That that don't kill me, can only make me stronger. I need you to hurry up now, cause I can't wait much longer. Kanye West, Stronger

Monday, April 14, 2008

The French Paradox

Lately I have kind of felt that my daily diet has gone from decent to disaster. But not totally in a bad way. I still get my 7+ servings of fruits and veggies in, but the amount of refined flour, sugar and even the occasionally product with corn syrup or hfcs (gasp) has made an appearance. Innocently enough, the one treat a day turned to 2 or 3. More of the exception became the rule.

However, this hasn't really seemed to influence my weight or energy level. In fact, when I have found that I am more in tune with my body and hunger levels, and really only think about food when I am hungry. Then I eat whatever delicious or healthy food I am craving and stop when I am satisfied. Some days I can't stop eating and some days I am not very hungry. It's nice not think, oh, I better make sure I some protein, healthy fat and fiber to keep me satisfied for hours. Not that I normally do this everyday anyways. But the less I think about it the more organic eating only when hungry seems to become. Some foods I used to love, like nutritious creations cookies, taste like cardboard and I crave a Red Delicious. Other times, I NEED ice cream and skip the salad.

I mention the French Paradox because two of my friends just got back from Paris, where they really indulged on the fabulous cuisine. One of them had just started weight watchers and was really nervous about all the chocolate, bread and wine, but came home to find she had lost 7 pounds. The other had been on weight watchers for 15 years, and had never exceeded her point allotment, but for the first time in YEARS when way over, more than tripling her normal point intake some days, and still didn't gain an ounce. hmmm. Yes, the US does not have the freshness or food quality of France, but it does make you think.

On the flip side of the coin, I wonder what putting crap in my body will do long term. A 110 calorie frappacino light is a tasty will satisfy me for a long time, but I wonder if anything with so much artificial crap can truly be a treat. Is my no chocolate or cookie left behind mantra going to rob me of the clarity, radiance and ability to change the world down the line?

It's hard to know what to do. I think it would take quite a bit of deprivation and borderline food policing to clean up my diet, and to see if I feel like a health rockstar or superwoman if my body is only filled with pure, nutrient-rich food. However, I guess after a month or two it would feel like a lifestyle not a "diet." And it could be worth it, although there is something so freeing about sharing a 1,000 calorie Crumbs cupcake and not feeling a hint of guilt. Obviously, I don't go to town at every opportunity, but when I feel like it, I do not deny.

It took me years to get to this stage, and I have relished my love and respect for food and my body for quite some time. I would hate to compromise this by becoming obsessive, which is so easy in our society. Men and women alike are so conscious of their appearance. Many, many years ago, I took every comment about my body to heart. I still remember comments about my thighs made in 8th grade. This eventually led to a 40 pound weight loss, devastation of my self-esteem, and years of body, soul, image and happiness rebuilding.

It is hard to find balance--and the definition of balance. Is balance something like the 90/10 plan, where 10% of your intake is whatever you want? Or is balance allowing yourself treats only if they are made from 100% natural unrefined, high quality ingredients? Or is it not worrying about any of this and just eating intuitively?

So those are my thoughts for today. I will still have plenty of less intense posts, including "So You Want to Be a Runner Part 2"


Anonymous said...

Go Kanye, great song and line.

Kristin said...

This is really a great post - I wish I had insight. I have been the exact same weight and size for years - and while it is small and I am fit, I have never met my goal. I exercise religiously, count every calorie, splurge once a week, and my body just will not change at all. It seems like this is just too rigid to ever be happy but I fear a relaxed approach (aka Intuitive Eating) would only make me gain weight. While I love vacations and travel, I always come back about 5-7 lbs heavier after a vacation! This story about your friends is a mystery - How!?! I look forward to reading other responses. Well done, Melissa!

Simple and Divine said...

Awesome post, melis! :)

Amanda said...

That was such an interesting post. What is it about being in France..... I know the walking but that just can't be all, since the food there is more calorie dense. Any ideas?