Living and Eating

Welp, I am a little behind on today’s post. It’s been a busy week so far and it’s only Wednesday, yikes. I blame a busy weekend (despite being fun) for pushing all of my “adult chores” to Monday and I really hate doing laundry. Anyways, I am here finally and ready for an intriguing discussion! If you’ve been reading for a while my posts tend to be something fun on Monday such as a weekend recap or just all the good food that I’ve eaten recently and a more content-driven post or a recipe to share on Wednesday. Sometimes you luck out and I post on Friday too, which I may this week because I have some recipes I want to share so check back!

A topic I want to discuss today is trying to eat well while living your life (you do you is one of my favorite sayings) and not following a diet plan. As you all know by now, I am very anti-diet. Dieting involves restricting certain foods or food groups and can often lead to increased stress, binge-eating, and just general unhappiness not to mention missing out on social occasions and yo-yo weight changes. My goal when working with clients is to figure out how to include your favorite foods or even all foods (minus cottage cheese for me, please) into your lifestyle without going overboard and while overall putting an emphasis on nutrition. This strategy can even work with people who need to manage their diet for diabetes or kidney disease.

Summer and Fall weather tends to lead to more seasonal beers, BBQs, meals eaten out, birthdays (me!), etc. The past few days have been especially indulgent with no clear reason. There have been pumpkin cheesecake brownies, muffins, and fried food to name a few things and my body just isn’t feeling it anymore. My stomach just plain hurt today and I had limited energy. My body was telling me to take a step back and choose some foods that will nourish myself physically and mentally. And I am here to tell you that you can make this conscious choice while still spending time with friends, traveling, etc.

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There are diets out there, not to name names, that focus on limiting carbohydrates (which has been shown to actually be detrimental to overall heart health despite early weight loss) and incorporating one “cheat” meal per week. People advocate on social media to just cut out x, y, or z and to just have the “willpower” to only eat “healthy” foods. Food is not good or bad, food nourishes and different foods have different benefits. ALSO food is about so much more than just nutrition to fuel your body. It’s an experience. When my patients aren’t eating as much as they should, I don’t tell them to eat a salad. I tell them to forget the salad and eat all the fruity pebbles they want. Sometimes you just need that. So screw the diet that is telling you to eat so and so food and eliminate others. Unfollow the social media posts that promote weight loss and elimination and good vs bad. You do you and if you need help with INDIVIDUAL goals, please reach out to a dietitian because one way of eating may work for your friend but not for you. Okay, end rant.

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Getting back to the point. This morning when I woke up feeling like crap I immediately wanted to be in control of all my future plans. I could cook a nutritious dinner instead of going out, I could bring all the food to make dinner with a friend so that I know it’s well-rounded, or I could cancel plans and make a nutrient dense salad. BORING. So when talking to some friends I had a reality check. I can still enjoy all my upcoming plans and try to incorporate more nutrient dense foods throughout the day. Yesterday I knew I had plans at night and likely would drink beer (yup!) and eat calorically dense foods, likely fried (yup!). Therefore, I should have included more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein into the earlier part of the day. While I did have a salad, I also had a muffin from the cafeteria. Did I need that? Probably not, but that’s neither here nor there. Tomorrow I have dinner plans to get pizza. Maybe I’ll skip the alcohol (or have one glass instead of two) and I can always choose a pizza with veggie toppings. On Friday I am making pasta with a friend. I can bring some vegetables to mix with the pasta and choose whole wheat. On Saturday I am going to a housewarming party so I may bring a vegetable dish or some whole wheat freshly made bread! There are ways to still live your live and include nutritious foods without following a diet, follow me on Instagram (@tinykitchencook) for real time examples.