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Former makeup enthusiast and bookworm. Currently adopting a minimalist lifestyle. Contact me at phylliciarobert@gmail.com for inquiries.
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Sunday, March 06, 2011

"French-fy" Your Eating Habits (FYEH): Bite 1

This series is going to be about changing the way we eat and look at eating right, losing weight and being healthy in a whole new light by following the ways of the French women as promised in this post. These tips and tricks are adopted from the book 'French Women Don’t Get Fat' by Mireille Guiliano.

This is not to say that no French women are fat. There are a few exceptions but the majority of them are svelte even those in their 'Golden Years'. Normally, I would have jumped straight to the ‘how?’ of changing our eating habits.

In this case however, I feel compelled to start at the introduction of this book because it tells us why what we're doing now is not working and I think knowing the 'why?' of things are as important, if not more important than knowing the 'how?'.

Statistics show that the prevalence of obesity among Malaysian adults increased by a staggering 250% over a 10-year period from 1996 while the number of overweight has increased by 70%.
The National Health and Morbidity Survey in 2006 showed that two out of every five adults or 43%, were either overweight or obese and an alarming situation where the number of obese adults had more than tripled over a decade, from 4% in 1996 to 14% in 2006.
Besides that, about 38% of youngsters aged between 12 and 18 were classified as overweight.
A recent survey involving 10,000 students showed that 24% of those aged between six and 12 were either overweight or obese.

Diet books are the best-selling books in the market, each featuring new and radical diet plans with charts and tables telling us how much we should weigh based on only our heights and how much more calories red apples have over green apples. There can never be enough of them, yet one just has to ask one’s self, if these plans are working then why are the numbers of obesity still rising?

The answer is pretty simple. These extreme plans are unsustainable. Before you embark on the next diet craze or trend (yes, it is a trend), ask yourself if you’d be able to do said plan for the rest of your life. Would you be able to not eat rice for the rest of your life? Ditto living with having just a glass of high-protein shake for breakfast and dinner or drinking vegetable soup for lunch?

“But they work!” you cry. “I lost 10KGs in 2 weeks!” Yeah, but look what happens once you stop. The weight will pile back on with a vengance, you get disheartened and depressed which in turn makes you eat more (emotional eating anyone?). You think that you’re hopeless at dieting and you don’t deserve to be thin because you can’t keep up with your Zone/Pyramid/calorie counting plan.

News flash! You are not alone. Nobody, and I mean nobody is able to keep up with these plans (yes, not even celebrities) because they go against nature. One plan also conflicts with another. This plan says fat is bad and to avoid it like the Plague while the other say fats are okay, carbs are the bad guys.

So forget about everything that you have learned all these while about health and nutrition and let’s start over. This change is going to be in four phases:

Phase 1: A Wake-Up Call
This is a three week inventory of meals to get a clear view on what we’re consuming.

Phase 2: Recasting
This is a 3 month process where we will identify and suspend our food “offenders” and be introduced to the portion sizes and food diversity practiced by French women. It’s not going to be a diet boot camp, just a time for our bodies to adjust and “reset”. Discipline is needed but there is also flexibility.

Phase 3: Stabilization
After achieving our personal equilibrium, in thus stage we will be incorporating everything we like to eat in proper amounts.

Phase 4: The Rest of Our Life
We will be at our target weight, achieved our personal equilibrium and are in tune with our body and preferences.

Notice that I say “we” here? That’s because I am currently doing this sustainable plan and I invite you to join me on my journey. I really recommend following this program as close as you can and not jump straight to Phase 2 like I (smarty pants that I am) initially did. I was doing okay for the first 10 days until my healthy-eating routine started to come apart at the seams.

I realized then how important Phase 1 was because it enables us to see where and what our food vices are. Only by knowing this can we avoid the same pitfalls when we move on to Phase 2. I’m the laziest person when it comes to keeping tract of anything and so I bought myself a nice notebook to keep me motivated. I was tempted to buy a cute pen to go with it too but none suited my fancy.

Will be updating my progress so stay tuned. Cheers!