Moderation. You hear about this a lot.... But what is moderation? To me, moderation means making (fairly) healthy meals that are packed with nutrients and still being able to eat pizza or cupcakes if I want to. Moderation means not depriving myself of the foods I love but balancing these more decadent meals with delicious homemade healthy meals.
In short, moderation means eating healthy.....ish.
I started living a healthy ish lifestyle a little over 5 years ago. I had just graduated from grad school and was transitioning to my true adult life. I was overweight from eating almost exclusively at restaurants and drinking lattes daily over 6 years of college. I considered myself to be a ‘foodie’ (and still do), but I knew I had to make a change. I already did some exercise (the occasional hot yoga, piyo, treadmill, stuff like that), but that wasn’t doing much for me. I had cooked in the past but never in a mindful way. I always cooked way too much and would therefore eat WAY too much. So here's what I did:
1. Got organized- I got a moleskin notebook to carry in my purse and used it to make my weekly meal plan and grocery list. Writing my plan out helped me stick with it.
2. Got cookbooks that emphasized healthy portion size and that listed calories per portion. I really liked Ellie Krieger's books when I was first starting because they were fairly simple but still produced yummy results.
3. Got new dishes. This sounds weird, but I got prettier dishes that were smaller than my old ones (salad size). The ubiquitous 'they' say that using a smaller plate helps you feel more full from a smaller portion.
4. Got a decent blender. I decided that one way to help me eat healthier was to switch my chocolate croissants for green smoothies..... On weekdays anyway.
5. Stayed realistic. It wasn’t realistic that I would never eat cheese or chocolate or buttery mashed potatoes ever again. It wasn’t realistic to think that I would cook every single day and miss out on all of those new restaurant openings. I love food! I made the choice to balance my diet by cooking healthy (and usually delicious) dinners 4-5 nights a week, eating what I cooked for lunches the next day, and eating out on the other days (making sure to eat that food in moderation, taking at least half of my meal home to have for lunch another day). This was the only way I knew I could continue to eat in a healthy manner over time (as opposed to being ‘on a diet’).
That was how I started. I still went out to eat on weekends, still drank alcohol, still ate dessert when I wanted it, still had lattes once or twice a week and still managed to drop 40 pounds and 6 sizes in about a year.
You may be thinking, that’s great Jen, but what does that have to do with me? I’m so glad you asked. I figured that since I already spend in the neighborhood of 2 hours a week meal planning, I would share that work with you so you can spend your time doing other things…. I know, I’m a pretty great guy. Stay tuned for the weekly meal plan here and feel free to follow me on Instagram @the.foodie.clinician to see photos of what I cooked, get tips on how to tweak recipes to make them better, and see super cute pics of my dogs….. oh, and yoga… this is a yoga blog, right?