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May 30, 2008 04:15 AM

How do you eat so well and control your weight?

I'm about 6 croissants away from becoming that person who needs to be lifted by a crane from their couch. How do you keep your weight under control and still enjoy wonderful food? Do you eat steamed vegetables all week and go nuts on the weekend? Is there a secret breafast that holds you through the day? Seriously, what do you do?

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  1. Portion control and exercise do it for me. I also rarely eat sweets.

    4 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      Exactly my routine.

      I also go easy on the starches (a constant test of willpower), cook with little fat/oil and use little if any salt.

      1. re: pikawicca

        This is me too. In fact, I portion control so well as to be able to eat the higher fat stuff and NOT scrimp on flavour.

        Also, when I choose what I want to eat, I know that there's ALWAYS another day in the future where I'll be able to eat those 10 other things that looked great on the menu (or in my fridge). It's very important to remember that or you'll just gorge yourself stupid (or drive yourself crazy)

        I have been thinking as of late (from reading RhodeIslandchef's LV choices for this summer trip), that I may never be able to do a chef's tasting menu. I don't think I have a big enough appetite to eat all the courses.

        1. re: livetocook

          I just did a lovely one last week to celebrate my birthday. I ate a little of each course, passing the rest of it along to my husband, who can eat anything and not gain weight. I enjoyed the tasting menu a great deal, and did not feel the need to eat all of any one course.

          1. re: pikawicca

            That sound ideal. Except...hubby has his moments but, alas, is not a chowhound. At least 60% of the dishes I'd choose to eat he'd be scared to.

            I guess I'd have to justify the wastage for the experience. What did I read later on in this post, "by the 3rd bite the dish loses it's initial luster". I'd have to follow that rule just to make it :P

      2. I eat very well all week and then mix diet tonic with my gin. Works for me but not my waist line.

        1. Exercise, exercise, exercise....
          Seldom have entrees unless I'm splitting/sharing. Usually stick to an app + soup or salad and limit it to one glass of wine. No dessert unless sharing.

          1 Reply
          1. re: leahinsc

            If you want to eat so well and keep your weight under control, exercise is the main healthy solution. I eat really well, but make sure I do cardio AND strength training to keep my metabolism up. A great place to find motivation for the exercise part is through ( It has a lot of great info on how to exercise and find people to help motivate you.

          2. Different body types and metabolisms respond to different things. For the most part, moderation and exercise are going to do you well.

            Also, keep in mind that if you're cooking with good, fresh ingredients and controlling the content (ie, not cooking with things loaded with high fructose corn syrup), the food is going to be better for you than if you'd eaten a similar sized portion of some fast food or quick-fix hamburger helper sort of meal.

            Pasta tossed with some olive oil, minced garlic, freshly grated parmesan cheese, some fresh tomato slices, fresh black pepper, and some broiled chicken or beef or fish is a hell of a lot tastier and healthier than a smaller portion of hamburger helper or Manwich and very close to being just as easy to make.

            It is, however, much more expensive. There's a reason that poor folks struggle so much with weight issues in the US, and that's primarily because the cheap foods are loaded up with high fructose corn syrup and other fillers that are not healthy, and simply add empty calories and no nutritional value, but they sure are filling. Or when a greasy, but filling for your kids, McDonald's hamburger only costs 99 cents.

            Most of the people I know are struggling to make ends meet, and so it's really hard to balance your diet and exercise (when you're working two jobs), and afford more expensive whole ingredients plus the time, and facilities, to cook them.

            So in some cases, what you run into are people who either have a fair amount of money to start with, or who are simply better at finding good bargains on whole ingredients, or who skimp in other places in their lives in order to have better meals, or who only have the fancier meals very occasionally, when they can afford to splurge.

            It's actually a shame that "home economics" classes in the US have gotten such a bad rap for so long and turned into such pathetic versions of what they -could- have been because what they should be teaching our kids, along with some basic cooking skills, is household money management and kitchen management. MOST people don't know -how- to shop well, so they spend more money on less nutritive food because they're in a hurry, they don't have time to plan ahead, or they THINK they don't have time to plan ahead.

            Phew... guess I had a lot to say about this. :) but in a nutshell, exercise. Finding time for exercise is one of the best ways for handling the occasional splurge into the realm of creams and prime meats. :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Morganna

              Morganna, you make a lot of terrific points in your post, but the point about Home Ec classes really strikes a chord with me this morning. After all, it's Home. Economics. With all the talk of recession etc. don't we wish we'd taught Economics of the Home to our kids in school? I sure wish I'd been taught.

              EDIT: and to the OP, exercise & moderation (and pretty much everything everyone else before me has said).

              Sadly, I've had a bad couple of years where I let the balance of exercise and moderation get out of whack in my life and I'm having to put it back into whack by dieting. I'm following Weight Watchers Core plan, which I heartily recommend for anyone who wants a "healthy" weight loss plan that focuses on lean proteins, fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

              Also, I think it's much easier to control your diet at home than it is in a restaurant, so, learn to cook, join a CSA, learn how to source the highest-quality ingredients, experiment with different cuisines and grains and unfamiliar ingredients and techniques so that you have a broad repertoire, so you learn how to make foods delicious and interesting and healthy so you don't get bored and fall back on sugar and fat as your only tools for adding flavor and interest.

              When you eat out, share entrees. I used to say, when you eat out eat only half and take the leftovers home, but, if you order a full plate of fried chicken, say, and split that with someone else---you only end up consuming half as much fried chicken than if you took the unconsumed portion home and ate it the next day.


            2. A friend of mine at the gym introduced me to this website. It is really easy to do. Once you see all you are eating it makes it easier to cutback on what you eat.
              It's a GREAT resource. It's free and easy to get the hang of.
              I am still trying to lose 15lbs. I've lost 2lbs, it's my 1st week. I've been modifying. I used to do 20 min. of cardio at the gym, now I do 30. Hopefully, I can increase it more next week. Rather then use cream cheese on a bagel, I'm getting used to using smart balance, rather then stick a glob of cheese in my mouth, I bought Laughing Cow lite triangles, when I want a snack, I take some pretzels dip them in the triangle or a tblsp of peanut butter. Because my cholesterol was high, I cut out meat for a bit, I'll eat it, but not nearly as often as I was. Last night we had breakfast for dinner, normally I would have eaten 2 eggs, bacon, and 2 pieces of cheese, mayo on a roll. I am very proud of myself for this one, I was satisfied eating egg whites, morning star tofu bacon (cooked crispy), 1 piece of cheese, and a tsp. of lite mayo still on a roll. I've been doing things like this all week, gradually. I rewarded myself with a cherry danish for breakfast today. Not good, but a reward every now and then helps keep you going.

              6 Replies
              1. re: michele cindy

                Good question and great links.

                When I did it, and lost 45 pounds in 6 months, it was easy.

                Maintaining it? Not so easy.

                What I did -- cut out carbs, my white whale. No dessert, my white whale and then some. Salads, veggies, fruit, meat, fish, and my reward, a drink a day. A mile a day, every day.

                Seven years later -- still no carbs, but no veggies and not much meat. Won't say what my diet consists of, but it's bad and I've put back 5 pounds.

                Restaurants are tough. Cooking and baking is tough.

                It can be done. Don't believe the hype that it's easy. It's work, and it's for the rest of your life. But it 'can' be done.

                Someday, they'll make a pill that will allow me to eat all the donuts and ice cream and cheese and peanut butter (my white whales) I want and not gain weight.

                1. re: michele cindy

                  Great link! Thank you so much! So much easier to use than fitDay...I lost 15 lbs last year, and have gained almost all of it back, so this is extremely useful, thanks again.
                  I have been trying to remember what I did last Spring that made the weight fall off. I think it was a hyper-alert effort to get leaner, smaller portions, LOTS of working out, cutting back my alcohol consumption and falling in love that did it. I can easily see how my habits have reverted back and I need to put on the brakes quick!!!
                  Damn martinis...
                  I remember eating as many egg whites as I liked, usually hard-boiled, lots of salads with things like TJ's smoked trout or poached salmon for lunch, limited cheese and half-portion of crackers for a snack and usually a ton of veggies for dinner. Like, an entire bunch of asparagus for dinner.
                  If I got hungry before bed, I'd do the cheese and cracker thing again, satisfying but not a lot to digest or turn to fat (Laughing Cow Babybel Light cheese and Kashi TLC crackers, pretty good actually).
                  I know I eat way more now, and it's probably not realistic to eat as little as I did (really think falling head over heals took away my appetite!), but I wish I could curtail the emotional eating I seem to lean towards these days!
                  Ok, it's off for a walk to the store, then a good one hour cardio workout before my Friday Cocktail with my honey!

                  1. re: michele cindy

                    That is an amazing site. I truly thought I ate very little yesterday, but calcuated it all and I shockingly consumed 2,300 calories!!! Wow.

                    I'll be using this everyday. Thanks for posting this.

                    1. re: kkak97

                      I like this website for nutrition data and weight loss information