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Svelte foodies [Moved from General Topics]

Alright...for most people the idea that someone can LOVE food and be skinny at the same time is impossible. On the contrary, I think loving food could actually be a reason someone is slim. Taking time to enjoy what we eat and savor it seems to be why. How do all of you thin foodies maintain your weight? Is it a struggle...or a joy?

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  1. There was an enormous thread about this not too long ago.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JMF

      I remember it had some really good tips. Does anyone know where it is, exactly?

      1. re: gridder

        This isn't the one I was thinking of, I think that one's been removed. This one has some pretty good tips though

      2. When dining out, I skip the bread and butter, most gloppy sauces in Chinese restaurants, and eat desserts sparingly because they usually look better than they taste. I also don't drink Fattening alcoholic beverages that contain so many empty calories.

        If something is on my plate that is just so-so, I won't finish it just for the sake of getting my money's worth. I just eat what's delicious and leave the rest. Fortunately, I have an inner Chowhound radar where I've been lucky to choose dishes that are mostly delicious.

        1. I am slim and eat out a lot. I love tasting menus and rich, multi-course dinners. I limit these to a couple of times a month and make sensible choices the rest of the time. I also try not to eat for the sake of eating and would rather skip something I'm not crazy about and hold out for the good stuff.

          Unfortunately for me, I am not effortlessly slim and I do have a taste for fattier dishes. A couple of years ago I lost over 80lbs while maintaining my Chowhound status, eating out often and indulging occasionally. I manage to keep it off by eating sparingly and working out during the week so I can splurge at the weekends. I am always envious of those who don't seem like they need to try too hard!

          1. Gym. 5 Days a Week. Plus lots of walking and in the summer, bike riding.

            But most importantly, I rarely bother eating anything that's not really delicious. I'd rather just be hungry than eat crap.

            1. I'll be honest - I happen to naturally love healthy foods and dislike less healthy ones. I'm not into fried foods, heavy sauces and rich desserts. Really. And I rarely drink.

              (I do like cheese, nuts, and carbs of all kinds, but in small portions.)

              Like everyone else said, I don't eat something I don't love just to fill up.

              I'm also very active.

              1. A friend of mine and I have this theory that you can't get fat eating what your ancestors ate, so when either of us feels a bit chubby, we take a week or so to eat our ancestral food. She's italian so she goes mediterranean with a lot of eggplants, olives, roasted veggies, etc., but she also can eat as much parmesan, olive oil and red wine as she wants. I'm korean so I do kimchee, rice, fish, and clear soups but can gorge myself on korean bbq and somehow I still manage to slim up. We figure it must be encoded on our dna or something. Of course, life would be boring if we stuck to our ancestral diets, so like i said, we only do this if we start feeling chubby and only for a week or two at a time. :o)

                9 Replies
                1. re: soypower

                  Interesting theory... For me that would mean roast beef, fish and chips and mushy peas... lol

                  1. re: soypower

                    And for me that would be sausage, bread, schnitzel, more pork, and potatoes. And walking briskly every Sunday for 3 hours. (Germans, go figure!)

                    1. re: thinks too much

                      If that worked, I would be its most faithful participant!

                    2. re: soypower

                      so what do you do if you have a mixed background?!?!

                        1. re: yumyumyogi

                          The 'eat like your ancestors' theory may work because it would virtually eliminate processed foods. Get rid of those and your body doesn't have to work as hard digesting.
                          Personally I also avoid any AYCE and buffet places like the plague that they are. Listening to your body and stopping when you're satisfied is key.

                        2. re: mcgillfoodie

                          Pick one and stick with it for a stretch. Otherwise you tend to eat twice as many "sinful" dishes that aren't in balance with eachother

                        3. re: soypower

                          My ancestors may not have been overweight, but they died young on diets that included lots of schmaltz (a schmear on a slice of rye bread), fatty meats and eggs. Unfortunately, I think I've inherited their fondness for fatty foods.

                          1. re: soypower

                            My family has been in North and South Carolina for 200 years. I'm not sure that switching to a diet of country ham and biscuits for a week would make me loose weight, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

                            Nice avatar, soypower. I see you're in Seattle, so I'm going to assume you aren't the one who stole my kitten :-(

                          2. I wouldn't say I'm skinny, but I'm in pretty good shape. I exercise regularly, and listen to my body. That is, if I'm hungry (not bored, but hungry) I eat, if I'm not I don't. If I'm eating, I'm eating substantive food, not junk, not diet food, but real food that will satisfy me. I don't indulge myself that often, but when I do, I don't beat myself up about it.

                            Really, I gave up listening to diet "experts" and figured out what worked for me.

                            1. In my 30's the rules changed ;) so ever since I must exercise to maintain healthy weight on a small frame. Portion control is a must; wise meal choices the majority of the time but we all indulge, right?!

                              If I watch portions I can get away with nearly any temptation as long as I work it off.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: HillJ

                                I'm 33 and it's definitely been harder since I turned 30. While I've always had kind of an athletic/slim frame, I've found the bodyfat battle to get harder and harder the older I get. I work out pretty hard on a regular basis and unless I get my food intake under control, it's a losing battle. What seems to have worked for me in my current 1500 calorie/day restricted diet is to log it ALL online. I happen to use fitday.com. That way I can see how I'm doing not only calorie wise but also the ratio of fat/carbs/protein/fiber. I've really tried to alter the kinds of snacks I eat because of this. It's absolutely SHOCKING at how easy have calories sneaking in during the day.

                                1. re: gyp7318

                                  gyp, I hear ya!
                                  Counting doesn't work for me but the "no larger than a fist" visual does.
                                  Portion control is a must.
                                  I take yoga, light cardio and swimming works for me.
                                  Bike riding in the warmer weather and weekend walks.
                                  I also changed how I prepare my food consuming saute/steam/poach/raw more than heavier preps that weigh me & the food down.

                                  BUT, if I'm invited to a chocolate party, wine tasting or cheese market splurge you can bet I'll be there and work it off the next day.

                                  1. re: gyp7318

                                    That the approach I'm taking right now. I don't believe in diets that prescribe or proscribe certain foods -- they're all gimmicks, and eventually they fail, because if it were natural to eat that way, you'd be eating that way! Several years ago I made it a point to eliminate most processed foods, so now I'm just cutting down on the portions and being more "mindful." Logging what I eat online and planning out how to use my calorie allotment takes up a lot of time I spend obsessing about food!

                                    Step two was getting back to the gym -- the body conditioning class I took today nearly killed me, but it's a start.

                                    No one gains weight from the occasional spluge (although it may seem that way if you weigh yourself the next morning while the bulk and the extra fluids are still in your body). It's that extra 100-200 calories a day, every day, that ends up around your waist.

                                2. Yeah, I get really tired of people finding out that I'm a pastry chef and exclaiming 'OMG! if I did that I'd weigh 300 pounds!' Um, actually, there's a lot more to the job than sitting around eating cake. Sometimes I even break a sweat.

                                  I think part of it is luck, part of it is eating real (not hyperprocessed) food, part of it is knowing when to stop and ask for the to-go box. And coming home exhausted after a 12 hour day and falling asleep without any dinner helps too ; )

                                  1. I tried a particularly American solution: I amalgamated my favorite countries' foods together. My ancestors were Prussian Germans and Tuscan Italians, so I justified the mixture of seemingly contradictory flavors from Germany and the heavy reliance on herbs for flavor from Italy (though, strangly, I'm indifferent to oregano). Sweden, Australia, Cameroon, and the United States gave me whitefish, bison, ostrich, and turkey for meats, while Russian grains are both healthful and healthy. I prefer the fruits and vegetables that came from Turkish cultivars, while I borrow most of my cooking techniques from Brazil (grilling, boiling, roasting) and Japan (steaming, flash-frying with water). Finally, as a Wisconsinite, dairy products factor heavily into my diet, though the non- and extremely low-fat cheeses (or the sparing use of gourmet varieties) would get me beaten by the state's residents.

                                    For me, the genetically different tastes and culturally different styles add enough variety that wasteful or unintelligent eating. Also, proper spacing of meals (which varies by person, as I usually only distribute calories to 2 meals), vigorous exercise (lean muscle = awesome), and personal cooking (if nothing else, it forces 1 to have self-control in the presence of food, which is handy even 1 isn't acting as chef) are all helpful.

                                    1. I guess I'm just an obsessive personality. I'm obsessed with food quality (and quantity, sometimes) and I'm also a pretty obsessive runner. I think the two go hand-in-hand. My body is a machine that requires fuel to run long distances. I want the best, highest quality fuel that I can get.

                                      1. I'm hilariously sedentary and eat whatever I want. I have never once not eaten something I wanted. But as soon as I'm full, or bored of a particular taste or texture, I stop.

                                        And that's kept me thin. I've always been stumped by friends who fret about their diet - my experience is, if you just eat what your body wants, you're totally fine.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: spigot

                                          "if you just eat what your body wants, you're totally fine."

                                          Well said. I'm the same way. I actually get bored of tastes and textures quite quickly. Thus I love risotto, but can only eat about a quarter of a portion. And I dislike eating till I feel so full I could pop. I don't drink much, and I love vegetables. I'm lucky, I guess.

                                        2. When I am training for a marathon I find I enjoy my meals immensely because my caloric output is greater than the input. When I'm not training, I gain weight. Calorie management is like a bank account, with caloric output being the "balance" on which I want to focus. To lose weight my output needs to be greater than my input. If I want to maintain, I need to keep a zero balance.

                                          So, I run to eat. I love the day before the race and the meal afterward. Sushi and good sashimi is my night-before-race-day dinner, and if I have run the race well my reward to myself is the best burger and fries in the race locale. Makes for some fun Chow experiences.

                                          One of the best marathons food-wise is Maui Marathon (point-to-point from Kahului to Kaanapali). Because of the large contingent of runners from Japan, they server sushi (simple, classic kind) at the beginning of the race (imagine, eating sushi at 0500 and then running 26.2 miles!), and musbi along the route! Meanwhile, the American runners grab a Gu, or a slice of banana. I enjoyed the sushi!

                                          1. Portion control.

                                            I'm in my twenties and while not super skinny, I'm relatively small-ish (about a size 8). I love food, but rather than eating massive platefuls until I feel awful, I avoid buffets like the plague and cook concentrating on the use of healthy, natural ingredients.

                                            I also workout too.

                                            1. My very active dog runs me several miles a day--mostly involuntarily in the early morning and late at night. I walk to work a lot (3 miles). I walk everywhere a lot (but I never go to a gym). I don't really like desserts all that much. I do drink more wine than I wish I did, but I make my own cocktails with diet soda. I never eat low fat versions of things because I never feel as satiated and I'll just end up eating more (i.e. l.f. sour cream, l.f. cheese, turkey meatloaf). I eat my dinners really late, so I usually just have a piece of fruit or a small container of yogurt for breakfast. Actually, I eat many small "meals" a day until dinner, for instance a roll of sushi or a Luna bar or a salad. Many of things I get really really excited about also aren't that high fat. I looooove sushi with a passion. I don't much like steak or mac & cheese. I eat out a lot, but I almost always take a doggie bag home. Stats: I'm 27 and am at the bottom of my recommended weight range.

                                              1. It's a circle for me: I work out because I eat and eating forces me to workout. I try to run at least one marathon a year and currently I'm switching off to playing hockey. yes. on ice. The workouts fuel my love of food, but I find my love of food changing the harder I work out- I actually crave carbs like pastas after I work out to replace that which I lost. Yes, I know about carbloading beforehand, but I burn off so much in my workouts that I want to replace when I'm done. FWIW, I do 11 workouts a week, so I know I'm over the top for a lot of this.

                                                1. I'm pretty slim for my age (48, 5'5", lowest end of normal BMI) but it doesn't come naturally, I've had to change my eating habits a lot since I got to my mid-forties. Mostly it's portion control. I've learned to crave certain Lean Cuisines and Smart Ones for lunch, and Thomas's corn bread toast for breakfast. Dinner is whatever I want but small portions, I try to eat slowly and drink water between bites. Luckily I've never have craved sweets in my life so that helps. I'm not a workout type of person. In the summer I walk when I play golf and carry my bag. So when I go out to dinner I don't worry about what I order, and I've found I can't eat enough to get myself in trouble now anyway.

                                                  1. I'm 5'7 and a size 4/6. I adhere to 3 simple things - don't eat anything that's not appetizing even if you're hungry (something better will appear eventually), only eat when you're hungry, stop eating when you're full. I drink a lot of fluids and exercise 5-7 days a week (running or training horses). I also take the opportunity to walk everywhere I can.

                                                    My husband teases me that not everything is about food. He's whacked, if a meal isn't good it's not worth eating!

                                                    1. Weekdays I go to the gym every morning and eat sensibly every day, which allows me to indulge on the weekends. I don't eat bread at restaurants b/c luckily plain bread isn't my thing, but otherwise anything and everything is on the menu until I'm satisfied--not stuffed.