Posts in Life
Does Binge Eating differ from emotional eating and over eating?

I GET Asked this question quite often, so i wanted to answer it for you Here on my blog. As we navigate our relationship with food and heal any disordered eating tendencies, it’s easy to get caught up in what is “right” versus “wrong.” Truth is there is no black and white answer, or perfect relationship with food. But learning how to differentiate between normal and disordered eating will help you along the way. Because we all should be enjoying our food and creating a safe space for ourselves to have a loving relationship with what and how we eat.

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The answer to this question is simple. YES. There is a difference between the following:

 

1)    Binge eating

2)    Emotional eating

3)    Eating when you are not hungry/past the point of being full.

 

It is important to know the difference and separate them. They can also go together, so it is important to know that too.

 

Binge eating, as many of you know, is damaging to both your physical and mental health. Binge eating is tied directly to the urge (not the emotions) to binge. Bingeing feels out of your control and usually is "emotionless" and results in you "blacking out" and eating to the point of not being able to stop so that you feel sick and physically ill afterwards, often until the next day. Binge eating is often followed by feelings of guilt, shame and sadness which can often continue the cycle of binge eating.

 

Emotional eating can be categorized as normal eating behavior. But it is important to note only if this is separated from and does not lead to a binge. We eat when we are sad, lonely and also when we are happy and feeling joy. It is ok to eat when you are emotional if you are AWARE in the moment and is consistent with present thoughts that might say something like "yes I am aware I am eating because I am emotional, and I can stop when I want to." It is also important to be aware that binge eating is emotionless. When you binge eat, the urge is strong and present but your emotions then fall way during a binge and you are not aware or present. 

 

Eating when you are not hungry or eating past being full can also be categorized as normal eating behaviors. The difference is that you have control over the urge and you can stop if you wanted to. These can also be defined simply as "mindless eating" and not binge eating. We often eat when we are not hungry because we are bored or to fill the time. We can become mindful of this by mentally checking in with ourselves when we are bored, and ask ourselves "Am I hungry, or just bored? What else can I do to fill this space?"

 

Eating past being full can also be categorized as normal eating. When this takes place we are able to identify that we over ate and also listen to and trust our body that it will balance itself out. We aren't able to intuitively listen to our bodies all the time because of well, life and all it's wonderful distractions, and therefore we normally overeat or under eat. When eating past the point of being full or eating when you are not hungry leads to a binge (as explained above), this is when it is categorized as ED behavior.

 

I work with clients on separating these three behaviors and overcoming the binge/restrict cycle. It is important to note that the journey to full recovery is difficult and working with a health coach like me to form new habits with food will be beneficial for your mental, emotional and physical health in the long run.

You can book a consult call with me here. 

Pricing for all my programs is found here.

 


The Best Places for Healthy Food in Australia - Sydney + Melbourne

I AM SHARING my guide to the best healthy restaurants in both Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. My taste buds are still buzzing from all the fresh and delicious food we ate on our trip down under.

David and I made a bonus trip to the Great Barrier Reef and stayed on Hamilton Island between city-hopping, where we ate some of the freshest seafood and most delicious meals. We just returned LAST weekend and I am already missing the pristine beaches, friendly people and amazing food on this beautiful continent! If you have an upcoming trip to Australia, or are just looking for an excuse to book one, here are my not to miss places to eat.

The yogurt and granola bowl from Porch & Parlour in Sydney.

The yogurt and granola bowl from Porch & Parlour in Sydney.

So let’s get down to it in the down unda! First stop was Melbourne. I absolutely loved Melbourne, it’s kind of a mix of Vancouver and San Francisco with a European flair and amazing food. My list of places to eat food was so long, I thought about having 8 meals a day. But for the sake of my stomach, we settled on a few gems which I share below with photos and what I ordered. I am also sharing my list of the places I wanted to go but sadly didn’t have time to make it. We will need to go back!

MELBOURNE

ARCHIE’S
This was our first stop for breakfast and luckily was just down the street from our Airbnb in the warehouse district of Fitzroy. Fell in love with the menu on first glance. Could have ordered everything on it. David got their homemade cashew milk yogurt topped with house made granola. I was extra hungry and went with their avocado toast - sourdough topped with major avo chunks and dukkah with a side of the most amazing smoked salmon I have ever had. Topped with a big squeeze of lemon and I was feeling it. We also both had chai lattes with their housemade cashew milk. So good!

Loved the curbside tables and vibes

Loved the curbside tables and vibes

From Archie’s, check out that sunflower and pumpkin seed dukkah though!

From Archie’s, check out that sunflower and pumpkin seed dukkah though!

CHIN CHIN
So many people recommended this place, and we were so glad we went! The menu was insane and everything was made with the freshest and tastiest ingredients. The only two drawbacks was the noise (the old lady in me likes more quiet restaurants) and the location. Chin Chin is located in the CDB (central business district) which is touristy and nothing special. If you are from San Francisco, think of Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square combined. No thanks! Come here for the food and then walk it off through one of the many surrounding parks instead of the CBD. Back to the food! We ordered the do it yourself veggie wraps, salmon tartare and their pad thai. I also enjoyed a delicious local sour beer and David had a good local kolsch. NAILED IT.

MARION
This gem of a place came highly recommended by our Airbnb host. We went here for dinner on a night with nice weather and sat outside. Al fresco dining at it’s finest. The menu here is made up of mostly small plates which allows you to mix and match to your heart’s desire. The food was amazing and the service was exceptional. When it started to get dark and the temperature dropped, they kindly moved us inside and made a spot for us in the already crowded restaurant for our dessert. Loved that!

VACATION
Came here when craving a green smoothie and David wanted a chai latte. Cutest interior and menu of fancy toasts, smoothies, teas and coffees. Just what we needed.

CHIN CHIN veggie wraps

CHIN CHIN veggie wraps

Marion al fresco dining

Marion al fresco dining

Kale and Date smoothie from Vacation

Kale and Date smoothie from Vacation

OTHER MELBOURNE PLACES TO EAT AND SHOP
Since we ran out of time to go to all the places, here is the rest of my list if you wanted to check these restaurants out too! I also highly recommend shopping in Melbourne. My favorite stores were Assembly which is an Australian version of Everlane, and Bul which has amazing well made basics with an edge.

Burnside - Coffee
South of Johnston - Breakfast
Cibi - Cool Japanese place
Bar Liberty - small plates
Gertrude Street Enoteca - small plates
Madras Bros. - Indian
Ladro - amazing pizza
Shop Ramen - in-house made noodles
Rice Paper Scissors - Vietnamese (highly recommended)
Aka Siro - japanese

Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach

Took a break between Melbourne and Sydney on Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday Islands near the Great Barrier Reef. If you follow me on Instagram (@balancebymolly) you can check out this part of our trip in my story highlights. We stayed at Qualia Resort for David’s birthday and ate lunch daily on their deck looking out on the water. The quinoa salad with roasted carrots, fennel, greens and feta was a staple for us along with the fresh catch of the day.

Qualia Resort Quinoa Salad

Qualia Resort Quinoa Salad

SYDNEY

BILL’S
We only had two nights and one day in Sydney so time was short but our appetite’s were not! Bill’s was so good that we ate here for breakfast and also for dinner. Hey, when it’s good it’s good. They make their own kimchi in house which I added to my avocado toast and eggs (the fluffiest I have ever had!) and their dinner was incredible and a low key and unstuffy environment. Favorite place for sure.

PORCH & PARLOUR
This restaurant was on the other side of Bondi Beach from Bills and such a little gem. I loved the decor, the drinks and delicious food. David got the veggie burger, I took a bite and it was the perfect texture and taste. I heard the green pea pancakes are delightful too.

MOMOFUKO SEIBO
Made a reservation here (I am a big David Chang fan) and then cancelled because we were so tired that night and not that hungry to splurge on a fancy dinner. Back to Bill’s. hahaha.

OTHER SPOTS
We didn’t make it to these but were on my list:
The Nines - Bondi Beach
The Paddington
Yellow
Anason - open-air and waterfront
UMU - Bondi Beach
Lox, Stock and Barrel - Bondi Beach

Breakfast at Bill’s in Bondi Beach with housemade kimchi

Breakfast at Bill’s in Bondi Beach with housemade kimchi

72 Hours in Palm Springs Guide

I get a lot of questions on how to travel healthy and choose/find restaurants when taking a trip or vacation. Therefore I always try to put together a guide for each of the cities I visit.

This time around it was a weekend trip to Palm Springs! My mom retired to, and now lives in Tucson, AZ so we try to link up for girls trips by meeting in the middle. October is the perfect time to visit the desert and surrounding areas of Palm Springs. I equally love Palm Desert, Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley but this post is just about Palm Springs proper. I’ve got the goods on where to eat, relax/sleep and hike. ENJOY!

Museum Trail Hike

Museum Trail Hike

Natures Health Food and Cafe Veggie Wrap

Natures Health Food and Cafe Veggie Wrap

FOOD

Breakfast
We stayed in an Airbnb so brought our own ingredients to make smoothies in the morning. Although the first two lunch places I recommend have great breakfast options and amazing juice and smoothie menus.  If you are craving a croissant, Peninsula Bakery is amazing and everything is baked from scratch with good ingredients. For an incredible sit down and fancy brunch, check out The Holiday House. 

Lunch
Palm Greens Cafe. This place has a menu packed full of nourishing ingredients - whole wheat, quinoa, veggies galore, hummus, free-range chicken, etc. It’s a sit down restaurant but also has prepackaged salad samplers (with their delicious yam salad).

Nature’s Health Food and Cafe. Taking up one side of a health food store, this small cafe packs an extensive menu of vegan food. Skip the fake meats and order one of the big salads, the Azteca Plate or the veggie wrap. The shakes and juices are stellar too. If you have time, browse the store, it’s pricey but has some goods that make great healthy snacks. 

The Barn Kitchen at the Sparrow Lodge. LOVED this place. They host Saturday night dinners outside at a communal table but we were too late on reservations, so we came the next day for lunch. Thank goodness we did, the menu was amazing as was the scenery. Tucked away in the back of the lodge it was a nice respite from the sun and hustle bustle of downtown. Every ingredient is sourced fresh and made in house. We enjoyed the little gem salad with green goddess dressing and chicken plus the hummus which was homemade and delicious. We heard chatter from other patrons that the avocado toast was to die for. We also ordered the fresh baked cookies and they were baked to order! So amazing. Go here!

Gem Salad and Hummus at Barn Kitchen

Gem Salad and Hummus at Barn Kitchen

Barn Kitchen Menu

Barn Kitchen Menu

Dinner
Counter Reformation at the Parker Hotel. A tucked away gem. It’s just a bar with 20 seats, but this Jonathon Adler designed hotel doesn’t skimp on the beautiful touches and atmosphere.

Counter Reformation Menu

Counter Reformation Menu

The best part is that there was no wait at 7pm on a Saturday night, we got a seat right away, and the food and wine menu was KILLER. I enjoyed a glass of white wine that was from an organic winery. The menu consisted of “small bites” although we ordered two and were stuffed. We had the short ribs as well as the prawns that came with a side salad and the most amazing dressing. Everything was absolutely delicious and made with fresh and organic ingredients. 

Azucar. The decor in this place alone is enough to put you in the mood to relax and enjoy good food. The octopus and guacamole then steps it up to another level. There are tables but as you can tell, I prefer to always eat at the bar for easier conversation between two people and a more mellow evening. 

HOTELS

If we didn’t do an Airbnb, I would have stayed in one of these places. I’ve been to the Ace Hotel twice before and will choose between one of these for next time:

The Sparrow Lodge. Expensive on the weekends but deals during the week. This place is build like a lodge in the mountains in the middle of the desert and is done really well. The ground are beautiful, the food is good and the rooms are spacious. I would splurge and stay here. The pool scene was amazing too. 

Arrive Hotel. We stopped here for the coffee for mom (which was the best coffee according to her), and stayed for the scenery. The pool area was beautiful with floaties to choose from for maximum chill, and connected to an indoor/outdoor poolside restaurant with healthy bites. Mom got friendly with the manager who showed us the ground which were lovely too. The price is also moderate if you were looking for a smaller but equally cool option to the Ace. 

Sparrow Lodge

Sparrow Lodge

Arrive Hotel

Arrive Hotel

HIKES

If you aren’t visiting in the summer months between May and September, then the weather allows you to explore the beautiful landscape of the desert on some hikes all within a 10 minute drive of the city center. Here are the ones we did:

Araby Trail: A 4-mile loop with a really scenic mountain trail and views of Bob Hope’s mansion. There was nice easy parking and clear signs marked for the trail. Although we bypassed the actual trail entrance, hiked up the paved street for a little more work on our buns and squeezed through the gate at the top. Not advised, but mom and I like to break the rules ;)

Museum Trail: Accessed via the parking lot right behind the Palm Springs Museum in town. This hike is a 2 mile steep climb right up the side of the mountain to the very top for stunning views of the city. Wear shoes with grips, there are some twist and turns that require holding on to a few rocks. 

Araby Trail and Bob Hope’s Home!

Araby Trail and Bob Hope’s Home!


72 Hours in Washington D.C. - Weekend Guide

I have never been more excited to write a weekend guide for a city. I am absolutely over the moon about Washington D.C. after returning from a weekend trip with friends. It is such an amazing city, with picturesque views everywhere you turn (and I am not talking national monuments), cool neighborhoods that each have their own charm, an eclectic mix of eateries to suit every craving, friendly locals, and a big score for walkability and getting around on a bike. So let's dive in! If you are heading to D.C. for the weekend, here are my recommendations for how to spend it.   

After our bike ride to Georgetown in the crazy heat + humidity, sweaty and happy!

After our bike ride to Georgetown in the crazy heat + humidity, sweaty and happy!

FRIDAY NIGHT

Explore the neighborhood you are staying in by going for a walk and picking a restaurant close by.  I arrived at 7pm, dropped off my bags in Adams Morgan and heading to Tail Up Goat. Highly recommend if you can get a reservation or don't mind waiting an hour or so.  Plenty of other places to explore nearby while you wait. 

SATURDAY

Wake up, grab a green juice nearby at JRINK then find the nearest Capital Bikeshare and grab a bike! We biked from Adams Morgan to Georgetown using the Rockway Creek Parkway. Most of the route was downhill and absolutely a beautiful ride with lots to see along the way. You can head directly to the Georgetown Waterfront Park to walk around and enjoy the sites, or if you didn't grab a green juice beforehand you can grab a massive smoothie bowl at South Block in Georgetown. If you are hungry for more, head to Shouk for lunch. 

After dropping your bikes off and eating to your hearts delight, take the time to wander around Georgetown, hike up the stone steps that were used in the filming of the exorcist to satisfy your inner 80s child (and also to work those buns, hun). Explore the campus, or if shopping is your thing, head over to M Street to get your fix. 

After taking a much needed rest after all that biking, eating and walking it's time for dinner and more exploring.  Head to Blagden Alley and put your name in as early as you can at The Dabney. This place was the best meal I had while in town. If there is a long wait, head to Calico Cat to enjoy their amazing outdoor patio in the meantime.  If you are looking for a place to go post dinner, grab an amazing craft cocktail at The Columbia Room or a tiki drink at Lost and Found

The Wharf and Navy Yard

The Wharf and Navy Yard

Smoothies and Waffles at Fruitive

Smoothies and Waffles at Fruitive

SUNDAY

Sleep in and head to DC Harvest or Sally's Middle Name for brunch along the H Street Corridor.  Afterwards walk up to the Union Market to walk around, explore and ooh and ahhh at all the goodies. 

After making your morning all about food, head over to the National Museum of African American History and make your afternoon all about culture. If the weather is not crazy hot, join the tourists and walk along the National Mall past the Washington Monument and to the Lincoln Memorial. 

In the evening head to Dupont Circle. Plenty of things happening here and a good time to rest your wallets and explore some of the amazing and healthy fast casual restaurants. Pick between CAVA and The Little Beet for a dose of nourishing ingredients without breaking the bank. You could even take to go if you need to head to the airport. 

MONDAY - BONUS DAY!

I was lucky to visit D.C. for the Labor Day Holiday weekend, so we had an extra day to explore. Head to Fruitive for smoothies and the most amazing GF and Vegan waffle you will ever have. Then head over to the Wharf and Navy Yard to walk around and check out the sites. Need a smoothie or matcha latte? Head to Toastique for some healthy goodness. 

If you have extra time (or if you flew in via BWI airport) head up to Annapolis, Maryland.  This historic town has so much freaking charm! Walk around, explore the sites and check out Fox Books to hang on their patio. Do yourself a favor while you are there and grab a lobster roll at Masons Famous Lobster Rolls. They also offer a massive lobster salad. 

The cutest little town of Annapolis

The cutest little town of Annapolis

Lobster Roll Heaven

Lobster Roll Heaven


How to Avoid Airport and Travel Anxiety - PACK LIGHT!

Anxiety and travel is one of the topics I talk about most with my clients. A lot of this is centered around food while traveling, and how to make the right choices. But the other side of anxiety comes with airport travel in general. Getting to the airport on time, getting through security quickly and that awful anxious feeling of whether or not there will be overhead bin space left for your bag. In this post, I am talking how to travel and pack light for any weekend trip to help ease some of your travel anxieties.

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What you see in the picture aboce is my usual go-to luggage for a weekend trip (3 days, 2 nights). It has saved me from the crushing anxiety of finding overhead bin space and also saves me mula on crazy carry on and bag check fees. 

The bag on my shoulder is a regular Long Champ bag, but I have used other large purses as well measuring 12-14 inches by 18-20 inches. For a recent weekend in LA I brought with me: 2 pairs of pants, one jacket, tennis shoes, slides, 1 pair of yoga pants, 2 sports bras, 1 long sleeve shirt, 3 short sleeve shirts, 1 dressy shirt, 1 tank top, sunglasses, sandals, 1 small purse, toiletries, underwear and socks. On the agenda for the weekend was hiking, yoga, one fancy dinner, casual lunches, walking around and chilling. 

I’ve done weekends in Seattle, Vegas, Portland and even Thailand for 10 days with the same bag (I know, I’m insane but bathing suits and shorts don’t take up too much space!).

So here are my tips. 

1.    Pick a jacket that will go with every outfit that is a neutral color. I packed this Aritzia jacket for my LA trip and wore it on the plane. 

2.    Pants - bring one pair of jeans and one dressier pair or a jumpsuit. I wear my jeans on the plane. I love traveling with a black jumpsuit for its versatility from day to evening.

3.    Activewear - I’m usually fitting in hikes and yoga sessions in my weekend trips. For this I always pack my black yoga pants and two sports bras. I roll these and tuck into any gaps in my shoulder bag. 

4.    Shoes - if you are packing tennis shoes these will take up the majority of your bag without being able to fit other bulky shoes. In this instance, you can wear an easy pair of slides like I have pictured here from madewell (great for day to night with cropped black pants or jumpsuit). Or you can wear your leggings and tennis shoes on the plane and pack your slides plus a pair of heels as well! Sandals are easy to tuck flat in your bag. 

5.    Toiletries - this is key. I bring a small bag that fits deodorant, face moisturizer, toothpaste, toothbrush, mascara, tinted moisturizer, concealer, blush and lipstick. I don’t pack shampoo, conditioner, lotion or body wash. For these items I rely on hotels to provide or friends who I’m staying with.

6.    Buy a cute laptop case (mine is from Society 6) and slide your wallet, phone, headphones and book in there too as your “carry-on” purse. 
 

There you have it! I get a lot of versatility with the mix of items I have listed above. Also, for going up and down escalators to get to terminals in a hurry, you don't have to stand with your luggage, you can walk past every one and up the escalator quickly to get to any connecting flights. Bonus! I will also note that any cold weather travel is much harder with only a large shoulder bag and for these weekend trips I pack more or wear one big jacket onto the plane, layering is key! ;)  Happy traveling for all your fun summer trips!


How I Eat is None of Your Business

It took me a long time to be able to say this out loud. Every time I would sit down to a lunch, a dinner or go to a happy hour I would get the same questions.  How come you are not drinking? Why do you always have to make your order so confusing? Well, aren’t you a picky eater?! Why won’t you just eat what we are all eating? Maybe this all sounds familiar…

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At first, the people pleaser in me always wanted to provide an answer. To make them feel more comfortable about my food choices. I would get asked a lot by my old work colleagues if I was pregnant when I didn’t drink at events. (Totally inappropriate to be asked of a woman by her male colleagues, by the way.) Sometimes I would secretly ask the bartender to put my seltzer water in a cocktail glass with a lime so I could appear to fit in and to steer clear of the inevitable questions or side comments.

Food was a whole different issue. My ex-husband would always apologize on my behalf to the waiter or waitress at restaurants when I would ask for dishes to be prepared a certain way (yup, really. Emphasis on the EX). For catered lunches at work I would bring my own food to large meetings, which would lead to comments like “are you too good for the food we ordered?”  On most occasions, I felt like I had to just eat the dang sandwiches that were full of processed ingredients, and maybe feeling shitty for the rest of the day was worth it to dodge bullets from colleagues.

With friends, it was even more difficult. I switched to eating whole foods free of processed ingredients and cut back on my drinking big time at the age of 24 after suffering major health trauma. I was living a lifestyle of binge drinking, late night Frito Pies and microwave burritos. At one point, I was even convinced that I wanted to be a party promoter. So, imagine telling your party and booze loving friends that you aren’t drinking as much anymore and prefer to now make your burritos from scratch with brown rice and veggies on a sprouted wheat wrap. I got a lot of blank stares and went through a period of total isolation.

What I wish I would have said to many people from my past, and what I practice now, is that how I choose to eat is really none of your business.

And I don’t mean that literally. I am obviously making everything that I eat your business because I post about it almost daily on Instagram. What I do mean, is why I make the decision to eat the way I do is not your business. I don’t need to provide an explanation for why I choose to base my diet on whole and real food. I don’t need to justify why I don’t eat certain ingredients or why I ask so many questions about what’s on the menu when I go out to eat.

Let’s face it.  FOOD IS PERSONAL.  There is no getting around it.

Vegan. Vegetarian. Gluten-Free. Soy-Free. Dairy-Free. Paleo. Low-Carb. Keto. Clean Eating. Plant-based. We have spent decades placing labels on certain diets. And as more and more people develop food allergies, intolerances and digestive disorders we have to continually adjust the way we eat, cook and order at restaurants.  Recent studies point to the rise of C-section birth, use of antibiotics and overly sterile environments – all of which negatively affect our microbiome and our body’s defenses.

Then there are those like me who also eat for good health. Eating whole foods and real ingredients makes me feel alive, gives me more energy, balances my hormones and, more for purposes of vanity, has provided clear skin and a weight that has never fluctuated over a few pounds in the past 10 years.

Putting a label on the way that you eat inevitably leads to stress, anxiety, guilt and shame from being put in a box and feeling like you cannot step outside of it. It can also make you less accepting of others who choose to eat differently than you.  We forget that just as we made a choice to eat a certain way, so have others, and we should mutually respect that. Vegans attacking those that choose to eat animal products. People who label themselves “clean” eaters, therefore creating a certain stigma that eating any other way is “dirty.” We have all been guilty at one point of being judgmental of others food choices, while also feeling judged by others.

As young females, you are considered “cool” if you can eat a whole box of donuts, take down an entire pizza or drink a six pack of beer while still maintaining a thin waistline. It has become celebrated how shitty we can eat while still fitting the mold of magazine cover models.  I call bullshit on this. 

As a child of the 80s I had access to packaged and processed food out of convenience for my parents who both worked full-time jobs.  They did their very best to provide me with healthy lunches, but as a young kid it pained me to see my friends eating pizza at school while I ate my homemade sandwich and carrot sticks. Growing up, food was even a way of fitting in. It was everyone’s business at lunch hour to know exactly what was in your lunch box.

I have clients of mine who struggle every single day with making healthy choices that work for them.  Or even wanting to eat a pizza or cookies without fear of judgement. Not because they are unsure of a healthy lifestyle, but because they are unsure of reactions from others. How to balance eating what is right for them versus a fear of what other people may think of them.

So how do we move away from food and diet stigmas? Away from labels and judgements? To be able to eat what we want that works for our body, and for that to be celebrated and supported by others. In my opinion, the further we move away from and stop using food labels, the sooner we can all accept each other’s choices. Because really, how we eat and why we choose to eat the way we do is no one’s business but our own.