As a professional chef with a strong expertise in nutrition, the philosophy that I have always lived and taught was to eat all foods in moderation. To eat healthily enough that occasional indulgences are not a problem.
So it was more than ironic that my husband Joe has found himself nearly 80 pounds overweight.
Even though he lived with me, who has respected nutrition books to my name and who preaches both personally and professionally about balance, health, exercise and wholesome, conscious food choices. Even though he had access to my healthy cooking. And even though he lived with my daily example, explanations —and maybe some nagging — Joe has battled the bulge and fought against food for the past 14 years. I deliberately use military-esque terms here (even though food itself isn’t the enemy) because with any addiction, passion or appreciation for something can come compulsive behavior, which must be conquered. In the case of food, the battle is that much more difficult because you have to eat every day during the fight.
And our lives can often be filled with food. It’s how I make my living. We have a deep affection for foods and cuisines of the world. Eating is our life, our passion, our hobby, as we often say “we live to eat”.
As do many other culinarians, Joe struggles with his weight and has for some years. God knows we have argued, negotiated and disagreed on this subject for as long as I can remember. Genetics he tells me —I struggle, my brother, sister, mother and even my grandmother all struggle.
Yes, some of us are blessed with high functioning metabolisms that burn enormous amounts of calories even when you are sleeping. But even for those not so naturally blessed understanding your body, using balance as the basis for your approach to eating, along with some form of exercise can work wonders. Park the car farther away from the store, use the stairs not the elevator or escalator, take a daily walk, dance to your favorite music, jump rope, hula hoop, anything to get that damn heart moving….
Joe has made a commitment to losing weight. And he has agreed to share his journey, our journey, here. And so it begins, Joe’s quest to get back on track and finally finding a way to balance his love of food with moderation, jurisdiction and control.
Set realistic goals. When I married Joe he was 180 pounds (He is 5’10”) He starts this mission at 276 lbs. His current goal is to lose 50 lbs, ending and maintaining at 226. My prediction is he will feel so good he will continue, but never set your end results so high that it is intimidating to begin your journey. It causes disappointment and stress before you start.
The anticipation of deprivation is the greatest fear of starting any diet that takes away your favorite caloric intake. But there are ways to make healthier choices and ways to enjoy the flavors, colors, textures and satisfaction of food. This is not a stop gap or temporary measure, this is a way to find both balance and pleasure in food and health for the rest of your life.
What’s wrong with:
*Cinnamon whipped butternut squash
*Roasted parsnips and fresh thyme
*Pan seared maple soy salmon with Thai basil, snow pea and Napa salad
*Roasted eggplant parmesan
*Tournedo of Pork, grilled escarole, stewed garlic and cauliflower puree
*A great salad to compliment and let’s not forget that cherished glass of red wine… *Perhaps a Clementine, banana or grapefruit later in the evening for dessert.
Many of these options provide the intense flavor and mouth feel of less healthy options and satisfy the need for sweet.
Keep in mind that Joe — and anyone else looking to lose — needs to change his lifestyle, not trick his body into shedding pounds by torturous starvation, only to months later tear into binging and over eating.
Once he hits his ideal weight we can come up with a plan of maintenance, introduce some starches, dairy and even the occasional coconut custard pie.
STARTING WEIGHT: 276.4
Check in with us every Monday to check on Joe’s progress and to get ideas and inspiration for your own.