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Rhode Island, United States

Monday, May 11, 2009

Learning to be Naturally Thin

Day 1 
For years I have struggled with food. Eating too much, eating WAY too much, eating too little and eating WAY too little. There have been times I've thought I've found the perfect balance. But then something comes my way- stress, peer pressure, sadness even happiness-that triggers overeating. Generally I was the only factor that contributed to under eating, but I've been over that struggle for a while now.
When I read Bethenny's book, Naturally Thin, I was amazed at how much I could relate to what she was saying... and realized how TRUE everything she wrote was. I wasn't listening to my food 'voice' enough. I deprive myself of things I love at times, and overindulge others when I give myself "free" days... and end up bingeing. This isn't healthy!

Take last night for example. I went out for a nice dinner with the fam, ate dessert, and wanted a little something more. So I had another small scoop of frozen yogurt. But it was my night off, the only real "night off" I have for almost the next week, so I wanted to stay up. And in the process I also ate another small box of animal crackers (which are pretty much cookies). Did I need the extra froyo? I really wanted it. So yes, maybe that would have been ok, since my portion before was small. But did I need the extra cookies? Absolutely not. I'm not sure if I really wanted them either. I wasn't listening to my food voice, or budgeting my bank account with the fact that I already had a lot of sweets that day!

I decided last week, after finishing the book and being completely inspired, that I needed to start, right then and there. I need to listen to my food voice, drown out my food noise, and start budgeting. I started living by at least SOME of the principals she outlined in her book then, and I felt great. But when Sunday came, I made excuses ("I'm starting tomorrow") and another "mini-binge" came upon me. Then I realized I was doing what she said NOT to EVER do. NEVER binge. I did. I didn't stuff myself silly, but I ate and ate, without abandon, and I wasn't thinking. I should have started when I finished the book. But theres no time to dwell on that. The time to start is NOW. Not tomorrow, not Monday... well, today is Monday. And I am starting now.

Ok, so maybe you don't exactly understand what I'm talking about with "food voice" and "bank account". If you really want all the details, I highly reccomend picking up Bethenny's book.

But for now, I'm going to hilight a couple of Bethenny's points a day, so you can see where I'm going with my personal challenge to being Naturally Thin.

Day 1: Your Diet is a Bank Account 

"Your diet is a bank account," is Bethenny's first principle, or "rule".
Basically, it's all about balance. Balancing your food choices in the sense of "Don't eat too much of any one thing, don't eat the same thing twice, balance starches with proteins, vegetables and fruits with sweets, and always balance a splurge with a save," (Frankel 21).

Kristin's Example: Last night, I splurged. I ate a big dinner out, and overindulged at dessert. So does that mean I have to skip lunch or not eat dessert? No, I just reduce my portions, balance my meals with each other, and if I really want dessert... have something small. 

Bethenny makes a point that the balancing is approximate- no measuring, no obsessing. That if you make smart investments, you never have to "cut back" after a splurge. And "cutting back", as I mentioned, does not mean starvation. It means bringing the balance back to the account. 

"Smart investments" are eating healthful, nutrient-rich foods most of the time, and when you splurge, do so if you WANT to, and only have a bit (I'll get to that more tomorrow)- but since you ate healthy most of the time, small splurges are nothing to worry about!

Bethenny talks about listening to your "food voice"- the voice that tells you what you REALLY want to eat, and is satisfied with smaller portions of more indulgent foods, and your "food noise" is the one telling you to keep eating, whether it's still good or not. Your food voice tells you that it's OK to eat the indulgent foods, as long as they're balanced with other choices. Diet food is GROSS! Artificial food is GROSS! Why not eat the real thing, a small amount of what you REALLY want, instead of a lot of "fat free" or "low carb" products (that are probably filled with sugar, or salt, or chemicals to make them taste 'good'. Really, they taste fake!)

Kristin's example: I used to eat 100-calorie packs of snacks, when I was first trying to drop a few pounds. These were ok... but they didn't really satisfy my sweets craving, because the portions were SO tiny, I felt like I wasn't getting anything out of them, and it wasn't the real thing. I wanted an oreo. So I ate an 'oreos' 100-calorie pack. Little thin crisps of chocolate wafter, tasting a bit like the outside of an oreo. But where was the cream filling? I used to eat two packs, trying to make my craving go away, and still, after 200-calories of wishing, I was never satisfied. Now, I'll eat two oreos- which are only 160 calories, and I'm satisfied. If only I'd listened to my food voice. 

In addition to talking about food voice/noise, Bethenny discusses the differential. I found this concept to be particularly intriguing.  It's being given the choice between something more healthy, and something less healthy, and deciding if the unhealthy choice is worth the splurge over the lighter choice. If it's not, then choose the lighter choice! For example, chicken- do you NEED the skin on? If not, take it off! Or chicken versus steak- do you REALLY want chicken, or do you want the steak? If you want the steak, have it! Just have a smaller portion. If you really want the chicken, have the whole thing. It's lighter! You'll be more satisfied if you know what your preferences are, and it balances your account. 

Kristin's example: Since I started eating meat again, without even knowing it I've had a hard time distinguishing between "the differential". At times, I've chosen fattier cuts of meat, because I automatically assumed I was supposed to buy that kind for the dish, or that my boyfriend wouldn't like a leaner cut- without even thinking about the fact that a leaner piece might taste just as good the way I'm preparing it. I'm a nutrition major, and I think about things like fat and  portion sizes when it comes to everything else, and I tend to ignore those facts about meat, because I'm less experienced with it. Well, why don't I become experienced with it? My chili, for example, is made with 93% lean turkey meat. I've tried it with beef, and even my meat-lover boyfriend agreed, the turkey tastes just as good. That's the differential. The turkey is leaner, and tastes just as good, so I use the turkey. Some things taste better with beef (i.e. tacos), and I'll use beef then. But otherwise, I'm going to try and use leaner meats, and more (less processed) meat substitutes. 

Lastly, Bethenny discusses the point of diminishing returns- which is basically when the next bite doesn't taste as good as the first. Stop eating when it doesn't taste as good. You don't need the extra calories if it's not worth it any more. 
Something I struggle with every day. 

To sum it up: Balancing applies to:  kinds of foods (ex. not the same type two meals in a row), amounts (light breakfast, little bigger lunch, big lunch, lighter dinner, etc), listen to your "food voice" and not your "food noise", decide on choices by the differential, and focus on the point of diminishing returns

Today for breakfast I had a protein-packed yogurt bowl, with fruit (banana and organic strawberries), greek yogurt (nonfat), and a small handful of slivered almonds. I didn't measure this time. I just sprinkled a small amount of almonds on... and I was full. I don't need a full quarter cup. A small amount is just enough to fill me up.

Since my breakfast was protein-packed, I can have a more starchy/carbohydrate filled lunch.
Remember, Rule 1: Your Diet is a Bank Account.

For all those with me on the challenge, feedback on Rule #1 would be great! Thoughts- good, bad, works, doesn't work? I'll be back with a lunch post and a Rule 1-Recap at the end of the day!

1 comment:

Erica said...

I will post some feedback. . .in an entry later today. Oh! Srsly though, I'm going to, haha.