Monday, February 6, 2012

OOh-la-la! (Becoming French when you eat will make you slender)

I need to lose weight.  I know that, and I know how to do it.  So why don't I?  If I had the answer to that question I would be a billionaire.  Millions of Americans struggle with extra weight.  I have lost weight several times.  I never keep it off.

To begin with I was naturally thin.  Until I was in my 40's I was never overweight.  The problem was, I still thought I was too fat.  I was 5' 8" and wore a size 11.  That is slender. However, the modeling world said the opposite.  We were barraged through the media with underweight examples of what was beautiful from the last 60's on.  So, I began dieting.

I truly think that is what messed up my metabolism.  And my mental health.  I would go through periods of dieting only to binge on everything I had not allowed myself to enjoy.  The binge periods lasted longer and longer.  Finally, by the time I reached middle age I was overweight.  I still could lose weight.  I still could not keep it off.

It may surprise you that, when I say I know how to lose weight and keep it off, I am no longer talking about  a diet.  No food plan where you have to check off boxes.  No boxed bullsh** meals.  No banned foods.  Nope.  I am convinced that the way one gets back to a healthy weight is by eating what they want, but only when they are truly hungry.  Equally important? Stopping when one is full.
The French have always done it.  They eat lots of calorie laden foods.  (Name one French dish that is not high in fat.) Just not in quantity.  They eat small portions because that is what the human body really desires.  Somehow, we Americans have gotten all messed up with the portions we think are needed.  Truly, less IS more. More healthy, more budget friendly, more delicious.

Why can't I remember to only eat when hungry and stop when I am full?  I guess because of decades of doing the opposite.  Even when I was thin I overate.  Simply because I could.  I had a crazy metabolism that allowed me to eat everything and anything.  Because of that I developed bad habits.

I am going to (once again) try to commit to eating only when hungry and stopping as soon as I am full.  That does not mean some garbage about chewing each bite a certain number of times, or driving myself crazy about putting down my fork between every bite.  What it DOES mean is that I will pace myself.  I will remember manners. That means I won't shovel food into my food, refill my fork while still chewing, or take portions that would fill the back of a dump truck to capacity.  I will really notice and enjoy the flavor of each bite.  And I will make an attempt to converse (after chewing and swallowing food please...a pet peeve of mine is people who talk with food in their mouth) while eating.  If I am involved with others during a meal I will give myself time to realize that I am full.

Will I succeed?  Eventually.  Hopefully, it will be this time.  I have normal blood pressure, normal blood sugar, and a stress test showed a normal heart.  Now it is up to me to keep things that way before it is too late. Food is not the enemy, lack of awareness is.  Food is wonderful and sensuous.  It should be treated with respect, not ravaged.

Wish me luck.  It is difficult to learn new behavior when old behavior has been repeated so many years.  I really want to be able to move better and have less pain, here we go.  Is this time the charm?

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