How Food Lovers Get Back In The Game (without really trying)

If you’re anything like me, the holidays brought out your biggest weaknesses and your self-control was worse than if Channing Tatum asked you to pick up your life, become a gypsy and travel the country playing a tambourine in a cult band for the rest of your life. (For the record, my answer wouldn’t be no right away. I wouldn’t do it, but man would there be some serious consideration).

Channing-tatumIn January there are always a plethora of tips, tricks and shortcuts for feeling better after an indulgent December. But I’ve always noticed that these articles never take into account the different types of people there are out there. There are, in my opinion, two types of people in the world. Some people don’t care about food, but if something delicious is in front of them they will eat it. Then there are people who are downright obsessed with food and the thing that’s delicious in front of them was not only made by them, but Pinned, Instagrammed, and talked about for fifteen minutes while non-food-lovers wonder what’s wrong with them. I fall into the latter.

Needless to say those tips like “cut out all sugar for a month”, “avoid all bread” and “abstain from all alcohol” just aren’t going to cut it for me. On Sunday I read a story about “Drynuary,” aka no alcohol for the month of January, and seriously considered it. Then I had a bad day on Monday and literally couldn’t WAIT to get home and open a bottle of wine. That might work for some people, but for me, restricting myself in terms of food/drink just isn’t an option. I love food and drinks way too much. I DO know, however, that I can’t eat like it’s the holidays all year long or I would not feel my best, look my best, or behave my best (because taking time off from healthy habits makes me craaaanky).

So here are my top tips for getting back in the game without giving up your identity as a food-lover.

Add vegetables to every meal

I don’t restrict myself food-wise. But I do make sure that I’m including a heaping portion of veggies with every single meal I eat, whether it be a piece of fish or a pb&j sandwich. Filling my stomach up with good stuff works 10x better than letting myself get hungry or mentally crave a food because I cut it out completely. Even breakfast: just STOCK UP on the greens.

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Protein Protein Protein

Going along with that, get as much good protein into my diet as possible. Protein is what fills me up. And while I get lots of it via eggs, chicken and peanut butter, protein powder is great in a pinch. I’ve mentioned it before but while I’ve tried lots of protein powders, I finally settled on Skoop. I’m not going to try to sell you on it (because I haaaate when bloggers try to sound genuine and it’s blatantly obvious that they’re selling something), but just know this is the protein powder that I use. Take it or leave it 🙂


If you DO decide to try it out, use the code BIGLUNCH to get 10% off your order. Because saving money is always cool.

Work out every single day

Every day.  No exceptions. Well, okay, one exception. I never work out more than 6 days a week because I am neither superwoman nor someone with a death wish. But 6 days a week is a non-negotiable when I’m getting back at it. The reasons for this go farrrr beyond just vanity: in the days between Christmas and my birthday I worked out sparingly and besides not feeling wonderful, I had two panic attacks come out of absolutely nowhere. I firmly believe that exercise can help manage anxiety, so it’s something that I don’t want to skimp on, if not for my physical health but my mental health as well.

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Attempted a run in 4 degree weather — never again

Drink some tea

I’m not a tea person but this time of year I’ll take anything that will warm my body up — and a 9pm cup of coffee isn’t an option. So I drink this Yogi DeTox tea because it’s two-in-one for me: it warms me up, calms me down, and makes my stomach feel better after a few weeks of heavy eating. It contains dandelion, juniper berry, ginger, black pepper and burdock, which all work together to gently purify the liver and promote kidney function.

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Don’t hibernate!

Yes it’s cold. It’s flipping freezing. But the minute you make it a habit to stay under the covers avoiding the dreaded temps or skip your workout because you just want to get home and put on your cozy sweats is the minute you start eating a whole box of mac n cheese for dinner followed by a sleeve of oreos. Be brave. Face the cold. Rumor has it that shivering can increase your metabolism (say what?!) So bundle up and stay active, even when it seems impossible.

unnamed (28)Food lovers — got any tips to add to my list?


  1. i think you touch on something really great hidden in this post: the importance of KNOWING YOURSELF. you know who you are and what works for you and what doesn’t, and you’re not trying to fit yourself into some regime or diet that you know isn’t for you. that’s SO important, and i give you major props for that and definitely feel myself struggling to overcome thoughts about what i should or shouldn’t eat or restrict or whatnot. haha i love your honesty about your food obsession! i’m def not a foodie like you — i can eat yogurt and granola and fruit for every meal and not feel like i’m ever missing anything, and i rarely cook or look up fun recipes — but i’m with you on wanting to have things because you want them and not feel bad about it. oh, and the wine at the end of the day? THAT part i totally subscribe to. and the working out

    1. Yeah I guess i should say there’s more than 2 types of people — it’s so important to not take a “one type fits all” approach. But you go to such amazing restaurants there’s definitely a little foodie blood in ya 😉

  2. Great tips Lauren! You had me at the Channing Tatum pic 🙂

    I couldn’t agree more about working out. People think I am crazy with how much I work out but more than anything it is for my mental health. It keeps my anxiety at bay [most times].

  3. Yeah I could never go on a sugar or bread detox. I would be so unhappy! I just start adding a salad to every meal and working out at least 5 days a week. I actually find that I crave vegetables after a couple days of eating unhealthy so that works for me!

  4. Ohhh your tips are fabulous!! I love them all. You’re sooo knowledgeable. Such a smart, beautiful woman you are!! 🙂 I’m sure you have a billion guys knocking down your door!! Special lady!! Okay, so the vegetable idea (adding it to meals) is so key. I love doing this and find that I fill up and feel great about myself, too. Veggies rock (but not more than you)!! I also eat lots and lots of tofu + tofu variations. Protein is always a good idea. Working out everyday? I’m lovin’ it!! I truly believe exercise helps manage stress and anxiety, too. Definitely!! I’m going to try this DeTox tea!! Maybe it will help me relax more and fall asleep easier. Thanks for the great tip!! I’m excited! Your last picture is hilarious!! Such pretty eyes!! XOXO

    1. Filling up on veggies is huge! So much easier than restricting other foods. The Detox tea is great! It took me a few times to get used to the taste but now I really, really like it with a little stevia. Maybe it’s just cuz I’m not a tea person 😉

  5. Awesome post! I like getting a look into people’s thaang! As you know, I’m not into protein other than from plants, oh shoot, or even working out every day haha. Wow I sound like a loser. I am a huge fan of packing in veggies to everything though, so I salute to that!! And same–restriction totally sucks. Just easing myself into healthy habits is the way I like it:) Take care! And stay warm!!

  6. I love Yogi tea! I try and like a lot of teas, but then I end up buying ones that are always awful and Im stuck w boxes and boxes of teas. Boo.

    I like your realistic tips. I stopped dieting a couple years ago when it turned into restriction and then was all around disordered. I like to eat healthy but I also like cookies and chocolate too, so now I do everything in moderation. I wasn’t always this way and it definitely took a lot of trial and error for me to get into the right mentality. I also find that the longer I eat healthy foods, the less I crave the cookies, so that’s always a bonus. When I want one though, Im eating one!

    1. I went through a phase of restriction and yes, I was suuuuper super skinny but I would then go through huge binge sessions and I know that pattern couldn’t have lasted forever. Now I love living this balanced life. It’s much easier to manage and I’m much happier! Hey, when you want a cookie, you BETTER have it, otherwise I’m coming over and eating it for you!

  7. Ohhhh I feel ya! I’m totally a food lover. I think about food all.the.time. I don’t understand it when people say they “forgot to eat.” What? hahaha But I also like to be healthy, and I feel better when I’m following all your tips above. But of course, moderation is key — I get my treats at least 20 percent of the time. Great post, Lauren!

  8. Definitelyyyy feeling you. I did a juice cleanse because I literally just didn’t want to think about food anymore. I think it got my head back in a good place… but I still am making it a point to exercise every day (yoga on active rest days), eating super clean and… no alcohol. Maybe. Unless something comes up.

  9. Oh man that would be a such a hard choice… Channing Tatum…. Oh wait I’m married 😳😬!!! Haha!
    I love your tip about the veggies, especially greens, oh boy do I feel so much better when I eat a bunch of them, in fact kale and spinach are 2 of my favs.
    I think my tip would be that it’s important to remember being active or a workout doesn’t have to mean slogging it out in a gym, box or studio every day. A walk is some of the best exercise you can do. A mobility session at home will keep you strong and your muscles flexible or even some air squats or burpees (I know they suck!) when taking a break from your desk is perfect. I CrossFit 4 times per week and do a combo of walking and mobility the other 3 – with the odd tabata thrown in for fun!

    1. I have to get into kale! Maybe that should be my 2015 goal! haha. Walks are important too, especially in this world of technology I think taking walks with people you love because you can really bond during them. Air squats are so easy to do randomly that I totally agree with you!

  10. You included my favorite tip: tea! When it’s so ridiculously cold outside, it’s very easy to think “I think the vent double chocolate caramel peppermint mochacini from Starbucks to warm me up.” But who needs all that extra sugar and calories after the holidays? So for me, tea is where it is at!

  11. These are great tips…I definitely agree that focusing on what you can eat (veggies, protein) is way more helpful than trying to deprive yourself. I need to start drinking tea again- its been so cold this week and I am constantly looking for something to warm me up!

  12. Oh man, I can’t believe you went out running…yesterday? Tuesday? Whatever day you took that picture. Running is SO far away from my radar right now haha. I’m quite content to stay home and do at-home workouts in the comfort of my heated apartment. I think that’s one important thing in all of this, too — finding ways to be flexible when the weather sucks, whether that’s by eating nutritious comfort foods (like chili made with turkey or even quinoa instead of super saturated fatty ground beef) or finding a workout option that doesn’t make you want to weep just thinking about it.

    1. I walked from Southport/Addison ALL THE WAY TO BELMONT and then ran from Belmont on the path onto Michigan Ave before I literally thought I needed to go to the hospital haha. Not a good idea at ALL! Finding a workout you love is key!

  13. I really love these sensible tips! I don’t cut anything come January, I just get back to sensible eating after overindulging.
    Dry January is a big thing over here, but my husbands birthday was on the 6th, so that just wasn’t an option for us, even if we wanted to.
    I try to eat more of certain things, rather than cutting out other things.

  14. AMEN! This post is so needed. It’s makes me cringe when I see posts or diet ads about ‘detoxing’ or quick fixes. The key to a healthy body is not constantly being on diets it balance. You can eat the cupcake but not ALL the cupcakes lol. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  15. Fabulous tips lady! I definitely fall into the latter category like you. Totally cutting my favorite things out for months is just not going to work for me – never has, never will. I did, however, start to take a little break from alcohol. I don’t have a specific amount of time that I’ll be wine and vodka free, but I just felt like after drinking way too many consecutive days, a few weeks off couldn’t hurt 😉 I’m not even minding it because I feel like my body was craving a break. The next time I’m really in the mood for a glass of wine though, I’ll be popping open a bottle because life’s too short for deprivation!

  16. Great tips and you make a fabulous point…..different types of people need to address over indulgence in different ways. Your comparison of the two types of people used to remind me of a doctor I trained with who said over and over again are two types of people “those that live to eat and those the eat to live.”
    The Doctor Diva

  17. I’m happy to report my overindulging holiday self is gone and I’ve been keeping it clean and mean in the kitchen and the gym/pavement. HA. I do want a sleeve of Oreo’s though…

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