, New Life! Seize the Moment!

January 1, 2013

What are your hopes, dreams and desires for 2013? The new year is a valuable opportunity to improve the quality of your life and happiness. Here's how to make the best of it...


A Plan For 2013

The new year is an important time to consider the year that has past and to begin moving with purpose into the future. Start by reviewing 2012’s important people, events, places, and ideas. What made you happiest last year? What were your achievements? What were the bumps in the road? What would you like to do more of – or less of – in 2013?

Now, move mindfully across the threshold into 2013 filled with ideas, possibilities and plans! Analyze people who will continue to be important, ideas to explore, places to spend time, important events and things to carry over from last year to this year.


An important aspect to making major changes in the world or in your own personal habits is to feel a sense of urgency about your goal. A sense of urgency, according to The Dalai Lama in "The Art of Happiness" – and scholars in this important field of psychological research, can be achieved two ways:

1) Remind yourself of your positive vision for success. For example, visualize yourself at your goal weight, healthy, feeling energetic and confident (see "Dream" in my best-selling book, Diet Simple), and

2) Ponder the negative consequences of not making a particular behavior change (a little fear can be a good thing – but just a little). For instance, in the morning as you’re considering two options: getting out of bed to exercise or sleeping just a little longer. Ask yourself: "Do I want to feel good today? Or do I want to feel crummy today?" Another example, as you're driving home from work and deciding to grab some carry-out or to go home to eat the healthy meal you've already planned. Ask yourself: “Do I want to achieve my weight loss goal (insert positive vision here) or will I accept being the same weight and having the same health problems for another year?” “Do I want to stop taking these darn medications or will I be taking them forever – and even increasing the dosage? What will my doctor say?” “What kind of example am I setting for my children, my spouse? Is this a behavior I can be proud of?” etc. You get the idea…


Outlining the consequenses of your actions and acting on your long term goals, as opposed to momentary desires, helps you grow as a person and become a happier person, according to scientific research. It increases your general happiness level because you are making decisions which contribute to your long-term goals.


Usually, when we do something that feels good momentarily, such as giving in and staying in bed for 30 more minutes of sleep in the morning instead of exercising, or grabbing a coffee cake at the coffee shop when we originally just planned on buying coffee, our happiness level may increase ("oooh, this feels yummy!") – but it's only a temporary blip of happiness. It goes back to the same level it did before - once the temporary experience wears off – and nothing changes for the better in our lives. We may even become more depressed as we continue to “give-in” to these unfulfilling momentary desires and continue into a downward spiral.


If, instead, we say to ourselves, "I'm getting out of bed NOW! I'll feel terrible if I don't, and I'll never achieve my goals," or “Will stopping to get carry-out change my life for the better? I’d be better off going home and eating something healthy as I want to lose weight, lower my cholesterol, etc,” or “I really don’t need that coffee cake, and I’ll feel terrible after eating it, and will it make me happier at the end of the day?" "Will this increase my happiness for the short term? Or for the long term?" Another more extreme example might be a drug addict relapsing. It feels great momentarily, but the feeling doesn’t last.

When you make a more thoughtful decision, which contributes to your longterm health – physical or psychological – you are more likely to achieve your life’s hopes, dreams and goals, you can actually increase your happiness level, feel happier more often and grow as a person.


It is not always easy in our society to make the healthy decision. It's easier - and the norm, in fact - to be overweight and unhealthy. But, I'm convinced it is possible to be healthy in an unhealthy world with planning, practice, determination, and support (I'm here any time you need me!) - Besides, what's the alternative?  

It takes effort to train your mind to work this way, but this is how we become better people and we advance as a society.



"Forty to 50 percent of American adults will make New Year's resolutions for self improvement. Scientific research indicates you are ten times more likely to change by making a New Year's resolution compared to non-resolvers with the identical goals and comparable motivation to change," says John C. Norcross, PhD, Professor of Psychology, University of Scranton and coauthor of "Changing for Good."


Buy my best-selling book, "Diet Simple" to help you achieve your New Year's Resolutions!

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My Favorite Holiday Recipe

December 18, 2012

The simple pleasures in life always bring me the most joy. I especially love the holidays because it's a time of year I get to spend precious moments with my family and friends. One of my favorite traditions is an annual "girls get-together" with 3 of my favorite girlfriends. We feast on the most fabulous "girl" food, share stories about our lives, and exchange thoughtfully chosen gifts. I'm always asked to bring the "salad," which is really so  much more. This "salad" is a feast for the senses: salty, sweet, tart, crunchy - every texture, flavor and color imaginable. Developed by Persian Chef - and Georgetowner - Najmieh Batmanglij, it is a holiday home-run.


Winter Salad of Orange and Pomegranate
By Najmieh Batmanglij in “Cooking With Les Dames d’Escoffier

4 servings


1 Cup (about 1 large pomegranate) pomegranate seeds
4 to 6 Large Naval Oranges, peeled and cut into section, membrane removed
¼ Cup Finely Chopped Candied Orange Peel (store-bought or home-made)
½ Cup freshly squeezed Orange Juice
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed Lime Juice
1 tsp Orange Blossom Water
8 ounces Sheep’s milk cheese, such as Pecorino Romano OR aged Goat Cheese, cut into shavings with a potato peeler (I  use only 2 ounces)
1/3 Cup Chopped pistachios
Pistachio Oil or light-bodied Extra-Virgin Olive Oil


In a bowl, combine the pomegranate seeds, orange segments, candied orange peel, orange juice, lime juice and orange blossom water. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. To serve, distribute the fruit mixture among 4 plates. Alongside the fruit, place a portion of cheese and top with the chopped pistachios and a light drizzle of oil. Serve immediately.

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