Feast Foods

Note: Those of you who read this as an email will need to hop over to www.karenehman.com to leave a comment. :-)

Question.

So why would someone who has a feature on her blog called Weight Loss Wednesdays interview women who have cooking sites and sometimes feature recipes that are not “lite” or “low-fat” or “low-carb” or “low-anything” for that matter?

Seems a little culinary schizophrenic, right?

Good question….

One discovery I made on the way down the scale while losing 100 pounds (and one I am rediscovering  as I’m still attempting to get these last dozen or so pounds back off after regaining) is the concept of feast foods. Hang with me….

So many women lose weight (and lots of it, mind you) by cutting every and all “fattening” foods from their diet in extreme ways.

Some go low fat. Thus NO fat at all.

Some opt for no carbs. Bye-bye bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, sugars and starches.

Some choose the no sugar path. Hello meats and veggies and nuts, ….oh my!

Now, all of these diets will work.

If you stick to them.

For me, the problem is in the sticking.

And, when I stop sticking and wander even slightly off course, the forbidden food I sample then becomes a trigger food. For in my mind I surmise, “Shoot! I just ate XXXXX (fill in the forbidden food) and went off my ‘diet’. Might as well just eat some more of it (or another forbidden, but now oh-so-magnetic food like it). I blew it. I’ll stuff myself now and start over again tomorrow.

Been there sister? I have. Visited there just this weekend thanks to some full-fat brats, Heath Bar ice cream and some salt-and cracked pepper potato chips! YIKES!

The problem I see is two-fold.

First of all, it is hard for me to “get there” without a little fun food and incentive sprinkled in along the way. When I dropped the 100 pounds, I had dark chocolate everyday. Lately I have been in deprivation mode, sampling nothing that wasn’t a lean meat, a veggie or a poached egg.

Boring.

I just set myself up for a fall off the weight loss bandwagon.

Now, for those gals who can stick to it for the long haul eating only what is on the approved list for their diet, what happens when the weight is lost and the ‘diet’ is done? Do they continue to eat that way for the rest of their life? When the forbidden foods are added back in, will they too become trigger foods? Nearly everyone I’ve ever known who did an extreme diet to lose the weight regained it. Not all of them, but most of them.

So, here is the dealio and the reason I sometimes feature what seems to be fattening recipes here on this site.

It is okay to eat them.

Sometimes.

In moderation.

They are what I like to call “feast foods”.

In the Bible, there were several occasions where God called for a party. Usually about once a month. During those times, the people feasted. They ate fattening stuff. They had themselves an all-out Middle Eastern buffet-laden good time.

Then…… they went back to eating “their daily bread”.

(And by the way…..if carbs are so evil, then tell me, why did Jesus say He is the bread of life? He didn’t say “I am the broccoli of life” or “the tuna-fish of life”, now did He? Must be bread isn’t all that bad IF it is bread like they ate in Bible times, not the bleached, nutrient-stripped, white stuff that passes for ‘bread’ today. But, that is a post this whole wheat-grinding mama will tackle another day….)

We need to treat ‘feast foods’ as ‘feast foods’ and not eat them constantly. Sadly, most people today eat what I’d consider a feast food at nearly all 21 meals per week! Or we can invent celebrations for any reason as an excuse to stuff ourselves with feast foods.

“Oh…it is so-and-so’s graduation party. Better pig out.” (Even though there is a beautiful veggie tray and tons of fresh fruit)

“Oh, I just made cookies for the kids. I’ll just have one….two….seven…”

“I’m eating out and someone else is paying. I’m not gonna order a grilled chicken salad. Duh!!”

Our minds can turn any occasion into a reason for a feast food frenzie.

Maybe instead we should plan ahead and work just a few into our weekly eating. Say, stick to the healthy stuff in small portions all week except for Sunday when you are having company for dinner. Or Friday night when you and the hubster will farm the kiddos out to grandma and grandpa’s and head to your favorite restaurant.

And, don’t forget those little daily treats. A dark Hershey’s kiss has just 20 calories. Just make sure you are only eating a few as an afternoon snack.

Treat feast foods a rarities and don’t let them become trigger foods which send you spiraling down into depression and send the scale numbers climbing higher and higher…..

Okay now, leave a comment and let us know how your week went. Also, let us know your favorite feast food. Then, plan to eat some of it this week.

Careful now….I’m talking half a piece of cheesecake…..not half a cheesecake!

Feasting Blessings,

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  • Amen, Robin!! I am right there with you on trusting God! You made great points bc I am one of those who thinks “why are they on WW?” when they’re smaller than me, more like the size I would like to be! But it is so much more than weight loss. I love you say it’s a preventive measure.
    I am 30 weeks & I haven’t gained 30#!! That is so huge for me! It is extremely hard to be preg during the summer. I don’t normally care if I have ice cream or not. But it’s different this summer! I want ice cream A LOT! Thankfully I am too lazy to get some when I want it, it’s too hot for me to get in/out of the car, and I can never make up my mind when looking at the selection in the store. It’s overwhelming!
    But at the last appt I did gain 7# in 2 weeks…I don’t believe it. But she said I’m prob swelling, and I am…but I think it’s the ice cream. :/
    I flunked the 1 hour glucose test, did with my first preg, but didn’t have gd. So I asked if I could just be treated like I have gd & go on the healthy eating & exercise regimen bc I can’t get the energy to exercise, someone plz kick me in the seat!! I even got out of tracking my blood sugar! The OB is just going to watch my urine & I will have to take the 3 hour if sugar spills. :( I’m going to a diabetic class at the hospital Mon & hope I learn a lot & keep gd at bay.

  • Checking in late this week, but I was sick a lot of last week. That meant I am down 1.5lbs. Will weigh in again on Wed. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • I have a prayer request. I joined Weight Watchers last November. I met my goal and became a lifetime member in April 2010. I have had such an emotional journey with this weight loss. Mainly because I worry about what other people are saying about me. I know people will talk no matter what but it is still hard sometimes. I joined Weight Watchers because I knew I was going down the wrong path of weight gain. I only lost 17 pounds to reach my goal. To me that was a great loss but for others it seem like a lot. My mom is overweight and struggling and I wanted to stop my weight gain before it got worse. I had people tell me I didn’t need to join Weight Watchers and plainly asked me “What are you doing here?” I finally came up with the answer “Preventive maintenance” Since I have met my goal and feel healthier and everything, I have had more than one person tell me that I am too thin in my face and look bad. One of those persons was my mother-in-law. I don’t know how to respond. I also get those who say you look great and I have a really hard time accepting compliments. WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR WOMEN? I felt bad when I was overweight and I feel bad when I am just the right weight. WHAT ARE WE TO DO? HOW DO WE FIND THE BALANCE OF FEELING GOOD ABOUT OURSELVES WITHOUT BEING PROUD? I want everyone to know that I am one bag of chips away from going right back to my old eating habits. It is a daily struggle for me. I know I just need to put it all in God’s hands and leave it to Him, but it is hard when you have the daily struggle. I continue to go the Weight Watcher’s meetings weekly. I need them and find encouragement.

    I guess I just want everyone to know that we each have struggles whether overweight, underweight, or just right; tall, short, or average. If everything was perfect why would need to call on Jesus daily. I am so thankful to be a Christian and know that my God loves me no matter what. I have been a Christian since I was about 14, but only recently, since last February, I have been growing and understanding things I never did before. Daily I make the statement “TRUST GOD, PERIOD!” This statement has so much power and helps to remind just how much power God has. Our human minds cannot understand it completely but I feel God can reveal a little to us.

    Thanks for this blog and sorry if this is too long. I guess I just needed a safe place to talk. THANKS. I am also praying for you all.

  • wow, I needed to hear that. I often beat myself for indulging here and there. but this was refreshing to hear. thanks Karen. I do make the Lord my bread of Life. and I happen to like bread much better than broccoli which I still eat. but it’s good to know that we can still “feast” and come back to our routine. I’ve been on the weight loss wagon for a long time. I lost 40#s, 3 yrs ago and now I’m still trying to lose those pounds plus 30 lbs from my previous weight, but this time I’m focusing on what God has to say about my body and self-control. God bless you all sisters.

  • The story of my life: diet, lose, eat a trigger food, eat more since I’ve already ruined the ‘diet’. Gain the weight back. I so want to be normal. And am going to keep trying.

  • I am ashamed to say I am one of those people who find every occassion to eat what I want. This really helped me today. I have lost 20 pounds and we went on vacation and I really fell off the wagon that week. Since then I have had a hard time getting back to it. I walk 2 miles everyday, it has not gotten that hot here yet, I still can walk in the early morning hours to get exercise. However the stomach god wants what it wants.
    I am trying very hard to get back to it each day. What a splendid idea to have a once a month/week treat. Thanks

  • My fav. feast food is ice cream, or pizza, or sugary cereal! I have been on this weight loss journey for 17 months. I lost 25 pounds, but have regained a few this summer with cookouts & other seemingly fabulous reasons to pig out! I visit this site on occasion, but really need to get faithful with checking in once a week. I’ve got to have that accountability! God bless you all.

  • I am stable weight-wise this week. We are in a heat wave here, and so my outdoor walks are not happening. Even in the dark, it is too hot! I’ve been doing the stationary bike at home, but that is difficult too since we don’t have a/c. I’m not eating much, since it’s too hot, so in my mind it does not make sense that I haven’t lost any weight this week. I did “feast” on the 4th, but I do not think I overdid it. One brat, and only a couple tablespoons each of baked beans and pasta salad (made with salsa and black beans – healthy!). I did, however, have a 12 oz. pop and 2 cookies – those were my feast foods for this week. We never even ate dinner – it was just too hot! Well, I guess I did not gain, right? I’m glad Karen brought this subject up. Yes – it is way too hard to think I would never have ice cream again. It is much nicer to plan the occasional indulgence.

  • Feast food. What a true concept. In this journey (which re-began the first of May), I am focusing on portion control and not so much on a diet plan. I am losing weight slow, very slow, extremely slow but in the process, I am not feeling deprived. I am really listening to my spirit this time and find myself asking myself if I really need to eat whatever at this time. Sometimes it’s yes, sometimes it’s no, and sometimes it’s wait until later. But for this to work, you have to literally STOP before putting something into your mouth; otherwise, the whatever is in your mouth before you know what has happened.

  • I too don’t really have a feast food. When I was in serious diet mode I would just eat lots of anything unhealthy because I felt like I was depriving myself all the time. Now that I have consciously decided to take a break from the whole WW thing of religiously counting my points and tracking my foods I seem to be more relaxed and not prone to stuffing my face so much because I don’t feel so deprived. I am trying to seek God in what I eat. Initially I found this a struggle as I found it hard to trust God to know what was best (imagine!!!) but I am now enjoying it as I am eating things that I had forgotten were healthy options because I was so focused on legalism and following the programme. I confess that I don’t always listen to what God is telling me but I guess that is part of the process. :-) I haven’t been able to go to WW for a few weeks and can’t go today so I don’t know how it is all working out. I am trying not to be obsessed with looking in the mirror and wondering if my jeans are tighter but old habits die hard! God-willing I’ll know next week. Until then…

  • I can pretty much “feast” on anything if it’s around. I’m slowing learning, though, to allow myself a bite every now and then…I don’t feel guilty for indulging that way, but I still get to savor the taste.

  • Oh boy, do I have this problem! I get triggered by tortilla chips and anything dessert-y. My friends and I have been following the South Beach eating plan together, and it’s really helping me learn portion control. I’m still working on the “planned moderate indulgence” thing. Baby steps!

  • My feast food, like Judy, is ice cream. Especially peanut butter and chocolate or Elivs ice cream (banana ice cream with peanut butter and chocolate swirls).
    I have been off this train for about a month now but I have jumped back on.
    I weighed myself this morning so I have a correct starting point. Last night I met up with two of my coworkers and I walked for 20 minutes and then did some free weights. Ladies, let me tell you. We met at 10PM when all of us were finally off work. I wanted to be at home in bed but I DID IT. I stayed true to my commitment. Tonight is another 20 minute walk. Little by little, step by step.

    Blessings
    Jessica B.

  • This week has not been very good for me. Lots going on. Lots of company and company food. The scale was up about two pounds. Yesterday I started a Bible study at church called First Place 4 Health. We have a great group of ladies to encourage one another in our growth toward Christ and in fitness. I have a buddy I’ll be keeping up with here, and I know that will be a great thing to keep me accountable and on track. This is the first time since I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism that I have earnestly tried to lose weight. I pray the scale goes down now!

    I like the concept of feast foods. Having the special occasion where I don’t have to feel like I am blowing it because I am eating something delicious. I don’t know that I have one particular food that I crave. I enjoy different things at different times. I just like food. :)

    Thanks, Karen, for the article! Judy, your ice cream sounded delicious! Glad you got to enjoy it. :)

  • I completely agree with Karen and Judy both!! Matter of fact, my plan on this weight loss journey has been to PLAN to cheat. And it’s worked out REALLY well so far. I’ve lost 24.5 lbs so far!! I have not felt a bit deprived and I’ve basically eaten what I wanted within moderation. I’ve dieted off and on for the last 26 years and this is the best. I got on the scales this morning expecting to have gained. I work with a group called the Ulster Project and we bring teens from Northern Ireland for the 4 weeks of July in an effort to promote peace and we’ve had pot luck dinners 4 times in the last week. AND I ate dessert at every one of them!! But I lost 2 pounds. I’m guessing that I’ve finally gotten better at controlling portion size and content because I have given it no thought what so ever. I was so excited. Progress, you’ve got to love it. Now, I need to remember when I’m at home alone tonight to get on my knees and give credit where credit is due. I am so thankful right now. You can’t believe what a relief (well, maybe you can) it is to have lost weight in a week that I wasn’t really even trying to. Food is ALWAYS taken up so much of my conscious thought, whether it is what I’m going to eat next or what I’m NOT going to eat next. And to have finally come to a place where I can go to a pot luck dinner and eat sensibly without a lot of planning and thought is HUGE for me. Thanks be to God.

  • My favorite feast food is ice cream. With lots of goodies in it…caramel, chocolate, pecans, toffee, peanut butter, M&Ms, chocolate covered pretzels…you name it. Or else cherry cheesecake frozen yogurt with real chunks of graham cracker crust mixed in.

    Feast foods–what a great term!

    My husband and I went for a drive Sunday late afternoon, stopping at a handi-market for some ice cream. He came out with a pint of Hershey’s butter pecan ice cream. All for me. Despite the air conditioning, it was melting quickly, so I slowly but steadily (savoring it’s rich sweet goodness) ate the entire thing while we meandered along back roads. And you know what? The scale has NOT reflected that indulgence. Because I knew we were going for ice cream, I deliberately ate lightly that day and made the pint of ice cream my evening meal.

    And now, three days later when I look back to Sunday’s feast food, I have a pleasant remembrance instead of feeling guilty, miserable, self-defeating, etc.

    Too often in the past I have fallen off the band wagon because I would convince myself that I had blown it and besides, there is always tomorrow…

    And then I discovered that enjoying an occasional feast food did the trick for me. I no longer felt deprived and because I factored it into my daily intake I was able to manage quite well in controlling the total calorie amount for the day.

    The neat thing that I discovered was that after indulging, I had a sort of craving for getting back to the healthy eating habits of plenty of vegetables, fruits and lean proteins and whole grains.

    Carry on, sisters!