Living, Not Dieting

Published on: May 1st, 2013

Two years ago this month, my daughter was born. A little less than two years ago, I started down a path to lose the weight I’d gained before and during my pregnancy. I’m proud to say I’ve done it, all while eating butter, real bread, full-fat Greek yogurt, whole eggs and chocolate chip cookies—oh, and continuing to eat out at restaurants.

But maybe the most frustrating part of the whole process was the temptation—not the temptation of chocolate cake and croissants, but the temptation of diet foods.

When things seemed to be slowing down, when it was taking forever to shed even just one more pound, the “diet” aisle at the grocery store often sang its siren song to me. I would find myself staring at the protein shakes, the frozen dinners, the 100-calorie packets and honestly wondering if they were the answer.

Normally, those kinds of foods are anathema to me, but I wanted to believe. I’m not going to tell you our house is 100 percent local, organic and homemade, but we try to eat real food most of the time, and none of those diet products that come in shiny wrappers and cans really count.

But I had been conditioned, like so many, to believe the TV commercials, the magazine ads, and the “health” claims emblazoned over every package to believe that these chemicals dressed up like food had to be the path to weight loss (and not the fresh apples and bundles of kale just a few aisles over).

Being a foodie in Boulder can be rough on the old ego, when the diners around you are often roughly the same size as the bike racks they lock their fixies to after a quick 50-mile ride. The universe did not see fit to equip me with both the food appreciation gene and the “let’s exercise for fun!” gene. Could I really reach and stay at a healthy weight while being a professional foodie? (I know; my life is so hard.)

Luckily, I figured a few things out on this journey that helped this exercise-phobic, butter-loving restaurant reviewer lose those pounds and get healthier.

What I know for sure is that it has a lot less to do with the quantity of the food you eat than the quality; real food fills you up, body and soul, while the fake stuff tends to suck. Your soul, that is.

It’s less about watching what you eat and so much more about paying attention to why you eat. Slowing down is key.

And self-deprivation is never the answer. Giving up a food group for reasons other than a true allergy or ethical conviction is not the golden ticket to weight loss. Eating what you love in reasonable amounts can be.

In fact, all the things that make me a good foodie—eating real food, savoring every bite and enjoying a truly omnivorous palate—actually helped me lose the weight I needed to lose to be healthier, happier and a better role model.

So I say down with diets and up with community suppers. We need fewer quick fix “meal replacements” and more real meals to solve our personal and societal weight problems.

Healthy Local Foodie Treats

1. Boulder Farmers Market is a real food paradise. I can’t think of a single thing sold here that doesn’t qualify as real food.

2. Get some fancy, stinky cheese at Cheese Importers or Cured; the stronger the flavor, the less you’ll need to feel satisfied, while still enjoying every bite.

3. The gorgeous canned goods from MM Local mean that you can have Colorado-grown produce year-round, from spiced pears to pickled beets.

4. Enjoy a real cup of coffee from one of our amazing locally-owned coffee shops and you can skip all the sugary frou-frou-ccinos that add to your waistline.

5. Eat dessert. A piece of dark chocolate from Piece, Love, and Chocolate won’t derail your day and might keep you from binging on an entire bag of chocolate chips at home.

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