Does Weight Loss Food Have To Be Boring?
Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome back to the Fitness Simplified podcast. I'm your host, Kim Schlag.
[00:00:08] Today's episode is a solo episode. On these episodes, I answer the questions you've asked on Instagram in a way that allows me to go into much more depth than I can there on stories.
[00:00:20] These might be questions about fat loss or exercise. They might be practical tips or more psychological mindset strategies, all things that are going to help you on your fitness journey.
[00:00:32] Let's get on to the episode.
[00:00:38] Hello, my friend. Thanks so much for joining me here today. It is a beautiful day here in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The sun is shining. I'm heading out for a little walk right after I record this episode. How about you? Have you moved very much today? Check your step tracker. How are you doing? If you haven't moved very much today and you're sitting right now while you listen to my podcast, get up.
[00:01:03] It's time to get moving. Unless you're driving a car. Stay seated, then, but if you're sitting on your sofa, if you're laying on your bed, get up. Let's get some movement in.
[00:01:14] Here is a question for you: true or false? Weight loss food is so boring. I say it depends and is boring necessarily bad? So, let's start there.
[00:01:33] There are a lot of things we do every day that aren't necessarily exciting, but they have a payoff. So, take brushing your teeth for an example. Are you like woo hoo! Teeth time!? Probably not. Right? How about taking out the trash or doing the dishes, do you get amped up for that? I don't, but I sure do like the feeling of a clean kitchen.
[00:01:58] How many emails a day do you send that aren't literary masterpieces? Most of them, right? We're not going to knock anyone's socks off, but they get the job done. Eating can be and should be enjoyable, but it doesn't have to be a showstopper every single meal. So, challenge yourself on your expectations for what level of excitement is necessary for a daily meal.
[00:02:27] And going along with that, and this is a really big topic that I have and we'll continue to discuss; if your food is the main thing that you look forward to in life, it's probably time to take a look at your life and your choices because you should be finding joy and fulfillment and excitement in many other places other than food. It's a big topic for another episode.
[00:02:57] Now, it's also important to remind yourself that weight loss isn't punishment and your meals don't have to be blah to be effective. So, couple of things you can do: first one is kind of a biggie. Spend some time up front, compiling a list of go-to meals that, help you stay in your deficit, help you hit your protein target, fill you up, they have plenty of nutrient dense foods, and you like them. That's important. Okay, I'm going to share my list with you. A lot of the recipes I'm going to mention here, you can find at the hashtag on Instagram, #KimSchlagFitnessRecipes. Most of them are there.
[00:03:44] So when I say compile a list, it doesn't have to be pages long. I've thought about maybe seven or eight things for, for each of these categories. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I rotate through them. So, here are my breakfast, my breakfast go-tos: protein pancakes-these don't have any protein powder in them, by the way- baked proatmeal with raspberries, stove top proatmeal with raspberries.
[00:04:10] Okay, you're going to notice a trend here. I really like raspberries. Greek yogurt with hot raspberries. Scrambled eggs and egg whites with spinach, egg white muffin cups with vegetables, homemade egg McMuffins, cottage cheese and cucumbers. Those are my go-to breakfasts. Lunch, I really have about three different things.
[00:04:35] The most common thing that I have for lunch is a chopped salad with protein. I vary the flavors. Chop salad with protein is one of my go-tos. Leftovers from dinner. That's a biggie for me as well. Or, the third thing I have in my lunch rotation, which I make fresh each time I make it, is high protein pizza.
[00:04:54] Those are my three lunch go-tos. I like to have a big salad every single day, and lunch is often the spot for me to find it.
[00:05:03] Okay, dinner. I have a template I follow for dinner and I follow this template most of the time and it looks like this: a protein, one or two vegetables, and a fruit. I do have non fruit and veggie carb sources sometimes, but the thing is, my family, they're big on carbs. Their other meals are really carb-heavy, and so I don't feel the need to give them an extra carb at dinner besides fruit and vegetables. Doesn't mean we don't do it sometimes, we definitely do, probably not even twice a week, maybe twice a week. It depends on the week. We'll have a more starchy carb; rice, potatoes, pasta, those kinds of things. Otherwise, the meals really are protein, vegetable or two, and fruit. The fruit is typically melon or apples or berries or grapes. It really could be whatever fruit is around.
[00:06:00] Veggies? My family's pretty boring. They pretty much like peas, beans, corn, uh, and I don't really any of those, unless it's corn on the cob. I make myself a salad to go along with the meal pretty much every night. Or if I'm grilling, I'll do something like zucchini on the grill. That's definitely a favorite of mine. Or in the oven I will do baked zucchini.
[00:06:25] So those are some of my go-to side dishes. Obviously, that's really easy stuff. For the main meals themselves, it's almost always either chicken, beef, pork loin. Those are my three go-tos. Pork loin, almost always either mustard covered pork loin or barbecue pork loin, Crock Pot or oven. Beef: grilled flank steak, grilled sirloin, London Broil, or pot roast.
[00:06:57] Chicken: I have a handful of chicken recipes I do. If I'm using the oven, I have a breaded chicken and I have a sheet pan chicken with Italian spices. If I'm using the grill: Hawaiian chicken, Sriracha chicken, those are my favorites. If I'm using the Crock Pot: salsa chicken, barbecue chicken.
[00:07:17] Okay, what I've just said to you in the past few minutes is like, that's like 90% of what I eat.
[00:07:24] Oh, I forgot two things. I also often make a stir fry or burritos. Those are the other kind of dinners I make that aren't just strictly protein veggie, although for me, they pretty much turn out to be . Sometimes I'll add the rice for the stir fry, sometimes they will use an actual burrito shell, sometimes I'll just turn it into more of a taco salad.
[00:07:43] Once you have your list compiled, and I would definitely want you to compile one, the next thing you're going to do when you have these recipes, not even the next thing, as you're doing these, you need to make sure that the flavors you're choosing are flavors you like, and they don't have to be boring.
[00:08:01] One of the problems that people run to, they're like, "oh, chicken again..." they're not cooking their chicken very well. It's just dry chicken. You know, I don't just bake my chicken on its own very often. I have one baked chicken, the sheet pan chicken recipe, that's really good. Otherwise, I'm really putting my chicken on a grill or in a crockpot -- something to make it really moist and flavorful. And going along with that, I marinate it. I'm not just shaking some dry seasoning on my chicken and throwing it in the pan or on the grill. So, I use flavors I like, and I look for some that are lower in calories. Salsa is a big one for that. Mustard is another really big one. It has practically zero calories, it's so flavorful. Nothing boring about mustard. If you've never seen stone ground mustard, look in your mustard aisle and they look like little tiny seeds. They are. They're mustard seeds, they're little pellets. You don't have to do anything to it. You literally take that out and slather it on your meat and cook it and it is delicious. It makes like a little crust. It's so yummy. Very low in calorie.
[00:09:09] I also, for any of my beef that I make, I make a mustard sauce that I put on after. So I cook the meat on the grill, I take it off -- or in the oven if it's a London broil -- I take it out and then while the meat is kind of setting, I mixed up a sauce of Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and fresh parsley that's just like rough chopped. Put that on it and let it sit for a minute. It's delicious. And again, it adds practically zero calories, but so much flavor. And so, if you're bored with your food, there's a chance you're not doing much with flavor and flavor doesn't have to equal high-calorie.
[00:09:47] So I hit on the next thing that I really do to flavor things well, and that is fresh herbs. They pack so much more flavor than just the dried herbs. My two go-tos, are parsley and cilantro. I prefer flat Italian parsley versus the curly parsley. They're both good though.
[00:10:08] You can rough chop any of those things, parsley, cilantro, even dill and throw them in your salad, put them on your meat and it just makes everything kind of thing pop. Really delicious. It doesn't take that much effort either.
[00:10:22] Now, not everything, and this is a big problem I see, not everything has to be super low calorie. This is something that I have changed my opinion on over the years. If you look way back on my Instagram feed, like two years ago, two plus years ago, you will see post ideas, things like a hundred calorie snacks and salads under 250 calories. Now, the reason I changed my mind about this is if you make your meals satisfying enough, all those extra calories that you were kind of saving for snacks or treats for later on, you're not going to need. You don't need to save your calories for-- I guess I always had the idea of like, "oh, let's see how low calorie we can get the meal," and in reality, that's not a very helpful way to look at it. A better way to look at it is, "how satisfying can I make this meal?"
[00:11:16] If you are physically satisfied as in your hunger is satiated and you've enjoyed your eating experience, it has tasted good, you're not going to be white-knuckling it until you can get to the "good stuff," right? You're not going to necessarily need something highly hyper-palatable later. You've already had this amazingly delicious meal and you feel mentally satisfied with that meal.
[00:11:41] So, what that means is you don't always have to be the person who is eating zoodles instead of pasta. You don't always have to choose the cauliflower rice instead of regular rice. You don't have to choose zero calorie salad dressing all the time. Maybe using a 60 or 80 calorie salad dressing means you really enjoy your salad versus the zero-calorie salad dressing where you really just kind of tolerate it.
[00:12:08] You don't have to wrap every taco you do, every burrito you do in a lettuce wrap, you could use an actual tortilla. So, you plan your calories in this way. And again, working to not make every meal as few calories as possible might be a big mental shift for you. And what that means is maybe you're not going to have as many snacks, but you're going to enjoy your meals much more if you allot enough calories to make them tasty.
[00:12:37] Another problem that I see a lot on Instagram and Pinterest is people really try and "healthify" old favorite foods and make these "healthy" versions, and I'm putting healthy and air quotes, you cannot see me, I'm just air quoting like crazy over here. Now the problem is that those foods don't often taste that great.
[00:12:59] They may leave you more unsatisfied and wanting maybe the real thing anyway. And newsflash, just because something has healthy ingredients doesn't mean that it has saved you any calories. The healthy version is often just as many calories as the regular old standard version, and you might find yourself still wanting something that tastes better.
[00:13:23] How I have come to handle this is I just have the thing I want. So if I want a cookie, I'm not going to go looking to make myself a healthy version of a cookie, I'm going to eat a regular old cookie with regular old sugar and regular old white flour, and I'm going to do it in such a way that it is portioned appropriately to the rest of my food.
[00:13:46] What I mean by that is 80 to 90% of my food on a daily basis is healthy, nutrient dense food -- vegetables and fruit and lean protein and complex carbohydrates. I don't need to get nutrition from a cookie. I'm just going to get a cookie from a cookie. Does that make sense? Give that some thought. Why is it that we're trying to make cookies be more than cookies or brownies be more than brownies? Can't they just be cookies? Can't they just be brownies and give us a little bit of deliciousness without having to give us whole bunch of nutrients of nutrition? Right? So, we can get our nutrition from the rest of our diets and we need to prioritize that and have the cookie be the minority of our meals, snacks, and the other stuff, be the majority.
[00:14:43] Okay, so I want to leave you with an action item. Couple of things I want you to do. Two action items: I want you to challenge yourself on the idea that every meal has to be an event, and I want you to do some thinking and even some journaling about if you are always looking forward to your food, if that's like on a Friday, the thing you're looking forward to most is getting the food over the weekend.
[00:15:12] I want you to kind of write about what is it you're really looking for. Are you looking for relaxation? Are you looking for company? What is it you really are missing in your life? And start thinking about ways to get that outside of food. Then I want you to brainstorm your go-to meals. Okay? Make a list of breakfast, lunches and dinners, and you heard mine. It's not that long. It was like six, seven, eight things for each of those. And remember lunch was mostly leftovers and salad. So, this will take a little chunk of time, but it's not going to take that much time. And in the end, it will save you time because you'll have this master list to go from, and then you just kind of rotate through it.
[00:15:54] It doesn't have to be a different food every day. You could eat the same thing for breakfast until you get ready to try something else and then you pick another one from your list. So, brainstorm your go-to meals. Remember that you're looking for things that are going to get you plenty of protein, plenty of nutrition, that you enjoy.
[00:16:14] Ask yourself as you're writing this list down, do I enjoy this? Is it satisfying to me? If you can't say yes to that, it's out. It's off the list. Only keep things on the list that you like. That gets you plenty of protein, that get you plenty of nutrition, that keep you full and satisfied. If you need some ideas head to that hashtag I gave you an Instagram #KimSchlagFitnessRecipes. There's lots of ideas. I think almost every single thing I mentioned from my list today is on there. If not, you can always ask me questions, you can shoot me a DM on Instagram, you can even drop it here in the reviews and leave me a comment about recipe ideas that you want from me or that you have that you would like to share with everybody.
[00:16:56] So your food does not have to be boring, weight loss is not a punishment, but have reasonable expectations for what you need from a meal and then do some legwork now so that you're prepared to make meals that are satisfying and interesting to you on a daily basis.
[00:17:16] I sure hope this has helped, that it has been useful, and I will see you back here next week.
[00:17:30] Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified Podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.
[00:17:42] If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people. Thanks so much.
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I'm a NASM certified personal trainer who is passionate about helping women transform their bodies through strength training and sustainable nutritional habit changes.