What can I say… I love food! Growing up in a Portuguese family and then marrying into an Italian family means that my life is surrounded by food. Seriously, my husband and I will get phone calls at 10am about what we should plan to eat at a family dinner that evening?!? In both cultures, we definitely love our: coffee, wine (homemade, of course!), cheese, delicious bread, charcuterie, and last but not least… pastries!! Just talking about it all, makes me hungry.
The common thread between both cultures and my own experience with indulging in these “treats” is MODERATION along with enjoying the good life or as we say in Portuguese “boa vida” or Italian “la bella vita.” In my daily menu, I enjoy lots of good healthy nutritious foods, but yet I don’t deprive myself of the little joys of enjoying the good life… i.e. that morning coffee or some delicious cheese with my glass of bordeaux.
Here is my Real Girls’ Guide to Moderation:
- Taste Everything, Eat Nothing!! I’m that girl who loves to go to dinner and share, because I want to taste everything. However, I never leave saying “I’m so full!” I enjoy my meal and really taste what I’m eating, but I don’t over indulge with bread, wine, an appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert. That’s a whole days worth of calories in one sitting!! Instead I pick and choose what is appealing and nutritious and not let my eyes be bigger than my stomach! Yes, I enjoy my daily coffee, but I drink it black and only about 10 oz (instead of a grande caramel frappuccino). Yes, I enjoy my glass of wine, but I have one glass and not half the bottle. Yes, I love cheese and bread, but I also eat plenty of greens to go with it. See I truly live by “everything in moderation!”
- Start each day with a clean slate. I know we have all heard, “I’m starting my diet on Monday!” Well, the truth is that a “diet” is about gaining self-control of what you choose to eat. I hate the word “diet” and I think that people should work on making good choices each day instead of giving excuses. Realize that life happens, and there will always be a kid’s birthday party with pizza and cake, a family event with wayyy too much food, airport dinners when you travel for work, or baseball games full of high calorie foods. What do you do?! Well, I would take control and say I’m only going to choose one vice for the day, enjoy it, and then move on!! I would have 1 slice of pizza at the party, but no cake. I would eat before the family event, so I don’t show up starving and eat everything in site. I always bring snacks when traveling like a KIND bar and make sure I’m well hydrated to avoid the sugar cravings. And lastly, I would eat peanuts at the baseball game, since they are a good fat with protein which will keep me full and save me hundred’s of carb calories from the traditional pretzels or popcorn.
- Mindfulness! Be present when you eat. My biggest pet peeve is eating on-the-go. This is one tip that the Portuguese and Italians really got right… the enjoy life by sitting, breathing, and eating. Several of my family members (I won’t name names… but you know who you are!) will walk in the door and rush to the kitchen and start eating whatever they find while standing. This drives me crazy, because (a) You shouldn’t let yourself get that hungry because then you are slowing down your metabolism and when you eat you are actually storing your food vs. burning it. (b) Your body doesn’t recognize when it is full, because you need to slow down and breathe… so the result is over eating. (c) You don’t “count it” towards your daily calories. I’ve had so many clients say, “well I was walking in georgetown and grabbed a cupcake (or too!) while shopping” (that’s 500 calories!), or that they were at a party and must have “eaten half the hors d’oeuvres” (see the calories in your common party favorites!).
- 90/10 Rule! Fill Up on the Good! Drink more water!! Eat more veggies!! Eat more fruit!! Eat more good fats like avocado, nuts, seeds, salmon, etc… you get the point. Focus your energy on filling up your daily menu with the “good stuff” vs. focusing on the “bad stuff.” I like to fill up on colors, and make sure that I’m eating my ABC’s (vitamins) through food, such as:
Vitamin A: sweet potato, carrots
Vitamin B(12): eggs, cheese
Vitamin C: peppers, kiwi, dark leafy greens, berries, citrus
Vitamin D: fish, dairy
Hope these tips guide you to making healthier choices… but still allowing you to enjoy your glass of wine!