Are you on the road to get healthy and fit? Weight loss is a very visual process. Before and after photos show amazing progress and offer inspiration. Holding up an old pair of pants that can now fit two of you is very exciting.
Weight loss sparks a lot of changes in how we eat, including a shift to healthy eating.
On almost every weight loss and fitness blog I peruse weekly, there are a lot of photos of the food those bloggers eat. Most are beautifully plated, well lit examples of a well rounded healthy meal.
I love food and love photography, and when I run across these amazing photos I wonder why I don’t do this more with my own blogs. I know from past comments that you, dear reader, might find this helpful for everything from a meal ideas to a reminder to be aware of what we eat.
So why don’t I include food photos in my blogs?
You probably don’t want to see everything I eat daily anyway. I could get creative with lighting, plate like a master, and go to town. But here are the real reasons:
I eat all the time.
Seriously. Every 2-3 hours I am having some nourishment. It has become such a habit that I barely register I’m grabbing stuff when I need it.
I’m usually done with my snacks before I remember to take a photo.
I have a desk job, which typically means I’m having a snack while typing, answering calls and running to the printer. And occasionally I have caught myself reaching for that last almond in the pile only to realize I just ate the last one.
I eat the same stuff. A lot.
I don’t mean to make this sound boring, because most cooks know you an mix up the same 5 ingredients several ways, change a spice or cooking method, and come up with a completely different dish. But my shopping list doesn’t change a ton, week to week.
Meals are a lot less appealing in small plastic containers.
I mentioned I have a desk job. That means that the majority of my daily meals are carted around with me every day. I’ve become a master at finding that perfect container for everything from leak proof yogurt containers, to that hard to find mid-size that will fit my giant vegetable portion and protein choice, and still snap shut.
Why you should consider taking photos of your food – just for you.
There is a huge benefit to have a reminder of what you ate. This can me a big part to your fitness plan. I logged everything I ate for over a year and a half, tracking all my food details morning, noon and night.
I’ll tell you the trick though. It’s not just writing it all down, but looking at your food log.
Really honestly taking a look at your food log.
This if where taking photos of your food may do the trick. Most of us are visual (hello fitness Pinterest junkies!) and seeing how much of the plate your food is taking up is a big deal. It also helps identify where an extra few hundred calories might have snuck onto your plate.
I do recommend using a smartphone app or online system to track your food and taking advantage of the system doing the math for you. One warning: Beware any apps that offer a “barcode scanner” as part of the app. Real food does not come with a scan code on it.
Taking photos of your food on a plate. What should you look for?
Are you eating balanced foods?
If you see a lot of food you know came from a can or a box, I don’t have to tell you there are ways to improve on that.
How many colors are on the plate?
Looking for colors that come from nature is the key here. The translucent yellow of pasta is very pretty, but it doesn’t need to be the primary focus on your plate. Same goes for any processed food, but that ties right back into scan codes :)
What’s taking up the most space?
You got it! The answer is vegetables. Half your plate covered in vegetable is perfect.
Here’s a break down of an ideal meal:
- 1/2 the plate covered in vegetables
- 1/4 plate reserved for quality protein
- 1/4 of the plate for your healthy carbohydrate
Keep working for that ideal dinner plate
If you are glancing down at your dinner plate right now, and hating me for bring up portion sizes and meal breakdowns, take a deep breath and enjoy your meal. Making a change to how we put food on our own plates takes time to adjust to.
So does finding foods you know will keep you interested. I’ve taken vegetables I thought were dead-boring when they were steamed, like cauliflower, and started roasting them instead. A stir-fry can do wonders for exotic peas you never would let past your lips. Add the health benefit of using coconut oil in place of processed vegetable oil, and you just gave yourself a boost of essential fatty acids your body loves to have when you are getting fit.
What’s on your plate? Do you have a favorite meal to share? Add to the comments!
Go get your fit on – Heather
Heather Montgomery is a fitness writer, triathlete, and blogger who is devoted to sharing what she has learned about becoming a triathlete after age 40. She uses her Metabolic Training Certification to help other women struggling to get fit in mid-life. She lives and trains in Santa Rosa, California, the new home of the Ironman triathlon. You can find her biking the Sonoma County wine trails.