So, I’ve decided I want to get fit.
Eight months of hotel living with the associated restaurant meals (never without a side of garlic bread or a sweet dessert – or both) and zero exercise means I’ve gained just under a dress size. It’s nothing to be overly worried about when you still fit into a size S and M, and I’m determined not to obsess over it too much, but I’m uncomfortable with it nevertheless. My body feels different.
It’s been approximately five months since I moved into my own flat. The good news? I don’t seem to have gained any additional weight since. In fact, I think I’m losing weight slowly. But it’s too slow for comfort. So I’ve decided to revise my eating habits, since I don’t believe in crash diets.
First off, I’m going to try something akin to Christine Kane’s best smoothie in the world for breakfast. It seems delicious, and a lot healthier than my usual nothing much or cereal with vanilla custard (I don’t like milk). There is some debate about the spike in insulin levels brought about by fruit, which may lead to weight gain (especially in The Four Hour Body by Timothy Ferris which the Londoner had lying about – its diet bans fruit altogether), but ultimately, I believe consuming fruit in its natural form (i.e. not dried or in the form of juice) can only be a healthy thing. In moderation, of course, like all other food.
About that diet – I believe it’s effective, no doubt. But I struggle with any diet that bans entire food groups. It doesn’t seem healthy. This particular diet has a weekly binge day on which you go nuts and eat everything under the sun, which you must adhere to lest, for women, menstruation ceases. It ceases. That can’t be good, right? In addition, any diet that requires nutritional supplements is simply not something I’m willing to sign up to. I want to get my nutrients from food, not pills.
One thing I did take from that diet is that protein rich meals seem to trigger certain biochemical responses in the body that encourage it to burn fat. Something to keep in mind.
Lastly, I balk at the word diet. In our times, it doesn’t describe the sum of what someone consumes – it’s a word with restrictive connotations, the very mention of it makes me recalcitrant and obstinate. I don’t want a diet. I want to adjust my eating habits to be healthy and sustainable, not restrictive. I want to feel energetic, nourished and strong – not famined and weak. I suspect my current eating pattern is too rich in carbohydrates, so a shift to more of the green stuff is likely beneficial.
Based on some reading, this is where I’m at:
- fruit smoothie for breakfast (with almond milk instead of fruit juice or dairy – fructose-rich, sure, but full of fiber and nutrients in its natural form)
- explore the concept of protein-rich breakfasts and meals in general (as there is some evidence to suggest this aids fat loss)
- reduce simple carb consumption (no “white carbs”, i.e. white flour/rice – try wholegrain alternatives, and eat these in moderation, limit potatoes and maize-based carbs)
- resist the omnipresent snackfood at work (try this while working at a nut and snacks production site for a bit of a challenge)
- exercise regularly (two to three times a week)
- take up walking/hiking alongside my gym visits (easygoing exercise outdoors – healthy and natural on many levels)
- cook one recipe from a cook book once a week (to expand my repertoire and create exposure to new ingredients)
- explore adding legumes to my diet
- only drink soft drink on weekends
- remember Michael Pollan’s genius conclusion: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” (I’m ordering his book In Defence of Food as I write this.)
Any ideas/comments/experiences you’d like to share?