What I Eat

Recently my gurning ginger mug appeared in the Washington Post, along with Deborah of Drop The Fork and Gerry of Disease Proof. Gerry contacted us afterwards asked if we’d fancy tracking our food and exercise for a week, to show what three different weight loss maintainers put away.

I hesitated before accepting his invitation. "What do you eat on a typical day?" is one of my most frequent of FAQs but it’s always made me feel a little uncomfortable, because I don’t really have a typical day and I’d hate for anyone to think it was any sort of blueprint for health. It all depends on what’s in the cupboard, cravings du jour, level of fatigue/crankiness, etc.

I also know what I used to be like – trawling blogs and old copies of Slimming magazine for What Successful Losers Eat, seeking patterns and clues; as if searching for the Da Vinci Menu Plan that would unlock all the diet secrets of the universe. I can imagine me analysing my journal:

ME OF 2001:   She ate all that food?! And salmon two nights in a row? Chinese takeaway!? White basmati rice?

ME OF 2008:  [defensive screech] We’d run out of brown rice! I was desperate! The takeaway was Gareth’s idea!*

[Cat fight]

(* Last Thursday night after measuring a couch at Steve’s house [long story]  Gareth said unto me, "You know how you wrote that blog entry about being tired and hungry and convincing each other to eat dodgy dinners?" then I said, "Chinese takeaway. Woohoo!")

I’d hoped to be healthy and holy all week long, especially knowing there’s at least two nutritionists reading this blog. But the end result was more realistic, honest and typical of how I eat — mostly because I kept forgetting I’d be broadcasting my food intake until  after I’d wedged the spring roll/carrot cake into my mouth.

(I also kept forgetting to photograph my meals until it was too late. My sole contribution was a plate of lentil and tomato goo. Sorry for letting the team down, Gerry!)

So what can you tell from a week’s worth of food? It’s a snapshot in time. You can’t see that the day before we started journaling, I walked up a big hill then scoffed fish, chips and mushy peas afterwards. You can’t see that the day after we finished, I was lazy and ate a dozen shriveled almonds for brekkie.

However, it’s a reasonable picture of how eat so I can feel:

  • satisfied
  • not enslaved to the stove
  • fueled for exercise
  • confident that I’ll keep fitting into my clothes
  • Balanced and SANE!

Other highly scientific conclusions from this experiment:

  • There is tea running through my veins instead of blood
  • If not tea, then plain yogurt
  • Some days I am a beacon of virtue, some days I’m the opposite
  • I eat a helluva lot of beans and lentils
  • I am not bothered by repetition in my diet
  • I am not bothered by repetition in my diet
  • I! Love! Chocolate!

You can check out all three food journals on Disease Proof.

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31 thoughts on “What I Eat

  1. How cool to see that some days you eat the same things, I always wonder if I’m being boring but it’s so much easier to plan that way!

  2. Sorry Shauna, I didn’t mean to put you off there 😉

    It all sounds pretty good to me…

    Actually it looks suspiciously similar to what I eat in a week. Loads of yogurt and beany lentil things, lots of oats and though I’m not technically vegetarian, hardly any meat. Oh and gallons of tea. And then we’re having a pizza tonight you’ll be heartened to hear.

  3. Shauna, you’re brave to do this, I started doing an online food diary a couple of months ago and still get totally freaked at the idea that everyone knows what I’m eating each day! I checked out the other two food diaries – thought yours looked way more appealing than theirs. I could not cope with all that calorie counting. It is a wonderful thing to relax and trust your own intuition about what’s enough and what’s too much, isn’t it? (Says she who’s just eaten four cookies… but I’ll compensate tomorrow…)

  4. “I am not bothered by repetition in my diet.” x 2

    HA!

    Quick question–do you measure & weigh your food still, or did you just do that for this assignment? I am eyeballing most serving sizes now instead of measuring, but I’m curious to know what other maintainers do.

    Thanks, girlie, as always, for a fun & sassy post.

  5. It’s funny that you were embarrassed by the “imperfections” of this snapshot of your food & exercise and that you had to be brave & honest to disclose it. I actually thought your diet & exercise look like a completely healthy, rational, well balanced, satisfying, and sustainable apprpoach to maintaining your healthy weight. Obviously this reasonable approach is why you’ve had such durable success. I need to get away from black & white thinking, myself (“I’m going to hell if I eat one tortilla chip!”) because it just sets me up for failure.

  6. Sophie – Pizza! That is reassuring 😉 Did you see your Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Curry in there? I have made that three times in the past month…. SO GOOD!

    Victoria – I agree that it is kinda funny that I felt embarrassed! these days I normally feel as relaxed and balanced as you said, but knowing it was going to be put on the internet made me scrutinise and question everything… no wonder i avoided doing it before 🙂

    Laura – I don’t really weigh and measure anymore, but i do for my morning muesli/seeds combo as I have these wee containers that i make up to take to work and i like to the ratios right so it doesn’t taste too seedy. hehe.

    every now and then I’ll randomly weigh my rice or pasta just to see if my eyeballs have become too generous 🙂

  7. Rather than thinking “she ate ALL that food”, I confess to thinking, “That’s ALL she ate?!? I’d be starving!”

  8. I’ve just come upon your blog recently and spent many a lunch hour/coffee break at work reading all of the “best entries” and some other random entries from your archives. You’re really very inspiring you know.

    And I totally get your comment about being tired and hungry and convinced to eat dodgy foods. My boy convinced me just last night to consume copious amounts of macaroni and cheese even though I was supposed to start being a healthy girl yesterday. And the way he convinced me..pretty sad.. He said I should wait until Sunday to be a healthy girl because that’s June 1st and it’s always better to start something at the beginning of a month.

  9. Go you and your well-prepared lunches! I’m really very impressed by those – yes, even the one that was leftovers. We never make enough food to have those, somehow (perhaps because J does mind about repetition).

    Hmmm, yes; tired and hungry is not the best time for me to try to decide what to eat, either. I am terrible at picking while the tea is cooking, for that exact reason.

  10. I love your food attitude at maintenance. I hope to be as sane as you!

    And I have to say hurray for the Washington Post (it’s my hometown paper). Though I do wish Sally Squires could have restrained herself and avoided saying you “ballooned” to 350 lbs. Though Sally generally has good advice, I find her a touch insensitive sometimes…

  11. I loved reading the “what I eat” posts – and it was fascinating how different the three of you are.

    It was hilarious how so many self-righteous “I know everything” types had to chime in with their critical comments straight away though.

    You should see what I ate today… then again, maybe not. You’d probably be sadly disillusioned. ‘Scuse me, gotta go refill my wine glass now.

  12. falafel bites???

    I had to google the word – because I didn’t know – is it like a garbanzo bean meatball??? And if so – are you eating garbanzo beans with garbanzo beans when you eat it with hummus???

  13. I am a shallow person. As fascinating as all that was, all I could think was, “All those pulses and legumes… hmm, I wonder how much she farts?”!!! Sorry DG, I always lower the tone…

  14. Cheers for the comments folks 🙂

    Alison, I was hoping someone would bring up the fart issue. Mwahhaha! I think after awhile your body just adjusts and suddenly you no longer give concertos after every meal.

    Vickie – I say felafels bites as that’s what they’re called on the box, but they’re just the wee ball things.

    Both felafels and hummus contain chickpeas/garbanzos but their flavours are different. With the felafels, they’re full of herbs and spices, whereas the hummus is nice creamy & tangy contrast… I like to have some sorta sauce, so sometimes it’s garbanzo-on-garbazno action with a blob of hummus, or plain yogurt or lemon juice. one time i had thai sweet chilli sauce which made no sense at all 🙂

  15. Lookout, it’s not Dietgirl, It’s Fartgirl!

    It’ll be fart city in our place this week, got a few bean, and cabbage dishes on the menu. LOL

    10 out of 10 from this ex-chef about your menu. Very healthy, balanced and yeah sanity-keeping. 🙂

    Found me some of that choccie you love the other week, but wanted to come home and make sure it WAS the right brand…and then forgot where I saw it. 🙁

  16. Ohhh i love it!!! Such a fun article takin’ a peek at what people are eating day to day 😀

  17. It looks like you like and cook a lot of the same foods I do. I think the main difference is that in the hours after I eat those dinners, i eat two fat-free pudding cups, a mango, a cup of yogurt, and a piece of whole wheat bread. Reading weekly menus like yours is a good reminder that even healthy food needs to be eaten in moderation!

  18. Admirable food log! You’ve inspired me to try the butternut squash dahl as well, I have a vegan boyfriend (honestly makes veggie boyfriends look like a walk in the culinary park) so am always looking to steal good meal ideas.

    Got to say though that some of the more pedantic comments on the article are hilarious – do these people really have nothing better to do??

  19. Hi Shauna! *hugs ya* Whenever I post my food I get an influx of questions all on the same theme… ‘how do you make your eggwhites and oats?’ I’m very addicted to my oatwhites in the morning. I have them nearly every day and really miss them if I don’t. You know.. oats and eggwhites. Cooked. Together. Nuke it, pancake it, whatever, just get some down ya, I say.

  20. Ooh DG, that makes me want to imprison you in my house and cook for me. Though not in a disturbing way, honest.
    Your week of food looked delicious and sane and healthy and made me hide all the mini snickers wrappers in the bin in remorse. Are those M&S tiny falafels? Damn I love those things. I have to make my husband type person smuggle them back from the UK….

  21. *sigh*
    I need to cook more.

    alas I dont care much about the repetition so Im easily stuck in a rut I adore 🙂

    xo xo,

    coffee as blood (60% decaf however :))

  22. I think the common denominator to success has to be the fact that all three of you ate something chocolate during the week. Obviously, more research on the matter has to be done. Thanks for the snapshot!

  23. Here’s a tip for the farting: asafoetida – from the fennel family. Apparently it’s a natural remedy for the “outcomes” of a high-legume diet. Haven’t actually tried it myself, but I’m willing to give it a go! You can get it at Indian grocers…

  24. Hey DG….this is the first time i’ve visited your blog as i’m currently working through your book and was scared of spoilers lol. You’re a true inspiration and I wish you all the best :o) xxx

  25. Hi DG, I really love the way you write and I SO KNOW the feeling of trawling through various mags and t’internet sites to look for what successful losers eat. Last week I even looked through my old date book to see how much exercise I was doing *rolls eyes at self*

    Anyhoop, thanks so much for being inspiring and honest!!!