A Healthy Balance

Yesterday I made the most amazing pizza. Upon the announcement of my victory in making said incredible pizza about 80% from scratch, I was asked, “healthy? or splurge?”

Why does it have to be one or the other?

I can tell you the number one reason I am successful at my weight loss is that I never, ever feel deprived. I do not eat food I don’t like. I do eat food I love! I have just learned to balance it in the healthiest way. Some days I will make something that I enjoy and will make swaps to limit the calories. Every once and a while I’ll get the full-calorie original. I have just learned how to “read” my cravings and balance my budget of calories at the same time. Sometimes only the “real thing” will do, and I’ll have it and budget wisely for it. But most of the time I’m completely satisfied with a lower calorie alternative.

I think the biggest misconception is that because I am on a “weight loss plan” that I “can’t” have something, or I won’t “let” myself have “REAL” food. I find that entirely backwards. I LOVE food, and so much of my success comes from it. I love trying new foods, new dishes, and cooking for myself. I have a healthy appreciation for gooey, greasy cheese and I’m not afraid to show it. I have a once-unhealthy love affair with carbs and I will never actively limit my intake of good bread. I have a sweet tooth and I eat some kind of dessert every day. I’m a good Southern, Texas girl and I love beef and bacon way too much to ever become a vegetarian, and I’ll certainly never turn down good barbecue. You’ll also never see me pull the skin off fried chicken, because I eat it so rarely anyway that pulling the skin off really takes all the enjoyment out of it. But I don’t have to “prove” my appreciation for incredible, normally-“unhealthy” food by eating it in spades. If I ate it all the time, it wouldn’t be special anymore.

At the same time, “healthy” food can be “indulgent” as well. Healthy food doesn’t have to taste bad. I hate raw vegetables, so I don’t eat them. Simple as that. But I have found many foods that I love that happen to be very nutrient-dense and low in calories. I eat dates and pomegranate like candy, and sweet potatoes and avocadoes are some of my very favorite foods. I love the complex flavor of buffalo meat, and it happens to be lower in fat and cholesterol than chicken!

I designed my homemade pizza so that I get this wonderfully chewy, nutty, New-York style crust, limited but flavorful tomato sauce, a varied array of gooey, but not greasy, white cheeses, delicately seared Italian sausage, peppery, aromatic toppings, flavored up with Italian herbs and spices and a hint of extra-virgin olive oil. I look at my pizza and see culinary art, and I find pleasure in eating it. The fact that my waistline will continue to shrink while eating it is just the figurative cherry on top.

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