“Ya gotta love wat’cha eat!”
-Andi, My Weight Watchers Leader
I’ve been contacted by a kind and encouraging number of you who’ve said things that fall into two main categories:
1) “You’re an inspiration to me!”
2) “Alright, buddy. Make with the recipes already.”
To those of you in category one, I say, “Thank you. I’m still trying to inspire myself to keep this up, so you’re helping me.” This post is the first in what may be an on-going answer to those in category two. If you like what you read, say so, and I’ll do it again.
Focusing on what you eat is irrelevant and will trip you up every time. There, my secret’s out. Don’t believe me? Scandalized? Good. I was too, when I realized it. Instead, I prioritize two other factors: What I Love About Eating and How Much I Eat What I Love.
Though Weight Watchers wasn’t the answer for me, my former** leader Andi’s attitude about eating was a big answer to my habits. Her statement above proved formative to my diet once I was able to mix it with the hard-core education from my Abington Weight Management Class.
The ethos is simple: We must love what we eat or we will quit. The problem then becomes how to focus on what you eat. I say we must discover and embrace what we love about eating. Use as few words as possible and describe what you love, crave, and need to be satisfied for you to have a full belly and heart. For me it was Flavor, Volume and Texture.
I list them in that order on purpose, because once you have more that one word, you must rank them in order of importance.
For me, a powerful flavor brings immediate satisfaction for the majority of eating—I seek out flavor first.
This Skinny Pizza was my first attempt at getting that robust Italian burst of tomato, garlic and oregano, melted mozzarella cheese and crispy crust which shouts “Pizza!” without all the calories. It’s a favorite of mine, and my wife’s too.
1 tbs FF Mozzarella cheese per slice
1tsp parmesan cheese per slice
1-2 tbs Tomato Sauce (below) per slice
+ Veggies & meat as desired (will change calories/carbs)
1 pureed Tomato & 1 diced Tomato
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Oregano, basil, onion & garlic powder to taste.
Simmer until it thickens
(or I like Prego Original for 12 calories a Tbs)
1) Top Wasa with all ingredients like a pizza
2) Sprinkle with Oregano, basil, onion & garlic powder to taste.
3) 15 min at 425 or until cheese is melted/brown.
SERVING: 3 slices 70 calories and 7 carbs per slice
Pump Up The Volume
Volume stops my hunger and also fulfills my need to munch, so I have to do it on the calorie cheap side or I’ll balloon.
Any water or fat free broth based soup is a winner for calorie cheap volume with killer flavor. This Chicken Foodle (faux noodle) soup was a hit at our Solstice party this year and at our dinner table. It’s savory, hearty and there are plenty of slurp-able noodles.
Chicken Foodle Soup
2 cartons Fat Free Chicken Broth
3-4 stalks Celery
1/2 raw Onion
3 oz chopped Carrot (any kind)
16 oz light chicken breast (140 cal or less)
2 tomatoes, diced
1/3 to 1/2 rutabaga
Chop all items except rutabagas. Once soup is assembled in pot, slice rutabaga into 1.5-2 inch wide chunks which are able to be hand held. Hold chunk over the pot and use a vegetable peeler to peel faux noodles or “foodles” into the pot.
Simmer or Crockpot until chicken is done.
SERVING: 1 cup = 80 calories & 2 carbs
Food With Feeling
Texture is a stress reliever for me. Some to Tai Chi, I crunch and munch, gnaw and gnash.
I enter a chili cook off every year. Last October, focused on losing weight, I told myself I can’t enter. Well, you know how I am about “can’t.” Not only did I craft a healthy chili, but I conquered one of my pet peeves about my own chili: The Mush. I put all these great crispy fresh veggies into my chili, and then cook until they’re brown and uniform. Unless you’re UPS, brown and uniform is a recipe for blech.
The secret of this powerful, flavor-mad chili is to mingle the fire or chili essence with the ice, or veggies, in your bowl right before eating. (Yes, like the McD.L.T.) What you lose in mush, you make up for in crunchy, fresh satisfaction.
Fire & Ice Chili
The Pico De Gallo
5-6 Roma Tomatoes
1 Cup Celery
1 Cup Red Onion
1 Medium Yellow Pepper
1 Tbs Minced Garlic
2 tsp Salt
The Chili Essence
4oz Beef Tenderloin, hammered thin, in strips
3-4 Cups Low Fat Beef Broth
1 Can small Red Beans
4 Tbs Chili Powder
1 Tbs Ancho Chili
2 Tsp Cumin
2 Tsp Ret Al Hanout (it’s Moroccan, but McCormick brings it to us)
Cayenne to taste
Chipotle to taste
Simmer broth while chopping all veggies. Toss the veggies in the spices and juice to make a Pico like slaw.
To eat well: Pour one cup of broth over two cups of veggies, top with sour cream and cheese (I prefer the fat free kind).
SERVING: 1 cup broth, 2 cups veggies = 135 calories and 16 carbs. This doesn’t include the cheese and sour cream.
Find what you love about food and make your recipes to fit that; not the steps above. Eating is personal; it need not be a personal tragedy when it can be a personal triumph. Andi used to end most of her classes with a simple statement. I’ll echo her words here. Try the recipes; find your own food priorities, but most of all “Act like you care about you!”
**I can’t call her old or she’ll mention me in class and say “he called me old”—so, “former” it is.
*© The Fat Guy’s Guide to Health is the sole intellectual property of Keith Karabin and KeithKarabin.com.