Bonjour, Cheekbones? Slowly but Surely, “Flex Frenching” May Be Working!

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As a follow-up to this post and this, both from late June, here’s a quick update.

If you’ve read the previous posts, you know that I’ve had too many jeans give out on me to ignore the weight I’d put on last fall and winter (times of the year when I typically lose it). As a result–for now and only for a relatively short time (I hope)–I’ve given in to the inevitable: posts about weight/loss.

Toward the end of June, I adopted a new approach that I’m calling “Flexible Frenching,” aka, “flex Frenching.” If you’re interested in the background about why I’m rolling together a bunch of French stereotypes and gross generalizations to guide my weight-loss program (with all apologies to French folks around the world), I encourage you to read this post. For the rest of you who have followed, I won’t bore you with a long recap.

Suffice it to say, though, that “flex Frenching” est bon!! (That’s good!).

The first week, I stuck pretty closely to the plan and felt amazing. The second week, we traveled to see Scott’s family. There’s a reason why the saying doesn’t go, “When in Rome, do as the French do.” It’s because when you’re a guest somewhere, you should be gracious and lovely and enjoy your company and whatever food they serve you (or that their lovely son, who loves to cook, makes for all to enjoy).

That said, it was probably one of the healthiest visits we’ve ever had.

Grilled dinners every night, lots of fresh veggies, a few indulgences (including vinho verde, a Portuguese wine from young grapes that is quite possibly the best thing you can drink when the temperature doesn’t dip below 92 degrees all day, every day, with a heat index pushing 100). My only really bad time was the car ride home, when Ella and I got a milkshake and French fries from a drive-thru. In addition to clearly being a terrible meal, that broke the no-eating-in-the-car rule, too. But, alas, not too bad for nearly a week away.

Week 3, I fell apart a bit. I don’t do well in endless heat (bless my dear Scott, who put an air conditioner in my home office, but it’s still hard for me to shake my cranks and I take it out on nearly everything around me, including my body, which I relentlessly pound with ice cream). That’s why, short of the days spent at summer camp, most summers are good for a 6-8 pound weight gain. Still, I kept the rules in mind–if not always the right foods in the mouth–and got through it.

As I write this, I’m in the midst of Week 4 and getting back on track, trying not to let the heat get the best of me. I’ll weigh in on Saturday or Sunday and take stock of how things are going, but here’s why I believe “flex Frenching” is good for me:

  1. Short of the road-trip meal mentioned above, I haven’t eaten a single thing in the car. Not one. This is amazeballs–I used to eat at least one meal or snack a day behind the wheel.
  2. With the exception of a few minor slipups (like when Ella and I had blueberries on the sofa), I’ve eaten all of my meals and snacks at a table. Or a bar, if Scott and I are out (we tend to prefer eating at the bar in many restaurants, as bartenders make good company.) In truth, prior to this experiment, I rarely ate at our table–maybe only a couple of dinners a week, never breakfast, lunch or snacks. And now? Even when it’s just me, I do and it’s lovely.
  3. Along with the two previous points, I’ve substantially cut down on the snacks, having just one late afternoon snack at the table (previously, these would be eaten in the car, at my desk or on the sofa). This alone has saved me several hundred calories a day.
  4. I’ve made great meals! Nice but simple lunches! Easy, tasty, fresh salads! Light dinners! Satisfying breakfasts! Even some thoughtful snacks! Loads of fresh veggies. Not much meat but nice meats when I/we do have them. More seafood! It’s been fun and satiating and not nearly as expensive as I thought it would be, because portions are smaller and nothing gets wasted. Voila!
  5. Although I’d be doing way better at this if it wasn’t for the heat, I’ve upped my steps each day in pursuit of my goal of 15,000. I’ll let you know at the end of this month what my average is, but I think it’s up, except for the days when it’s been so hot and humid and blazing that I’ve wanted to vomit (not in the heat-stroke way, really, but simply in an “I’m a cool-weather girl and wouldn’t some clouds and rain be just lovely right now, no worries, the sun always comes back around” kind of way).

And here’s one of the most amazing benefits that I’d never have anticipated: I’m SO much more mindful about eating now. Mindful in ways that I never seemed to integrate in all of my years of post-yoga-retreat-deep-into-cleansing kinds of ways. I just never really got there. Now, I’m thoughtful about eating in this weird way. I think it has a ton to do with eating at a table–if you’re like me and you haven’t given this a real go since, maybe, childhood, try it. It feels weird at first but I think it changes everything.

And best of all, other than when I’m doing these updates, I don’t really think about weight. And other than Scott and you, no one knows I’m trying anything because I can eat what I want, as long as I want it and enjoy it and it’s at a table (or, when at someone else’s place, a reasonable approximation).

I don’t know if or what weight loss to expect, if any. I haven’t wanted to obsess about calories because that doesn’t do me any good long-term, though out of curiosity, I’ve tracked most days at the end (via MyFitnessPal) and I’ve come in around 1,600-1,700 calories. Because it was so damn hot, I haven’t done Barre3 in three weeks, though.

Overall, I feel much better: in control without deprivation, thoughtful without obsessing.

Flex-Frenching c’est magnifique! xoxoxoxoxo

(On a side note, I had to postpone an appointment with Doc, we’re waiting for some test results. More on that in another post soon.)

{Photo credit: Photo by picjumbo.com from Pexels, thank you!}

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