I come from an Italian family so I am used to resisting temptation. Italians only care that you eat. Weight gain and dieting are irrelevant when a fabulous meal has been placed on the table. It is by far the most important family activity. I have had some of my most interesting moments around the dinner table. My family, like most Italian families, is oh so passionate and has no problem arguing and eating simultaneously. It goes something like this; “Why aren’t you going, you have something better to do? Eat more lasagna and have some more bread, Maria spent all day baking it”. The most common question when trying to diet is “What’s the matter with you, are you sick?” and the most frequent command is, “EAT!!! you’re too skinny”, as I cleverly get in a few words between the clanging of plates and hollering. But then comes the laughter and the appreciation of a wonderful meal. If you find yourself invited to an Italian feast and are trying to diet, I recommend arriving late. The lust for food will have diminished just enough for you to pick lightly and get away with it. Just be sure to let them know you’re running late or they will think that you had an accident and were horribly mangled. Why else would you be late for dinner?
New Year’s Resolution
Now, getting rid of all those glorious calories and fat grams is enough of a New Year’s resolution for me. I know the first rule of thumb is to substitute doughy bread for flatbread. But not too much, I can get carried away on pita.
Next: Only fresh fruit for breakfast in the morning. Pears are by far the most effective fruit for appetite suppression and weight loss.
When I go out with friends I pick the least fattening dish on the menu. At work, people bring in desserts all year round for some occasion or other. If it’s a Birthday, I will have “ONE” bite. My co-workers are merciless when I try to moderate cutting out sweets and fattening foods. I don’t know why I think they like to test my resolve.
Snacking at Night
Many times that deep hunger we feel when trying to sleep has more to do with stomach acids that have built up during the day than actual hunger. If sleeplessness is a problem, I get up and drink aloe juice. The pulp settles the intense hunger pangs. I have also learned that thirst can present itself as hunger. Drinking plenty of water is an effective weapon when dieting.
I was told by a fitness expert that we can exercise throughout the day if the time for regular workouts is a problem. Moving hips back and forth while brushing your teeth. Some arm lifts before the shower, and leg lifts just before you put on your shoes and any time you are sitting during the day. Stretching and repetitive lifting of light objects combined with deep breathing also stimulates the cardiovascular system and the more stimulated it becomes the greater desire for healthier activities. It is an amazing habit to get in to and the release of endorphins makes the day seem brighter. Like a wonderful natural chemical buffer against stress and aggravation.
Sophia Loren was once asked how she kept her amazing figure. During her heyday, every woman was betting that a voluptuous shape like hers would turn to fat as the years passed. To everyone’s amazement, it didn’t. She stated that she never dieted and that she ate anything she wanted, only in small portions throughout the day. She never sat down and ate a full meal.
Being more conscious of the goal and less about the tasty food in front of me seems to be what is needed for the task of shedding pounds. Eating to live instead of living to eat. In a few months I will again be able to negotiate a dessert or gooey snack but in moderation. Until next year, this is me on the responsible enjoyment of desserts and snacks.