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Let’s get this out of the way first. THIS IS NOT A REAL DIET. Don’t follow this if you want to drop 10 lbs in one week. If that’s your goal, stop reading now and Google “The Master Cleanse”. I also do not recommend actually doing that, by the way.
BUT, if you enjoy food, and don’t want to deprive yourself of that joy, this may be the “diet” for you. See photo above. THAT IS JOY.
Honestly though, it’s been a while since I’ve addressed this topic, and that’s pretty dumb, considering it’s the question I get asked most often.
“How do you eat the way you do and stay so skinny?!”
The thing is, I don’t really think of myself as “skinny”, despite the fact that my blog name, Instagram handle, and basically entire brand is built around that word. Before you judge me, let me explain.
When I created this blog in 2008 (yikes), it was a blog mainly dedicated to eating like a “pig”, and the nickname Skinny Pig was something I was referred to when I was a lot younger. A LOT. I felt the nickname was catchy and made sense for my content, since a lot of it was dedicated to gluttonous food. As the years roll on, however, my content has changed a bit, and my diet has definitely changed. I’ll admit that I can still eat almost anything I want, but it comes down to one main practice that I’ll share with you today. That practice is, “portion control”.
Before I get into that, let me just be clear in that I have a fast metabolism and always have. I’m now 38 years old (again, yikes), and even though I have to be a bit more careful about what I’m eating on a daily basis, I still have days where I will just eat whatever I want and not really care. I think that part comes down to your relationship with food, on a mental level.
If I have a day where I feel like eating Taco Bell or McDonald’s, I’ll do it and not regret it. I don’t beat myself up for overindulging. I will only beat myself up if it happens multiple days in a row and my body just starts to feel like shit afterwards. You know that feeling too, I’m sure. When you overeat so much consistently, and you feel bloated/sluggish. Holiday weekends at barbecues are usually a hotbed for this activity. How is it possible for one person to eat 2 hotdogs, a burger, steak, potato salad, macaroni salad, cookies and a cupcake, all in one sitting?? It’s a mystery to me too, but it happens every time.
All that said, that’s not a “typical” day for me. I will allow myself to be a beast when I feel the occasion calls for it, but for the most part, I eat relatively healthy and try to limit my sugar/carb intake. I LOVE carbs, especially in the form of bread and pasta, but I don’t overdo it. I’m also not a big sweet tooth, so avoiding sugar is usually not that hard for me. Thank god.
So now that you have some background, let’s get down to it. What do I eat on a regular basis? See below.
I start my day with eggs (1 egg 1 egg white), toast with avocado, some fruit and coffee with a little half & half/oat milk. I don’t love fruit but I force it on myself because I know it’s good for me. So when I say some fruit I mean like, 2-3 strawberries or 2 small pieces of pineapple. I’m a veggies over fruit person.
Sometimes when I’m lazy I’ll have Magic Spoon cereal. It’s a high protein, low carb, low sugar (some flavors are no sugar) cereal that plays to our inner child. It’s the ONLY cereal I’ve tried in this category that actually tastes like something you’d eat when you were a kid, as opposed to dry twigs like most “healthy” cereals. I love the Fruity flavor (tastes just like Froot Loops), Blueberry, and Peanut Butter (tastes like Reese’s Puffs). Sometimes I mix the PB and Cocoa flavor, which is my favorite combination ever. Love PB and chocolate. You can buy some here and use my code “DARAPOLLAK” for $5 off!
For lunch, this varies honestly, but it’s usually something low carb. I’ll have chicken sausage or turkey/cheese coldcut rollups, with a salad on the side (tomatoes, avocado, artichokes, and an Italian vinaigrette dressing with a sprinkle of finely grated parmesan). I also enjoy making this kale salad with mustard vinaigrette, but if I’m avoiding the carbs that day, I’ll leave out the grilled cheese croutons. If I’m not feeling a salad, I’ll have lettuce wraps with tuna salad (no mayo, I usually buy this Mediterranean tuna salad from FreshDirect), or lettuce wraps with cold cuts. Then on the side I’ll have half of a sliced red pepper with Boursin cheese. If I’m ordering in, I usually go with Dig, Sweetgreen, or Pokeworks. I love the Hawaiian Ahi Tuna from Pokeworks.
For dinner, this also varies, but on the healthy days I’ll make air fryer salmon or baked turkey meatballs, with some veggies on the side. If I have pasta, I try to keep it to a small portion. I also really like Gardein Mandarin Orange Chicken (vegan “chicken” but it’s really good, I promise) with rice and I usually add frozen green beans to it for some added greens. Frozen veggies are just easier sometimes. If I’m making my own veggies, it’s usually simple roasted broccoli – drizzle the florets with olive oil, top with salt and pepper, and roast at 425 for 15 minutes or so until crisp and brown. When it comes out of the oven, hit it with a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice. It’s PERFECT.
When I eat out at a restaurant or order in, this is where the portion control thing comes into play. I rarely ever clean my plate, because I don’t like the feeling of being “stuffed”. If you can’t take a walk around the block after a meal, that’s how you know you’ve eaten too much. When I order a burger, I’ll eat probably 3/4 of it, and same goes for a bowl of pasta. If I’m really hungry I’ll finish it, but this is another thing I try to maintain: never be starving.
When I go on shoots/tastings at restaurants, I NEVER go hungry. It’s the same cardinal rule that applies to food shopping: don’t go hungry. All logic and discipline goes out the window, and you’ll end up ordering with your eyes instead of your stomach.
Some people think it sounds counterproductive to eat before eating, and they’ll say things like “but then aren’t you just eating MORE?” and no, I’m not. If I have a protein bar before going on a shoot, I’ll have it an hour before. That way I’m still hungry but I’m not starving. I’ll be able to taste and sample everything that is in front of me, but I won’t go overboard. It’s hard to take a handful of french fries and stop there, believe me I know, but if you’re starving, it’s a hell of a lot harder. You’ll feel better knowing you were still able to enjoy it without destroying your body. Health Magazine interviewed me on this very topic a few years ago, you can check it out here. I haven’t had my overnight oats in a while now, but that’s also a great and easy breakfast that’s very filling! I have plenty of recipes on here for that too, just search “overnight oats”.
Now let’s discuss one of my biggest weaknesses: snacking. I could snack all day every day, but I really try hard not to. Most of us snack when we’re bored, but even if you’re hungry, there are ways to snack smart. This isn’t brand new information, and I’m sure we’ve all read countless articles on what to snack on that is good for you. So I’m going to tell you what I snack on that works for me. Everyone is different, but again, the main thing you need to do when snacking is keep those portions under control. Thankfully plenty of brands now offer snacks in “portion” sizes, like 100 calorie packs and what not. If you truly have a problem sticking to just one portion of something, I suggest going that route.
I like to snack on:
Jerky – I like many brands, but I’m partial to Chomps or Maui Nui Venison sticks. Kinda pricey on the latter but very good.
Popcorn – I hate that it gets stuck in my teeth and gums, every time, but until they come up with kernel-less popcorn, I’ll be here. I like Lesser Evil snack packs. The coconut oil is a nice touch.
Energy Bites – these are my own recipe, but they’re very popular! Find them here. They do contain sugar in the form of honey or agave, but they’re so easy to whip up and a perfect little snack with a cup of tea.
That’s another thing: drink up! Water and tea are staples in my daily routine. If I’m feeling hungry and snacky, I almost always have one of the above snacks with a big glass of water, seltzer, or tea. It helps make me feel fuller while also hydrating, which is very important.
So that’s pretty much it on the food front. I know this isn’t groundbreaking information but for those of you who ask about my eating habits, this is it! If you’d like a workout post to go along with this, I can do that too. Lmk in the comments or on IG: @darapollak.