glow notes

Monday, April 11, 2005

On French women and my bag of tricks

There's been a lot of talk in the fitness blog world and traditional media about the latest rash of books on the French diet. It sounds like it basically amounts to eating smaller portions of high quality, delicious foods and structuring meals rather than snacking.

Makes a lot of sense. Seems to me we're biologically designed to eat just about anytime we want, to put on weight, and then to deal with hard endurance workouts, times when we have less food, and (in the case of women), pregnancy. I know there are people who don't have this issue, but without some structure, I personally would be inclined to eat all day.

This morning I got up at 6 and had a cup of coffee (mmmmm . . . coffee) with a slice of sprouted grain toast spread with 1 T cashew/macadamia butter. At 10am I had a 1 ounce of crunchy whole grain cereal with 1/2 ounce of dry roasted almonds and about 2/3 ounce of really really really good bittersweet chocolate chips. And a cup of green tea. I moved away from my computer and any reading material while I ate, and when I bit into a chocolate chip, I actually closed my eyes to shut off any sensory input other than the taste and texture of that chocolate in my mouth. Mmmmmmmmm.

There was a time when I was either eating boring "diet" foods or I was bingeing on things like peanut butter toast and almonds and chocolate. I didn't realize that a) yummy food is OK and in fact can be good for you and b) structuring the amounts and the times is a way to, in fact, increase enjoyment. Nothing is good when you feel bad about it. Nothing is good when you don't even notice that you ate it. Nothing is good when you feel sort of queasy because you're stuffed to the gills.

I log my food intake and exercise output not in order to deprive myself, but so that I can eat chocolate and almonds and steak without feeling like I'm cheating myself. I know how much fat and saturated fat I've taken in today and how much I plan to take in. I know I need a protein drink later, and some fruit, and some veggies. I structure what time I eat so that I don't need to think about it in between times (but am flexible enough to eat in between if I'm truly hungry). And I build non-food treats into my day so that I'm not looking forward to JUST my next meal.

Everybody who has successfully lost weight or gotten fit has their own bag of tricks. What works for me right now is to log my macronutrient intake, exercise often, eat meals at structured times unless I'm truly hungry, eat foods I love, and focus on non-food treats.

What's in your bag of tricks?


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