I know food. I live, breathe and eat (ha!) food. I think about food more than an average person, and my husband and I joke that anything I do is driven by the food that I'll be able to eat. I go to the movies for the popcorn, out to the bar because of the wings or chips and salsa, to social gatherings to check out the catering.
One year ago, I never dreamed of a project like Food College, PA. It was born because I decided to take control of what I eat. So here's my food story.
I'm going to start by sharing something with you I never though I'd have the courage to publish. I feel extremely vulnerable, but I'm also very proud. This is me one year ago and me today:
The weight difference is only 50 pounds, but the life difference is huge.
One year ago I moved to the United States and had to get a doctor's exam for my driver's license. I weighed in at 200 pounds and precisely at that moment I decided to take control of my weight, and my life.
I have the picture on the left in a folder labeled "Motivation" on my desktop. I am an overeater, and I need that picture as a reminder.
So, what did I do? How did I drop that weight, and most importantly, how have I kept it off? Well, by doing the only diet that will ever work.
Do Indulge and Exercise Too
You want to lose weight? Then eat. I've tried diet after diet since I was 13. I did Slim Fast, no carb, yes carb, Weight Watchers, lettuce and Splenda, boiled grapefruit skin for breakfast, you name it. But you know what the problem was? The "diet" mentality. Diets have a clear beginning and an end. If you think you're on a diet, then by default you will fail. Why? Because diets end. And what is going to happen when they do? What are you going to eat then?
Now, I know that there are many programs and diets out there that work for a lot of people. They just never worked for me. And it's because I would lose a ton of weight, decide it was enough, get off the diet, and eat it all back. So, the first trick is to NOT diet. Change the way you eat, not what you eat.
Let's face it. We can't get away from chocolate or fried foods, and frankly I don't know why we would want to. So the second trick is portion control. Let's play a little game, I'm going to use my brother's food pictures on Facebook (all delicious stuff by the way) to show you something.
|Day's dish||Jack's dish|
Notice anything? His plates are about twice mine! Yes, he's strong, young and growing, but I certainly am not. This is how much we were used to eating ever since we were kids. The plate had to be spilling, and you could not leave the table until you were done. I never developed a sense of being "full", for me it was more about finishing the plate. So imagine my shock when I started counting calories and realized I should actually be eating a lot less per meal, and I would not be hungry or die of starvation.
So that's what I did. I cooked as usual and served less on the plates. And I started realizing it was actually enough. I can now tell when I'm full and that's when I stop eating. The wonderful side to this is I can have ANYTHING. Cheeseburger and fries? Yep. Milkshake? Yes. Don't prohibit anything, remember you're not on a diet! This is my third trick, having trade-offs. If I'm having a meal I know is calorie-packed, then I will compensate at dinner or on the next day by having lighter meals. But don't negate yourself the food you want, just reduce the portion and compensate.
So, how do you reduce the portions? What if you're still hungry? That's the fourth trick: eat less more often. Obviously you're not going to make it to lunch on half a plain bagel. So have a snack in between. Same goes for lunch and dinner. Yeah, you had a light salad, but you will not make it 6 hours on just that, and so you get to dinner famished and over-eat. I never, ever forego my snacks. And I only allow snacks to be fruits, vegetables or yogurt. Nowadays I eat about 5 times a day, 3 small portion meals and 2 snacks. It feels like I'm eating all the time, which takes my mind off food. Do not let yourself go hungry!
And lastly, everyone's favorite: exercise. It is a must. This is the final trick, and perhaps the most difficult. I have always hated exercise with all my heart. But you have to do it. So find something that goes with your lifestyle. Go to a gym and try ALL the classes, maybe you will fall in love with one of them. That's what happened to me. I tried Zumba and never looked back, and now I'm a Zumba instructor and do it regularly about 6-7 times a week. I also discovered yoga, which has changed my relationship with my body and given me control and strength. I exercise anywhere from 7-10 hours a week. I know that sounds crazy, but it isn't if you don't think of it as something mandatory you don't want to do. You know how you set aside the time to watch your favorite show? Well that's Zumba and yoga for me. They aren't optional, and I actually look forward to it!
So, in summary: Do Indulge and Exercise Too. Don't diet, control your portions, have tradeoffs, eat less more often, and exercise.
I don't pretend to believe that this will work for everyone, because we're all different and have different needs. I wanted to share this with you because it changed my life.
Getting control of how I eat and being more involved with my kitchen gave birth to this blog. I love my relationship with food nowadays, and I also love weighing 150 pounds :)
Thank you for letting me have this space, thank you for reading this, thank you for enjoying my recipes, and thank the universe for food!!
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