“How do you eat all that and not gain weight?”
I love food. I’m in a passionate love affair with food. The question I get most often is how does a food
crazed enthusiast, chocoholic, ice cream fanatic, wine-loving blogger like me, who is frequently traveling and eating out, not gain a million pounds?
I’ve been reluctant to answer this question in print because I am not an expert. I don’t know what will work for you. Like most (all?) women, I have body issues and a permanent five pounds I want to lose. I don’t always exercise the way I know I should. I don’t always follow my own advice. I won’t sit here and preach about perfection. It doesn’t exist.
I’m not going to tell you “oh, I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight”. Seriously? Metabolism and age play a factor, but c’mon. Who is that blessed?
I’m also not going to tell you that I only take three bites and push the plate away. If you’re able to do that, my hat’s off to you. I, on the other hand, enjoy food too much to have such restraint. Plus, there’s no greater compliment for a chef than a diner truly enjoying the food they’ve meticulously prepared. I like to show the chef respect, a lot!
How do I eat like a food blogger and stay fit?
You will not like my answer.
It is not easy.
It is doable.
1. Keep moving.
Maintaining your weight when you eat amazing restaurant meals that are well above your entire daily caloric requirement requires working out. There’s no way around that. You must keep moving. Think of it this way: the longer you stay still the longer those pounds will stick.
In the words of the wise Taylor Swift “Shake It Off”.
Find an activity you like and stick to it. Boot camp style workouts, running and yoga have worked for me. When I travel or when I can’t do a full workout I use a 7 minute workout app called Lolo7 which is quite fun. There are other similar ones out there.
If you want to eat whatever your heart desires, you have to burn more than you consume. Isn’t indulging in great food worth it?
I often say I run for food.
2. Plan ahead.
When I have an event or restaurant outing, I fill up on lean protein, fruits and veggies for all other meals that day and save the calories for the big meal out. I don’t want to be the one skipping dessert and only eating celery at a party. No one wants to be that person.
It’s all about balance. Some say it’s eating a plant-based diet but I’m not that strict.
Oatmeal, hard-boiled egg, or smoothie, berry parfait and a three bean salad will satisfy during the day.
Then, you indulge on this!
3. Pay attention.
To eat like a food blogger, it’s important to pay attention to the experience and the plate in front of you so you can describe it later. This ultimately slows down your dining experience. Try to identify ingredients, recall fond food memories and savor the flavors in each bite. Mindful, rather than mindless eating will make you feel fuller on less. It will also make your meal more memorable.
How would you describe this deliciously treat?
4. Share or save half.
Most restaurant portions in this country are ridiculously large. If you do nothing else, at least follow this rule: never finish your plate, unless you are eating at Canyon Ranch Resort or similar, where meals are properly portioned.
5. Enjoy every bite without guilt.
This bears repeating. Truly enjoy what you are eating and be picky about quality. So many times I hear someone consume an entire plate and then afterwards say it wasn’t that good but they ate it anyway. Worse yet, it was great and they berate themselves over it.
- First, if you don’t think the food is phenomenal, don’t eat it.
Second, no matter how decadent, never feel guilty about enjoying it.
Third, make the calories count and choose higher quality foods.
Don’t eat a crappy king-size, mass-produced chocolate bar (i.e. the ones at the grocery store check-out line) when you can have a piece of the most delicious chocolate truffle instead. The truffle may cost a bit more at first but the chocolate bar will cost you much more later.
Eating quality foods, prepared with great ingredients will require fewer bites to satisfy you. If you need proof, visit Se7en Bites Bakery in Orlando, where owner Trina Gregory-Propst makes the most sinful baked goods and dishes that only require 7 bites to satisfy.
I only had a small portion of this mini pie and was immediately in heaven. I can’t say the same for most mass-produced baked goods.
My tips are not revolutionary. You’ve probably heard them before. Other food bloggers I know and food critic Mark Bittman have a similar philosophy. That’s because it works for us. Hopefully, it will work for you too.
I am not a nutritionist or a doctor. You need to do what’s right for you. These are the guidelines I try to live by which have allowed me to maintain a healthy lifestyle and still enjoy the foods that bring me joy.
I go through the same pitfalls we all do. I gain weight when I’m not paying attention or when I slack off on my workouts. There are days I’m not as mindful. There are days where all I want is to sit in front of the TV with a big bowl of ice cream for dinner. On those days, I go to tip #5 and enjoy every bite without guilt. I accept the fact my soul needs that nourishment and that I may need to run an extra mile in the morning. This, by the way, I don’t consider punishment. If you do, then find some form of activity that does not. Enjoying food should never be a punishable offense.
Life is too short to be dieting and miserable.
There is joy in thoughtfully prepared food and especially in sharing it with family and friends.
I hope these tips will help you find pleasure in enjoying the foods you love guilt-free, eat like a food blogger and stay fit.
Do you have any tips to keep the weight off? I’d love to hear them. Please share in the comments below.
Cheers to a new year of joyful guilt-free eating!