A FOODIE AND WINE GEEK’S TAKE ON HEALTH
I’m a foodie, a wine and beer “geek”, and a self-proclaimed hedonist – which means I love to indulge in the pleasures of life which, more often than not, include eating and drinking the most delicious things I can find.
But not surprisingly, when I decided I was unhappy with my body and how I felt – I also struggled with finding healthy eating tips that didn’t sacrifice all the things I loved about being a foodie.
What do you do when your life is all about food?
Food and beverage are not only hobbies of mine, but I’ve become so passionate about them that I even made them part of my career as well!
I’ve been a server, bartender, cook, kitchen manager, and now a food and beverage manager at a hotel. Aside from that, I’m big on traveling and experiencing new cultures, especially through food (if you don’t believe food is one of the biggest components of culture expression, just watch any Anthony Bourdain show or travel documentary—they fascinate me!).
Unfortunately, my life-long passion for deliciousness comes with unfortunate consequences for my waistline. All throughout college, I was about 30-40 pounds overweight.
I had a great college experience, but I wasn’t happy or confident in my own skin. I really struggled with finding a balance between the joy I felt through experiencing food as a pleasure and living a healthy lifestyle. An entire bottle of wine every night was common, as was overeating every day at work ( I justified it by telling myself that I had to “taste” every dish that the cooks made since I was the kitchen manager—but my “tasting” was always way more than a bite or two).
Like so many women, I was caught in a vicious cycle of overeating on unhealthy foods, and then getting fed up and going on a “crash” diet only to become fed up with that and slip back into my old eating habits, thus going nowhere with taking control of my health. Why was finding balance between gastronomical pleasures and health so impossible? Hint, hint: it’s not!
4 HEALTHY EATING TIPS IF YOU’RE A TOTAL FOODIE
Finally, through trial and (lots) of error, I’ve found the healthy eating tips that click. I’ve managed to lose 40 pounds and keep it off through living an active lifestyle and eating the right amount and quality of food that fit my unique needs.
My passions still lie in food and beverage and finding pleasures in the simple act of cooking and consuming. However, I now live a much healthier lifestyle with the right balance. That’s why I’m sharing my top healthy eating tips for living a healthy lifestyle when you’re a total foodie.
1. Indulge when it’s worth it
Those stale grocery store cookies at the office every day? A can of sugary soda while watching TV? Greasy french fries from a drive-thru window? These overindulgent items definitely aren’t special and typically aren’t worth the extra “bad” fat, sugar, and calories.
Learn what items are really worth the indulgence, and then enjoy every second of that deliciousness! For me, this includes cultural specialties when traveling, celebratory dinners, and homemade family treats shared with loved ones. I don’t restrict or avoid anything, I just gauge when the indulgence is worth it, then I make sure to savor the moment.
2. Pay attention to ingredient quality
If you start with fresh, quality ingredients, not only is your food going to be tastier, but you’ll reap more nutritional and health benefits than you would otherwise! For example, I started experimenting with using fresh veggies like tomatoes instead of canned sauces in my recipes; I also focused on flavoring foods with fresh or dried herbs and spices instead of added sugar, cheese, or creams.
3. Listen to your body’s signals
I used to always finish everything on the plate, regardless of how stuffed I was. This was a big contributor to my weight gain. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when I would go on my failed “diets” I would stick to a designated eating schedule of very little calories and ignore hunger pangs. Neither approaches are healthy!
My health and wellness got so much better when I started paying attention to my body: eating when I’m hungry, stopping when I’m full, and acknowledging when I want to snack just because of boredom or stress.
4. Enjoy the good times!
I’m the first to acknowledge that any diet or weight-loss regimen won’t work long-term if you don’t truly enjoy your lifestyle. For me, I learned that cooking with fresh healthy ingredients is fun and can be just as enjoyable as going out to eat (which I used to do very often). I switched out my nightly bottle of wine for tea or kombucha, which can have as many exciting flavors and nuances as wine. That being said, I don’t cut out anything I enjoy! I’m still very much a food and beverage geek and love nothing more than spending a glorious evening sharing a bottle of wine and a cheese plate with good company… only now I make sure to balance that lifestyle with healthy habits, and that’s made all the difference.
TAKEAWAY: YOU BE A FOODIE AND STILL EAT HEALTHY
You don’t need to sacrifice everything to eat healthy, you just have to figure out what works for you by creating a healthy balance! Start by finding healthy eating tips that work for your lifestyle, and help you find the middle between indulging like a foodie and striving for amazing health!