Ever since I started getting more involved with Health Coaching, it seems that people think I'm someone I'm not. They assume I eat nothing but kale and smoothies and I must love to run. Now why the people who have known me forever would think this, is beyond me. I mentioned in a previous blog post that I don't love kale. I do, however, love pizza and IPA and I hate to run. So, I'm confused. "Being Healthy" does not equal misery and deprivation (miserable and deprived doesn't have a very healthy ring to it, does it?). While on vacation recently we went out to dinner at my favorite little place in Old Forge, NY called Billy's. I ordered Linguine Alfredo with Chicken, Broccoli and Sausage. I had it last year when I was there and it was amazing. My mom leans over and says "You're eating Alfredo?????" (I recall a similar comment when I ordered fried chicken somewhere). My mental response was "Hello? Do you even know me? I love pasta and all things cheesy". My actual response was "Hells yes!" When you eat right most of the time and move your body frequently, you can have whatever you want on a special night out....without feeling guilty, disgusting or like you've somehow blown it.
So here's my most important advice about this:
BE A PICKY EATER! BE SELECTIVE! BE A FOOD SNOB! (if you will)
What do I mean by that? I mean make quality matter. Eat where the food is made fresh (on site) from real ingredients and not loaded with fillers, sodium and MSG. Ever notice how salty the food is at most chain restaurants? Several years ago we used to really like going to Chili's or Ruby Tuesday's. Nelsy and I both worked at The Outback many moons ago and we loved their food. Now that we primarily cook at home, and have been picky about what and where we eat, those meals are practically unbearable. The saltiness is insane. If you frequent these types of restaurants it probably isn't as noticeable. Once you get away from it and realize there are so many more fantastic flavors out there besides salt you'll wonder why you loved it to begin with. Now, being realistic, we all have those occasions when we just need (or want) to grab something quick or you're out of town and need to pick a place because you're starving and exhausted or friends ask you to join them somewhere you wouldn't normally have chosen, it happens. At the risk of sounding like a total jerk, I can't tell you how many times we've said (quietly...because we're not really jerks) "We totally could've made this better at home". That's the food snob I was referring to. Being a little bit of a snob will make you choose better when you do go out and even inspire your next home cooked meal which leads us to my next piece of advice......
* EAT OUT LESS * MAKE IT A SPECIAL OCCASION*
* COOK AT HOME *
If you go out to eat weekly (or for some it may be daily) take a step back. Only eat out for special occasions or when you're traveling. If you normally go out for pizza every Friday night, try making it at home once in a while. Invite friends over and make them together, experiment with fun toppings. We make some seriously awesome pizzas sometimes (my favorite is clam and bacon with mixed baby greens on top) and I can assure you they are cheaper and less greasy! Learn a few easy recipes if you don't already know how to cook. This will save you calories and cash! So often I hear people say that it's so expensive to eat healthy. It's true, some things can be more expensive but not more expensive than eating out all the time. Two burgers at an Applebee's will run you over $20.00 without tax and tip. I can think of several meals I can make at home that are healthy, real and very tasty for $20.00 and that would feed four people, not just two. I'm not saying never go out for that sloppy burger (because sometimes it's exactly what you need), just make it a rare (and I don't mean a cool, red center) occasion. And for Pete's sake, get out there and get some exercise! With these tips, and regular physical activity, you can have your Alfredo and eat it too.