Hi Friends! Iā€™m Natalie Mason. I live in Charleston, SC and I am mom to Sterling 12 , Frances Moon 8 and our mini golden doodle Dolly.



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What I Eat

Mar 22, 2012

Several of you have emailed me asking me to share my diet and workout regime. Wondering how I can eat the foods I do and still stay thin. I hesitated about writing a post on this because I am not an expert by any means and different things work for different people. That being said I always love hearing what other people eat and what they do for exercise to get new ideas for myself. So I will share with you what I eat and how I exercise. It is what works me.

In College I was 30lbs heavier than what I weigh now- sad but when I delivered Sterling I was pretty darn close to what I weighed in College! I was a girl that liked to booze and eat way too much! At Chick Fila in college I would order a sandwich and nuggets as my meal- way too much food. Then I would drink copious amounts of booze at fraternity parties and I ballooned quickly! Funny thing is I never thought I was overweight til after college. I slowly lost the weight post college and promised myself I will never weigh that again. Now I weigh myself almost everyday. I don’t believe in not using a scale and “feeling my body”. I need to see numbers and I find by checking frequently my weight never gets out of control. I have a target weight I never want to get above so if I am higher one day I just cut back and chug lots of water and exercise to get back on track.

Let me start by saying I am not a dieter. Never have been and never will. I love food way too much to diet. Food makes me happy so I like to eat what I want. I believe strongly in moderation. During the week I try to eat fairly healthy. I have a few standard breakfasts and lunches that I rotate and will share with you. Dinner is always a wild card for me because the hubby typically doesn’t like the same healthy foods that I do. So I try to eat a good breakfast and lunch so I can indulge in say tacos or pasta with him later. The weekends I never diet I eat what I want and then get back to my healthy meals on Mondays.
I always start my day with my fresh pressed green juice(kale, spinach, lemon, green apple, ginger and cucumber). Get a juicer, it will change your life!

then I usually have one of these options:
Fage Greek Yogurt

Kashi or Nature’s Path Cereal

2 pieces toast with Peanut Butter and half a grapefruit

I boiled egg and 1 Morningstar Patty

In between breakfast and lunch I usually drink lemon water, sparkling water and/or a coconut water to fill me up. One biggy for me is I don’t drink juice, sodas, or sweet tea. I think drinks are empty calories (unless of course it’s my wine or vodka:)). I would rather eat the calories than drink them. I do drink alot of green tea. I make pitchers of it unsweetened or get an unsweetened one at Starbucks. Some say green tea ups your metabolism.

If I am hungry for a snack I usually just eat nuts. Planters makes individual bags of these Energy Mix Nuts that I love. They are easy to throw in your purse on the go. I also love Pirates Booty and PopChips. Sterling loves them as well so we both frequently eat them in the afternoon.

For lunch I almost always eat a salad. Deli meat can really gross me out so I rarely make sandwiches. My two current go to salads are my Chopped Greek Salad and Tuscan Kale Salad.

Often times I will also make asparagus toast. With canned or fresh asparagus on whole wheat bread or an english muffin. I cover with cheese and bake in the oven. This is ridiculously good if you add a fried egg and truffle oil.

Those are most often my 3 go to lunches.
Dinner is more of a wild card. I cook alot of casseroles, tacos, etc that are not as healthy but what the hubs love. If we have tacos I just eat one, same with the casserole I just make mine in a small bowl. I will say I never buy or cook frozen meals. I find that they never taste good and I can whip up something healthier and tastier on my own. I don’t even buy frozen pizzas anymore. I either order one or make it on Nann bread. About once a week I cook Salmon Cakes- see recipe here. This is a super cheap, healthy and easy meal. I usually serve them with steamed cabbage, beans or asparagus.

Several of you also asked me when I have time to cook. If it is something that can be made ahead I cook while Sterling naps. Otherwise from about 5 to 5:30 I let Sterling watch a tv show while I cook his dinner and at least get ours started. We usually don’t eat til 8 because Matt never gets home til 7. Once he gets home he spends time with Sterling and I finish cooking. I love to cook and never consider this a chore. I always look forward to cooking. It is my downtime to sip my wine and be creative in the kitchen.

One big indulgence for me is alcohol, primarily wine.

I have a drink almost everyday. It keeps me sane ladies! I am super weird about taking medicine (don’t even like to take Tylenol) so I have never been a pill popper but wine sure helps me relax after a long day. I eat less and workout so I can afford the calories from alcohol. 5-7 is the longest part of the day for me trying to get Sterling fed, cook our dinner, and bath him all before Matt gets home from work. So I usually pour a glass and start sipping at bath time. Sterling plays and I get some time to just zone out and relax! If I don’t drink wine I have vodka with a splash of water and fresh lemon, but I usually save that drink for the weekend. It is a great low calorie drink option. I never drink mixed drinks mixed with sugary mixers. Like for instance I would never order a margarita at a restaurant I would just sip straight tequila instead (slowly). Too many calories plus the hangover is way worse from mixed drinks!

If you read this whole post bravo. Frankly I am tired just from writing it but I wanted to respond to questions some of ya’ll had. Like I said I am no expert, this is just what works for me. If you are still interested in my exercise routine I will try and share that next week.

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  1. I can't believe you lost 30 lbs after college! Having to make or go to dinner with my hubs every night is what gets me. I am hungriest at lunch and used to just snack for dinner. Now it's a huge production.

  2. Sounds like we are very similar my dear! I think my weight wasn't so much higher in college as my puffiness and dress size. Kicken chicken is part of the meal plan at CofC-hello! I do need the scale to keep me in check too and I find that if I'm getting "up" I just scale back on calories and drink more water. No empty drink calories for me either. I splurge on crap food whenever I really want it but for the most part always make a healthier choice. I've found brushing my teeth right after dinner helps with snacking late night for me. You're doing an amazing job of adding really healthy foods into your diet and not just cutting out. Go girl!

  3. Crispin says:

    Girl! You sound EXACTLY like me!!!!! I ballooned in college for the exact same reasons and then lost it once I graduated! Being Pregnant with Ford last year and watching the scale climb the charts was so, so, so hard!!!!

    Also, wine every night? You are a girl after my own heart šŸ™‚

  4. I understand what you mean about dinner time – boys like to eat! And I am longing for the day when I can get back to my evening wine while making dinner…it totally unwinds me too. Great post!

  5. Oh we all have had the heavier days don't we? šŸ™‚ You're very good about eating healthy but also enjoying life. And I appreciate friends who don't stress about being a silly little size. So important, that's why you're a happy person and are surrounded by happy people. Love you sweet thang!

  6. Thanks for sharing your "secrets". You so have it down cuz girl you look hot! You always have the most amazing looking foods, things I would love to eat. Your salads are definite hits in my book. I tend to stay away from breads – but asparagus is the bomb – and adding some cheese – well let's just say I'm gonna treat myself to that someday.

  7. First of all, thanks for putting so much effort into this! I'm happy to see someone who can be so fit and healthy and still find it ok (and even necessary) to indulge in some of your favorites. Everything in moderation, including moderation, right?? I need to get better at juicing because its such a boost to your morning. Do you drink coffee too? That's one thing I can't live without šŸ™‚

  8. Hannah says:

    I read the whole post! I feel like you could have written the majority of that and posted it on my blog and it would have been about me. I hate pills and a glass of wine a day is the cure. I also tend to eat healthy for breakfast and lunch–I try to for dinner, but that is not always the case. Lunch meats gross me out and I never buy them anymore. I would rather grab a roasted chicken or just grill my own to put on salads. One thing I've changed about eating is getting more protein. I felt for a long time like I would get dizzy or light headed in the mornings. That is when I changed to really eating whole grain and Greek yogurt, especially in the mornings. Um…and I totally boozed it up in college, never realizing I had gained weight until later. šŸ˜‰

  9. You look amazing so I did always wonder what your tricks were!!! Thank you for sharing!! I too love to know how people do it-balancing kiddos, work, play. I love all your recipes too-keep them coming!!!

  10. Thanks for this great post! Like you, I don't believe in going by feel or how my clothes fit – because we are wishful thinkers! A cold, hard number on the scale is the only thing that keeps me honest. If the number starts to creep up, I cut back on wine and dessert and switch to salads for a bit and it rights itself.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this. I have to say, you might be the first person who has ever shared an honest, realistic plan. I would love to loose 15 pounds ASAP (I gained it all after college. moving in with Spencer was dangeroussss). And this is all good to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing lady! You look gorgeous, keep it up!

  12. Katharine says:

    I'm SO happy you drink every night!!!! I do also. Seriously, let me know when you are in Charlotte next!

  13. i loved your post!! wish i could stay with you for a week to get my moderation in control. id love the wine every day too! do you know on average how many calories you consume a day?

  14. I really wish I liked to cook. I have a good little list of sorta healthy foods I can make fast. I do struggle with baby. Can you share what you make for Sterling? I need help!

  15. Sounds like we eat very similarly! I will have try those salads soon though!

  16. NDH says:

    yes please to exercise routine! great post, very interesting šŸ™‚

  17. We eat almost the same!! And I also drink wine every day. I knew I loved you! -)

  18. Nickie says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write and share. It was all very inspiring and encouraging. I have about 10 – 15 lbs I need to shake off and have had a hard time. I need to try something different (cuz what I'm doing is not working!) and your post gave me some ideas and a different way to look at things. Thanks so much!

  19. The Hawkins says:

    I have been craving La Croix water. Too bad they don't have it here in Switzerland. Moderation is totally the key. I so look forward to the weekend when we can eat homemade pizza and other treats. Popping your own popcorn is also another great snack. Looking forward to the exercise routine!

  20. megan says:

    Love this post! I love being nosey and seeing what other people eat on a daily basis. šŸ™‚ I was lucky not to gain much weight in college, but I feel like it's catching up with me now. Which is odd because I definitely don't drink as much as I did in college. And never eat (ok rarely) after 2am on the way home from the bars.

  21. Tess says:

    This was a great insidght into your day – and I too, like everyone else….can't believe you were 30lbs heavier! You look so naturally thin.

    I love that you have a drink everyday. I do too, and sometimes I feel like I'm the only one!! It's just too good not too!

  22. I love your thinking and it's what I try to do as well. Eating healthy is so much harder with kids and especially husbands! I always love your recipes! Please share your workout routine because I am always interested in what other people do! xo

  23. Megan says:

    Thanks for all of your tips! I also lost 30 lbs after college and follow a lot of the same ideas you have. This gives me more ideas for food though! Thanks so much!

  24. Julie says:

    I totally agree w/ what you said…it's downright depressing to not get to indulge and eat a yummy dinner after a long day. I hate it! That's a good idea to eat healthier and smarter during the day, and then have a glass of wine and tacos to round off the day. I'm trying to get in the zone of eating a salad every day for lunch. Do you have a Chipotle near you? It's SO easy to eat a vegan, black bean and brown rice salad from there, guac on the side to really keep calories down.

  25. Wow…those look like some yummy recipes. Thanks for sharing! I'll definitely be trying some of these!

  26. I totally agree about cooking dinner, I love to do it and I always have a drink in hand doing so. Salmon cakes are a staple here too, how funny!!

  27. This is great! Definitely bookmarking for my post-pregnancy diet. I feel like we have a lot of the same priories with food and drink. Previous to being preggo, I would have an ensure in the am, salad for lunch and then usually something more for dinner with the hubs. I love indulging in wine too! I miss it!!

  28. Taylor says:

    Read the whole thing haha. I love hearing about what people do for diets and for workouts. I can't believe you were 30 pounds heavier in college, you'd never know it! I too, gained and fluctuated in college, and just recently in the past year or so have realized where I want to be. I now have a number I don't let myself get above, and can't believe I was ever above that number and thought I was being healthy for so long!! The thing I can't control still is dinner with my boyfriend. I have no self control so when it is taco night here or casserole night, I eat 5 tacos like he does and have 3 portions of casserole. Any tips for that haha?!? You look gorgeous and are in great shape so love hearing tips for how you do it!!!

  29. You and I are very similar! I have no problem eating healthy at breakfast and lunch, just so I can splurge a little with Brandon at dinner. That's when I want comfort food!
    I used to keep a scale in my bathroom and I'd weigh myself at least once per day. It was such a great way to keep my body in check. The batteries died in it about six months ago and I've been too lazy to change them (oops) and it has truly affected my weight! I just found out that I'm about five pounds heavier now than I was this time last year…and I credit that to not knowing my weight every day!

    Great post!

  30. t says:

    Thank you Natalie for writing this blog post!! Please post your work out routine too!! I love your blog it is a daily read for me! It is so nice to get new healthy food ideas. You look amazing!!

  31. Thanks for sharing such personal details. Struggling (!) to lose the last few pregnancy lbs, I'm going to look to your tips from now on! And I'll definitely be incorporating some green tea into my life…although I may need some Splenda in it! I'm forever trying to kick my diet soda habit! I love that while you don't drink sugary cocktails, you sure do "pin" them and give me inspiration! šŸ™‚ Please do share your exercise tips when you can!

  32. wow- what a healthy eater! i envy your will power šŸ™‚ !! new follower, dear. great blog!

  33. wow- what a healthy eater! i envy your will power šŸ™‚ !! new follower, dear. great blog!

  34. Oh, I was SO gross in college. Chapel Hill fraternity parties and late night food (Pokey Sticks) totally did me in.

    Are there moms who don't drink wine every day? Weird. I don't relate.

  35. Kerr says:

    I have got to get a juicer so I can drink it in the morning. I think that would be great with Greek yogurt. I love my wine and vodka water too, couldn't give that up! It's totally worth some time on the treadmill or whatever.

  36. LOVE this post, and how honest and real you are about it. Hardly anyone can keep a thin frame without sacrificing somewhere! I'm similar with my calories, but my choices aren't as healthy. During the week, I eat an Eggo with peanut butter every day, a lean cuisine for lunch, piece of fruit in the afternoon and small portion at dinner. And wine after dinner! šŸ™‚ I also eat dinner fairly early. Then on weekends, we eat out and I don't think one thing about it! When I feel my weight creep up, I eat Raisin Bran for dinner until I'm back to normal. So I'm probably under-eating many days, but waaaay making up for it on others! šŸ™‚

    wow — this is a long comment and you didn't exactly ask us to write our own posts about it! šŸ™‚ Question tho: how did you decide what was the best weight for you? The scale is just numbers, but don't mean the same on every body.

    Oh, and PS — check my post tomorrow! šŸ˜‰

  37. Great Post! Thanks for sharing your tips and secrets! We sound very similar! I love my daily glass of vino and I am huge salad eater! Love all your recipes! And you look fabulous!!

  38. I loved this post. I read the entire thing! šŸ™‚ Great info!

  39. Val says:

    You eat so well….I'm not a dieter either. The key to staying thin and being a foodie is moderation. Love this post and will be making your greek salad tomorrow.

  40. Lili says:

    great post, natalie! i workout hard so i can eat hard – LOL – that needs to change asap!

  41. Alicia xoxxo says:

    Oh so so happy to know that I am not the only mommy that love her evening wine! I call mine 'mommy juice"! It keeps me sane too! I have to weigh myself almost daily as well. I need to see the numbers! I will admit though, that I am having a tough time losing the baby weigh….it is taking much longer to come off than I anticipated.

  42. Bud and Leo says:

    I love this post. I can honestly say you feel like one of my best friends bc of how open, honest and down to earth you are when you write- Thanks for all of the tips! I will certainly bookmark this and use them often! And I easily made it through the whole post so I'm sure a lot of people did too! xo Lisa

  43. motsinger3 says:

    How much of each item do you use for the green juice. I tried to make a glass without knowing the amounts of each and it tasted like a handful of grass. I think I used way too much ginger, hence the burning in my throat!!

  44. Jessica says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog and all of the fun recipes, outfits, and design ideas you share! I loved reading this series of what you eat and how you exercise. I love to see what others do to try and get new ideas. I am always looking for new ideas to get in all of the healthy foods I love while enjoying a bit of indulgences now and then. Also, my hubby mainly likes to eat some of the stuff you mentioned you make for dinner, so I am working on portion control.

    I have a question for you if you don't mind… how did you lose the extra 30lbs initially? Did you follow a plan or did you just eat more how you illustrated here? I really want to get about 15-20lbs off and am trying to figure out the best way to do it! thank you!

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