Joy in Eating Healthy

Last summer I was 30 pounds heavier than I am right now.  I was holding on to the baby weight from Donny like that would help me keep him little forever, but he was 3!  I had tried and failed to lose those pounds many times over those three years.

I was also an emotional eater and last spring had been stressful (making 12,000 bracelets, selling our home, quitting my job, moving out of town…).  So when August rolled around and I was about to start my new job, in my new town, I was so sad to see that I weighed more than I had ever weighed not being pregnant.

I promised myself right then that I would make some BIG changes.  Some major LIFE changes.  I went searching for a book that could guide me and support me and happened to find French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure by Mirielle Guiliano.

This book changed my life.  I learned that I needed to change my relationship with food.  Food is supposed to nourish our bodies for the amazing things they do for us every day AND food should be savored and enjoyed.  I learned that I should be filling my body with as many good things as possible, but also taking time to indulge in small servings of my favorite things (like chocolate and wine.)

There are so many little tricks I learned from Mirielle.   Maybe the most important tip I got was to stop using negative language when talking about food.  You are not “bad” when you have a serving of ice cream.  A glass of wine with dinner is not “cheating.”  

Food should never make you feel guilty and healthy eating does not have to be salads and grilled chicken.  Look at the French!  They sip wine and eat chocolate.  They believe bread is the food of life.  But the key to any healthy diet is moderation.  Indulge, but in small quantities.  One piece of bread will do; a few bites of dessert; one glass (4-5 oz) of wine to enhance the food; eat smaller portions and eat SLOWLY; drink water all day long; eat lots and lots and lots of vegetables in all different ways!

With Mirielle’s guidance I set out with a positive outlook on food.  Food should not be consumed haphazardly in the car, during a working lunch, or standing in the kitchen.  Even the afternoon snack, le gouter in France, is consumed sitting at the table.  Meals should all be savored and enjoyed!  Take the time to nourish your body and enjoy doing it.  Play with flavors and seasonings.  Talk about the taste and flavors with your family and friends.  Meal time is about growing relationships as well.  When you take the time to really enjoy what you are eating and the company you are with, the whole meal becomes a positive event.

Finally, take joy in making the food.  Experiment, add new flavors, and try new things!  Cooking can be an artistic expression AND a creative outlet.  The hard work that goes into chopping and kneading, sauteing and baking can give so much joy when it comes time to consume.

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