Well I don't know about the rest of the world but we have had an extremely mild winter and are looking at a rather warm springtime already.
So with the lovely weather I started to pile off the jumpers and suddenly realised that summer and bikini time will be just around the corner. This and the fact that we have booked ourselves a wee holiday to Jamaica made me step back and look at myself in the mirror. It is all very well blaming the flabby and loose bits on just having a baby but when that "baby" is now a walking, talking eighteen month old, it becomes a rather lame excuse.
So what to do. Well, as most of you know, the first step to everything is to read a book. I don't do diets (I have never really had to in the past when I was fairly naturally thin) so I wanted a book that was not a preachy diet book but rather just helped me to re-learn the common sense eating habits that used to come naturally to me.
So I chose this book - Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel. She is 'famous' from reality tv shows 'The Real Housewives of New York City' (which I have never seen) and 'Bethenny Ever After' (which I quite like to do the ironing to). She comes across as fairly likeable and full of common sense so I thought this book might be worth a read.
I was right, it is worth a read. You are not going to learn how to suddenly be thin but it gives you ten common sense rules to bear in mind when making food choices. Nothing you didn't already know either but sometimes it is good to be reminded of them.
Here are the ten rules in summary:
1) Your diet is a bank account
You have to balance your food choices. Try and make smart investments in what you choose to eat but if you have a splurge then just balance it with a save on your next choice.
2) You can have it all, just not a once.
Similar to rule 1 as you can eat anything you want but just balance it out. So have the pasta just not the garlic bread or have the garlic bread but with a salad instead of the pasta.
3) Taste everything, eat nothing
This sounds worse than what she actually means. I interpreted it as meaning just have smaller portions of each thing you want rather than tucking into one huge portion of something. In Italian Mangia poco ma bene "Eat little, but well".
Always pay attention to what and when you are eating. I do tend to do this although it has become harder with a toddler eating along side of me. I very rarely eat standing up and usually always at a proper table, so this one is not to hard for me. One part of this rule I do have to work on is slowing down when I eat. I tend to scoff my food down so eat more before my body can tell me I am already full. Again, difficult with a toddler in tow!
Eat smaller portions. Sounds easy and it is when I eat at home but in this country the portion sizes when you eat out are ridiculous. So what I do now is automatically get a To Go box with my meal and put a good portion of it away to bring home and have for lunch the next day. This has been working so far and is saving money as I am getting 3 meals out of one portion size (I said they had big portions here!!!).
6) Cancel your membership in the clean plate club
I was always taught that you had to eat everything that was on your plate. So now I just put less on my plate or apply rule 5) if I am out. If I eat everything on my plate it is not going to affect the poor starving children in Africa, or anywhere else for that matter!
7)Check yourself before you wreck yourself
Not one of the rules that I really need to bother about as I never tended to binge eat in the way she describes. This rule is just to stop binging and she goes into a lot of detail about how people place an emotional value on food. Again, not something I have ever done but I am sure a lot of people will relate to this part.
8) Know Thyself
Just get to know what works for you and when you are actually hungry. It also relates to knowing your triggers and what will make you overeat and then addressing those. I don't have any special dietary restrictions but I know that I do need to snack regularly or I get a headache and get grumpy as my blood sugar level falls. I then tend to overeat or make bad food choices to get an instant fix to the sugar low.
Eat real food and not processed food. I usually apply this rule anyway 99% of the time. I have started to buy slightly better quality fresh food as the book suggests you buy the best real food you can afford. One thing I need to get better at is eating In Season and Local food when I can. That is easy in the area I live with all the fresh food markets and farmers markets around here.
10) Good for you
I felt this rule was inserted just to stretch the concept out into a rounded ten rules but it does make some sense. It just points out how you are in control of your life and body so make choices that are Good for you. Not rocket science, right!
One point that was made that was not a rule in it's own right, but which I think is highly relevant, is to differentiate between your Food Noise and your Food Voice. Food Noise is your negative inner food dialogue, commenting on and criticising everything you eat or think about eating, or don't eat. Food Voice is your body's organic sense of itself and tells you what makes you feel good and is nice to you. Separating these two thoughts has helped me over the last couple of weeks and has caused me to make some better choices.
Another point, that is also worth mentioning is called The Differential. This is the differential between two choices and whether or not that difference is worthwhile. If something is really worth the extra fat and calories to you then go ahead and eat it but if the lower fat alternative could be nearly as satisfying then have that instead. My own example of this is that I now use Turkey pepperoni when I make my pizza instead of the higher fat regular pepperoni - simple choice and tastes no different but saves lots of fat and calories, easy!
So this book has been useful and worth a read for anyone struggling to lose weight or maintain their weight without having to go on a measure out everything type diet.
Will it work, well I have lost some of the pounds I needed to and time will tell on the rest.
Stay tuned for the report on our dream holiday in Jamaica.
Bon Appetit Xx