With the coming of spring comes the urge to emerge from our winter selves and start afresh. Inevitably this leads to some self examination and the determination to shed some of the pounds we were more accepting of in winter.
For me it has never been about counting calories. I became a nutritionist because I love food. I love thinking about it, I love preparing it, I love growing it, I love talking about it and I love eating it. And it seems to me that we have all gotten a little screwed up with our ideas surrounding food and weight loss.
I have just read a couple of fabulous books on this very topic-
"French Women Don’t Get Fat – The Secret of Eating for Pleasure” by Mireille Guiliano is so much fun to read, and she just makes you feel so good. The book talks about how French women are able to maintain their weight despite enjoying flaky pastries and drinking wine with lunch. She suggests we indulge, just a little, and really, really enjoy it. Then we have a sense of pleasure and satisfaction and aren’t then so tempted to overindulge. Everything in moderation so that we don’t feel deprived because when we feel deprived we tend to break down and make crazy dietary decisions.
"Eat Fat Lose Fat” is written by world-renowned biochemist and nutritionist Dr Mary Enig and Sally Fallon, food industry researcher and journalist. They begin the book saying that "as the French maintain their trim physique while consuming triple cream brie, steak au poivre and béarnaise sauce, most American adults would barely dare to drink a glass of full fat milk … yet America, not France, is the nation with galloping rates of obesity and heart disease”. They propose that eating all these low fat, bad fat foods are making us nutrient deficient (for example we need the fat in milk to absorb the calcium and vitamin D), and most of all, making us feel unsatisfied. And when we feel unsatisfied and unhappy we tend to overeat and crave poor quality foods.
It is not so easy to tackle the entire landscape of weight loss solutions in just one article but I think it is important that these ideas are aired and I have found their principles to be sound. So at least to begin with ….
– If you are going to eat then eat. Don’t eat and read or eat and watch TV. Really take the time, even if it is only 15 mins at your desk during lunchtime, to stop what you are doing and slow down and really enjoy eating your lunch. Pay attention to how it tastes, how it feels in your mouth, feel it as you swallow and pause a second before the next bite. As we consciously participate in the act of eating we really begin to feel more satisfied and become much less tolerant of eating junk.
– Enjoy some favourite foods in moderation as feeling deprived just leads to bad decisions later. So, at dinner if you wish to enjoy a glass of wine then choose the wine over the bread or dessert and really enjoy it.
Sometimes it might feel easier to count calories then pay attention to how we feel. It’s all about balance and there is room in "balance” to still have fun. Let’s start enjoying our food again. Spring is the time to take another look at life and how you want to live it.