One of my most asked questions for Wellness Week this year was to share what I eat in a day and/or daily food diary. To be honest, it definitely depends on whether I’m trying to lose or maintain my weight! My weight tends to fluctuate quite a lot throughout the year, mostly because I lack self control when I travel. I tend to overindulge on trips and stretch my stomach out from the sheer volume of food I’ve consumed! While I never feel guilty about that, I do have to approach my consumption of food and diet a little differently following a trip than I do when I’m home regularly.
Coming off of the holiday season, I definitely put on some weight – totally normal, right? After all that eating and drinking, I simply needed to cut back in order to lose that extra padding. I also know that I’m going to be traveling again at the end of the month and want to feel good going into that trip! The quickest way for me to lose pounds and *detox* is to cut my daily intake of calories for a week or two – this usually means replacing a regular lunch with a healthy smoothie or green juice. I’ll eat like I normally do at dinner with either a big salad, veggie noodles, this Whole30 Beef Enchilada Skillet, or one of the recipes from this post, this post, this post, this post or this post. Even during this “cutting back” time, I always have coffee + creamer in morning and never go to bed without eating something sweet (this is usually fruit). This is what I’m currently doing at the moment.
Once I’m feeling more myself (aka less bloated and a little lighter) and ready to maintain vs lose weight, I’ll go back to eating a salad or veggie-focused lunch and regular dinner. While this method may not be perfect and not great for everyone, doing this has helped me bounce back a little more quickly from gluttonous trips! Simply put, to lose weight you must burn more calories than you are consuming. It’s science!
The only thing that’s really changed from my daily food diary in this post from last year is that I’m not eating breakfast anymore. I work out first thing in the morning, and eating before started making me feel nauseas… and if I’m being honest, more sluggish during my workouts. Sounds weird, but coffee is all I need these days to get me going! I also find that if I eat a big breakfast I’m so much more hungry throughout the day. I’m basically doing my own version of intermittent fasting now, but I’m not hard on myself if I don’t only eat between 12pm-8pm. With all of the above said, below are two examples of a food diary for weeks when I’m trying to lose or maintain my weight. I included suggestions for a full week for each!
FOOD DIARY WHEN I’M TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT
FOOD DIARY WHEN I’M TRYING TO MAINTAIN MY WEIGHT
ANSWERING YOUR FOOD/DIET QUESTIONS
QUESTION // Can you share tips on how not to gain 20 lbs every time I travel somewhere with good food?
ANSWER // Girl, this is something I am not good at either! I always overindulge on trips!! I did do a better job on my recent trip to London and Germany in December than I’ve done on previous trips. Briony and I both wanted to try to eat healthy, which was really helpful – I always have major food envy if other people are ordering indulgent things at every meal, which usually ends with me doing the same. On this particular trip though, we decided to both have salads for lunch most of the time! It kept me from waking up feeling bloated every day, and I managed to not come back 10+ pounds heavier like I usually do! I always have less self control at dinner, so making myself order a salad at lunch is the best thing I can do for myself when I’m traveling!
QUESTION // What are your favorite Instagram accounts and blogs for recipes?
ANSWER // Great question… there are so many! Below are some go-to Instagrams and blogs:
- The Defined Dish – mostly paleo and Whole30 approved recipes
- What’s Gaby Cooking – recipes of all kinds
- Cookie + Kate – vegetarian recipes (find a lot of great salads here!)
- How Sweet Eats – recipes of all kinds
- Detoxinista – healthy, clean recipes
- Damn Delicious – recipes of all kinds
- Naturally Ella – plant-based recipes
- Pinch of Yum – hearty, healthy recipes
- Food Life Love – recipes of all kinds
- Savvy Spoon – healthy recipes
QUESTION // How do you manage sweet cravings? When you want a healthy indulgence, what is it?
ANSWER // Always have fruit on hand when the cravings strike! I love all kinds of fruit, so I usually keep a variety in my fridge at the ready… specifically pineapple, apples, blackberries, mango, watermelon, etc.
QUESTION // I don’t like kale. Any good alternatives besides spinach?
ANSWER // Depending on the recipe, butter lettuce, romaine, arugula, shaved brussels sprouts, shaved cabbage and more can be great greens to use instead of kale and spinach!
QUESTION // Can you share some tips for starting healthy eating habits and always being prepared?
ANSWER // Absolutely! You don’t have to completely overhaul what you’re doing right away. Start by changing something small, like having a more plant-based lunch (salad!) instead of a meat and bread-heavy lunch (sandwich/burger!). Another would be to give yourself a goal of trying one new healthy recipe each week, or committing to not eating the bread basket each time you go out to dinner. Small steps can make a big difference, so focus on making small changes that will lead to better habits going forward.
Meal prep is the best thing you can do in terms of being prepared. We all lead busy lives, and if you’re like me, you tend to go for whatever is easiest when you’re really hungry after a long day. Even though I work from home and can generally be flexible about when I cook, I still like to do prep work at the start of the week and again about half-way through the week to keep myself on track. This might mean cutting up all of my kale for the next few days so it’s ready to go, chopping up veggies for roasting later in the week, preparing cauliflower rice so I can just zap it in the microwave, or making a big pot of healthy soup or a similar large recipe you can eat over a few days.
QUESTION // Can you share some of your favorite healthy snacks?
ANSWER // I try not to snack too much because I have a hard time with portion control, but here are some suggestions!
- Sliced apples
- Marcona almonds (I love both the truffle salt and rosemary ones at Trader Joe’s!)
- Green juice
- Hard-boiled eggs
QUESTION // What are your favorite healthy-ish meals to get when you’re dining out?
ANSWER // It totally depends on the restaurant! Below are some ideas based on the cuisine:
- If I’m at a steak house or seafood restaurant, I’ll order a fish or meat entree with veggies!
- At a Mexican place I’ll order a taco salad or tortilla soup. You could also ask for tacos with lettuce wraps instead of tortillas!
- At Italian spots you can usually find a chicken or veal piccata! Just request veggies instead of pasta on the side.
- Sushi is pretty healthy anyway, but I love ordering sashimi to avoid eating lots of rice and sauces!
- At American restaurants like Honor Bar/Hillstone/Houston’s, I’ll get the regular burger or veggie burger, but with a lettuce wrap instead of a bun. So good! These places also have delicious salads!
QUESTION // Can you share how you make your chili kale?
ANSWER // So this is something I used to buy at the Whole Foods salad bar near my house! They got renovated this past year and the chili kale no longer appears in the salad bar, so I had to get creative and make it myself. It’s a great base to all kinds of salads if you love a little heat!
- Wash, trim and cut green kale into bite sized pieces. Place into a medium sized bowl.
- Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the top of the kale, along with about a tablespoon of chili-infused olive oil. My favorite is the limited edition Calabrian Chile Pepper Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Whole Foods!
- Massage the kale until wilted and fragrant, then top with red chili flakes and a sprinkle of salt to taste.
- Top with your choice of toppings – suggestions include chicken, goat cheese, butternut squash, etc!
QUESTION // Do you do intermittent fasting or have you ever tried it?
ANSWER // While I don’t adhere to it in a strict way, because I no longer eat breakfast I generally only eat food between the hours of 12pm-8pm… which basically is intermittent fasting! But I’m not doing any kind of carb-cycling or full day fasts like in the Faster Way To Fat Loss program a few bloggers I know are doing. I try to keep my routine as simple as possible so it’s easy to adhere to when traveling or my schedule gets busy!
QUESTION // How does drinking wine impact you? I get really bloated from it!
ANSWER // Wine itself doesn’t do much to me in that sense, but I do tend to wake up in the middle of the night after a few glasses. I think it’s the sugar? I get headaches really easily from wine now too. My old personal trainer told me the lightest alcohol choice is tequila, which is my drink of choice in the summer. It has less sugar and carbs than other alcohols, which is better for you and can help you avoid a hangover. This time of year though, I can’t pass on a glass of red!
QUESTION // Can you share your food shopping lists and ingredients you use to prepare your healthy meals?
ANSWER // This totally depends on what recipes I’m wanting to make that week! But some things I almost always buy when I’m at the store include: green kale, dinosaur/lacinato kale, lemons and limes, goat cheese crumbles, grated parmesan cheese, butternut squash (either noodles or whole, which I then cut into chunks), green juice, Chameleon Vanilla Cold Brew Coffee, Califia Almond + Coconut Milk Creamer, cauliflower or broccoli rice, etc. I eat a lot of salads and veggies noodles, mostly because they are the easiest to prepare and require the least amount of extra ingredients!
QUESTION // Do you track macros?
ANSWER // Nope, I really don’t track anything! I don’t even have a scale in my house. I just try to eat well: a good mix of veggies, fruits and proteins!
DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist or health professional/expert! I’m just sharing what I eat and do myself. Speak to your doctor before making any big changes to your diet!