This post marks a new direction for the K-B Market Blog. The main theme will still be Food, with a capital F, but moving out of the K-B Market and heading into other edible directions. I’d like to explore ideas ranging from food politics to diet and nutrition. We’re going to start with the latter, since that is what is currently on my mind…
Obviously, food is central to all of our lives; we have to eat to live. But some of us also live to eat. Within the Silcox/McKinney family – immediate and extended – food is just as often something to celebrate, to share, to talk and read about, as well as to simply enjoy on the plate. It is not unusual for Kevin and I to get up on Monday morning and start a conversation about what we are going to eat on our next weekend. If we are going camping, it will be about what we want to cook at the campsite. If we are going away it will be about what restaurants we want to try. If we are staying home it will be about what we want to cook over the fire-pit in the back yard. Being married to a Chef has several serious consequences, one being that food is usually on the front burner.
The problem with this sort of behavior is, of course, you still have to watch what you eat, calorie and nutrition wise, especially when you are in the restaurant business and food is all around you, all the time. One question we have had to answer regularly over the years is “How do you keep your weight down, with all this food around you?”
Well, the immediate answer to that question is, of course, we don’t get to eat “all this food” because we are making it to sell, not to eat ourselves. If we ate everything we made we’d not only be really fat, we’d have a problem with our bank account. We don’t eat crabcakes unless they have reached their sell-by date; the cake we eat is the last slice of the one that was made last week; the leftovers we eat are not because they are our first choice but because we have leftovers that must be eaten before we cook anything else. It is not really glamorous and never has been.
And the second answer to that question is we do watch what we eat. I tell people I have been dieting since I was in high-school, sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much. If I tried to satisfy every craving, I’d certainly gain weight, just like everyone else. I love potato chips but do I sit down and eat a bag of Utz every week? No. Just half a bag… I have learned that there are some foods better avoided if there is going to be another choice on the menu that I won’t want to resist, especially if it is a seasonal favorite. In other words, if I think there is the possibility of strawberry shortcake, I better not have a baked potato in the same meal. Mostly it’s common sense.
Since we left our full-time, 80 hour a week restaurant jobs in 2014, Kevin and I have both noticed a bit more of a “creep” in our weight than ever before. Eating too many of those leftovers was taking its toll and we realized it was time we did something about it before it got to be too much to lose.
Enter the 5:2 diet.
I have never been good at “dieting”. I just do not have the strength of will to completely give up any particular food group in order to lose weight. I have to have my potato chips occasionally, I want to be able to enjoy some triple cream cheese when it appears before me, or a serious slice of blueberry pie. And of course I want my wine. So, while I have been a “dieter” all my life, I have never found a weight-loss diet that I could stick with for any length of time with any successful progress in the down direction. When I heard about the 5:2 I was intrigued – you didn’t have to “diet” all the time, just two days a week! What a concept! The rest of the time was your own choice. If you want to really lose weight, of course you have to be careful the remainder of the week but you still can have what you normally eat, nothing is off limits. This seemed to be the kind of diet I could follow.
Getting Kevin on board was easier than I thought. And since we’ve been following the regimen – from early February with breaks for vacation and such – Kevin has lost almost ten pounds and I have lost three. We are not discouraged with the slow going – even I am not since those three pounds are gone gone gone, for sure – because we have gained more than we have lost.
For one thing, it has taught us to be more “mindful eaters”. Number one – when you only have 500 calories in the pantry for meals over the course of a whole (long) day, you are careful what you eat and how you spread those calories out. And number two – the rest of the week, since you are much more conscious of the number of calories in your food, you might start to think twice about putting that extra pat of (36 calorie) butter on your bread or reach for that second piece of (246 calorie) fried chicken leg. Being mindful about what you consume is good in all facets of life, but food is one area where it is wise to do it daily.
So, what do we eat on our ‘diet’ days? Eggs. Oranges. Spinach. Asparagus. Grapefruit. Celery. Raw nuts. The usual suspects. It’s not too bad. As long as you don’t mind being hungry, which usually a big glass of water or cup of coffee takes care of…
And after a day on, a day off, another day on, you feel so freaking virtuous!
Aspargus with poached egg
This would be our main meal on a typical diet day – poached egg with some kind of steamed or roasted vegetable, which right now is asparagus. One time Kevin put in a little olive oil, but that ended when we realized it also added at least 50 calories to our daily allowance! I’d rather have a clementine!
Eventually we hope to just do a “maintenance” course of 6:1, but until we get to our personal goal weights, we are all in.
Next time, eating with the seasons.