By: Bina Abbasov
Growing up, food had always been a big part of my life. Gatherings and holidays at home always revolved around cooking, baking and the table being filled with a variety of tempting dishes. Coming from a half Sephardic and half Ashkenaz home, I had the “best of both worlds” and developed a love for food and cooking. I was always fairly skinny as a child and throughout my teenage years.
I started gaining weight in my junior and senior years of high school, thanks to Shabbatons and always going out to eat with friends, especially noshing mindlessly. Within 2 years I gained close to 50 pounds! At my annual doctor visit, my doctor was alarmed about my rapid weight gain and advised me that I need to lose weight.
By simply cutting out soda and junk food, I lost close to 20 pounds during the first year. Sounds easy right? Most people lose weight just by doing that, it all starts with acknowledging that there is a problem, taking the initiative and going one step at a time towards a healthy journey.
Losing the last thirty pounds was the most challenging, since I had to give up a lot of my favorite foods (until I learned how to recreate dishes with healthier ingredients and appropriate serving sizes), incorporate exercise into my daily routine and develop self-discipline.
My weight loss journey has taught me that you can still be a foodie and lose weight. I spend a lot of my time watching cooking shows, researching recipes and altering them to fit my lifestyle. Life is too short to deprive ourselves of one of the greatest pleasures in life… food, of course! And maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is equally important. I am in a constant pursuit of a happy and healthy balance. You can still be a foodie and lose weight without feeling deprived.
Positive mindset- we do better with a “DO eat this” than a “DON’T eat that” mindset. Stocking up on a variety of vegetables, fruits and natural foods, and not being afraid to experiment to recreate some of your favorite dishes. For example, spaghetti Bolognese. Yes, it’s possible. Replacing pasta with a great low-carb alternative such as spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles and replacing ground beef with ground turkey.