After countless six-course media lunches and dinners, from Paris to Phuket, I’m often asked how I stay so slim. I realized that over the years I’ve developed a few strategies to keep my weight in check. For the benefit of others who eat out often on business, here are Cyn’s Trade Secrets.
Though Mom had good intentions, ordering us to eat everything on our plate as kids does not serve us well as sedentary adults. In this case, Mom was wrong.
There’s no ice cream in my fridge, cookies in the cupboard or danishes in the bread box. Why? Because I’d eat them! If I buy or bake something fattening, I share it with the neighbours. But I do keep almonds around, and a secret stash of 70% + chocolate.
Treat your taste buds
Food is meant to be pleasurable, not feared. Taste everything! Trying new foods is a delight.
Is it a 10?
Take a bite and rate rich foods from 1 to 10. If it’s the most amazing gastronomic experience you’ve ever had – sex on a plate – then go ahead, eat the whole thing. Otherwise, a little bite will do you.
Pre-dinner receptions are not the time to linger by the buffet table, stuffing your face with high-fat hors d’oeuvre. They’re for meeting people, talking shop and finding a fascinating dinner companion. This is not possible with your mouth full of spring roll, or with salsa dripping down your shirt. Instead, grab a raw veggie or two and a glass of Perrier and get networking.
What harm in a glass of wine? Oh, about 100 calories in a 4-oz serving. Unless the wine is a 10 (see above) why waste precious calories on plonk? At restaurants, good servers can be your worst enemy. Don’t let them refill your glass without permission or you’ll never be able to keep track of how much you imbibe.
Water’s refreshing all day long, and saves millions of empty calories found in pop and pseudo juices. And it’s chic! When drinking alcohol, drink lots of water to keep your head clear and prevent groggy mornings.
Monitoring your fat intake helps keep the fat off. Taste the cream sauce, then leave it. Nibble that pastry coating to test the chef’s mettle then gently slip it to one side. And eat like an Italian – no butter on bread.
When it comes to starchy carbs such as pasta, bread, rice and potatoes, don’t overdo it. One serving of starchy foods shouldn’t be bigger than your fist. For red meat, the ideal portion is the size of a deck of cards.
Two for One
When you’re served two of anything, whether it’s two slices of beef or two scoops of ice cream, eat one and leave the second.
Few of us eat enough veggies, though we know they’re good for us. So polish off the purple potatoes, dig into the grain salad and ask for salad dressing on the side.
It’s the supreme test. Fortunately, most desserts look better than they taste, making it easier to try a bit and leave the rest. At a buffet, I like to cut a teensy piece of several desserts to try. Unless it’s a 10, don’t waste your fat grams. If there’s fresh fruit around, go wild.
Walk it off
Exercise helps us burn calories more efficiently. But there’s no need to join an exercise club to stay slim. Slip on your runners and get walking, briskly, three times a week for at least 30 minutes. While you’re at it, forget escalators and take stairs two at a time. Keep your metabolism humming.