As I was baking a chocolate torte from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table, I glanced at her picture on the jacket. This author of Dorie’s Cookies, Baking Chez Moi and other wonderful cookbooks is petite, yet she clearly enjoys great food and sweets.
It got me thinking about the many slim people who make a living creating fabulously delicious meals and desserts.
To name a few, there’s Nigella Lawson, Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay, Joanne Chang, Gordon Ramsay, Naomi Pomeroy, Rick Bayless, and Alice Waters. I could fill this page with the names of chefs or food writers who are slim. This includes pastry chefs.
I’m a weight loss coach for foodies. I teach my clients how they can eat the foods they love, lose weight and keep it off. In that capacity, I talk to so many people who can’t believe it is possible to do that.
They’re stuck in the diet mentality. They believe the only way to slim down and stay there is to give things up. Things they love. Sugar. Carbs. Fats. Yet they are still struggling with their weight.
When I did a little research into what some professional foodies did to stay healthy and trim, I was not surprised to see that it was the same things I do and that I teach my clients.
1. They eat what they love and don’t feel guilty about it. There are no forbidden foods. Nigella Lawson, who doesn’t go on diets, explained, “I wouldn’t want a life where I lived on chia seed pudding, just as I wouldn’t want a life where I lived on Eggs Benedict or steak and chips.” Bobby Flay says, “You can eat anything you want in moderation.”
Take away: When you listen to your body and trust it’s wisdom, it tells you to eat a balance of foods, not just sweets and chips. Because nothing is off limits, you don’t have cravings for formerly “forbidden” foods and you don’t need “cheat days.”
2. They eat smaller portions. Chefs are not members of the Clean Plate Club. They know the first few bites taste the best, and they don’t hesitate to take home part of their meal to eat later. Naomi Pomeroy recommends having food wrapped up to take home to reduce portion size and save you time making lunch the next day. Bobby Flay doesn’t eat more than 75% of what’s on his plate.
Take away: If you eat when you’re hungry and stop eating when your body is lightly full, you give your body the amount of food it needs so you don’t gain weight. You also feel great and your digestive problems magically subside.
3. They make exercise a priority. Many of the cooks I read about make regular exercise an integral part of their life. Nigella Lawson and Giada De Laurentiis faithfully practice yoga, and Gordon Ramsay has been in five Ironman triathlons.
Take away: Exercising your body is part of being healthy. It helps you control your weight, reduces your risk of deadly diseases, improves your mood and increases your energy.
Chefs work long hours, eat irregularly, and work with an abundance of rich foods. They love great food. If they can lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, then anyone who incorporates these strategies can too.