How do you eat all that food and still stay in shape? I hear it often from those I chat with about what I do. It is a little mystifying I’m sure from the outside. I post images of delectable dishes glistening in the light with what is sure to be some very indulgent ingredients. Not only that but from the evidence on social media it probably seems like I always have a drink in my hand. What gives? Do I have some kind of super human metabolism? In short answer no. In my “Secrets Revealed Series” I begin by sharing how youcan be a Foodie, and still remain Fit. Let me lead with a disclaimer that I am not a nutritionist, these are just habits that I’ve picked up from a lifetime of working towards healthy living.
10 Habits of a Fit Foodie
1. The Rule of 80/20
Many a celebrity has been credited with adopting this method. If you are not actively trying to lose weight the 80/20 philosophy is great. 80% of the time you eat clean avoiding sugars, fried foods, bread, and prepackaged foods etc. 20% of the time you allow yourself small indulgences in moderation. This could be 80/20 weekly or daily, much of that depends on your self discipline. I like this method since it discourages binging because you know there are no “bad foods”, you are simply choosing to make good decisions and keep higher calorie foods to a minimum.
2. Stay Moving
It has been said that “A body in motion stays in motion.” The hardest part of developing an active lifestyle is just getting started. Once you begin it’s easier to maintain because of the amount of extra energy you have. On average I try to weight train two to three times a week and do the same amount of cardio (in 30 min to 1 hour increments). We also live a pretty active lifestyle riding bikes around the beach town we live in and chasing our energetic preschooler from activity to activity. Staying in motion burns more calories keeping your metabolism active and helping you maintain your weight.Don’t forget to have fun! You are way more likely to stay fit if you choose a training routine that you find invigorating instead of a chore.
3. You Can Have More Later
I learned this in my teens when I went through healthy lifestyle transition. Just because it’s on your plate, doesn’t mean you have to eat it all right now. You can eat it later. The world is not suddenly going to run out of Creme Brûlée. So if I’m too full to eat it, I don’t. I can eat it later. In many cases when I’m doing a food review I do just that, taste, then take it home.
4. Quality over Quantity
When you aren’t constantly skimping to eat “lower fat” foods or foods with artificial sweeteners you get to enjoy the real, potent taste of fresh ingredients. Eating quality leaves you more satisfied and less likely to over consume. When you eat artificially flavored foods you tend to over eat because your brain is not satisfied, even when your stomach might be. Less is truly more. If you think eating quality is more expensive, consider the amount of extra food you buy when you are consuming more to satisfy your brain. It really evens out in the end.
5. Make Good Choices
Sure this requires a certain amount of discipline but if you are following the ideals in 1-4 it should be a given. When you want a snack, steer yourself toward the nuts instead of the chips. When you are at a restaurant order the fish or a fresh salad instead of the burger. You should be able to enjoy great tasting, well made healthy food without feeling like you are making a sacrifice by not getting the highest calorie plate. If you do choose to get that craving, share it, most American dishes are way too big anyways, by sharing you and your date will save money and your waistline.
6. Be Picky about your Destination
We hand select the restaurants we review based on specific standards of excellence. As a rule we tend to avoid chain restaurants because they usually cook with pre packaged ingredients and produce that comes from who knows where. We love local, responsible businesses that go the extra mile in caring about what they put on the plate. When we dine out I know that the places we choose will have a great selection including healthy options.
7. Eat Slower
Dining on the go is an American thing. They have it right in Europe and the Mediterranean, where breaking bread is a timeless tradition built on relationships. Take your time with each course and embrace the moment and the taste of each well prepared bite. You may just find yourself more satisfied and less likely to consume more than you need.
8. Special Order
Don’t be afraid to special order food to your criteria. Switch butter for olive oil, dressing for lemon juice, or starches for steamed veggies.
9. Get Rid of Guilt
So you had a big night and ate a little too much? Don’t feel like you have to drown yourself in remorse because you fell off the wagon. It’s not the end of the world. Just start making good choices on your next meal and move on. Don’t psych yourself out because of a little misstep.
10. Take a Break
If you find yourself traveling a lot or attending a bunch of dinners, parties, and obligatory functions where the treats and alcohol are overflowing, then find a time to press the pause button. Take a break, even if that means saying no to invitations and make your health the priority again. Do a 30 Day Challenge, try a Juice Cleanse, or take a break from alcohol and sugar for a month. You will be surprised how quickly your body will recover, heal itself, and begin to let go of cravings and bad habits.
Tell me your secrets to staying a Fit Foodie in the comments below.