Saturday, November 13, 2010
How Do You Stay So Skinny?
I've been meaning to write this post for a long time but have procrastinated because I honestly didn't feel that anyone cared. At my recent MRA panel discussion someone casually remarked that they never trust a skinny restaurant critic. I laughed but later on realized it was time to write about it. I am actually not a restaurant critic but I do think it's important for people to see that a true love of food does not have to correspond to being overweight or even obese.
Wherever I go, whatever I do, I am always asked the question about how I remain slim. I have never spent one minute concerned about my weight despite the fact that I have a massive appetite and regularly eat 8-10 course meals. It is not a genetic heritage. Many in my family struggle with weight problems. I have never been on a diet in my life and I have never had any medical problems with cholesterol, blood sugar or high blood pressure even considering I have a family history of all three problems. I have joked many times that I would write a book about how to stay thin and here is the encapsulated version. It's not at all difficult, for me anyway, and what I have learned is that it is more about psychology than anything else because people are not adventurous about food. They don't actually taste. They devour. They use food as a comforting drug to make them feel better rather than a higher level form of daily living. I do not cast aspersions on anyone. The main reason I write this blog is for the joy of food. If there is any one idea I can impart it is that the more open-minded you are about food the thinner you will be. I really believe that. Thin people are willing to try almost any type of food and don't need to feel "stuffed" to have a satisfying meal. Here are some of the things that I intuitively know keep me thin. Keep in mind I am not a dietitian.
I have to admit that I am very lucky to have an indoor pool for year round swimming.
1 I eat a full breakfast every day. It takes time but it is the number one way to stay thin. I have read studies that proved that 80% of those who do NOT eat breakfast are obese. We are biologically hard-wired to overstuff ourselves when we starve ourselves early in the day. Olympic medalist Michael Phelps consumes more at breakfast than you and I, combined, eat in an entire day.
2 Eat fruits and vegetables every day. If you have not had a banana, apple, or lettuce leaf in the past three days then you are overweight.
3 Drink water. A full 8 glasses of water is a gallon of water a day. I guarantee that you are not drinking that and you are probably dehydrated. Yes, you will have to visit the bathroom about once an hour. Yes, you will not feel hungry.
4 Don't eat food for comfort. (This is the psychological part). That bag of chips because you are bored or had a bad day is something that I have never understood. People eat when they are not hungry all the time. That's a good time to drink water!
5 A 20 minute walk is exercise. Enough with the excuses that you don't have time. You do. Get off your butt 3 times a week. Those reality TV shows really don't care about your health.
Some of my eating habits are the exact opposite of what the so-called experts say one should do. Here are some things that fly in the face of diet gurus but are part of my life: I often have a late night snack of cookies and milk, ice cream, brownies, crackers and cheese. Yeah, right before I go to bed. I swim occasionally but not as much as I want. I love the feeling of my body coursing through the water. It works the muscles and really stretches you out. I walk a lot but I never run. I will often go for a 45 minute walk the minute I wake up. I cycle. I workout but it I sometimes have weeks, or months, when it just doesn't seem to fit in the schedule. I joined a gym once. It lasted about 2 weeks. I eat hamburgers, bacon, doughnuts, salads, salmon, dried apricots and just about everything else I can get my hands on. I enjoy cocktails, beer and wine but only with food. I usually get up at 5 AM and often spend about 20 minutes just stretching and relaxing in bed while I listen to the news. I drink about 5 cups of coffee a day. I don't own a weight scale and I never count calories. I believe in supplements and usually take some kind of vitamin every day. I never eat in the car or on the T. When my back hurts I stand up and stretch, which is more often lately because I am not 20. I still feel like I am 20 although I know I don't look it but it's cool because I like being my age. I am a true believer in eating chocolate often. I like to cook and make a mess in the kitchen. I try to cook something new every weekend. I have never traveled to any place where people did not want to share food. I love to read, write and talk about food.