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Diet or Lifestyle? Tilapia with Lemon-Parsley Sauce

2011 January 25

Happy birthday to my brother-in-law Ted on this Tuesday! I’m sure Hong (his loving wife) and one month old son Matthew will make this day special.

The “holy hell this winter thing will be going on months longer and I’m already tired of it” phase has set in around here.

I’m also closely watching my calories, probably making it seem worse. When I calculate calories, in the hopes of losing weight, I have to have an array of food options and spend some time actually calculating future meals. But I’ve got it down to a science and it didn’t take long. When I make the grocery list and plan a menu, I get it over with and feel better in my attempts to eat fresh, quality ingredients throughout the winter when I’m near hibernation mode.

Some will tell you that limiting your food options is an easier way to lose weight. I think those people are right but also idiots…harsh? Ok then, those people are controlling folk who won’t admit how boring and annoying that can be and are thus missing out, stuck in an endless cycle, exhausting parts of themselves that could be better spent doing something worthwhile but instead are so focused on what they can/cannot eat that it consumes them when it should be vice versa. I used to be one-some might argue that I’m still controlling…I say shush in the nicest way possible.

Tilapia with Lemon-Parsley Sauce

I’ve tried all that which is why I agree that it works….for a little while and then it becomes aggravating and the equivalent to choosing to beat your head against a wall. Funsies.

Here’s my beef: when a targeted way of eating gives you a timeframe-say 6 weeks- with very specific nutritional guidelines, it will inevitably leave you high and dry at the end of that time (now what?!). You have no other choice but to become a slave to those phases, repeating them over and over again with the same limited variety of food that worked the first time. They rarely tell you that you’re going to have to repeat those steps to maintain your results FOR-EV-ER. It gets even better when what was working before stops and you have to give even more. It’s at this point that rational people tell themselves that they can function and live on 700 calories and workout 2 hours a day.

What most call a ‘diet,’ I call a lifestyle because ‘diet’ connotes an allotted amount of time of deprivation and then you stop but one should choose to see it as an ongoing lifestyle because that’s what it will be.

These days nothing is left out or off limits when I’m trying to lose weight/live a healthier lifestyle. Here’s one of the many fish recipes I’m dining on these days and the Livestrong website I turn to to help count the calories. If you stopped by my place, you would notice that most of my recipes have the calorie count on the side with a portion total at the top. It’s so much better to have flavor and omit nothing than to tell yourself something tastes good while gagging.

Granted, if your goal is to lose weight, it’s a slow process and you have to keep yourself accountable. Even if you’re not counting calories, this dish is amazing. It took me by surprise how flavorful this simple fish dish was; I will turn to it time and again. By the way, if you want to maintain any kind of fullness, you have to have something with substance, bread, bulgur, rice, quinoa, you name it on the menu. A salad with only greens and a light dressing does nothing for me on its own. Add some substance on the side but mind the portion.

Tilapia with Lemon-Parsley Sauce
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 4 oz. tilapia fillets (or fish of your choice)
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp butter
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
lemon-parsley sauce (recipe below)

Lemon-Parsley Sauce:
Zest of half a lemon, grated
Juice of half a lemon
1/3 cup packed parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp coarse salt/a few grinds of freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

Prepare the sauce by placing the first 5 ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until almost smooth. Add the olive oil in 3 batches, pulsing a few seconds between each batch. Set aside.

Lightly salt the fillets with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter. When the butter begins to foam, add the fish. Cook each side, flipping carefully, until each side is golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes each side. Serve immediately with the sauce.

5 Responses leave one →
  1. January 25, 2011

    Sending you “I’m full” thoughts! Maintenance is about all I can handle most of the time so I have great respect for anyone that can actually drop more than a pound or two, not to mention folks who are taking off double digits. I do agree that portion control is huge in whatever battle you’re fighting and that soups are some of the most powerful weapons around.

  2. January 26, 2011

    What a wonderful post. I loved hearing your thoughts on food and dieting. I also choose to look at my food choices as a lifestyle decision, not a diet. The tilapia recipe you shared with me looks fresh, flavorful and healthy. Thank you so much for sharing it…and thanks for all the sweetness you leave on my blog…it means so much to me!

  3. Cindy permalink
    February 16, 2011

    This recipe is one of the most refreshing and zesty meals I’ve had in a very long time! The first bite put me at a top gourmet restaurant, the rest of the bites were just re-visits of the first bite. Thank you for sharing the recipe along with your thoughts on healthy eating. I, like millions, made that every fateful “New Years” resolution to drop the excess pounds and learn a healthy lifestyle. I couldn’t do it without new recipes such as this one. I cook between 4 and 5 new recipes a week – variety and new flavors is the absolute only way I’m making this journey successful.

    • February 18, 2011

      Thank you, Cindy. Hear hear about new recipes. I live my cooking life with the same mentality. If the flavor is awful or doesn’t exist, it just won’t do around my place. Good luck and happy days along your journey. I’ll be thinking about you in support of your goals!

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