Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Something so simple...

So my question to you is this: How do you have a food blog, cook, photograph, eat, think about and write about food - and lose weight? It's not that I'm obese - I'm not. But my recent trip with my sister yielded over 400 photographs and about 5 extra pounds. Now, 5 pounds isn't much, I realize. But that was on top of the 5 that had crept up over the last....oh...maybe 3 years. And as we all know, Thanksgiving is around the corner - a holiday devoted to gluttony. And I'm going to my sister's house, and she is a phenomenal chef as well as a superb baker. ("Superb" might be an understatement, actually.) And my entire family loves to eat. And cook. So I'm staring into the headlights of an oncoming train - and that train is called "The Weight Gain Express."

Better to get some of these unwanted pounds off now, I say.

Now, some of you might be asking yourself "How is it that she's talking about losing weight, and yet the photo on the top is of potatoes, of all things! I mean, isn't that the first thing you cut out when you want to lose weight? (Notice that at no time do I say the "d" word here. It's a 4 letter word and I don't like it.) Well, that depends upon how you choose to go about losing weight, and most of us go about it the wrong way. We start with our food intake and then add on the exercise. That's backwards. At least, for most people it is.

I happen to be fortunate to live somewhere where I can go outside pretty much the whole year and get some exercise. Except when it's raining - which it does less and less of every year - I prefer to take walks. Long walks. Like, for instance, walk to a friend's house in downtown San Diego, which is about 3 1/2 miles from my place. Or I'll walk to do my grocery shopping. In that case, the walk is only about 3 miles round trip, but on the way back I'm carrying weights. Last time I did that, I actually weighed what I was carrying when I got home. 23 pounds. (I did curls on my walk home with the bags.)
Years ago I traveled in France with a friend and her mom. When we parted ways in Niece, I took off by myself and went to Arles - a lovely city with a Roman arena, and the place most people associate with Van Gogh. I found myself seated on the patio of a restaurant right across from the arena, and at the next table was a woman "of a certain age" seated by herself. We smiled at each other and she asked "Vous et toute seule?" (You're alone?) "Oui". And she gestured for me to come join her, which I did. I got to practice my French for the evening, as we ate our wonderful dinner, followed by a long walk on a balmy night. She was wearing a knit dress which made it clear that she had a terrific figure, so I asked her if she belonged to a gym. She laughed at the idea. No, she said, I walk. She walked everywhere, and that was her exercise.

So now, back to the potatoes. I decided that since I'm already walking everywhere, doing yoga, even lifting weights from time to time (other than grocery bags, that is), and my bike is in the shop being repaired - I needed to focus on what I was eating. And since I've been slim all my life, I'm not really programmed to do any of those popular kinds of diets. I don't intend to drink a shake and call it a meal - not unless it's a breakfast smoothie. I've examined many of the diets that are out there, and the only 2 that make any sense to me are the South Beach diet and Weight Watchers. I've done South Beach before and it works. That is, until you start adding carbs back into your diet - bread, pasta, potatoes, baked goods etc. -- you know, all those foods that will, eventually, creep back onto your plate. Especially at Thanksgiving and during the holiday season.

Which left me with Weight Watchers. This is something I've done before and it works. You can eat anything - even potatoes - and lose weight. It's a question of how much you eat, rather than what you eat. It's a weight loss program designed for someone who loves to cook and eat and yes, even have a glass of wine. So far I've been on it for two weeks and I've lost 6 1/2 pounds. I've even "fallen off" the wagon and had brownies and salmon spread on crackers and chili con queso on chips at a party one night. That added a pound, but it came off quickly as I got back on track.

This evening I will be enjoying a dish I made from the 4 different kinds of eggplants I bought at the farmer's market this past weekend - bright orange Turkish, a green Japanese, and 2 small, round purple ones - sliced up and added to a pot with onions, garlic, ground turkey, peppers and tomatoes. (I decided to have a "nightshade" meal.) To go with that, I will be devouring the rest of these roasted potatoes. The photograph would have been better if I hadn't eaten several slices before I photographed the dish, but oh well. It was worth it. ;-)

I sliced the potato and put it in ice water to soak while cooking the above dish. When the pot was ready, I drained the potatoes and patted them dry, put a tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl and tossed them with salt and pepper. The oven was preheated to 400 degrees and it took about 50 minutes to roast. Can potatoes really be this sweet???


Anonymous said...

Oh, I KNOW!! Having a foodblog can be devastating. The weight creeps up s.o.l.w.l.y...
I try to only taste, so I can know if it is good and then eat only when my family eats, and then walk alot, or else...

Toni said...

Or else, indeed! Thanks for stopping by, Ronelle.

Anonymous said...

I exercise a lot and watch what I eat. i don't deprive myself of anything. I just don't eat gobs and gobs of it.

Olive Tree said...

Hi, it's a very great blog.
I could tell how much efforts you've taken on it.
Keep doing!

Toni said...

Wendy - Thanks for stopping by my blog! Yes, having the willpower - or "won't power" as my mom used to say - is the key.

Unknown said...

I know the old weight gain routine very well. Unfortunately, I am a stress eater and there is much stress in my life now.

I must let go of it!

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impromptu diva said...

i hear ya... i lost 25 lbs in 2 months but the weight is creeping up slowly ever since I started my foodblog 3 weeks ago... and with the holidays... i just have to sing... 'tis the season to skip my diet, falalalala lalala!

I love your blog Toni! I love your musings, I love the food, and I love the fact that we both share the same city!

Julia said...

This is my favorite way to prepare potatoes. So easy, so rewarding. Walking is my favorite thing; should I get cranky, I know a walk will be a balm. I walk everywhere I can. My parents always said the only reason they never gained weight when they went to Europe was because they walked constantly. And your paragraph about Arles made me think fondly of my visit. Thanks!