Good morning everyone! Hope y’all had a fabulous weekend…I know I did! Only problem is it went by too quickly, as always.
Yesterday was SUCH a gorgeous day! It was sunny and about 75 degrees when we got out of church, so we grabbed sandwiches at Quizno’s and headed to a local park with friends to relax in the sun. I got a Turkey Bacon Guacamole on wheat:
Bacon. I adore it, and there’s no denying that. But when you pair it with guacamole and fresh veggies, I really don’t know if it gets any better! Speaking of, that gives me an idea for a great salad that I might debut this week…if y’all are lucky 🙂 We stayed in the sun for a while, playing frisbee, throwing footballs, talking, and laughing. It was such a great time! When we got home we had a couple hours to kill, so we played with the pups and relaxed in front of the TV. We headed over to our pastor’s house around 6:30 for a leadership meeting/Southern food fest 🙂 Nate spent Saturday smoking a brisket and some cheese, so we all partook of that amazingness last night. I had 2 sandwiches with a couple of slices of brisket and some bbq sauce on a Hawaiian roll:
Strawberry shortcake! I also had a couple bites of brownie. This wasn’t supposed to be a healthfest, but the great part was I didn’t overeat, had plenty of water, and took the time to really savor the food and the great company 🙂
This morning we were pretty low on breakfast ingredients, so I had a very spinach-y Green(ish) Monster:
I’ve never been able to taste the spinach before, but I did today. I didn’t use a banana though, which I think makes all the difference! I also enjoyed a glass of iced tea that I brewed yesterday: 3 family-size tea bags for 2 quarts of water. Perfect!
As promised, I have listed out some key learnings and “rules” that I’ve taken from French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. Please note that these are things that I have garnered from the book and in no way are my ideas.
How I Came to Read French Women Don’t Get Fat
When I was in college I had a roommate who purchased French Women Don’t Get Fat (FWDGF) and had nothing but great things to say about how it was changing her life for the better. Naturally I went out and bought myself a copy, thinking that it would solve all of my dieting woes forever. Initially I was really upset that it didn’t provide a “diet” with planned meals and suggested calorie counts, so the first year I had it it just sat on my bookshelf. I don’t really recall when the first time was that I actually picked it up again, but when I did my life and desired outlook on food was forever changed.
Mireille Guiliano is a French woman who has lived in both France and America for quite some time, and as such has been able to observe the good and the bad of both cultures. One thing I appreciate about her is that she is an older woman, and not some 30-year-old know-it-all attempting to tell the reader exactly how to live. She cites certain things in her life that worked for her, and things that have worked for other French women, but at the end of the day she’s encouraging the reader to know their own body and make the right decision for themselves as an individual. She’s sassy, elegant, and has a way of weaving her own story in as a means to relate to. In short, this book is a great read just to learn about a fabulous woman from France, but you’re guaranteed to take away some tidbit of amazing advice about something in your life!
- Banish the diet book. There is no diet book that truly understands your exact physical capabilities and needs, and therefore it is imperative that you not listen to some stranger who knows nothing about you. Know yourself: your needs, your wants, your favorite foods, activities, etc. YOU become the expert on yourself.
- Pay attention. What are the things you love to do? What are the things you love to eat? Cultivate these things to tailor your own schedule, body, environment, and dietary needs. Again, become an expert on yourself!
- Immerse yourself. “Learning to eat right is like learning a language; nothing works like immersion.” There are things that you need to do to ease yourself into a new lifestyle; however, the idea is that once you know more about yourself you immerse yourself in the ways that will lead to satisfaction with both your food and your weight.
- Weight vs. weight. Mireille makes a great point that there are 2 selves within us: one wants to be healthy and make good choices, and the other wants pleasures aplenty and NOW. The key is to find a balance between the two selves. She also makes a point that there is “weight” which is defined by numbers (on the scale, based on height, etc), there is “weight” which is defined by fashion, and then there is “weight” that is being comfortable in your own skin. The third is the goal of the book.
- You owe it to yourself and your loved ones. It’s silly to take the one life we get and just settle for feeling poorly about ourselves because we’re too busy taking care of others. In order to give our best to our loved ones we also need to give the best to ourselves. Take care of yourself and your family and friends will thank you for it!
“Rules” to Live By
- Round up the usual suspects. Know what your “trigger foods” are. What are the foods that you tend to overindulge in regularly? Something that sticks out in this point is the phrase, “French women know that the pleasure of most foods is in the first couple of bites; [they] rarely go back for seconds.”
- Do not eat on autopilot. This struck a chord with me as I tend to snack because I feel like I need to eat something; however if I’m not fully engrossed in what I’m eating because it’s enjoyable then it’s likely that I don’t need it.
- Variety is actually the spice of life. The theme of “quality over quantity” is HUGE in this book. And I couldn’t agree more. You know when you go to a fancy restaurant and the portions are tiny, but you end up stuffed anyway? It’s pretty obvious we don’t need massive quantities, but always should strive for quality items!
- Ritual Preparation. Preparing food should be fun, as should shopping for the items to make the meal. It should be a ritual that is taken seriously!
- Hydrate. I can’t count how many times I’ve snacked because I’m thirsty and just didn’t recognize it. Make sure you’re taking the steps to get enough water and see if it doesn’t make some changes even in a matter of days!
- Ritual Eating. This one really speaks to me since Nate and I are always on the go. Mireille encourages readers to sit down at a table, with cloth napkins, real plates, and real silverware. Enjoying food is serious business, but you can’t expect to take it seriously if you’re eating out of a paper bag.
- Portion Control and not stocking “offenders.” Our portions are pretty out of whack, and I think that there is a common thought that if we just stay active enough that we can eat massive portions. For people like me with little time, this frame of thought sends a message that we are doing enough to earn that huge amount of food. Also, if you know you have no self-control (and let’s face it, we’re all adults here) when it comes to potato chips, don’t keep them in your possession!
- Move. Mireille makes the point to say that if our eating is in line, we don’t HAVE to work out like maniacs to stay in shape. Unless of course that’s what you love to do. She encourages walking and cycling as much as possible, but always stay in motion!
- Reward yourself. It’s silly to think that we can restrict forever and ever amen. At some point you’re going to crack and indulge. And that’s OK! Food was created not only for nourishment, but for enjoyment as well. A small reward for eating well is key to staying on track.
A lot of these “rules” are pretty easy because they are things that we feel we naturally ought to do anyway. My desire is to consistently be reminded of these things as I continue on my weight loss journey. You all know that my knee issues have really gotten me down because I can’t run; however, I’m examining how much of that is because I really WANT to run, and how much of that is because I read about women running all the time. There’s no doubt that running has and still does, from time to time, bring me joy. The thing is I never want to get to the point again where I work out to atone for “bad” food decisions made earlier on. In fact, I don’t want to label foods as “good” or “bad” anymore at all since that has gotten me into so much trouble before.
I love that this book is a constant reminder that food, wine, love, life, and chocolate should all be enjoyed and indulged in, but always keeping in mind that there will need to be tweaks every now and again to maintain balance. My first step is going to be working on reducing portion sizes to reasonable amounts, and working on moving more rather than on specific work out times. I enjoy working out, so that’s not something I want to give up, but I do want to make sure that my attitude towards it is healthy and in line with what I like to do. Mireille talks about how French women don’t typically go to gyms and have workouts per se, but rather stay active in walking everywhere, cleaning vigorously, taking the stairs, and make sure that they balance that with proper portions. I think that while my knee heals this might be a good time for me to learn to practice portion control and learn new ways to move.
So, there you have it: my first installment of things that I am learning from FWDGF. You can see great tips from Mireille on her website, and I would encourage you to find a copy of the book and read it yourself!
Do any of these “rules” or key learnings stand out to you at all? Do you think that these things are feasible for living a healthy balanced life and still lose weight? I’d love to hear your thoughts!