Reconciling being a 'gourmet' and trying to lose weight

Continuing my week of posts about weight loss, some reflections on how to go about losing weight but still retaining my interest (or..obsession even) in food.

There was an interesting article recently to which I linked in my daily links, about a woman who went on a diet, and a different world.

I could only talk with people who were on the same wavelength. Who spoke my same language of fat, fiber, calories, and carbs. Those who were eating like normal people, whatever and whenever they wanted, had no place in my world. If you weighed your food and ate out of measuring cups, you had a seat waiting at my table.

I've been there, and while like any new territory it can be interesting for a while, it's not fun in the end.And I love food, the way it tastes, and the preparation of it, too much to regard it only as fuel for the body - which is what many so-called experts tell you to do. If I had to do that, I'm sure that I would go running towards the spaghetti carbonara and dive in head first.

So, how does one reconcile being a foodie and trying to lose weight, and avoid falling off the wagon? There are a few things that I have started to do, which hopefully will help in this direction.

  • Stop eating at anywhere but the kitchen or dining table. In other words no more eating at my desk, mostly! I am going to try to pay attention to what I am eating, and to appreciate it. For instance, I often get rather hungry and crack open a bag of chips (crisps for Brits) at my desk, and munch on them mindlessly and before I know it I've gone through the whole bag - and I barely remember tasting it. That does a disservice to the food, and to my waistline.
  • Stop eating calorie dense food that doesn't taste that good or I don't like. Example - if you are going to take in the same calories, why settle for a mediocre chocolate bar or candy bar over a to-die-for dark chocolate truffle? Besides, the truffle is so satisfying that one, or two, is enough, but who can stand to just have two truffle-sized bites of a cheap chocolate bar and be satisfied?
  • Step up my appreciation for vegetables. Whatever plan you choose to follow, vegetables are always a good thing. I already love vegetables anyway, but since I have to eat proportionately more of them anyway I'm going to be roaming around trying out even more kinds. (Granted this is tougher in the depth of winter, but hey - cabbage can be interesting!)
  • Bring out my creativity to come up with tasty yet low-energy meals. This is an interesting exercise, but fun - one reason I love cooking is because it can be a creative endeavor. I recently made over a rather high-calorie soup that appeared on the Top Chef tv show and remade it as a low-fat version. This soup was such a hit that it's entered our regular rotation now.

These are all about eating at home of course, which is where I eat most of my meals. Next time in this series I'll talk about what I'm trying to do when eating away from home.

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Reconciling being a 'gourmet' and trying to lose weight

You are 100% right, Maki. At the end of the day, it's about paying attention, casting aside the mindless consumption and really focusing on the task -- and ingredients -- at hand. I do find calorie counting helps as well, if only to give you deeper insight into what you're consuming and help you make smarter decisions. Kat at Kung Foodie turned me on to www.calorie-count.com, which I love. Amazingly, there is room even in a restricted diet for all the yummy things in life, just not at the same time. :-)

Sean | 4 January, 2007 - 23:50

Reconciling being a 'gourmet' and trying to lose weight

Sean, I agree, Calorie-count.com is very good. I also looked at SparkPeople today (thanks to Jul's comments) and that looks very promising too. And yes indeed there are many delicious things to eat, not at the same time though :)

maki | 5 January, 2007 - 20:54

Reconciling being a 'gourmet' and trying to lose weight

Besides counting calories, I think another significant aspect to look at is the nutritional content of foods. There are, of course, nutrition facts displayed on most foods purchased at a market (at least in the States), but it's still a bit puzzling to find information for produce like fruits and vegetables. Though, a couple of good sites that offer that kind of information are

(searchable site from the usda)
http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/
(a database with some common produce)
http://www.jtcwd.com/vegie/nutrition/facts.html

any other's out there ? @@

parthiv | 5 January, 2007 - 23:09

Re: Reconciling being a 'gourmet' and trying to lose weight

i agree... i absolutely am a foodie.. have been for as long as i can remember, and as much as i also love working out and eating healthy, i just cant help myself when it comes to that naughty ice cream once a week, or a beautiful creamy pasta one night a week. if i can't have it i get moody and grumpy!! all in moderation.

i completely agree, i seem to eat the naughty food, feel amazing and happy and really enjoy it, but then eat say something i dont really enjoy which is pretty healthy for dinner and end up feeling really full. if you have to have the naughty snack, don't have that big meal right before bed unless you're actually hungry. and SMALL PORTION SIZES of those yummy things.. enjoy the taste, satisfy the craving, and MOVE ON. that means you have more room for what you should be eating hahaa.

Thanks for your advice, helped lots!

kittykat123 | 26 October, 2010 - 13:00

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