The international adventures of a singing, dancing zombie queen.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

On Eating...

One of my friends recently asked what folks do to practice counting calories.
I prefer to avoid activities which my obsessive side can breed anxiety out of, but I definitely have been working on a finessed way to eat luxuriously & gently.
Here are some of my favorite rituals around eating with gusto; without overdoing it.

(I once, at age 16, rationalized the Zone diet out of such proportion that I went from 145lbs to 185 in 2.5 months.)
So, for me, I need it to be extremely simple and, as a lover of fine tastes, very enjoyable.
I'm trying to rebuild my sense of serving proportions; here are my favorite tools:
1.) French Women Don't Get Fat Eating in Europe, even when drinking wine daily and having fancy meals and butter and creamy sauces... didn't make me gain weight. The culture of smaller portions and a light walk afterward totally did the trick without thought. I love - and can enjoy - idea of balancing what you eat over a week, rather than fostering a constant attitude of self-deprivation. Self-deprivation is about the most self-destructive, self-sabotaging attitude I can think of. A healthy body is something to be pleasurably tended, not "achieved."

2.) New Bowls
Japanese ceramic rice bowls. They hold about 1cup of liquid when full. Our normal bowls hold about 3 cups of liquid. It is MUCH easier for me to eat one bowl of cereal/dinner (and even allow myself sometimes to go back for another half bowl) than to try to gauge my hunger. I find that the number of servings I eat tends to remain the same, and it's easier & less stressful for me to control the size of the serving with a smaller bowl. I know some folks can fill their bowls half full, but I have trouble not serving too much.

3.) If I get the feeling that I've been overeating for a week, sometimes I try to "leave one bite." Funny how it seems tough, but after 3 days, I realize I'm eating with less compulsion to FINISH, and with more attention to how my feelings of satisfaction are. The entire process of eating becomes much more satisfying.

4.) Put your fork down between bites. It totally helps with being able to enjoy your food, digest better & sense your satisfaction.

5.) If possible, sit up straight while you eat. Making eating an active ritual of enjoyment can help with eating the right amount.

6.) Booze: I love booze, and I often choose it over dessert. I prefer wine or vodka. I stay away from over-sugary drinks. Club Soda has no calories (tonic does, but half of what is in coke), and a butt-ton of squeezed lime juice has ... what... ten? Go crazy with the fresh ingredients!! WHOOOT FLAVOR!

7.) I try to stay away from soda (coke, etc.) On the other hand, I do have a hard time drinking enough water, so I compromise & let myself have diet sprite/cherry soda rather than not drinking water. I try to just keep the water/aspartame in balance. But better aspartame than no water.

8.) I love sugar, but it needs respect & as little processing as possible. I try to stick with raw sugar in my hot drinks, honor & respect my desserts, and to steer clear of high fructose corn syrup at all costs (except for fake blood). That stuff is everywhere... even in freaking salad dressing. It's insane. Stupid government-funded overabundance of corn... we should run cars with it instead!

9.) Salad! Like crazy! Nothing makes my skin as nice as some baby spring greens every day. Seriously; that's my skin secret. No zits when I eat salad.

10.) Don't beat yourself up(see the French book on balance and ease)!! Stress causes your body to release cortisol, which tells your body to buckle down and protect itself from danger (i.e. famine). Permitting yourself to behave in a stressy manner about what you eat will prevent your body from using up your fat stores; in fact, you'll depress your immune system and store more fat.
Just be nice to yourself!!


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Dance & Fitness Faculty member at San Francisco Peninsula Community Colleges, Director, Choreographer & Featured Dancer, Founder of the Living Dead Girlz, and Owner of the Steele Dance Company, which provides entertainment for festivals, corporate events, conventions and private events. Teaching private dance lessons and creating choreography since 1997, Steele graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Double Major in Dance and Comparative Literature and completed her Master of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography at Mills College. She has toured all the major cities in Germany and performed at the Cannes Film Festival as the featured dancer in TRIP -- Remix Your Experience, a multimedia exhibition of film, live music and art. Steele has also performed as a featured dancer for RJ Reynolds (CAMEL) promotional events. Steele currently manages the go-go dancers of "Poor Impulse Control," who perform frequently in San Francisco's industrial, alternative, and rock venues.