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Loving food and staying slim


jgm
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The newest issue of Bon Appetit has an article by Melissa Clark, and how she keeps her weight down even though she works as a food writer and recipe developer.

In a nutshell, it's all about portion control and exercising. And evidently she eats food that always tastes so wonderful, even a small portion satisfies her.

Must be nice.

We who have weight problems potentially have about a million excuses for eating what we do. That's certainly true of me.

But where she works around wonderful food everyday, I'm sitting at a desk, often getting hungrier by the minute, and by the time I can get away for lunch, I'm starving. I try to bring my lunch, but don't always have time, or things don't work out as I'd planned. Sometimes I end up at a local sandwich shop; sometimes it's with fast food. Not satisfying in flavor, so as we all know, we make up for that with volume. Truly, there aren't really good meals, at a reasonably-affordable price, within reach on my lunch hour.

I hang out with people who think Pizza Hut makes pretty damn good pizza, not those who dine on "foie gras terrines, braised lamb shanks, or desserts with names like Molten Chocolate Nirvana." In short, although I could put more effort into making better tasting, more nutritious meals, there's also a limit to what I can do. I suspect that's true of many of us.

Melissa is right, that high-quality, well-prepared foods are often quite satisfying in small portions. That's the goal, for me. I'd be interested in what fellow food-lovers have to say about how they make that happen, and whether they can as much as they'd like. What are your realities? How do you deal with your challenges?

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I only started to put on weight once I started my journey in learning about making desserts and breads. It's hard to halve recipes for cakes and the more scientific baking at my stage so we end up with a whole giant cake for the two of us. My neighbour has even started gaining weight since we moved here - haha. That's a good sign I guess. I will definitely have to learn the portion control method and have people round more for experiments.

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I work at a dinner theatre with a 120 item buffet available to me at least once a day, usually twice. When I first started working there, I gained 30 pounds in 6 months. Part of that was due to my first desk job and quiting smoking, but most of it was, you guessed it, over eating.

I find what's been working for me now is just to eat when I'm hungry and stop as soon as I feel satisfied. I don't bother thinking about meal times anymore for the most part. If I am hungry, I eat and if I am not, I don't. Sounds simple, but it's so hard to get started on. I got so brainwashed into thinking, "lunchtime, gotta eat".

The only way I can make this work for me is keeping snacks in my office too, either from the buffet or that I've brought in. Now that I've shrunk my stomach down, it's been easier. A full meal actually feels like too much.

I just hope I can keep doing it this way... I feel better!

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The desk drawer challenge is one for me. I try to have ready made meals in the freezer (that I have made not bought) ... either leftover curries and rice or soups or even baked pasta. I often have just a tin of baked beans and some toast for lunch with fruit. I also find a little planning can result in really good lunches. (as in ones that make your colleagues envious)

I was recently the butt of the joke at a work function where someone asked how I don't put on weight with all the chocolate I eat, the only answer I had was that I stop when I'm full. It was such a hard thing to learn how to do, but I am so much happier for learning it. I don't eat that much chocolate, but I do always have it on hand. I do exercise too, but not nearly as much as I should.

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The newest issue of Bon Appetit has an article by Melissa Clark, and how she keeps her weight down even though she works as a food writer and recipe developer.

In a nutshell, it's all about portion control and exercising.  And evidently she eats food that always tastes so wonderful, even a small portion satisfies her.

Must be nice.

We who have weight problems potentially have about a million excuses for eating what we do.  That's certainly true of me.

But where she works around wonderful food everyday, I'm sitting at a desk, often getting hungrier by the minute, and by the time I can get away for lunch, I'm starving.  I try to bring my lunch, but don't always have time, or things don't work out as I'd planned.  Sometimes I end up at a local sandwich shop; sometimes it's with fast food.  Not satisfying in flavor, so as we all know, we make up for that with volume.  Truly, there aren't really good meals, at a reasonably-affordable price, within reach on my lunch hour.

I hang out with people who think Pizza Hut makes pretty damn good pizza, not those who dine on "foie gras terrines, braised lamb shanks, or desserts with names like Molten Chocolate Nirvana."  In short, although I could put more effort into making better tasting, more nutritious meals, there's also a limit to what I can do.  I suspect that's true of many of us.

Melissa is right, that high-quality, well-prepared foods are often quite satisfying in small portions.  That's the goal, for me.  I'd be interested in what fellow food-lovers have to say about how they make that happen, and whether they can as much as they'd like.  What are your realities?  How do you deal with your challenges?

I read that and thought "oh wow...big news :cool: ". Although, I suppose you might wonder how they do it being food writers and HAVING to eat great food on a regular basis.

The way to do it is to try not to allow yourself to get too hungry. That's when most problems with overeating occur. We make the wrong choices b/c it's either fast/easy/convenient and we're STARVING and must have something RIGHT NOW; we eat more of it than we really need or want to b/c we're so hungry and eat so quickly, that your stomach and brain are in a total disconnect.

I know it is such a tiresome ode at this point, but breakfast is REALLY important. I hesitate to even go into it here, for fear of sounding patronizing or redundant, but maybe there really are a lot of people who don't know or just don't believe.

Breakfast gets your metabolism going first thing in the morning. So have SOMETHING.....preferably something healthy. For me, it's usually scrambled egg whites (protein), sometimes mixed with a little low fat cheese (what's that cheese stuff that comes in the little triangles?...that stuff) for a fat and a slice of whole grain toast (carbohydrates).

Or, get some high quality protein powder and make a smoothie with frozen fruits, some low fat or nonfat yogurt and some flax seed oil.

You should be eating 6 meals a day..."meal" meaning 3 regular meals and a small snack in between. Which would equate to a handful of dry roasted almonds and raisins; an apple and a piece of cheese, or any fruit; half a bagel with low fat cheese....you get my drift. And for regular meals, choose a lean protein, lots of sauteed (without butter) or steamed veggies, fruits, and maybe a baked yam or a big salad.

If you get used to this (it takes preparation b/c you need to make sure you've got those in between meals ready in portion sized packs, and you need to grocery shop ahead of time so that you've always got what you need instead of relying on will power to not eat those last 6 Oreos for dinner b/c it's too much trouble to go to the store for some fish or chicken), it truly becomes second nature.

I'm not saying to throw out everything you love. You just need to take some control back. I know if it's there, it's tempting, but if you're really not hungry, you won't be AS tempted to eat it.

And when you eat this way (I call it "clean eating"), you can enjoy the indulgences every now and then b/c nothing is really that bad for you in moderation.

I keep boneless, skinless chicken breasts, frozen shrimp and sole on hand all the time. I marinate and grill several chicken breasts at a time and then I have them already cooked for when I'm STARVING and can either eat them plain or in a salad. And I'm sure you know, there's a bazillion ways to cook chicken!

And of course, exercise is key. All you have to do is walk. Of course, I could come up with a bazillion ways to exercise too, LOL.

Good luck to you; it's never easy when you first get started, old habits are hard to break, but they can be changed!

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I just lost 30 pounds on my diet (if you see the links in my signature you'll know why I had to do this) and I hope to do another 20-30 more.

Certainly part of it for me was eating smaller quantities and less frequently, and much less fattening things than I had been eating. And after an initial week of climbing the wall, I've found that I actually can eat amounts like a "normal person" eats.

At dinner, though, I like a substantial meal to end my day, so I've taken to eating extremely large salads dressed with just a squeeze of fresh orange, and some protein. Certainly compared to what I ate that got my to my highest weight, the calories in a humongous plate of mixed greens with cucumber, and radish, and lots of other fresh veggies tossed in is in itself a drastic reduction in calories. And I have a very sensible "normal person's" amount of protein on the side - some cold steamed cocktail shrimp, or some slices from a rotisserie chicken.

(And I am excercising - I ride a stationary recumbent bike for 30-40 minutes vigorously every day, something I can always do as I bought a cheap, but perfectly good one on Amazon.)

But to answer the question of portion control, I have no problem getting through the day with a half a cup of fat-free yogurt in the morning, and a very tiny lunch - a sushi roll does me just fine. But at dinner, I like a little extra food, so I go for the salad. Or, if I"m broiling fish plain and squeezing lemon over it, I don't hesitate to eat an additional 6 or 8 ounces if I want to - compared to the rib steak slather in butter that I'd be eating instead, 6 ounces of plain broiled fish won't do any damage.

At the 25 pound mark I went on vacation for 10 days and just had to eat sensibly in restaurants and ask them to hold the gratuitous butter and oils, and though I didn't lose any weight those days, I didn't gain any either.

So that's what works for me.

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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She also has a book called "The Skinny" in which she and a friend talk at more extensive lengths about the topic. I dislike her food writing style and found I had the same problem with the book, though I think it talked about really interesting things--changing the way you think about food so as to enjoy the small bites as much as the big and the such.

It's less of a diet book and more of discussion, but it does make some good points. My mother really enjoyed it and read it in tandem with a lot of other work she did, which altogether resulted in the loss of nearly 50 pounds over 3 years.

Gnomey

The GastroGnome

(The adventures of a Gnome who does not sit idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages)

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I think that unemployment might be a huge reason I've lost 20 pounds in ten months without trying, or even wanting to. No stretch of mid-morning or mid-afternoon trips tp the junk machine, because of boredom. No trays of brownies or bagels No fast food lunches. But it comes down to an hilariously few tips:

1) If you're buying a fast food burger or sandwich, never order fries. They're not worth it. If you're in Quebec or Belgium, order the fries and skip lunch.

2) This is hard, but if you don't work construction and if you're over forty, cut your intake in half. Easier than you'd think, actually. Think of the protein portion as the size of a bar of soap.

3) If you bake, as I do, cut the cake or pie or cinnamon buns in half right away and give them to your neighbor. They'll watch your cats forever.

4) Eat what you want to eat and don't eat what you don't want to eat. Ever.

5)Never eat when you're not hungry. Eat whatever you like when you are. Never feel that you can't eat what you want to eat. Be so happy with your food.

6) Edited to add:eat breakfast, even if it's just a bowl of Special K.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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There is a lot of wisdom above!

Brian Wansink's book, "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think" the book! is an enjoyable read with many insights.

Here are my Four Be's:

BE ACTIVE -- Cardio exercise will give you energy, as well as burn calories. If you don't have a NordicTrack or treadmill, get some exercise DVDs, or dance to fast music for at least 30 minutes per day. Wear a step counter and aim for 10K/ about 4 miles per day. Walk or bike instead of driving or taking public transportation when you can.

BE PARTICULAR -- All food is not worth eating! Stop after 2 bites and ask yourself if this item is really "worth the calories" involved. Share your baking and cooking with others. Don't hesitate to throw food away. Be careful to buy delicious healthy food, not 'questionable' items that you have little power to resist.

BE ATTENTIVE -- Eat only when you are truly hungry, not when you are thirsty, sad, tired, bored, etc. Pay attention to and enjoy every bite; don't read, drive, watch television or otherwise divert yourself. Write down *everything* you consume in a notebook. STOP EATING when you are 70 to 80 percent full.

BE POSITIVE -- Remember that you are worth the effort, and that you can do it!

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While I think all of this sounds excellent, maybe what I'm really asking is "what do you do when your plans fall through?"

Today is a good example. Got to work just fine. Went back to car to run an errand, and the battery is dead. There are two restaurants within reasonable walking distance, for lunch. Either has fairly decent food.

But just suppose, for the sake of argument, that at said restaurant today, I bite into the sandwich, and it's okay but not at all wonderful? The practical aspect of the situation is this: I can't go anywhere else, and even if I could, I can't afford two lunches today. I can't go hungry all afternoon; my blood sugar will dump me and I'll be extremely crabby and feel like s***. So I'll gulp down something really unsatisfying, or try to find a machine for something (hopefully not too awful) to just fill me up.

No, my car doesn't break down every day. But there are plenty of days when we have an urgent situation at work and I can't take an entire lunch hour - I have to eat something quickly and get back to work. If I've brought lunch, great. There are also days when I fix lunch and go off and leave it. (Much to the dog's delight!) Long story short: it's fast food or nothing on those days.

Or I'll get home from work with a massive headache and not feel like cooking as planned. Or something else will come up that interrupts the plans.

This really is my biggest diet hurdle. Lack of time and energy to plan as completely as I'd like, combined with having to change plans at the last minute. There are no grocery stores near work, or I'd just go get some fruit.

The outlook for much improvement isn't good, considering some new activities in my life that will make the next 6 months very hectic, in addition to two very sick parents that make things pretty uncertain. This could last for a few more months or a few more years. Life is like this for me a lot, though. I've conquered a lot of my other challenges to eating well, but these remain.

Suggestions are welcome.

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This is a subject near and dear to me. I lost over 60 pounds five years ago on weight watchers. Unfortunately, in the last five years I have put half of it back on - mostly in the last year,and mostly because of not exercising. Now I am trying to work my way back to my goal weight. My methods (and everyone has different motivators):

1. Track everything: Basically the same principle as WW. There are tons of different programs out there that make this a convenient thing to do on the computer, especially since many of us spend a significant portionof our day planted in front of one. I use Sparkpeople.com.

2. Move: I hate exercise. But, If I exercise I can eat more. Hence, I exercise. And by exercise, I mean more than just going for a stroll. You need to increase your heart rate, and you need to do at least some light weights. It makes a world of difference. My target calories w/o exercise: 1200 per day, with exercise: 1500-1600 per day

3. Plan ahead (if at all possible): I look at it like a game. I plan as much of my eating day as possible, and then have an idea of where I can be spontaneous. After a little while, you get a feel for how many calories something will be.

4. Eat what you want: I make my own ice cream. I don't cook low-fat. But I also will eat a dinner of popcorn & frozen grapes if that is what I am craving. For me, I like routine for breakfast, but everything else depends upon my mood.

5. Don't feel too guilty when you do over-indulge: This is the one I have a hard time with. Not because I do feel guilty, but because I don't! I over-indulge a lot more than I should and it slows down my progress - but I recognize it and just try to keep it in mind - which is more important to me today, the indulgence or the progress.

6. Have a goal: Mine is to run a marathon next October. At the moment I can barely run a 5k. I will get there though.

Like I said, this is what works for me. For my best friend, journalling everything she eats is a pain in the butt. I also don't have a family / sig other that is expecting me to provide meals for them which makes doing what I feel like even easier. But, it is essentially about paying attention to what you eat.

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But there are plenty of days when we have an urgent situation at work and I can't take an entire lunch hour - I have to eat something quickly and get back to work.  If I've brought lunch, great.  There are also days when I fix lunch and go off and leave it.  (Much to the dog's delight!)  Long story short:  it's fast food or nothing on those days.

:wink: When you fix your lunch, put YOUR KEYS in the bag/lunch box. (Sorry, dog!) :wink:

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When I first started meeting other food writers I was surprised to see that so many of the women in the business are so lithe. When I see Melissa Clark (or Amanda Hesser, or Dana Cowin, or I could go on and on) standing around at an event looking slender and gorgeous, I become even more convinced that metabolism as determined largely by genetics is the only secret involved here.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Having worked as a food magazine editor some 30 years ago, I recall many tasting sessions that could have sabotaged the waistline. But then, as now, my decision of how much to eat had everything to do with the quality of the product. I still opt to bank my calories for something delicious, or will drink only one glass of very good wine instead of several so-so ones. On those life-altering events, when I eat more and gain weight because of stress, grief, etc., I have implemented what, at least for me, has been the best weight-loss program: I never buy a larger size to accomodate the expansion. When my clothes become uncomfortable, I resolve to lose the weight. It has worked for the past 30 years and I am still wearing the same size.

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I never buy a larger size to accomodate the expansion.  When my clothes become uncomfortable, I resolve to lose the weight.  It has worked for the past 30 years and I am still wearing the same size.

Ah, the jeans test! I came to this method way too late in life, when I found I couldn't afford to buy new clothes. I don't aspire to Amanda's sylphiness, thank God, but I remember my sainted mother's instructions: "If your shoulders are wider than your hips and your boobs stick out farther than your gut, you're OK." I'm resigned to never being a slim sprite -- medium-sized is my genetic profile.

Seriously, now -- forgive yourself a "bad" day. Tomorrow you'll do better.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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When I first started meeting other food writers I was surprised to see that so many of the women in the business are so lithe. When I see Melissa Clark (or Amanda Hesser, or Dana Cowin, or I could go on and on) standing around at an event looking slender and gorgeous, I become even more convinced that metabolism as determined largely by genetics is the only secret involved here.

definately, totally, completely, agree with you, Steve!

.....i'm not naturally slim, in fact, with the exception of rather nice shoulders from swimming, i don't think i even have bones, let alone great bone structure and a slender contenance.....ie, it doesn't come naturally to me.

i'll never look like one of those slinky gals. but over the last two years i have lost the equivilent of almost one whole marlena.

no diet. absolutely no diet. i'm making up the rules as i go along, and in a funny way having a good time of it, that is,when i'm not having a crazy hard time. i'm swimming against the current, metabolism-wise, and yet i'm finding it fun.

my thing is this: no bad food. ever. spit it out.

and also this: i don't have to be good all the time. and its not a moral issue.

and i love to eat so totally much and so totally blissfully, and my new way of eating is simply a way of doing that.

the weight loss, about 150 lbs worth, is merely a side effect.

and i excercise a lot.

my most fun get together with friends (or with myself)? a swim and lunch (chinese, ethnic restos, french, japanese, someplace really wonderful only. banh mi (i eat half, take the second half home or split one with a friend, in other words, any sandwich: half, pizza lunch: one piece plus a big salad, basically its half rations for marlena). or a long new york walk (i did 147 blocks a few weeks ago) and breakfast (pain quotidien, boiled egg (one) and their fabulous bread (one piece)). in other words, fun fun fun, and fabulous food. and i never eat as much as i want. but thats okay cause i'll get to eat something else delicious as soon as i'm hungry. and have excercised some more.

and cucumbers. i'm addicted to cucumbers as a snack. but then, i love them so much i'd eat them even if they were more fattening than chocolate cake! but if i want a planet dought coconut donut, and sometimes i do, i'll eat a sliver. i'll eat a nubbin of jelabie. i'll eat half a platter of choucroute in france, but sorry: if its foie gras, i'm in for the whole serving.

point is that i'm actually enjoying this whole thing. i love sharing when possible too, makes me feel close to the people i'm eating with. and even if i never--and i won't because its not my natural stature-- become slender and glamourously boney. i'm okay.

xoxox marlena, or more accurately, half of the former marlena

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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For me exercise is one of the biggest factors, and I have found if my only TV in the house is in front of the treadmill it actually make me excited to work out so I can catch up on all the shows I like to watch. It is rather amusing that I use to hate to get on that thing now I actively plan for it so I can watch the show that everyone has been talking about.

The only other thing for me is taking my lunch to work every day... I know it is not easy, but I getting a nice sandwich with fresh tomato and meat instead of a crappy fast food burger is well worth it, plus it saves me money which is always a nice plus.

I also have a really bad sweet tooth and have found that keeping small squares of good chocloate in the house can satisfy those cravings without indulging in to many calories.

Jonathan

Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.

Aristophanes

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I never buy a larger size to accomodate the expansion.  When my clothes become uncomfortable, I resolve to lose the weight.  It has worked for the past 30 years and I am still wearing the same size.

Ah, the jeans test! I came to this method way too late in life, when I found I couldn't afford to buy new clothes. I don't aspire to Amanda's sylphiness, thank God, but I remember my sainted mother's instructions: "If your shoulders are wider than your hips and your boobs stick out farther than your gut, you're OK." I'm resigned to never being a slim sprite -- medium-sized is my genetic profile.

Seriously, now -- forgive yourself a "bad" day. Tomorrow you'll do better.

I like your mother :smile:

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  • 9 months later...

bumping somewhat enthusiastically

I am, I confess, conflicted about this subject. For me, it's not so much about being slim - I don't have a slim body type, and that's OK - but about being healthy. Like most of us, I suspect, when I was 20, I'd put away a one-pound+ slab of prime rib and its delicious fat without blinking an eye. Now...not so much. It seems like 95% of what I read about weight management talks about "emotional eating." If I do "emotional eating" it might be three times in a given decade. I just love food. I love vegetables, fruit, healthy food. I almost never eat fast food - the qualifier "almost" is probably important, hmmm.

I also love duck, duck fat, foie gras, poutine, etc. Finances and distance curtail my participation in the joys of foie gras to some extent.

I have Melissa Clark's book and "French Women Don't Get Fat" and the Japanese equivalent. I have the South Beach diet, which isn't so bad.

I also am surrounded by non-foodies who are HORRIFIED by the notion of poutine ("with BACON???"), and by people who don't get the whole idea of sheer delight in food.

The answer, I suspect, is "RUN AWAY!"

I could do that, too, and am considering it - to a place that actually has A (single) decent restaurant within 30 miles, but that's another story.

The friends I have who DO adore good food stay slim by exercising like FIENDS.

I love some of the answers given in this thread, but it seems to me that this may be a good thread to keep active. Dunno, just my opinion.

What works for me?

South Beach for as long as it takes

walking

hiking

smoothies for breakfast

Jack LaLanne's juicer - especially apple/ginger/carrot juice - YUM! but I don't use it nearly

enough

bring my own big salad to work for lunch, and fruit for a snack

What works for you? Thanks in advance.

The newest issue of Bon Appetit has an article by Melissa Clark, and how she keeps her weight down even though she works as a food writer and recipe developer.

In a nutshell, it's all about portion control and exercising.  And evidently she eats food that always tastes so wonderful, even a small portion satisfies her.

Must be nice.

We who have weight problems potentially have about a million excuses for eating what we do.  That's certainly true of me.

But where she works around wonderful food everyday, I'm sitting at a desk, often getting hungrier by the minute, and by the time I can get away for lunch, I'm starving.  I try to bring my lunch, but don't always have time, or things don't work out as I'd planned.  Sometimes I end up at a local sandwich shop; sometimes it's with fast food.  Not satisfying in flavor, so as we all know, we make up for that with volume.  Truly, there aren't really good meals, at a reasonably-affordable price, within reach on my lunch hour.

I hang out with people who think Pizza Hut makes pretty damn good pizza, not those who dine on "foie gras terrines, braised lamb shanks, or desserts with names like Molten Chocolate Nirvana."  In short, although I could put more effort into making better tasting, more nutritious meals, there's also a limit to what I can do.  I suspect that's true of many of us.

Melissa is right, that high-quality, well-prepared foods are often quite satisfying in small portions.  That's the goal, for me.  I'd be interested in what fellow food-lovers have to say about how they make that happen, and whether they can as much as they'd like.  What are your realities?  How do you deal with your challenges?

Edited by violetfox (log)

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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  • 5 weeks later...

I' loving this topic.

Just as someone above, I lost quite a considerable amount of weight a few years ago with weight-watchers (I thought it was a miracle, after years and years of unsuccessful dieting), HOWEVER around the same time as I achieved my goalweight I realised my full foodie potential and stopped being able to do things like oil-spray, sacharine drips in coffee, wafer-thin (reconstituted, pumped with water) ham. And started to put on weight simply because beautiful oil, butter and cheese became a norm in my life.

I've tried to go back to weightwatchers several times since then and just can't. I feel deprived, on a diet, limited all the time. The way the programme works is that you consume little fat, which is a big problem if you are a keen cook and equate fat with flavour (of course not always, the brilliance of a fresh and seasonal salad cannot be overestimated, but generally cooking without fat is just no fun!)

The Gastronomical Me

Russo-Soviet food, voluptuous stories, fat and offal – from a Russian snuggled in the Big Old Smoke.

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But just suppose, for the sake of argument, that at said restaurant today, I bite into the sandwich, and it's okay but not at all wonderful?  The practical aspect of the situation is this:  I can't go anywhere else, and even if I could, I can't afford two lunches today.  I can't go hungry all afternoon; my blood sugar will dump me and I'll be extremely crabby and feel like s***.  So I'll gulp down something really unsatisfying, or try to find a machine for something (hopefully not too awful) to just fill me up.......Suggestions are welcome.

jgm, this happens to me a lot....I travel a great deal, and on a schedule that can get off track or have me starving in what some may consider a culinary wasteland. I'll often keep a little trail mix, crackers, and a tin of sardines on me when I'm on an uncertain schedule, whether it's on the road or at my desk. This wouldn't have helped with you car situation- sometimes, your priority has to be to simply eat.

My approach to it is to go ahead and proceed with getting food in my stomach (instead of becoming a grumpy, rabidly-hungry freak).....but choosing the lightest meal I need to get to get me by till I can eat something I'd really enjoy. For example, if a sandwich is really crappy, I'll simply eat the insides and leave the bread, (which can save a lot of undesired calories, especially if it's soaked in some sort of greasy condiment that isn't absolutely delicious.) If the chicken skin isn't absolutely crackly crisp and delicious, off it goes. This flies in the face of the "clean plate" life I'd been brought up with, so I try to order accordingly. If I have a sense that the establishment I'm at is not really going to excite my tastebuds, then a cup of the lightest soup they have and a side salad (with dressing on the side) it is.

The alternative I might also find is to simply get to grocery store and pick up some fruit, a granola bar, even a prepackaged salad, and have that tide me over.

I'm a big fan of eating only what is truly delicious, and in a quantity that leaves you feeling satiated, not overstuffed. However, particularly in a restaurant, this can still lead to me putting on a few undesired pounds. (The calorie-density of restaurant-prepared foods can be staggering!) I am eating out much more frequently than I used to because of my job, so I'm always trying to balance the meals out of home with light and delicious meals in the home. I'm so grateful I actually like the way most fruits, vegetables and leaner protein choices taste and try to capitalize on that as much as possible. I also try to capitalize on the fact that I like home cooking, and that I hate feeling overstuffed. Re-setting what my body senses as "enough" took a while, and it wasn't easy, but it was worth it. Wansink's suggestion of eating on smaller plates helped me tremendously.....in restaurants, what I've done is hold onto my bread plate, and serve myself from my entree dish if it looks like a huge quantity. It's amazed me how little it takes to actually feel satisfied- often, it's less than half my entree (which was my old standby, to only eat half of what you're served in a restaurant.)

Anyway, at the end of the day, it does seem like the abundance of food, especially calorie dense ones, in many of our environments means that there has to be more consciousness about what to eat. My best approach has been to capitalize on the food tendencies I have that are naturally healthy, indulge sparingly in the tendencies I have that aren't so good for me, but to never stop loving or appreciating food.

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Long story short:  it's fast food or nothing on those days.

Or I'll get home from work with a massive headache and not feel like cooking as planned.  Or something else will come up that interrupts the plans.

Suggestions are welcome.

I feel your pain, I really do. My blood sugar bottoms out if I don't manage it carefully, and I have a long commute & migrane headaches.

--identify some healthy, shelf-stable foods you like. Unsalted nuts, granola or trail mix bars, soynuts, wholegrain crackers with some added protein: whatever it is, buy a stash and keep some in your purse, glovebox, desk drawer, or briefcase; this squirrel-like habit can save you at critical points. I keep Kashi's TLC bars and a supply of dry-roasted almonds on hand--once my blood sugar hits a certain low, I'm easily confused & distracted, so I try not to let it get that way (especially when traveling & super-busy). I try to choose something with decent amount of protein.

--realize that healthier options exist, even at fast food places. McD's sells a yogurt parfait, convenience stores & gas stations usually sell nuts, beef jerky, popcorn, and (sometimes even unsweetened) yogurt. If you're near a bodega or supermarket, waltz inside and buy some fruit to go with your stash of nuts.

--don't fall into the "after-work" trap: cook one or two days a month, with an eye toward freezing meals. Red beans or black beans, lasagne, lentils, chickpeas, etc will satisfy you, defrost in the microwave, and are endlessly adaptable. If you don't cook at all, keep a supply of canned beans on hand--the bean burrito is your friend, and the homemade version is far better than the fast-food alternative.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can't say that I am any kind of success story in this area at all. The pounds are slowly climbing on over the long haul, but I haven't done badly, all in all.

And I have enjoyed reading this thread. Lots of good advice.

One idea which works for us:

Have dessert for dinner once a week. Eating dessert after a meal always means that you eat too much and have to watch how much dessert you eat. BUT if you eat dessert for dinner, then the sky's the limit. Tonight we are having Caramelized Banana Bread Pudding from Instant Gratification (well named cookbook). With toppings of say, whipped cream, sour cream, yogurt, whatever. And also cherries in the pudding because we didn't have enough bananas.

Of course, dessert can't be just chocolate cake unless you want to have a migraine or sugar blues attack. A kind of a 'balanced' dessert :biggrin: . Other dessert dinners are cheese blintzes, fruit pancakes, semi-freddos, souffles, puddings with a base of rice, noodles, bread, etc. You'll have more ideas than I do...

Also we have an excellent french fry truck near our local library. My DH drops me at the library, goes back and orders a large french fry, picks me up again and we drive home eating french fries. We have salt and vinegar (we are Canadians) in the car and the dogs share our sinful lunch.

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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