As I said yesterday, life has been busy busy busy lately! But everything is so good that I’m not complaining one bit! Now it’s just a matter of sorting out what I want to do and taking care of all the logistics to make it happen.
I’m in DC again the next couple of days for work. Whenever I’m traveling, it’s a little bit more challenging to eat healthfully because I’m eating out all the time. At home, it’s easy for me to plan healthy, tasty meals because that’s the kind of food I enjoy.
On the road, it’s harder because I just have to go with what’s available.
I don’t really talk about my approach to eating here because I take it so for granted. I also don’t want anyone to compare themselves to me or to think I have all of the answers because I certainly don’t. What I can say, however, is what works for me.
I look at eating like a checking account—an Eating Account, if you will. There are deposits and withdrawals and in the end, the goal is balance. My balance comes most naturally when I eat when I’m hungry. This means my mealtimes aren’t always the same as everyone else’s. Sometimes I’m starving in the morning and want a big breakfast. On those days, most likely I’m not going to be hungry for a huge lunch, so I’ll balance it out with a light salad.
It’s so ingrained in me now that I don’t even really think about it. A salad is probably what I want anyway! Or if I eat my big breakfast later in the morning, I might not be hungry for lunch at all. In that case, I just have a snack instead—usually some kind of Clif bar because I am obsessed with them!
By dinnertime, I’m ready for something more substantial, but that doesn’t mean I gorge myself. I think about what sounds good, what will get me the nutrients and protein I need, and ultimately, what’s going to make me feel good.
And sometimes, what’s really going to make me feel good is this:
Now, I’m not eating Coconut Blondies every day for dinner, but sometimes it’s just that kind of day! I know you know what I mean.
Other days, I’m not hungry at all until lunchtime. I know this goes against everything you’re supposed to do eating wise, but as I said, it works for me. When that happens, lunch is usually much more substantial, but still something good for me that’s going to fill me up and make me feel good.
When thinking about what I might like to eat for any meal, I think about how one meal will make me feel versus another. This includes everything from energy to nutrition to indulgence. What am I hungry for? What is going to energize me and make me feel good? If I need protein but I want chocolate, how can I make that work for me?
A cocoa-filled green monster should do the trick!
Ultimately, I want the food I eat to sustain me and make me feel good. Eating a big burger and fries once in a while? Awesome. All the time? Not so much.
A roasted veggie salad is pretty much the antithesis of a burger, right?
Oh, and this whole balance thing? It has to include dessert. Sometimes, it’s a healthier dessert, like banana soft serve or a raspberry lemon tart.
And other times, you’ve just got to go big or go home.
So what does all of this mean? Well, it means that I listen to my body. If I really want birthday cake for breakfast, I have birthday cake for breakfast.
If I want wine and crackers for dinner, I have wine and crackers for dinner. But if I’m having cake for breakfast, I’m having salad for dinner. And if it’s wine and cracker night, I probably had a veggie-packed lunch.
Balance balance balance.
But there’s another big key to all this—and it was probably the hardest thing I had to learn. I have to stop eating when I’m full. This is where the whole Party of One deal comes in. I make individual portions because I just need enough food for me. Not for 2, not for 4, but just for one. I eat my one portion, and that’s my meal. I know myself, and if there’s a huge bowl of pasta, I’m probably going for seconds. But by the time my stomach catches up with my head, I’m already overly full and it’s too late. Making single servings eliminates this because it’s not even an option. If I’m still hungry 20 minutes later, then I’ll eat something else. But more often than not, a reasonably sized single portion is plenty for me.
As for traveling? I look for healthy choices where I can get them, like salads and sandwiches. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, but if there aren’t any great options, it just goes back to portion control. No calorie counting, no beating myself up over it, just an overall goal of balance.
What’s your eating approach?
I’d love to hear!