How to Differentiate Dieting and A Healthy Lifestyle

So many people on social media claim to be following a “healthy lifestyle” when really they’re promoting a diet. They only show pictures of vegetables and lean protein. No balance of carbohydrates or dinners out or cocktails. That’s life. And it’s finding a balance of the real life circumstances and the vegetables and lean protein that equates to a healthy lifestyle.  

On Monday my cousin came over to hang out for maybe the last time until she moves to Iowa. She had to show me on a map where that is... Anyways she watched me prep some food and basically talk nonstop until we decided it was time to work out. She was joining me for booty day of 80 Day Obsession. She texted me today and her booty is SORE. Winning.  

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After the workout we had plans to get dinner. It took us a bit to decide, but ultimately settled on a restaurant I’ve been wanting to try for some time: Little Donkey.  

 

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Someone on a diet may get anxiety about spontaneous trips out to eat and possibly not even go, but someone who is following a healthy lifestyle knows that there are choices that are healthier and that he or she can eat mindfully. Going out to eat does not have to be a big deal or a full blown affair. Sure sometimes it’s great to get a cocktail, an entree and dessert but other times it’s totally okay to share an entree, to skip dessert, or to choose water instead of a caloric drink. 

We skipped the cocktails because we were dying of thirst after working out and this girl is trying to be a bit more mindful with alcohol too. I’ve been drinking lots of beer lately, I mean helloooo it’s summer but do I really need it all the time? So I’m saving the alcohol for when I really want it or if I’m meeting someone out and a drink catches my eye. Tonight was all about the dinner. To note, in this case I’m also cutting back on alcohol because of the liquid calories. I don’t need alcohol as frequently, but I’m not cutting it out completely. Someone on a diet may term alcohol a “bad” food (or drink if you will) and avoid it all together, but this girl knows alcohol is part of living. 

 

For dinner we started with the hummus plate. It was served with this AMAZING homemade yeasted pita bread. Turns out their sister restaurant, Coppa, uses this dough to make their pizza. Excuse me, but who wants to go to dinner? The hummus also had peas served on top! I would have never put those two together but I loved the texture combination! 

 

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This restaurant is all about the small plates. Or rather the small, medium, and semi larger plates. It’s a communal space so you share the plates. Elena is not always a sharer but we totally enjoyed this experience. We talked about the food more and took our time. Which in turn made us more mindful of when we were getting full! Win, win, and WIN! I love sharing food. Otherwise it’s so easy to just eat and not talk and wolf it down...who’s with me there?!?  

 

Round two was the chow fun. If you don’t know what that is, you aren’t alone. Basically it’s a wide noodle stir fried with some vegetables and spicy sausage. It was my favorite dish of the night. The sauce was out of this world. Elena and I raved after every bite.  

 

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Last but not least we had the Thai street noodles which is the Little Donkey versión of pad Thai. It was probably 1/3-1/2 the size of a normal pad Thai dish and perfect for sharing. We didn’t enjoy this dish as much as the chow fun, but it was still delicious.

 

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I’m showing you these pictures to show you that my dinner was primarily bread and noodles. And I’m still alive. This did NOT negate my workout earlier in the day or make me gain 2 pounds immediately. This is life. There are vegetables in these dishes. They don’t have to be a salad or make up the majority of the dish. Don’t let the term “lifestyle change” fool you. If you’re eliminating foods you’re on a diet. If you’re avoiding going out to eat or social situations for fear of lack of control you’re on a diet and should seek a dietitian’s help. If you’re always choosing salads on the menu ask yourself why. If you really want the salad then eat it! No shame there. But if you really want the Thai street noodles, don’t get the salad. Life is about enjoying all foods and listening to your body. It’s about moving your body in ways you enjoy. It’s about eating nutritious foods most of the time but making room for fun occasions and foods you love.

All foods can fit in a healthy diet. And it is possible to care about the foods you choose and how it affects your body without going to the extreme. I want to feel healthier and watch what I’m eating. Therefore I’m choosing vegetables when I can and cooking nutritious meals at home when it’s convenient. But if a friend asks me to dinner, I’m going. If someone on Bumble asks me to get a beer, I’m going (maybe not all the time...depends on the person). But I’m choosing to live a healthier life, not be on a diet.