I can’t say that I’m a fan of dieting. Mostly because diets are not really proven to help with weight loss in a substantial way long term for the majority of people — something like 5% of diets result in a net loss of anything at all over a period of five years (go ahead and Google it). Yikes. All that strife with little payoff.
I make exceptions of course for personal doctor-recommended approaches for specific problems, but that’s not what this post is about. 🙂
Instead of dieting, I like to look at approaching what I eat as something that needs to be recalibrated now and again. I adjust how and what I’m eating depending on how I’m feeling and how my body is seemingly reacting (in terms of aches & pains, strength, endurance, sleep quality — not weight).
Lately, I’ve been feeling sluggish — and I think I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that there will always be a certain persistent level of stress my career choices bring. SO, it’s time to assess my current patterns and see what I can adjust to make me feel healthy and strong again.
My self-prescribed change this time around is higher-volume, lower calorie eating with a major emphasis on fruits, veggies, and water. Allowing, of course, for occasional treats — the recipes for which you usually end up seeing here!
Part of this approach is respecting the fact that I LOVE to eat. Satiety, for me, involves variety, volume, and intense flavors. With that in mind, I’ve been playing around with some recipe and snack choices that seem to have helped me both feel better and fuller throughout the day.
For under 400 calories total, I throw a whole, large chopped onion with a tablespoon of olive oil and some pre-minced garlic into a pan and cook over medium heat until softened. Next comes a whole chopped or sometimes shredded zucchini, which gets tossed with everything in the pan to coat with any remaining oil and salted generously. If I’m famished, it’s two zucchinis. Cover with a lid and stir occasionally, then slide it out of the pan into a big bowl. Then I either cook up two whole eggs or a single regular egg and a half cup to a whole cup of egg whites (depending again on hunger). That’s usually it, but for variety I sometimes throw in mushrooms or Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce or a tablespoon of sour cream or sriracha.
Some people seem to think this is strange, but a whole plain tomato, sliced thin, and salted is really wonderful to me (no need for oil). That alone (after the big breakfast listed above), can usually get me through to dinner. If not, I snack on an orange or two (or bananas, apples, watermelon, etc). Worst case scenario, I’ll drain a whole can of tuna, throw in some celery salt, allspice (a tiny, tiny bit for sweetness), and eat it dry.
Alternately, this recipe from Budgetbytes works wonders. Sliced red onion, cucumber, sliced tomato, and a simple homemade vinaigrette. Easy, low-cal, and as filling as you need it to be.
At this point, I usually have 1000 calories or so to play with. That can be a very hearty dinner, or a moderate dinner with a few bites of a yummy dessert. I try to balance it all with more veggies and some fruit before bed, but this is the part of the day where I try to let myself have some heavier foods if I’m craving them. Spaghetti squash works beauuutifully for keeping things low-cal. You can go wild with the sauce and cheese, if you’d like — or keep it light. Either way works. Steamed broccoli is great (I like it with a little soy sauce).
I’m always looking for more ideas — what do you like to eat? What keeps you full or helps you feel satisfied?
She lives in the Bay Area and cites her diverse background as her biggest influence: her visual artist mom is half-Chinese, half-Greek, and from Hawai’i; her film-loving, world-music curating dad is from Montana; and she lived in both California and Montana while growing up. She loves at least a little bit about virtually everything (Pokémon Snap included) and aims to be a Jane of all trades. By day Cat is a multiple-hat-wearing media person.
She is also allergic to felines.