Diet – An Evil Word Amongst Chefs And Foodies

Reality television star, Khloe Kardashian reports that she doesn’t like the word, “diet” because it has the word “die” in it.

Yes!!! PREACH!!! Although I don’t necessarily agree with her on all subjects-I know that she and I share this view on eating. I do not call what I eat a diet. Diets tend to paint a picture of temporary restriction, for long term success-yet the success does not generally last.

I prefer to think of my eating habits as a lifestyle.

As a cook and a food writer, I have to admit-willpower is a virtue. I remember during my first week in culinary school, I had noticed that my culinary uniform was marked with the size large.

I had gotten the attention of an employee of the student store and asked why I had been given the wrong size. The uniforms were unisex. I knew I would drown in the fabric, and the legs would have to be hemmed upwards by about five inches.

Oh? Well no, the size isn’t a mistake. Have a great day!

After six months in school, I realized why I had been given a size large uniform. My body eventually filled it out. In culinary school, one does not simply gain a freshman fifteen. In culinary school, a person gains about a few pants sizes and loses the desire to wear jeans altogether.

Sure, in a professional kitchen, it’s hotter than a bikram yoga room. People rush around hurriedly to execute a daily plan. But there’s one thing that negates all of the calories burned.

Butter. Mmmmm…

In professional kitchens, you can’t find the cutesy little sticks of butter that most people purchase from the grocery store. Honey, please. A chef kills an entire half cup of butter on a restaurant sized batch of risotto. Butter is purchased, and utilized by the pound. Speaking of which-perhaps I’ll post a risotto tutorial this week…

Years after graduation, I do not claim to be the picture of dietary health, however I have lost fifteen pounds within two months. I didn’t use any fancy shakes, and I didn’t kill myself at the gym. I have made some lifestyle changes.

Ever since I started using my FitBit Zip, I have become more motivated to get up and move. Using FitBit, I can count my steps and challenge my friends to see who can take more steps throughout the day, week, or weekend. The FitBit is also incredibly cute and durable, which makes me actually want to use it. I have started wearing it as a watch, which simply makes my life a lot easier. Wait-did I mention it’s cute?

My Fitness Pal
I used to think of food logging as a drag, because I am the kind of person who eats a wide variety of foods. Previous online food diary programs didn’t include the correct information for a lot of the foods I ate, and as I result, I didn’t want to try to log everything. I have found that My Fitness Pal has had the most complete list of pre-loaded brands, foods, and recipes out of any other site I have tried. It also syncs seamlessly with my FitBit. My favorite feature is the fact that I can be given a greater calorie goal based upon my physical activity. Score!!!

Call me cliché, but I just prefer to eat at home. I can see what goes into my food. When I dine at home, I know that there isn’t any chef hanging out in my kitchen, throwing pounds of butter into my food.

This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy dining out, or that I don’t like butter anymore-because trust me, I LIVE TO EAT. The thing is-I have made a plan to dine on semi-healthy home made foods most my week, and I dine out twice a week at the most. I do not nibble on twigs and berries at home, I simply eat real ingredients. Well, except for the time I ate ramen noodles a while back…okay, fine, I ate them yesterday. And they were glorious after I drowned them in Sriracha sauce.

My point is that I do occasionally splurge, because what is life without a little bit of indulgence? On an average day, I eat a low-fat diet around 1,500 calories. If I go over the limit, I increase my physical activity and don’t beat myself up over it. I am not saying that this kind of eating plan works for everyone, but this is what has worked for me.

Please consult your doctor before following any kind of weight loss program.

I realize I might make myself look like a square-but I just don’t drink often. In the past four months, I believe I have had a total of three alcoholic beverages. I’m not going to sit here and tell anyone of appropriate drinking age that they shouldn’t responsibly drink. Drinking just isn’t my thing right now.

For me, my top favorite beverages are coffee, almond milk, infused water, and tea. I prefer to consume beverages that make me feel uplifted, and alcohol does the opposite to me.

Physical Activity
I enjoy a variety of calorie-buring activities, but as of this past summer, I have taken up a twice a week Essentrics class at a park, thanks to my friend who is an Essentrics Apprentice. These classes have become my savior. I believe that Essentrics combines the strength training of yoga and pilates, the breath control and repetition of an aerobic workout, the movement and timing control of tai chi and ballet, and the mind/body connection of mediation. I feel invincible after every session.

I also enjoy yoga, meditation, running, stationary bicycling, lawn darts, Nintendo Wii games, walking my dogs, and house cleaning. All of these activities keep me interested.

Emotional Health
No one really likes to talk about therapy, but I see it this way: we see dentists for our teeth, so why not see a specialist for the brain?

I no longer seek friends and family for life advice, because we all know it’s kind of like the blind leading the blind. No offense to anyone reading this! I visit a counselor once a week, to get an expert’s opinion. These visits help me to see situations a little bit more clearly, and help give me self-confidence. Each week, I feel as though I have been given the tools to work out my struggles in more positive ways. I also feel as though counseling has curbed any tendencies for me to emotionally overeat, which to me, feels like a huge win.

What do you like to do to make yourself feel strong?


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