I've always struggled with my weight. I've gone through periods of being fairly overweight to being vastly underweight. I've always had a "belly"; even as a baby I had a little pot belly out the front. I have also never had a good relationship with food. I love food, but mainly the bad stuff. Besides my love for fruit, I will always choose sugar, chocolate & fat over something healthy. When I try to be "healthy" I either fail miserably straight away or go to the extreme & stop eating.
This, I hope, is all about to change.
I've heard about "French Women don't get Fat" for years & have always thought that it sounded like a wonderful premise but have never made the effort to buy & read the book. Before I fell pregnant I was about 15kgs above my healthy weight range. During my pregnancy I put on another approx. 15kgs. (I only weighed myself once during & about a year beforehand). Straight after Lily was born I lost her almost 4kgs of weight plus a bit of water weight. I've managed to lose some more through breastfeeding, more walking & watching what I eat a little more but I'd still estimate that I am at least 8kgs above my healthy weight range, possibly more.
But even more importantly, I do not have a good relationship with food. I splurge on the bad stuff & feel guilty. Then, instead of compensating, I just keep going & end up feeling more guilty. This is not something I want Lily to learn from me.
Both Dean & I have a great interest in food; him being a chef it comes naturally & he inspires me. Our greatest pleasure is dining at quality & forward thinking restaurants; the greatest meal we've had was at Quay in Sydney (at only $500 for 2 people). But in our everyday lives we eat to sustain ourselves, nothing more, & leave the real pleasure eating for special occasions. I want Lily to have a real appreciation for food; the way it grows, the way it is prepared & presented, the way it tastes & what it can do for our bodies. At the moment, I don't feel I could properly teach her this.
Which is why I bought this book. It details the tried & true practices of French women (& men) and how easily they can be applied in other cultures (the book is written for Americans but can easily be applied elsewhere). Whilst reading I couldn't help but think how simple & easy to implement these practices are. Yet they are also practical. It's all simply about learning what your body needs & shaping your diet, mind & lifestyle to match. This doesn't mean cutting out all fats or carbs or sugars or anything suddenly & dramatically. Rather it involves identifying those items that you can live without or live with less of. Do you really need 5 slices of bread a day? Could you live with one less spoon of sugar in each coffee? Once you have identified these items you start to gradually cut back; not in a day, a week or a month, but over a 3 month period. Once the 3 months is up you realise that you don't necessarily need what you were consuming before & it has become such a lifestyle change that you don't even need to think about it. After this comes "stabilization", where you work on your diet on a week-to-week basis in order to maintain a steady weight, health & lifestyle. Splurge on bread one night? Go for a longer walk the next day or have one glass of wine with dinner instead of two.
There is more discussed in the book including exercise & portion control, as well as recipes, but this one of the main principles.
Such simple & common sense practices. I wish I was bought up in a culture where this was the norm & there wasn't such an emphasis on quick & false-pleasurable food.
Now, I haven't implemented these practices as yet but I plan too. I am currently on holidays but at the start of next week I plan to start, by recording everything I consume (when, what, where, portion size) for 3 weeks to ascertain what I am over consuming & what changes I can make. After the 3 months I will come back & let you know how it goes. By then I hope to be slimmer, healthier, happier & hopefully with lower cholesterol.
But even still, I have started trying to implement things; I am experimenting with sparkling waters to cut down on my intake of soft drink & juice, I am drinking a lot more water, I am making a conscience effort to choose "healthier" meals & take more pleasure in what I eat. I have also been cooking more meals for myself & am excited about visiting a farmers market next week to experience fresher & higher quality food.
I definitely recommend this book. While it falls within the self-help category I don't feel it falls within the "diet" category. It's more about changing your mind & your outlook; the food & the weightless just follow.
Please let me know if you have read the book & implemented the practices & how you found it.