“How are you so skinny with all the food you eat!!!!?!!,” was a comment I received on Youtube.
And here’s another…
“How do you manage to stay lean while enjoying so many delicious meals?”
As a food and travel blogger I often get asked how I manage to stay slim.
Sometimes I get personal e-mails, other times people leave comments on my youtube videos where my undeniable favorite activity is eating.
A few days ago I read about the way expert author and food blogger David Lebovitz eats and how he manages to stay fit even as a pastry chef.
It inspired me to share a few of my own practices about the way I eat and manage to take my fill without packing on the pounds.
Before we get started, please remember that I’m no dietician and I’m not a nutrition expert – but I just enjoy eating and blogging.
All of us have unique genes and a variety of different metabolisms – so yes, these factors can play a significant role in eating and remaining slim.
Whatever your body composition, I’m sure a few ideas in this article will be of benefit in helping you indulge in delicious food on your travels while keeping the addition of weight to a minimum.
Also, I am 26 years old, and though my father has warned me that crossing over the hill of 40 years of age is when the inevitable belly handles begin to accumulate, I still have a few years before I can confirm (check back here in 14 years).
How to Eat and Stay Slim
There’s only 1 thing I won’t eat: blatant visible chunks of pure animal fat.
Apart from that single thing, I’ll try and eat just about anything I feel compelled to eat when I travel. Being able to eat everything, doesn’t mean I just grab whatever deep fried snack I see at every opportunity, like it might seem…
On the contrary, my deep obsession for all forms of cuisine has led me to develop a few foodie habits that allow me to stay on the slimmer side. Here are some of my thoughts and suggestions…
Oatmeal for Breakfast
Oatmeal is cheap, filling and ridiculously healthy. At first I didn’t like it (it’s so flavorless), but after force feeding myself bowls of oatmeal and disguising it with tons of fruit and nuts, I now actually can say I enjoy it.
I eat oatmeal and fruit about 80% of the time for breakfast.
As I mentioned before, I think fruit is one of the most amazing things on the planet. Nothing can compare to the fact that fruit was created with the pure intention to be eaten.
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Living and traveling in Southeast Asia, I take full advantage of fruit and often eat a combination of 3 – 6 different fruits per day.
Despite my occasionally carnivorous escapades, in reality I absolutely love vegetables.
I’m not vegetarian by any means (apart from a one month blogging experiment), I just find that vegetables are so extremely flavorful.
I think the reason some people despise veggies is because when they think vegetables, they think “boiled spinach.”
But how good does stir fried vegetables laced with garlic and on fire with chillies, or a freshly pounded platter of Thai green papaya salad, or a steaming bowl of Chinese ma la tang hot pot sound?
There’s no denying, I love meat – pork, beef, mutton, blood sausage, nyama choma, chorizo, you name it!
However, I rarely eat massive piles of meat like I used to back in high school and university. Somedays I don’t even eat red meat altogether because I’m personally more of a fan of fish and seafood.
Cutting back on huge amounts of red meat is a great way to be healthier.
I guess a reason I can stand eating less meat is due to my affection for fish which happens to be quite a bit less fatty than average meat.
I probably eat fish at least 3 – 5 times a week and would choose fish or seafood 7 out of 10 times over any other form of protein.
Late Night Eats
Eating late night food and drifting into an immediate slumber really does feel amazing!
But a few years ago I made a decision to cut out the unnecessary late night meals (with occasional exceptions, of course), and try to not to eat anything at least 2 – 3 hours prior to going to bed.
Deep Fried Things
I avoid deep fried foods.
Not all time, but given a choice, I’ll go for stir fried or steamed or grilled over deep fried. Sometimes though, I do feel like I need a little deep fried treat in my life, and it’s not that bad, it’s just a good habit to cut back on deep fried foods.
I’m a meal guy.
While I do sometimes get the munch cravings, I tend to eat larger meals and snack less.
If I do snack, I typically go for nuts and fruit – not packaged bags of chips or French fries (which I eat about 1 time a year).
I’m not big on sweets (personal preference), I’d much rather fill up with more of the meal than dessert. It’s probably not more than 1 – 2 times a week when I eat something really sweet.
Desserts however, aren’t necessarily too fattening unless you eat an over sized portion. Eat a smaller portion without overdoing it!
I have zero clue what the latest diet fad suggests about carbs – all I can tell you is that I eat a couple mountains of rice each day.
In fact, if I don’t eat rice each day, I honestly don’t feel satisfied. I did grow up eating rice daily and Southeast Asia is a perfect culinary wonderland for rice connoisseurs.
Carbs are wonderful, and maybe the only suggestion here would be to eat a balance of carbs and other nutrients. I however eat lots of carbs and love them.
Water is the ultimate drink and it’s really the only necessary beverage.
I see plenty of people in their most extreme stages of thirst heading to the nearest convenience store and proceeding to guzzle a couple bottles of soda followed by an energy drink, just to quench their thirst.
I stick to plain room temperature water 93% of the time (see other beverages below).
Coffee and Tea
Both coffee and tea and fantastic beverages that I highly enjoy.
I normally drink a single cup of black unsweetened coffee in the morning to get things going. Then I usually drink green tea throughout the day as I’m typing away or video editing on the computer.
I’m not a big alcohol drinker. I’ll have a beer or a glass or wine infrequently.
However if you do enjoy drinking, I don’t think it’s necessarily harmful to remaining slim, unless you binge drink on a daily basis. I guess it’s all about moderation (with occasional exceptions).
I walk. A lot.
I don’t intentionally walk for exercise, but I do it just because I enjoy walking and I love to observe things by way of foot. Walking doubles as a thoughtless way to keep the body moving and working.
I’m not a hardcore jogger, but after working away staring at a computer screen, I think nothing feels better than taking a jog.
I jog for about 30 minutes, 2 – 4 times a week. If I spend a 12 hour day walking around a city, I won’t jog that day.
Doing sets of pushups is an exercise that can be done with zero extra materials and can be done just about anywhere.
Throughout a day of blogging or traveling, I’ll often take to the floor and bust out sets of pushups in-between tweets!
If you read my blog, you probably know I enjoy massive feasts! Yes I do!
But behind the scenes…
If I eat a mega sized meal for lunch (that I write a restaurant review or a blog post about), I’ll try to eat a lesser sized meal for dinner, or vice versa (this is in general, there are many exceptions).
If given the choice, I also prefer to eat a bigger meat filled lunch and a lighter vegetable filled dinner.
Yes, I do admit to having the advantage of an efficient metabolism, but I do also think about the future and eat a balanced diet much of the time.
Keep in mind also that food list posts like 40 Sri Lankan foods are a roundup of the things I ate on my entire 3 week trip to the country – not just a 2 day gluttonous vacation!
In the End…
In know it’s a cliché, but a “balanced diet” really is the formula.
Eat those delicious massive feasts when you travel, just cut back on the things you know are bad for you. Balance that out with some exercise and an abundance of fruit and vegetables (which might taste a lot better than you think), and you’re well on your way to eating like a food blogger and staying slim!