As many of you know, I have made drastic changes to my nutrition since October. I began the Slow Carb Diet then, and surprisingly, I found it quite easy to follow the rules. I had a “cheat day” once a week, and found myself barely cheating. I lost 15 lbs, and then started experimenting more.
I hated how much meat I was eating. I started eating most of my vegetables raw. Then, I started incorporating some fruit smoothies into my diet. After doing a lot of reading, I decided to try going all raw. I lost a few more pounds and still ate cooked foods socially. I found the raw lifestyle hard to maintain. I think if I had a circle of friends who ate all raw, it would have been easier. Once I got into a relationship with someone who wasn’t a raw foodist, I knew it would be even more difficult.
The raw food diet and the Slow Carb Diet both allowed me to eat whatever I wanted. In fact, with raw food eating, I actually learned to eat even more than I felt comfortable with in order to maintain my weight (rather than continue to lose). This was a huge problem when I started incorporating more cooked foods back in my diet. I was in the habit of eating all the time, and eating huge portions. I quickly gained back what it had taken me a couple months to lose. Luckily, it was only a little more than half of my total weight loss, so I was still down from where I started.
I have been feeling pretty discouraged about my weight and the fact that I have had to go back to some of my bigger pants sizes. It has been hard readjusting to this size now that I know I can be smaller…but the problem is, I wasn’t enjoying food. I was eating habitually. I did some reading about the Paleo Diet and I like that it encouraged fruit, but there was still a heavy emphasis on meat. Then, I bought a book called French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano.
I really enjoyed this book. While she talks about nutrition, it is written as a memoir, not a diet book. She talks about moderation and enjoyment. Yes, there is a small focus on portion size- but not in the way you would think. Rather than explaining rules, she encourages readers to be mindful about each bite and every sip taken. There is a focus on the fun and romance in eating, rather than the rules or labeling any food as “bad”.
When I plan my meals now, I plan with enjoyment in mind. I don’t want to waste my calories and time on something that isn’t super mega delicious. Do I want a piece of chicken, a vegetable and some beans? Maybe. But, what sounds much better is soup with a small piece of sourdough bread and maybe a piece of fruit for “dessert”. I also love sweet potatoes. I buy small ones and add a little butter and salt. The Slow Carb Diet wouldn’t let me eat any of these things…I am eating bread and sweet potatoes without guilt for the first time in months. But, I am also eating a lot of fruit, and vegetables at every meal (mostly raw).
The book talks about spending time re-calibrating. I write down everything I eat, and I am increasing my awareness around my meals. I am, slowly, cutting out snacking as well, and trying to stick to three meals. I add several hundred calories every day by snacking. Usually when I snack, I am not even hungry. The afternoons are when I struggle with overeating the most. I am also trying to put my fork down more often while eating. I want to experience each bite. I am trying not to finish what is on my plate just for the sake of finishing…if something isn’t good and if I am not fully enjoying it, why eat it? What a waste of calories! I’d rather have my pants fit.
Even though I have no problem exercising due to cycling, I am trying to incorporate more walking and movement into my life. Instead of checking Facebook for a short mental break, I get up and take a short walk.
I love Mireille’s emphasis on moderation. French women do not diet, they do not spend hours at the gym, they do not try to lose five pounds in a week, but they do not get fat. If I lose the 5 lbs I want to lose, it may take me the rest of the year. Today, I am ok with that. I am tired of drastic changes, and I am tired of food being my enemy. I have to eat it for the rest of my life, so having it be a stressor would be a shame, eh?
What is your relationship to food today? Do you beat yourself up when you eat a cookie? What do you do when you know you’ve over-eaten? What do you do when your pants start getting tight? What have you found works for you re: food/nutrition?