Sunday, February 19, 2012
I have been reading a book called "The End Of Overeating" by David Kessler. He discusses the propensity of overweight people to eat large amounts of food that have a combination of fat, carb and salt. He is trying to figure out why some people need to eat the glorious trio to excess.
Now, I lost my weight a long time ago, and have kept it off for many years. I still love those same foods that so many people insist on eating to excess. But I have a different approach. I don't think it's because I like it any less (I LOVE it!) or that I have any more "willpower" than other people. I just put it off until tomorrow.
Ever notice how easy it is to put off starting a plan, or cleaning the closet, or starting your taxes, until tomorrow? I do that for food. Just because I can't have 6 oz of steak or two potatoes, doesn't mean I can't have the same meal tomorrow if I want. I get to eat THREE times a day! That's TWENTY-ONE times a week! I don't have to eat it all in one sitting.
Now, it's true that in the Weight Watchers I attended all those years ago, we were taught to take any craved food and make it in a legal way. That took a lot of creativity (and no one has ever said that overweight people aren't creative--we certainly are!), but it has paid off over the years. I now crave oven fried potatoes. I don't remember what regular fries taste like. I love lowfat milk: I can no longer tolerate the feel of high fat coating my mouth. I prefer my homemade ice milk to ice cream. It took time but it DID happen. I LOVE my own cooking better than any restaurant now.
Mental gymnastics? Maybe, but it works. One of the advantages of being the cook in the house is that I get to decide what we will have for dinner, so we have what I want. I measure out my allowed portion and clean my plate. I can have it tomorrow and the day after that again if I want.
It takes the pressure off the moment to know that I can eat my favorite meals any day I choose.
Some things are better put off until tomorrow.
Saturday, February 04, 2012
There is a wonderful article today in the Wall Street Journal's Review section about "Why French Parents are Superior". We can all debate that, of course, but one of the points that struck me is that children are taught from birth the concept of delayed gratification. The example they gave was food and meals. Here in America people graze all day long. Hungry? Bored? Eat something. In France you eat 3 times a day, and children have a snack at about 4 or 4:30. Period. Nothing in between. My husband's first wife was French, and my step son, whom I have known since he was a teen, never ate between meals. He would be bouncing on his feet moaning "hurry up" while I was making dinner, but it never occurred to him to snack. He is pushing 50 now and has two kids of his own, and he has raised them the same way. Just that one aspect of "delayed gratification" has worked its way into all his life. We all have heard about French women not being fat and have examined their food for the "secret", but no one ever mentioned that the culture doesn't involve snacking. I love the story I read about Euro-Disney when it first opened. Disney had designed their food vendors the same way we see them here, but in France, the vendors were empty between meals and overwhelmed at meal times. They actually had to "educate" people to eat like Americans when at the park just so there would be the capacity to feed them.
I was raised not to snack, but I let that "after school snack" get WAY out of hand, and got fat. When I got to Weight Watchers in 1970, snacks weren't part of the meal plan; maybe you broke lunch into two parts an hour or so apart, but the emphasis was in getting to the next meal without snacking. It's the old "delayed gratification" thing.
To this day I do not snack. There is no "snack food" in my house. I have three planned meals each day, and I make sure to eat enough at each one (according to my plan) to get me through to the next. That's how I raised my own kids, although it was primarily because I couldn't afford to give them food outside of meals. I had no idea I was teaching them to accept delayed gratification, but I guess I was.
Maybe that's why I have no trouble putting off purchases until (or if) I can afford them. I can wait until everyone gets here on Christmas afternoon to open gifts. I had no idea that waiting until meals to eat would have such a big (although unattributed) affect.
If you can get your hands on the Feb 4 Wall Street Journal (they charge for online or I'd link it), it's very interesting.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I know, it sounds impossible. When I first stopped working I was terrified: What would I do with my time? What would get me out of bed in the morning? What would shape my life, give me purpose? Well, like most retirees, it wasn't long before I wondered when I ever found the time to work. Life was slower, I had control over what I would do most days.
But then, the activities took on a life of their own. Which isn't a bad thing. I LOVE going to 6 or 7 stores a week to buy food because I love to cook and spend a couple of hours every night making food better than any (well, most) restaurant. I was available to help out my kids more than ever before, and be part of my grandchildren's lives.
When my husband had a few strokes, then broke his leg (which still hasn't healed), I was able to take good care of him here at home. Which made a dreadful situation much better.
Now my mother needs my help. She is having trouble managing her affairs so I will be taking over. It's an easy task by itself, but I will essentially be working for her. I want her to be happy, but since retiring I'm kind of used to doing things my way in my time. "Do you REALLY need to shop at that many stores just for food?" Well by now, yes.
All these things that I started doing to "fill up time" all those years ago have become my comfort, express my creativity. The stress comes in having to curtail what others see as frivolous so that I can help Mom.
I can get through about anything if I have the time to cook and eat well. The only practical stress reliever I have is cooking, which seems to be irrelevant to many people in this day of take out and ready made food.
I have maintained my loss for a long time by cooking, and took it to a whole new level after retiring. My mother doesn't like to eat, doesn't understand why I like to eat, and has little patience for interests in which she doesn't share. I'll manage but it is going to be a second very stressful year in a row.
Funny, even in stress, it's all about the food.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
One of the things I learned riding my motorcycle is to make sure to always look long. If you stare at the pothole thinking it will make it easier to avoid it, you WILL hit it. You and your bike will always head toward where your eyes are pointed. If you want to go left around the corner, lead with your eyes. If you are always aware, your peripheral vision will sharpen and you will be able to see and avoid road hazards.
It's the same for me with my goals. If I concentrate on the cookies, I'll surely eat them. I am always aware of potential hazards with my peripheral "vision", and I am able to aim toward the goal.
Stay always aware and keep looking long!!
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Today I am frantically preparing a feast for 17 people, and all the food will be fabulous! And I intend to enjoy every bite!! Of course, it won't be as many bites as it might have been at one time, and it won't include as many foods as it did at one time. There are many dieters who limit themselves to very few foods.
They keep telling me "Eat to live, don't live to eat". Well I live to eat! I spend a couple of hours every day to make a great dinner that will be consumed in 15 minutes, but they are a very important 15 minutes. A simply glorious 15 minutes! I don't care if I have to start dinner at noon, using a recipe that calls for 30 ingredients. If that's what it takes to make my 15 minutes the center of my day, then I will do it.
I don't need to eat great quantities of food to enjoy it. Ever see wine tasters take one sip, move it around in their mouths, then spit it out? Well I certainly don't spit out my food, but I do notice that they learned what they needed to know of the wine from just one taste. I savor my weighed and measured tastes of food I have lovingly prepared, from Chicken Pot Pie to "fried" bread (all Weight Watchers recipes from years gone by) and I can eat them and love them, and look forward to the next meal.
I can love a small plate of food just as much as a big one. It's the love! It's the taste! It isn't quantity that makes food one of the great joys of life.
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