OK, this one is going to be a little bit embarrassing. But I'm willing to put myself out there, because I bet there are others just like me! Truth is, I love to cook -- but I also love to eat.
Trust me, I'm not one of those people who makes dinner, boasts about it being healthy, and then picks at it and pushes it around the plate. If I let myself, I could out-eat my husband. It's been known to happen during a gluttonous weekend or vacation. Stop eating when you're full. What?! And waste this lovely food? I think not. I think by now we all know the difference between actual hunger and just wanting to eat, but I still maintain that I'm always hungry.
I also don't work out as consistently as I'd like (the Wii Fit told me yesterday that it's been 109 days since my last session -- whoa! Has that much time really gone by?! I did ride my bike for several miles last week, and painting an entire house has to count for something, but still...) While I'm not teeny-tiny, I do manage to stay in pretty good shape and within 5 pounds of my average at all times. How? I have some tricks that might help my fellow "eaters" out there. If you have tips that you use, PLEASE share them via the comment section below! I need all the help I can get. Seriously.
1. Control portion sizes. I grew up family-style, where dinner was put out on the table with serving spoons and we all went at it. My mom is a really healthy cook, too, but if you're an eater like me, then going back for thirds still isn't a great idea. So now, I make the food and make our plates, instead of putting the food on the table. All leftovers immediately go into containers and into the freezer once they cool (my husband doesn't like "recent" leftovers, so I save them for future lunches or dinners in the freezer). If he wants more, he has more. But I stay away. Any bowl on the table gets revisited by me, so this trick has worked like a charm!
2. Eliminate the unhealthy carbs from big meals. I'm not a fan of eliminating a whole food group from your diet, but I do follow a few simple rules that really work. Basically, we rarely have a starch with dinner and if we do, it's a whole grain like brown rice or whole-grain pasta which fills you up faster and keeps you full longer. And remember, a serving of this as a side is 1/2 cup! Not the foundation for your whole plate. Anyway, our dinners consist of lean protein (4-6 oz), veggies and Svelte Gourmet Signature Salad. Trust me, this is enough food. And for the most part, you won't miss the baked potato. And please get rid of the bread basket! It's sabotaging you! You don't need it, I promise. You will be full.
3. Avoid buffets. So I have the unfortunate trifecta of dieter sabotage. I love to cook. I love to eat. And I am not picky. URG. Buffets are a nightmare for me. There is no possible way to try everything on a buffet and still be within a normal person's serving of food. As Ellen DeGeneres put it in one of her HBO specials, "We don't need to eat ALL we can eat." It's MUCH funnier the way she says it, but she's right. So steer clear of the buffet unless you have the willpower that I don't!
4. Find healthy snacks and sides. You will not get fat eating vegetables. I promise. And I happen to LOVE raw peas and green beans. So if you like that sort of stuff, pile it on! Fill up on that! Use my dip trick below! But for non-meal times, I've found some tried and true snacks that will allow you to eat and eat and eat and not pack on the pounds. Besides the obvious, here are two of them you may not have thought of:
-- Plain yogurt. This stuff is great and I use it for everything! I have a posting planned with some great yogurt recipes, but for now, suffice it to say that you can replace the sour cream or mayo with plain yogurt in almost any recipe. I use it a lot for dips and appetizers. Any dip recipe -- even those powder packets of ranch or onion dip -- come out wonderfully with yogurt as the base. And get this -- for 120 calories, you can eat veggies dipped in 2 tablespoons of the regular recipe or a WHOLE CUP of the one made with yogurt. Now for an eater like me, this is an obvious choice. Just beware of the Greek yogurt and read the labels -- it's much thicker (and so much yummier!), but stick with the 2%. It still tastes amazing!
-- Frozen grapes. What? Yes, frozen grapes. Even the kids will love these. Just remove the grapes from the stems, put them in freezer bags and pop them in the freezer. They last for weeks and they taste great! A cup of grapes has about 62 calories and I can usually fit 2 cups per bag. And let me tell you something -- you CANNOT plow through two cups of frozen grapes quickly. If you do, you'll have the worst ice cream headache you've ever had. Trust me. This snack will last most of the night and it will satisfy your sweet tooth. Even my husband loves them!
So there you go. I'm an eater. I'm not thrilled about it, but I'm not willing to give up eating to stay small. I've tried it and it's just not going to happen. So I do it this way. Please share your tricks and snacks! And as I discover more, I'll add them here.