Mais, Oui! Why We’re Experimenting with a “More French-Ish” Way of Eating

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Just a warning: If you hate stories about weight as much as I hate reading and writing them, don’t bother with this post. Soon, I’ll have an update on the alopecia areata/applied kinesiology/Doc adventures, so come back then. Cheers!

Hello, friends, it has been ages since I last wrote. There hasn’t been too much new to report, so it seemed wise to let you enjoy your June rather than force you to keep up with whatever I could spew. But now, out of a mix of desperation and who-gives-a-hoot, Scott and I are starting a “French-ish” approach to eating for the next few weeks.

I’ve gained a lot of weight and am not so good at deprivation. So, yes, yes, oui, oui, it’s in part because the French are notorious for eating well while eating wisely, which in turn helps keep excess weight at bay. It’s also something that Scott can enjoy. (I realize that there are people out there rolling their eyes about this theory regarding the French and all I’ve read leads me to believe that there’s enormous societal pressure to stay thin, especially for women, but I’ve got to try something and it’ll be easier with Scott’s buy-in–and he’s in if it includes cheese and beef and wine.)

See, my weight is up about 12-14 pounds since last fall, about 16 pounds from my favorite weight (and not even close to my long-time former weight, which was nearly 30 pounds less than where I am now–but I’m not interested in going back to that). And frankly, it’s driving me crazy. I know it’s in part that my body is absorbing way more nutrients and calories than it used to when my gut was a mess. So, on that front, I’m happy that I’m healthier from the inside out. But, truth be told, I’m miserable about the weight.

So, while I hate to make it about what the scale says (and won’t, essentially), there’s no getting around the fact that I’ve outgrown all but the most lycra-laden clothing that I own. The jeans I’m wearing as I write this are the third pair in recent months that have holes in the thighs from frictional aggravation. And I know how my body feels when I’m at my optimal weight and this isn’t it. Even with working out regularly (which definitely makes me feel better), I’m still carrying too much weight. I’m small-boned, too, so an extra 10-15 pounds makes a big difference (I have an enormous skull, though, so if you’re reading this and you know me, that bit of bonal information may come as a shock). And even my primary care doctor has told me that I need to get the weight down, so it’s not just me being annoying.

So, whether you regard it as tried-and-true or simply tired, we’re going for it, for a few weeks at least. After that, if it fails, we’ll continue to navigate our eating trends around various continents, countries and cultures until we land on one that works for us or until I find the one that has ice cream three times daily and still manages to stay slim and get work done.

What does this “flexible Frenching” of our culinary lives look like? It means that we can have some well-chosen indulgences regularly, even daily. Also, an agreement that at home, we eat light dinners, which I prefer but which we rarely do. (Scott’s social and professional lives mean eating out a ton but even when it’s just us at home, it seems like some sort of cook-off is always going on, Scott loves to cook and it’s a wonderful thing and I hope I’m not spoiling that gift.)

It also means that I’ll have a list of guidance to help me be more mindful about what I’m eating. For the next few weeks, we’ll experiment with the following, gathered from various websites and posts that are supposedly by French people who are in-the-know (and at this point, I don’t care, I just need something to work):

  1. Generally speaking, lunch will be our larger/largest meal of the day. It will always have a protein, a healthy carb and some veggies or salad.
  2. When we eat dinner at home, just the two of us, it will be simple, straightforward and light. Examples include a bowl of soup and green salad or a small charcuterie with pickled veggies. We’ll use the loveliest ingredients we can.
  3. When we’re out for dinner, we can eat what we’d like. When we can, we’ll split dinners (given huge American portions). When that’s not going to work, I’ll put 1/2 to 1/3 of my meal in a to-go (I know, I know, utterly un-French, but if their restaurants served portions sized the way American portions are, they wouldn’t hate the doggie bag as much. Besides, it’s a nice, easy lunch for the next day.)
  4. Although I get in a lot of mileage with my Ella walks (typically, 5-7 miles daily, and often more), I will walk anywhere that’s 1.5 miles or less from home, unless there’s a very real reason why driving would be wiser or safer. This means that a quick run to the store for dinner ingredients will be a walk, not a drive. Currently, my walking goal is 13,500 steps daily and I usually make it. Starting today, I’m upping it to 15,000. And we’ll bike more often, too.
  5. No more pickysnacking for me. That’s a huge downfall of mine, especially since I work at home and I could swear that half of my steps each day are clocked in trips between the pantry and fridge and sofa. I tend to snack in the car, too. Even though 85% or more of what I eat is healthy, I still eat too much of it. I seriously need to get real in my head about this. I don’t need carrots and hummus seven times a day. I will survive the 10-minute drive from Trader Joe’s to home without downing a bag of something. I will stick to three meals and one light, late afternoon, healthy snack. This alone should make a difference for me.
  6. I don’t know where this trait in me comes from–I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve never known sustained, scary, long-term hunger or food insecurity–but with every meal and snack, I eat as though the next thing on my to-do list is a four-month hibernation. So now, I will get a little hungry between meals and when I start to have that panic in the pit of my stomach that I sometimes feel as I’m dishing out food, I will breathe and remember that I won’t go hungry, not now, not for long. And it’s okay to feel hungry between meals, anyway, even healthy. Maybe I’ll even become more grateful than greedy when it comes to food. That’d kick ass, and maybe a pound or so, too.
  7. I’ll only eat seated at the table (or the closest reasonable approximation), which means no more eating on the sofa or in the car. Very bad habits of mine.

What results do I expect after three weeks?

  1. Because this body is sooooo stubborn about giving up the weight, I’m not looking for miracles. But I’d love a 3-5 pound loss over the next few weeks.
  2. I’m aiming to make smarter food choices–not so much about what I eat, which tends to be good these days, but how much and when and why.
  3. I’d love to be a little closer to getting jeans buttoned and zipped. I won’t be all the way there, not after three weeks and not considering I’m up nearly two sizes, but maybe a little closer.

And, as I continue on this journey, I hope to feel glad to have a healing gut, happy to get outside even more on my walks and thankful for my good health. And cheers to yours, too! xoxoxo.

Photo credit: Photo by slon_dot_pics from Pexels, thank you!

{Note: These are my own experiences with applied kinesiology, which clearly aren’t meant as medical advice for anyone else. But I know a lot of friends and family members are grappling with a huge variety of autoimmune issues and other ailments, so I’m happy to share my experiences. And if this is your first visit and you’d like to follow chronologically, click here. Otherwise, enjoy!}

2 comments

  1. I never realized how alike we are! Snackers! It’s a desk job and being in my car a lot that ruins me. Fave places to snack. Great article!! Xoxo

    Like

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