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Can a "foodie" lose weight and keep it off?

NovusDiesNovusDies Member, Premium Posts: 8,755 Member Member, Premium Posts: 8,755 Member
I have been thinking about this lately. I am watching a professed foodie who lost a lot of weight following WLS start to regain. I am not suggesting that one thing must lead to the other. But does it create an additional mental hardship to have a love affair with food?

I once considered myself one. I am an excellent cook and I have a very adventurous palate. I have written many recipes and cooked or tasted food from many different cuisines and time periods.

I am not one now though. At least not most of the time. Most of my food is minimally prepared with a higher priority on satiety than flavor. I understand now that food pleasure is fleeting but the pleasures of being much less huge are substantial and lasting. I am not a hardcore food must only be for sustenance person but I am closer to that side of the spectrum.

I do know that my relationship with food needed to change. I never actually decided to stop being a "foodie" though. It was more like everything I have done to lose weight has crowded that out of my life. I now really only engage in my foodie ways on vacation or similar.

To throw a strawman on the fire if I had to choose between a life of less flavorful food and being a healthier weight I would choose the latter. Of course, as a calorie counter I do not have to choose one or the other but somehow it feels easier to keep the foodie in the suitcase.

Maybe this is only what I had to do or maybe it is a phase that I need to go through (kind of a long phase now). Perhaps I can reintroduce a tempered version of what I was before in time.
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  • chocolate_owlchocolate_owl Member Posts: 1,517 Member Member Posts: 1,517 Member
    First off, I know it's TV and all, but there's examples all over the Food Network and Travel Channel of very fit people judging cooking competitions or traveling all over the world for great food. Sure, part of their job is to stay in shape for TV, but they have to practice portion control, exercise, and not eat indulgently every single day to do it, just like the rest of us.

    My anecdote: before my health went downhill, I maintained for a few years while calling myself a foodie, and I'll do it again once I get all these issues sorted out and get the rest of this weight off. I'd only eat out once or twice a week, and I'd try to stay in a slight deficit most of the week so I could balance out those weekend splurges at the restaurant. Vacations were free-for-alls, but I'd have a few weeks of being really strict when I got back home. And when I'm cooking during the week, I refuse to cook boring *kitten* like barely-seasoned chicken and broccoli. I make a miso-marinated salmon that is my favorite salmon, I haven't had restaurant salmon that compares. I do lightened-up stir fries that are heavy on the vegetables and light on the oil but still packed with flavor from the sauce. I'll make my own pesto, ricotta, and dough from scratch for pizza, then exercise portion control. I cooked shrimp in a tomato-feta sauce that my husband swooned over last week, and it was only 300 calories per serving. Half the recipes from Cooking Light or Eating Well can be pretty enjoyable with some modifications to the seasonings.

    Being a good cook really helps scratch that foodie itch. I know some foodies think they need to try every single new restaurant that comes on the scene, and I'm fortunate to not have that compulsion - there's a lot of great restaurants that have opened and closed that I never ate at. I really enjoy the excitement of picking out that one special meal a week. So yeah, I think it's very doable, but it's important to have some strategies in place and have a firm grip on moderation.
  • LietchiLietchi Member Posts: 1,406 Member Member Posts: 1,406 Member
    On the UK side, Michelin starred chef Tom Kerridge and Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace have also lost quite a bit of weight. I just discovered that Gregg Wallace uses MFP, nice coincidence :smiley:

    https://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/wellbeing/tom-kerridge-weight-loss-secret-100976
    https://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/wellbeing/gregg-wallace-weight-loss-diet-2821
  • NovusDiesNovusDies Member, Premium Posts: 8,755 Member Member, Premium Posts: 8,755 Member
    @AnnPT77

    Well @psychod787 and I may both find this is an extreme that we just needed to go through on our way back to the middle. I wouldn't suggest that someone just decide to radically change how they eat. I didn't decide to do it or even do it radically. It just happened. The simplicity of meals though is very compelling. I have been eating this way for quite some time and I find it very freeing. Some people would disagree but there is a pleasure to eating a high volume and feeling just too full that is more satisfying than flavor. It lasts longer. It allows me to look at a delicious calorie dense item and be thinking about how much more bang I would get for my calorie buck with a giant bowl of steamed vegetables. 3 years ago I donated a food steamer when we moved because we had not used it more than a couple of times in 5 years of ownership and I was sure I would never use it again. I disliked the food. Now...

    It could be because all attempts at mindful eating have been a fail for me. I eat too fast. I am often distracted. I can often eat something and not even register the event. Like I will grab a protein bar, do something, decide to eat it, and see the already empty wrapper. I recognize this as a habit that I must continue to fight and find a way to make some progress. It is unhelpful behavior to eat ~200 calories and not even realize it.

    For now this new food attitude plays to my strengths and avoids my weaknesses. That is what a good plan always is. I have time to work on adjusting the habits that lead to the weakness and that is a good thing. I can be a more mindful eater on vacation when I am being my old foodie self again just because I am on vacation.



  • snowflake954snowflake954 Member Posts: 5,552 Member Member Posts: 5,552 Member
    Yes, you can. Check out the "What do your meals look like? (Show me pictures)" thread for examples. The trick is quality ingredients (better flavor), knowing how to season, and a sensitive palate. Some of the people posting on there are posting vegetable dishes to die for. There is a bit of everything, and great ideas for meat and fish. As you yourself have said many times, Novus, things are constantly evolving. Once you get into low-cal, "foodie" cooking, it opens a whole new world. I can understand the fear of back-sliding, but it can be done. I think it's important to do your own cooking at first, to get a handle on your calorie count, but restaurants can offer interesting examples too. I live in Italy and we eat very well, but people are thinner than other parts of the world.
  • NovusDiesNovusDies Member, Premium Posts: 8,755 Member Member, Premium Posts: 8,755 Member
    Yes, you can. Check out the "What do your meals look like? (Show me pictures)" thread for examples. The trick is quality ingredients (better flavor), knowing how to season, and a sensitive palate. Some of the people posting on there are posting vegetable dishes to die for. There is a bit of everything, and great ideas for meat and fish. As you yourself have said many times, Novus, things are constantly evolving. Once you get into low-cal, "foodie" cooking, it opens a whole new world. I can understand the fear of back-sliding, but it can be done. I think it's important to do your own cooking at first, to get a handle on your calorie count, but restaurants can offer interesting examples too. I live in Italy and we eat very well, but people are thinner than other parts of the world.

    I am not really afraid of backsliding. Well, I am but not because of this. I would be a fool not to have some fear of backsliding.

    Some of this has happened because of convenience. When you fix really simple food it takes very little effort. There is very little prep either on the weekends or even before meals. I don't have to spend much time thinking about food other than making sure I have enough in the house to satisfy my volume needs. Later I will eat about 18 ounces of asparagus with my lunch. After trimming it, I will throw it in my air fryer with a little spray and salt. I will have about 14 ounces of fish that I will vacuum seal and throw in the sous vide. Once finished I will probably mash the fish and add some beans and avocado. Done. It would probably sound perfectly horrible to another person but it is very satisfying to me.

    Some of this has also occurred because I have never cared as much what I eat during the work week. Even when gaining weight I would very often settle for something to just eat. It was usually something high calorie though. I really only care what I eat on the weekends. That might be because I worked through so many lunches I never really had a chance to enjoy them anyway. A bad habit with a helpful twist.

    As of now I do not miss it. I also appreciate that benefits of this. I think if we all really work at it we will realize that while we have some disadvantages in weight loss and they can suck we probably all have some advantages to exploit and ease the way.

    What food means to me has really downsized. The payoff for food pleasure is not lasting enough for me to value it as highly as I did. Maybe that will change in 6 weeks or 6 months. I don't know.

    Culinary history teaches us that civilization oscillates back and forth between foodie and sustenance style eating. It was either caused by necessity or it happened because of counterculture movements. The foodie movements happened because sustenance was too stark and the sustenance movements happened because the foodie was too gluttonous. Whatever is too popular has to be bad, right? lol However, all eating is primarily sustenance until it is in such excess it becomes destructive.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 17,094 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,094 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    @AnnPT77

    Well @psychod787 and I may both find this is an extreme that we just needed to go through on our way back to the middle. I wouldn't suggest that someone just decide to radically change how they eat. I didn't decide to do it or even do it radically. It just happened. The simplicity of meals though is very compelling. I have been eating this way for quite some time and I find it very freeing. Some people would disagree but there is a pleasure to eating a high volume and feeling just too full that is more satisfying than flavor. It lasts longer. It allows me to look at a delicious calorie dense item and be thinking about how much more bang I would get for my calorie buck with a giant bowl of steamed vegetables. 3 years ago I donated a food steamer when we moved because we had not used it more than a couple of times in 5 years of ownership and I was sure I would never use it again. I disliked the food. Now...

    It could be because all attempts at mindful eating have been a fail for me. I eat too fast. I am often distracted. I can often eat something and not even register the event. Like I will grab a protein bar, do something, decide to eat it, and see the already empty wrapper. I recognize this as a habit that I must continue to fight and find a way to make some progress. It is unhelpful behavior to eat ~200 calories and not even realize it.

    For now this new food attitude plays to my strengths and avoids my weaknesses. That is what a good plan always is. I have time to work on adjusting the habits that lead to the weakness and that is a good thing. I can be a more mindful eater on vacation when I am being my old foodie self again just because I am on vacation.



    I'm not going to question your strategies for yourself. That would be silly. (I try not to do that unless someone finds their approach not to be working for *them*, or trumpets a personal strategy as a universal.)

    But I think your rationale for the strategy relies on a false dichotomy, as I see the world.

    Volume is not the opposite of flavor. Calorie dense is not the definition of delicious. At least not universally. Foodie means enjoyment in food, usually not just via eating, but also via reseaching, cooking, experimenting with restaurants, etc. It doesn't necessarily inherently mean diving deep-fried into a swimming pool full of tarragon bechamel.

    Like you, I'm a volume eater. But I find a big ol' heap of properly-prepared fresh asparagus very, very delicious. Because I calorie count, I know I can have plenty of that enjoyable enjoyment. Yes, hollandaise, aioli, or blobs of butter are tasty on asparagus. So are flavorful low-calorie things, like various vinaigrettes, or citrus. Morels, if I've got 'em. But just the asparagus, prepared various ways, is a delight. Occasional or smaller amounts of rich things, for me, will scratch the itch for rich things. Herbs, spices, condiments, preparations bring flavor, and can co-exist with volume.

    Like you, I eat fast - one of my personal challenges is that I eat fast enough that fullness doesn't come soon enough to put on the brakes, by itself. (Calorie counting has been great for that, combined with the perception that, for me, there's not as much sensory pleasure in the 2nd portion, as the novelty wears off.) If I need the fullness feeling, some roasted winter squash with white miso will take care of that very efficiently (and give time for the earlier dish to register on my appetite). I'm still not a truly mindful eater (I usually read and eat, or do other things while eating, at home.)

    I think the key difference may be that our tastes are different. I think the big portion of asparagus is amazeballs good eating, and you seem to consider it a sacrifice or compromise.

    I've for sure shifted what I eat - not totally, but portion size and proportions of different foods. Most of the time, I keep it in calorie bounds, and enjoy what I eat. I still take food adventures right here at home. (Last Fall, I bought my first local pawpaws (Asimina triloba, since other things are also called pawpaw) - OMG!)

    With psycho, I perceive a similar but different difference. He talks about "hyperpalatable" foods, with as far as I can tell the common cultural definitions: Snack foods, fast food, commercial baked goods, and that sort of thing. I don't, personally, find most of those things desirable or good. I viscerally don't understand why so many people like so many of them, though I see that they do. To me, they're just too simple, just pushing the evolutionary buttons, but *boring*. (If I followed the advice to eat in a more boring way to manage weight, I'd be heading for Oreos, McD's fries, . . . . I don't think that would end well. 😉)

    Personal taste preferences (and volume preferences, maybe other factors that go into individuals' satisfaction, satiation, happiness) are very powerful, when it comes to weight loss. I feel lucky, and also like sort of an oddball, to truly enjoy lots of nutrient-dense, not calorie-dense foods. I'm happy eating healthy foods in healthy amounts, with a few less-nutritious, more calorie-dense add-ins around the edges. (And having a high-ish calorie allowance for my demographic is a piece of . . . luck? . . . too, of course.)

    I got fat pretty much eating the same foods I do now, but with bigger portions/frequency of more calorie-dense things, smaller ones of less-calorie dense ones. That shifted when I started calorie-counting. When fat, I was more likely to eat things I thought were OK-ish but not actually deeply delicious/satisfying. Now they're not worth the calories.

    I don't think food has to be boring to be enjoyable or calorie appropriate. I don't think food has to be boring so that I lose interest in eating out of tedium (which I've seen advocated). Those ideas are for sure based on my personal taste-preferences, which I recognize and appreciate that not everyone shares. I hate seeing anti-enjoyment of food being suggested as "the way" (which you didn't do here, I know), or even as a first-round strategy for satiation. It's a grim idea, to me. Some may need it, but there are other things to try first.
  • psychod787psychod787 Member, Premium Posts: 3,857 Member Member, Premium Posts: 3,857 Member
    First, there is no skirmish with you Aunt granny @AnnPT77 . We just view things a little differently because of our backgrounds. @NovusDies could be my damn twin in some ways. I think we eat very similarly. I was and am considered by some a good cook. I worked in the back of the house and absolutely loved my copy of "The Art of French Cooking. I am also "adventurous". Actually more now than I was when I was bigger. There is an wide would of fruits, vegetables, and protein sources to try and see of I want to incorporate them into my routine. I usually only promote a more "boring" diet that mat want to try and leverage it as a tool to control appetite when they complain about being hungry all the time. I think it can be used along with many other tools to help control adiposity without having to be soo anal about how accurate your tracking is by controlling intake more naturally.
    Now, can one be a foodie and maintain a weight loss? Sure. Some will have no issues by simply counting calories. Others though may struggle. Increased cravings,hunger, and not logging accurately may hamper them. N=1.
  • psychod787psychod787 Member, Premium Posts: 3,857 Member Member, Premium Posts: 3,857 Member
    Graham Elliot is an American chef, restaurateur, and reality television personality. He first gained recognition in the restaurant business as a three-time nominee for the James Beard Award. In 2004, he was named to Food & Wine's "Best New Chefs" list, and became the youngest chef in the United States to receive four stars from a major publication (Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times). Among television viewers, he gained fame as a contestant on the programs Iron Chef and Top Chef Masters, and as a judge on the first six seasons of the American MasterChef, and on its spinoff, MasterChef Junior.

    I definitely says he's a "foodie" and look at all the weight he lost and was able to keep off:

    2j1y7kpvffuu.png

    While you know I love you @Go_Deskercise , but using this man as an example might not be the best. We don't know if he struggles or not. He might be just fine. Or he could be purging, overly restricting later, or gaining and having to re lose weight all the time. Sorry ma'am, just playing the Cthulhu advocate here..
  • NovusDiesNovusDies Member, Premium Posts: 8,755 Member Member, Premium Posts: 8,755 Member
    @AnnPT77

    We might have different definitions of what a foodie is.

    I do not consider it a sacrifice to eat minimally prepared asparagus. I consider it an advantage and I do enjoy eating it. The fact it is not being dressed in a generous amount of garlic and anchovy flavored oil means I can eat more of it. Yes, I could look for low calorie ways to enhance it but I do not require it, at least for now. I enjoy eating it and I enjoy the impact of the volume that means more to me than the absence of the garlic and anchovy flavored oil.

    I am not sure where boring came from. I never said I was bored. I am less interested in chasing food tasting pleasure. It lasts a few seconds and then requires another bite take another ride. The importance of those brief moments of taste is what I have come to question. How intense does it need to be?

    The idea that this can even border grim is interesting to me. How much value does intensely flavored food add to a day? Anticipation lights up the brain more than the actual act of satisfaction. It is not the flavor but all the time you think about getting to the flavor.

    I will say again that part of this may be my travel to the dark side to come back to the middle. I am no longer comfortable accepting cognitions based on habit and culture without question. I want to have a proper perspective.
  • NovusDiesNovusDies Member, Premium Posts: 8,755 Member Member, Premium Posts: 8,755 Member
    I am busy at the moment so I will come back to this but the expression "flavor is the spice of life" is interesting. But is it true? More to the point, to what degree should it be true?

    People should enjoy their food. I enjoy my food. I enjoy it on a slightly different level at the moment than I have before. Seeking a different kind of pleasures is not wrong. It is like enjoying a candle for the ambience more than the scent. You can enjoy the scent more than the ambience too. Defining what is right or wrong on tastes and preferences is a fools errand.

    My definition of a foodie is not a gluttonous person. It is a person who places a higher degree of importance on the art of food. In what I perceive as an unhealthy attitude I once tried to celebrate with food constantly, or at least way too often. I tried to fill a void with it. As the overindulgence created more fat the void grew. Now my perspective is that food is important for its main purpose but how good is it at being flavorful art? How many meals a week need to be art? How many can just be eating food for energy and nutrition?

    Remember that I said the foodie in me is not gone. He is packed in the suitcase. I eat flavorful enough food but I do not try for art anymore. I do not try for complexity. I do not fix a soup that requires hours just to bring the broth where I want it to be. I have other things to do.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 17,094 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,094 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    @AnnPT77

    We might have different definitions of what a foodie is.
    (snip for reply length)

    In that case, how would you define it?

    GeekNerd that I am, I looked at some formal definitions online before replying, and I generally agree with how Jane and Gallic seem to be defining the term.

    How does your definition differ? Or does it?

    (I did read and consider your reply to Wolfman, about "higher degree of importance on the art of food", before writing this. I agree with him, too . . . though I'd probably say "flavor is *a* spice of life", one among many pleasures. Clearly, someone admittedly on the hedonistic side like me is spending more time on some pleasures than others, but I don't think food has to be one's life's pinnacle in order to claim "foodie", but definitions and understandings can differ . . . that's one of the things that makes interacting with other people fun, to me. )


    ETA: I didn't see you as saying food needed to be boring. I meant to imply as much by "which I've seen advocated", but in retrospect that was unclear.
    edited October 30
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,313 Member Member Posts: 24,313 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    I am busy at the moment so I will come back to this but the expression "flavor is the spice of life" is interesting. But is it true? More to the point, to what degree should it be true?

    People should enjoy their food. I enjoy my food. I enjoy it on a slightly different level at the moment than I have before. Seeking a different kind of pleasures is not wrong. It is like enjoying a candle for the ambience more than the scent. You can enjoy the scent more than the ambience too. Defining what is right or wrong on tastes and preferences is a fools errand.

    My definition of a foodie is not a gluttonous person. It is a person who places a higher degree of importance on the art of food. In what I perceive as an unhealthy attitude I once tried to celebrate with food constantly, or at least way too often. I tried to fill a void with it. As the overindulgence created more fat the void grew. Now my perspective is that food is important for its main purpose but how good is it at being flavorful art? How many meals a week need to be art? How many can just be eating food for energy and nutrition?

    Remember that I said the foodie in me is not gone. He is packed in the suitcase. I eat flavorful enough food but I do not try for art anymore. I do not try for complexity. I do not fix a soup that requires hours just to bring the broth where I want it to be. I have other things to do.

    I see your distinction and it resonates with me. One thing I had to learn was that I couldn't celebrate everything with food (especially since I was using it to "celebrate" things like "Hey, it's the afternoon, time for a stack of cookies"). Food has a smaller place in my life than it did before. In its place, it is still very important to me because I do appreciate the intellectual challenges of cooking, the cultural experience of learning about food, and the social aspects of sharing it with others. But I realized that I need other things to help meet those intellectual, cultural, and social needs as well.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 17,094 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,094 Member
    psychod787 wrote: »
    First, there is no skirmish with you Aunt granny @AnnPT77 . We just view things a little differently because of our backgrounds. @NovusDies could be my damn twin in some ways. I think we eat very similarly. I was and am considered by some a good cook. I worked in the back of the house and absolutely loved my copy of "The Art of French Cooking. I am also "adventurous". Actually more now than I was when I was bigger. There is an wide would of fruits, vegetables, and protein sources to try and see of I want to incorporate them into my routine. I usually only promote a more "boring" diet that mat want to try and leverage it as a tool to control appetite when they complain about being hungry all the time. I think it can be used along with many other tools to help control adiposity without having to be soo anal about how accurate your tracking is by controlling intake more naturally.
    Now, can one be a foodie and maintain a weight loss? Sure. Some will have no issues by simply counting calories. Others though may struggle. Increased cravings,hunger, and not logging accurately may hamper them. N=1.

    That's one of the things that fascinates me about this topic (which does come up now and then): I don't think you and I eat all *that* differently, either, save that I don't eat meat, and do drink alcohol, and I think you do the reverse on those two points. But, based on what I read you write, I feel like we experience food differently, or think about it differently, or something.

    And there's that "you say 'hyperpalatable', I say 'yuck'" thing. 😆

    A agree that repetitiousness, whole-food-ness (for lack of a better categorization), plainness can be tools for appetite control. I guess my inherent joy-in-pleasure makes me put that one farther down the priority/probability list of things to try. (I'd certainly put it below avoiding stupid-big deficits, reaching nutritional adequacy, tweaking macro balance, and relatively less processed foods (in the sense of "denatured", and I'll underscore that I personally find those foods *more* pleasurable, not less).

    For me, and I understand some will see this as paradoxical, budgeting calories increased my joy-in-food, not decreased it.
  • NovusDiesNovusDies Member, Premium Posts: 8,755 Member Member, Premium Posts: 8,755 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    I am busy at the moment so I will come back to this but the expression "flavor is the spice of life" is interesting. But is it true? More to the point, to what degree should it be true?

    People should enjoy their food. I enjoy my food. I enjoy it on a slightly different level at the moment than I have before. Seeking a different kind of pleasures is not wrong. It is like enjoying a candle for the ambience more than the scent. You can enjoy the scent more than the ambience too. Defining what is right or wrong on tastes and preferences is a fools errand.

    My definition of a foodie is not a gluttonous person. It is a person who places a higher degree of importance on the art of food. In what I perceive as an unhealthy attitude I once tried to celebrate with food constantly, or at least way too often. I tried to fill a void with it. As the overindulgence created more fat the void grew. Now my perspective is that food is important for its main purpose but how good is it at being flavorful art? How many meals a week need to be art? How many can just be eating food for energy and nutrition?

    Remember that I said the foodie in me is not gone. He is packed in the suitcase. I eat flavorful enough food but I do not try for art anymore. I do not try for complexity. I do not fix a soup that requires hours just to bring the broth where I want it to be. I have other things to do.

    I see your distinction and it resonates with me. One thing I had to learn was that I couldn't celebrate everything with food (especially since I was using it to "celebrate" things like "Hey, it's the afternoon, time for a stack of cookies"). Food has a smaller place in my life than it did before. In its place, it is still very important to me because I do appreciate the intellectual challenges of cooking, the cultural experience of learning about food, and the social aspects of sharing it with others. But I realized that I need other things to help meet those intellectual, cultural, and social needs as well.

    Nailed me exactly. Celebrating the mundane because I enjoyed good food and because I enjoyed food too much (quantity) it created more and more mundane.

    I will admit freely that because I am still in transition from uber fat guy thinking to active outdoorsy guy thinking I am likely giving my thoughts about food too much of the third degree. I am upset at the place it had in my life and the years I sacrificed at its altar. I am still enough of a snob that I cannot use cream of mushroom soup as an ingredient but hand me a box of stock now because I won't be making it nearly as often anymore.

    Celebrating the mundane means never celebrating. There are only so many places to go and improve before the effort or money spent doesn't return enough to justify the investment. That was something else I had to learn. If I ever want to have a really awesome food experience I had to stop having so many. Spend some time in the rain so I can properly appreciate the sunny days. As I have said here a few times... it you try to having a Thanksgiving feast each meal all year the result is you never ever have a Thanksgiving feast. It is just normal eating.



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