Living Healthy: My “Diet”

Health problems present themselves even when you’re skinny so it’s important to take care of your body.  Whether you’re looking to lose weight, maintain your current size, or just FEEL better, this section of the site is all about living healthy.

Full disclosure: I struggled about whether or not to post this.  I don’t want to come off as braggadocios, and I admit I don’t fully know what I’m talking about here.  But here I am.  Posting about my attempt to diet without dieting.  And seemingly giving advice when, no, I do not actually have abs or an enviable body.  But I lost a couple pounds and am feeling good about it so I wrote about it.  If this makes you gag, feel free to skip it.  I wouldn’t blame you.

I recently lost a little weight.  Not a ton, but enough to [slightly] change the way my clothes fit and for me to feel better about someone seeing me in a bikini.  I’m not sure exactly how much this weight loss translates to in pounds.  I looked at the scale a ton at the beginning of my “weight loss journey” (I hate that phrase) when it wasn’t coming off.  Once I started looking and feeling the way I wanted, I stopped looking at the scale.  I would venture to say it was a total of 4 pounds.  5 pounds?  Maybe on a good day?  Who knows.  I did this without going on a real diet.  I did, however, consciously make some adjustments.  This post is not meant to be braggy.  Yes, I’m proud of myself for making a change, but I also feel like people make a lot of assumptions so I wanted to offer a behind the scenes look at how I approached a diet, or lack thereof.

Before I get to the diet itself, here’s a little background on my overall approach to a healthy-ish lifestyle:

my diet1

FYI: This attempt at getting fit started over a year ago.  Some milestones:

  • May 2016: I realized I was not going to be happy during bikini season which was basically already upon us.
  • June 2016: I went to my first 305 Fitness class, which reminded me that working out could be fun.  That was when I started thinking about things differently and started making small changes.  By October 2016 I had established my #WeekdayHealthy plan.  I knew if I did anything that felt like a “diet”, I would reject it.  This was definitely a slow burn and I did not, in fact, get bikini ready a month after I started this whole thing (shocker); however, when bikini season 2.0 rolled around (aka summer 2017) I was way happier with my bod.
  • April 2017: I comfortably wore a crop top (with a high-waisted skirt)
  • June 2017: I went down half a jean size.  I’m currently in between sizes, which makes shopping a bit tough, but I’m very happy with where things stand.
  • July 2017: I returned from 16 days in Italy where I ate pasta every.  single.  day.  I’ve been working hard to get back into the workout/healthy eating game so I don’t ruin all the progress I’ve made.
  • August 2017: I wore a crop top again, this time with lower-rise jeans when I realized too late that my high-waisted option was in the wash.  It was also around this time that I was comfortable wearing just a sports bra to my exercise classes.
my diet2
Still can’t believe I ran a 10K in JUST a sports bra (or that I managed to make it through a 10K at all)

I’ll answer a few questions first.  Actually, this isn’t a reply to questions.  This is a response to all the statements that were made about me, some of which I feel the need to address:

  1. “You don’t really need to lose any weight.  You’re so skinny.”  Yes, I agree I have a generally thin physique.  However, I definitely have problem areas.  You may not see them because I learned how to hide them with the right clothes (and wasn’t often seen in a bikini), but they’re there.  Also, I had reached my heaviest weight – EVER – and knew things needed to change.  Weight is a personal thing.  I didn’t feel healthy anymore and healthy should always be the goal.  Also, because I have a slight[er] frame, 5-7 extra pounds felt quite noticeable.
  2. “Losing weight was easy for you because you were blessed with a fast metabolism.”  Yes, I was blessed (thanks, Mom!), but that doesn’t mean my metabolism hadn’t slowed significantly by age 30.  I had to put in effort.  I didn’t lose a few pounds by magic.  And FYI I learned that exercising 3x/week was a good start but for results, I really needed to hit 4x/week.  This ain’t easy folks.  I had to make the time.
  3. “Shedding for the wedding, amirite?”  Nope.  While the weight finally started coming off around my wedding, I did not lose it for the wedding.  In fact, right before my wedding I gained weight.  Like I said, it was bikini season two months later that I was trying to prepare for, not the wedding.  Nobody would be seeing me half naked on my wedding, and I was willing to spend more money on my wedding wardrobe to have extra flattering clothes so losing weight wasn’t much of a concern.  Frankly, I would have been upset if I lost weight to look good in a few wedding photos, only to gain it right back and realize the “real” me didn’t look like that.
  4. “You don’t eat any of the good stuff anymore.” Simply not true.  I eat all the fun stuff.  All the fried foods.  All the cacio e pepe.  I just eat it less during the week.  Hint: if you don’t go out drinking on a Wednesday, you won’t end up getting drunk pizza on a Wednesday night.
  5. “You’re all, like, healthy/no fun now.”  I mean, only to a point.  The key for me was getting to the gym 4x/week, eating “bad” foods [mostly] on weekends only, and working on portion control.  There are no banned foods in my house.  I keep fewer snacks around because portion control is an issue for me (once I start eating something I will not stop til it’s gone) but I cook with mostly full fat ingredients.  I always use butter instead of margarine.  You will never find part-skim mozzarella in my refrigerator.  I still get super wasted.  The difference is that I don’t have fresh mozz every single night, and I only get super drunk on the weekend.  I think I’m still very fun.

Enough background.  Let’s talk food.

About diet specifically: I love food.  While I want to be generally thin, I am not willing to compromise the pure enjoyment I get from food.  I recognize that means I won’t be completely skinny and will never have rock hard, defined abs.  I’m ok with that if it means getting to eat/drink what I want.

my diet3

Here’s a list of all the things I keep in the house at all times.

  • For Cooking:
    • Butter
    • Full-fat Sour Cream
    • Full-fat Mayonnaise
    • Parmesan Cheese
    • Fat-free Half and Half (so I don’t feel as bad when making casseroles/cream sauces)
    • Trader Joe’s Frozen Items (faves that can almost always be found in my freezer include turkey meatballs, fried rice, shitake mushroom chicken, pork gyoza, and French onion soup)
    • Avocado
  • For Snacking:
    • String Cheese/Babybel Cheese (this is mostly for my lunchbox, but I know it’s there if I’m in a pinch)
    • Popcorn/popcorn seasoning (yes, the dirty powdered kind)
    • Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Swimmers (or Swedish Fish/gummies)
    • Hummus with Pretzel Thins or Veggies
    • Vitamin Water Zero (and ONLY the Zero variety)
    • 1-2 types of chips (I like baked cheetos, Albert likes salt and vinegar chips, we both love Munchie Mix)
  • For Boozing:
    • Champagne is always in the fridge for an impromptu celebration.  We also always have a bottle of Veuve lying around in case we’re off to a birthday party or housewarming and need to bring a gift.
    • Wine is always there so I can have some vino on the weekend.  If I don’t go out, on a Friday night, I’ll often enjoy some wine…even if I’m home alone.  However, the biggest change in my diet – hands down – has been curtailing the booze.  With the exception of a wedding weekend, I rarely drink two nights in a row and now usually only drink once, maybe twice per week.  I am not the person who has 1 glass and calls it a day.  I find that pointless.  When I drink, I’m looking for a buzz so it’s several cocktails in a sitting.  If I’m not necessarily going to cut back on the number of drinks I have at a time, I needed to cut back on the number of times I drink.  This had to happen because 1) it was terrible for my body and 2) that’s a lot of calories.  I simply couldn’t handle doing that to myself several times per week.  Decreasing the number of times I drink per week has a direct correlation to both weight loss and energy levels.  I generally feel better.
    • We have a full bar for those times that we host guests.  In general, my drink of choice is a Jack and Diet, but I save all hard liquor for social occasions.

my diet4

Bottom line: For my “diet” I eat whatever the heck I want.  I just concentrate most of the really bad eating (pizza, Shake Shack) on the weekend and eat the somewhat bad stuff (cheese, mayo) during the week without going overboard.  Two tablespoons of sour cream once a week on Taco Tuesday ain’t gonna add to your waistline.  And it’s not what anyone wants to hear, but I cut down on the number of times I drink per week.  And I work out 3-4 times a week.  There’s no magic.  If you work out, and eat like a normal human, you’ll maintain the size you’re at or maybe lose a little weight.

One last thing: I found one trick really helpful in eating healthier during the week.  I double up the veggies.  This is the diet part of my diet.  I was trained to believe that a full meal is a plate in 3 sections: meat, starch, and vegetable.  Since I’m heavy handed with the ladle, that starch section was killing me on those 4-5 nights/week that I cook (Monday-Thursday, sometimes Sunday).  Now, I try to only have the starch 1 of those [4-5] days and on the other days I replace it with another veggie.  A different veggie.  I still have 3 different items on my plate so it sort of tricks my mind into thinking I’ve gotten the meat/starch/veg combo it needs to be satisfied.  When I do want more starch, I use quinoa.  Sample meals include:

  • Pork chops, mashed cauliflower, and roasted brussels sprouts with buffalo sauce and a little blue cheese or ranch dressing
  • BBQ chicken, roasted broccoli, and quinoa with feta and zucchini
  • Creamy honey dijon salmon, roasted asparagus, and cauliflower rice with edamame
  • Flank steak, salad with avocado and blue cheese, and haricots verts
  • Swordfish in butter/herb sauce, succotash, and cucumber salad