How to Eat Like a Food Blogger and Stay Slim

By Mark Wiens 63 Comments
Here I am, eating like I'm a food blogger!
Here I am, eating like a food blogger!
How to eat like a food blogger!
How to eat like a food blogger!

“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.

However…

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…

I promise, there's a little oatmeal at bottom of the bowl!
I promise, there's a little oatmeal at bottom of the bowl!

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.

Nothing is as good as fruit!
Nothing is as good as fruit!

Fruit

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.

Living and traveling in Southeast Asia, I take full advantage of fruit and often eat a combination of 3 – 6 different fruits per day.

Som Tam in Thailand
Som Tam in Thailand

Vegetables

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?

I also love eating meat!
I also love eating meat!

Meat

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.

Fish

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.

How to stay slim
Deep fried things taste great, but they don't help in remaining slim!

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.

Snacking

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).

Desserts

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!

Carbs

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

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).

Tea and Coffee
Tea and Coffee

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.

Drinking Alcohol

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).

Walking

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.

Jogging

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.

Pushups

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!

I do enjoy massive feasts!
I do enjoy massive feasts!

Meals

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.

Chinese Ma La Tong Hot Pot
Chinese Ma La Tong Hot Pot

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!

Do you have any other tips? Please leave a comment below…



63 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Renuka

    2 days ago

    Carbs! I don’t know why everybody is against eating carbs. I appreciate that you eat rice every day. I think moderation is the key to staying fit, and of course, exercise. Walking is easy and fun.

  • Malgorzata

    7 months ago

    Thank you for introducing me with this post. You actually have healthy ways of eating. Especially you balance it all really well.My biggest disadvantage is that I don’t like fish.I started adding some coconut oil, and some fruit, and then nuts, and that’s about it.
    Thanks Malgorzata

    REPLY

    Bob Bob4 years ago

  • Malgorzata

    7 months ago

    Thanks for sharing with us. In my opinion a “balanced diet” is one that provides the body with all the essential nutrients.Reducing alcohol and cooking homemade meals is essential for anybody who wants lose weight. Also drink natural herbs for slimming before main meals to speed up my metabolism. In my opinion it is the best and healthiest combination to lose weight.
    Thanks Malgorzata

  • John

    8 months ago

    Amazing work. I am really enjoyed your article. Thanks for sharing a nice idea with us

  • EDWARD

    10 months ago

    Great tips with fun..I think that will make me slim.Thanks for sharing with Us..

  • MD Kawsar

    10 months ago

    wow, Really it’s really fantastic tips. It will help me for slim.

  • Pratyush

    11 months ago

    Hi Mark , I m not a food blogger….but my wife never misses ti see yours post ..hmmmm…first congratulations for being a proud papa….she loves to see you eat and enjoy food…along with her I have also seen yours food escapades… congratulations and hope you continue to charm us again n again…..god bless…have great life

  • Edwardapek

    2 years ago

    Hi I am new here. I’m not positive if this is the proper place to post this, but I’m wondering if anyone has tried Athletic Greens for their green drink? I’m finding most either taste gross or cause my stomach to revolt.

  • Amy

    2 years ago

    Fun post! Your dad is SO right…being in your 20’s is totally in your favor 😉 But your oatmeal breakfasts are a fantastic discipline. All that travel walking is awesome, too. After 40, I started running (like, “real” running.) Run now, wine later. Plus cookies. The balance of food bloggin’ 😉

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hi Amy, thank you very much. Glad you enjoy running as well. You have an excellent blog!

  • Mika

    3 years ago

    Mark, I’d love to see a video on your oatmeal breakfast routine. I have such a hard time eating oatmeal, yet I know it’s so good for you. Looking for some twists and variations on it!

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Mika, thank you for the idea and suggestion. I will try to do a video about that. I often add just a bit of cinnamon and lately I started adding some coconut oil, and some fruit, and then nuts, and that’s about it.

  • Bob Bob

    4 years ago

    Haha. I love to eat carbs too. Rice and then bread, you name it. Including plain oatmeal. But I guess I don’t have the genes to eat whatever I want whenever. 🙁

  • Francis

    5 years ago

    Eating so much and yet remain slim? surprise initially, but after your explanation, I got it. I must confess your blog is rich. Keep it up!

  • Mabaydar

    5 years ago

    Thank you for introducing me with this post. You actually have healthy ways of eating. Especially you balance it all really well.

    My biggest disadvantage is that I don’t like fish. I hate the fishy smell. But as I grow old I do eat fish if they are cooked well or deep fried (another thing you would try to avoid) haha…

    And I tends to do lesser exercise than you. But I am trying to do it these days.
    Really! I should follow your way of moderate eating.

    Just like you. I couldn’t feel satisfied if I don’t get to eat rice a day. Thanks for saying that as long as balance others, Carbs are wonderful. I do overly enjoy all the spiciest food. I think I couldn’t go travel to a place where not easily accessible to Rice and Chili pepper. 😀

    Thanks for this post. I am gonna bookmark it.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Thank you Mabaydar, glad you enjoyed this post. Balance is the key, combined with less fat, fruit and vegetables and an active lifestyle. Rice and chillies is as good and simple as it can get!

  • Meg from LandingStanding

    5 years ago

    Great article Mark! I love all your tips. I am a huge advocate of everything in moderation and finding a healthy balance on the road. Staying active and working out when I can has been key for me – along with my go-to eats of apples, yogurt, nuts, etc. Italy was rough to my diet this past month but I am heading to Asia in August and cannot wait for all the fruits and veggies that Asia is so famous for!

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Meg, thanks so much for reading this article and for the comment. I think staying active, moving around, and walking are things so many people in today’s society forget – and yet it’s so important. Glad to hear you’ll be coming to Asia, there really is a wonderful selection of fruit and vegetables!

  • Stephen

    5 years ago

    I think walking is the key. It is the best way to explore a place and also is good exercise. It’s probably the best way to experience any place and stay healthy.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      You’re right Stephen, it’s win win, good exercise paired with more hands on exploration.

  • Sook

    5 years ago

    Thanks for visiting my blog, Mark! And this post was amazing! I understand how it is hard sometimes to keep up with your healthy eating plans while your hobby is to blog about food. I recently lost a few pounds and have just a little bit more to go. Your post totally inspired me… I should find a way to walk 12 hours one day to avoid jogging… lol

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Haha, thank you Sook. No problem, I look forward to seeing more of your blog posts about Korean food, so good!

  • Meygann

    5 years ago

    Hi Mark.. I am not a food blogger but I think this is really very important for all of us, to stay healthy despite of eating different kinds of food..

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Thanks Meygann, I agree, it’s a great idea to eat an overall balanced diet mixed with exercise, no matter what our circumstance may be.

  • Marelyn Medina

    5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this Mark:)

  • Stephanie – The Travel Chica

    5 years ago

    It’s always great to split meals too. Usually, they are large enough for two. Unfortunately, that is not usually an option for me, so I cut whatever I am eating in half and ask for a to-go container immediately.

    I have noticed my weight fluctuates most when I drink alcohol during my travels (damn that Argentine wine) or eat a lot of bread (damn the hostel breakfasts).

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      That’s a good idea about meals Stephanie. I have little discipline when it comes to food that’s already on the table, I’ll eat and eat until everything is gone and clean. Haha, wine and bread – a great combo though!

  • Duffy

    5 years ago

    One thought Mark – been checked for tapeworms recently? They really help with keeping your weight down. 😉

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Haha! I do occasionally take a de-worming pill!

  • Christy @ Technosyncratic

    5 years ago

    I’m also young and have a fairly high metabolism — I don’t want to think about what’ll happen after 40! I think portion control and a balanced diet are key, as well as staying away from heavily processed foods. Thailand is great for that, as there are so many fresh options available.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Right about that Christy. I didn’t clearly mention it in the article, but I really don’t eat much processed food either… and in Thailand or Asia, I barely even have to try to keep away from processed food as so much of the food isn’t processed.

  • Steve

    5 years ago

    This is a great guide to staying trim. Like you I’m not keen on fried foods and desserts, but I think my saviour is the range of vegetables on offer in Asia – ithey’re just so much more flavourful than the boiled spinach type side dishes at home in Europe.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Great Steve! There really is an abundance of fresh vegetables in Asia, and I just love the Asian way of cooking and the way vegetables are incorporated into just about every meal in some way.

  • Earthdrifter

    5 years ago

    Nice lifestyle post. I’m not an expert either but I think that a healthy lifestyle such as what you’ve described factors in much higher than metabolism and age. Elementary school kids are unhealthy and fat because of a poor diet, as are 20 somethings and older adults. Drinking mostly water, sleeping enough, and eating fruit, veggies and fish ought to keep anyone in decent health. Many people in the affluent world are concerned about shedding pounds. If they ate the right stuff, like in the photos above, they’d have no worries. OK, the one that depicts deep fried things may not be that healthy. But, if you’re eating all that other good stuff, you can easily get away w/ eating that when you come across it. I’ve had something similar to that dish in Boston’s Chinatown and it was beyond taste worthy.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Thank you Mike! The combination of eating well rounded with lots of fruit and vegetables with exercise is just the best natural living health anyone can do. And just like you mentioned, if we can strive to eat well most of the time, we can enjoy some of those really unhealthy (and extremely tasty) things from time to time – just without making a habit of it – and they even taste better that way. When I do drink a soda (1 time a month if that) it tastes so much better than soda did when I drank one a day in college. Thanks for your added support on this article!

  • Ruth (Tanama Tales)

    5 years ago

    Mark,
    I think you approach eating from a healthy perspective. You really enjoy having a good meal and trying new things. That doesn’t mean you pig out everytime you feel like it. Plus, I am sure the exercise helps a lots. Will have to put in practice some of your tecniques. I know they are common sense (and they work). Ohhh, but sometimes they are so difficult to implement (like exercise, I don’t like exercise).

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      You’re right Ruth, at the moment I’m really not concerned about the weight issue, but I’m more concerned about eating well and doing exercise to remain healthy. Doing routine exercise can be a challenge, but maybe you can just do some things that are good exercise throughout daily life, like taking stairs instead of the escalator or walking more!

  • Jarmo

    5 years ago

    Great tips Mark! I do agree that I think it’s all about a balanced diet. Funnily enough when I was backpacking the whole last year, I ate a lot, but didn’t gain any weight. Now after coming back to “normal life”, I’ve suddenly have had to change my diet/exercise habits to avoid gaining extra weight…

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Thanks Jarmo. I think with the constant activity and lots of walking on a backpacking trip we do get lots of exercise, despite eating (or drinking) a lot – so in the end backpacking is often good exercise!

  • Twisa

    5 years ago

    Hey Mark,
    Nice tips… I think I kind of follow the same like you. Except I avoid Rice. If also I eat rice I try to go for brown rice and try to avoid all carbs specially in the time of dinner. Water is main ingridient for all of us to take out our body toxins. Its better to eat small meala many time a day and so some kind of exercise daily. It will always keep one fit for the lifetime. Cheers and I am happy to read all your Health tips!

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Thanks Twisa! Brown rice is a really good idea, and though I passionately love white rice, I’ve thought about mixing the two and trying to eat brown rice half the time or something like that. The problem is that most restaurants in Asia serve only white rice, making brown rice just available to cook yourself. Smaller meals is something I need to work on too – I still often enjoy giant feasts – which definitely isn’t the healthiest way to eat.

  • Cathy Sweeney

    5 years ago

    Thanks for all of the tips! I love to eat, too. Daily exercise and lots of walking when I travel really helps. Oatmeal is also a great breakfast — totally agree. I love food too much to want to sacrifice. Balance is the key.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Excellent thoughts Cathy. Do you eat oatmeal for breakfast too?

  • Audrey | That Backpacker

    5 years ago

    I snack constantly throughout the day. I tend to wander from one food stall to the next when I’m out in the city, haha. 😀 I also don’t drink soda, but I think for the most part it’s my genes that keep me slim.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Snacking from stall to stall is a wonderful activity Audrey! Genes can play a pretty big part in staying slim, but even with good genes it’s still great to eat balanced and do exercise!

  • Erica

    5 years ago

    Nice tips!

    I am definitely a believer in…
    – going for the good stuff, because you’ll keep eating the less flavorful option, waiting for it to satiate you, which it probably won’t, because it lacks flavor.
    – taking time while eating so you can correctly identify when you’re full
    – constant hydration

    🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Thanks for the input Erica. Getting the most flavor per calorie is a great way to go as well. I don’t want to waste calories on things that I don’t really like eating… like potato chips for instance – I don’t really like them, but if I start eating them, out of thoughtlessness, I’ll just keep eating them because they’re addictive. It’s a great strategy to get the best flavors per calorie for calorie.

      Taking time eating slowly is something I really need to work at – when I’m really hungry, I still go a bit crazy and eat way too fast. Got to work on that!

  • Scott

    5 years ago

    I find my favourite dishes include coconut milk which isnt so good for the waistline….am over 40 so when in Thailand I try to stick to steamed fish and the variety of salads or stir fries.
    Great blog Mark.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      I’m with you Scott, I do highly enjoy coconut based dishes as well. When I do eat coconut milk curries, I try to not drink down all the juice itself, but fish out all the ingredients – that work’s pretty well and you’re still getting the rich flavor without as much of the fat.

  • sully86

    5 years ago

    mark: high five mark!!!

  • Ayngelina

    5 years ago

    I have actually decided I need to start taking up running as it’s the only way I can guarantee I’ll be able to work out on the road. The problem is that I do like alcohol which means the next day I never feel like running.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Good to hear that Ayngelina, I think especially after sitting at the computer for so long it feels great to take a jog..!

    • Kristen – A Gypsy’s Love

      5 years ago

      I told myself the same thing, but man, I get so lazy, especially after a night of drinking 😛 Although, I did come across an awesome website with a combo of pilates/HIIT/cardio/strength training that can be used in a pretty small space and usually without any weights or props if you’re interested: Check it ooout. http://blogilates.com/ 🙂

      • Mark Wiens

        5 years ago

        Hey Kristen, do you do pilates or yoga when you’re traveling? That can definitely be a great way to keep fit and keep your muscles working while you’re on the road – and yes, the great thing is that it takes very little extra things to do those kinds of exercises.

  • Vicky

    6 years ago

    I was hoping that with backpacking you get to lose weight from all the walking/hiking/physical activity you do on a daily basis but now I seem to be getting the impression that backpackers seem to be gaining weight due to all the delicious street food feasting on their trips!

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      I guess it really depends on the amount of walking and exercise paired with all the food. There is indeed lots of delicious and new foods when we travel, but balancing that out with lots of walking and backpacking around, allows us to eat and eat and eat!