I've been a foodie for as long as I can remember. Even as a little kid, I was fascinated by food.
When I was very little, I went through a phase where my answer to "What do you want to be when you grow up?" was "a pizza maker."
I remember during Grandparent's Day in first grade, my teacher Mrs. Robey had us make a book - complete with our own illustrations - about what we would do if we could spend the whole day with our grandparents.
I was not like the rest of the kids, who were planning out trips to zoos and amusement parks with grandma and grandpa.
Instead, my ideal day with my grandparents included a picnic and them taking me for ice cream, and probably a few other food-related activities as well.
My favorite birthday party? I don't remember the little girl's name or where I knew her from, but she had her birthday party at a pizza parlor and we got to go in the kitchen and learn how to throw dough and make our own pizzas from scratch. It was the best party I ever went to.
Food has always interested me. Learning where it comes from and how to make it. Spending time talking to the people who grow and raise our food. Preparing it, and then bringing people together to share it. I love it all.
At War With Food
Somewhere along the way, late in high school I think, I became aware that food wasn't all fun and games. I suddenly learned that food could cause me to gain weight, to go up a clothing size, to not look as cute or feel as confident as the other girls.
By college and the years that followed, I was in a full-on war with food.
During my internship in DC, we had Speaker Nights at the intern house that included home cooked dinners and always - always - some kind of pre-made/frozen dessert the intern parents had picked up from Costco. I considered it a badge of honor that I skipped dessert every week, and I remember the one time I didn't. I stayed up until 1 a.m. running on the treadmill in the apartment gym to burn off the slice of cake.
Fast forward 15 years later, and thank goodness, my war with food is over and behind me. My unhealthy past relationship with food was one of the driving forces in becoming a nutrition coach: I didn't want other women (especially young girls) to go through what I had gone through. Having a greater understanding of the impact food has on our hormones helped complete my healing process and put my food issues to rest.
They are still there of course, always lingering in the background.
I was reminded of them one night recently when my husband brought home a slice of cake for dessert as part of our "at-home date night."
It wasn't just any cake. It was chocolate cake. German chocolate cake, people...
Here is the aftermath:
One slice of cake. Two people. Two forks. And that is what remained.
You may be thinking:
"HOW DO YOU DO THAT?! How do you just leave perfectly good cake?! Wasn't it good?! Then why didn't you keep eating it?!
Here's my why:
Because it's just cake and it doesn't have any power over me.
Since becoming a certified fat loss nutrition coach and personal trainer, I've worked with hundreds of women with food histories much like my own.
I teach women that food is not the enemy.
I teach women how to take the power away from food so that it's just food.
I teach women how to cook and eat real food for fat loss.
Because I didn't see many nutrition coaches and trainers sharing recipes from Nigella Lawson or Bon Appetit magazine, I started to carve out a niche for myself with female foodies who wanted to get and stay lean while still enjoying cooking, eating, and sharing real food.
A fat loss lifestyle is about eating for hormonal balance and achieving fat loss in a sustainable, effortless way over time.
If you are seeking freedom from food, a Fat Loss Foodie Lifestyle can help you achieve hormonal balance and practice new behaviors around food.
Here are three principles I use in my coaching that help women overcome their food issues:
1. Nothing is Off Limits
There are no "good foods" or "clean foods," because it's all ultimately just food. No labels, no emotions necessary. There is no school of thought or "team" that is better than any other (for example, Team Paleo vs. Team Vegan vs. Team If It Fits Your Macros) because we can all peacefully coexist AND achieve fat loss using any one of those approaches, as long as we honor our own unique metabolic expression, personality, and preferences.
Focus on eating more of the things that work for you and make you feel and perform your best, and limit the food that doesn't serve you. For example, if you discover that dairy foods make you feel bloated and cause you to break out, that doesn't mean you can never eat another bite of ice cream. It just means that on a daily basis, you can find ways to reduce your dairy intake and replace it with other things that work FOR you.
Make no mistake: Treat meals are part of a fat loss lifestyle, too, and we make a big deal out of our weekly pizza night or pasta night or burger night and make it an EVENT. Food should be celebrated and enjoyed, not eaten in secret and shame.
2. Food is Abundant
Look around you. Chances are, you could acquire food with very little effort, in very little time, from where you're sitting right now as you read this. You probably have food in your bag, your desk, or a few steps away in the kitchen or office fridge. There's probably a restaurant or convenience store or coffee shop just minutes away.
Here in America, food is everywhere we turn. So why do we eat as if it's our last meal and we'll never ever have another opportunity to eat a slice of pizza, a piece of cake, or a cookie? Why do we have to EAT IT ALL RIGHT NOW?
Last night, when I was indulging in a few bites of that insanely good German Chocolate Cake, I knew I didn't have to scarf it down or eat it all. The bakery is a few blocks away. It's not going anywhere. I can have it any time I want if that's what I choose.
It's just cake. And just because something tastes good, doesn't mean you have to eat ALL of it.
3. The Law of Diminishing Returns
There is a law in economics that states the more abundant a product is to consumers, the less they will want it. As supply goes up, demand goes down.
Apply this law the next time you're face to face with a slice of chocolate cake, or any highly-palatable food that you feel driven to consume in its entirety.
Notice how the first bite, the second bite, the third bite - are sheer HEAVEN, but as you continue eating, it becomes less enjoyable. You keep eating more and more in search of that "pleasure fix" you got from the first bite, but it's not there. It's usually around the 4th or 5th bite for me, which is exactly where I stopped last night.
That's when you put down your fork. Close the container. Walk to the fridge. Put it away for tomorrow when you can enjoy a few bites all over again.
I'm glad my guy brought home that slice of cake. It allowed me to reflect on how far I've come and how I can use what I've learned to help others. Now I welcome opportunities to practice making choices that serve me well, that give me freedom and make me feel powerful.
Cake doesn't have ANY power over me, and it shouldn't have any power over you.
It's just cake.