Thank God this week is almost over. Not only is it now very clear to me that I hate to diet, I have 2nd degree burns from all the heat I have been catching for the no wine suggestion. Tomorrow is Friday. We can do anything for two days … I was in labor once without an epidural for two days … this should be a piece of cake. I probably shouldn’t mention cake — this should be a piece of low fat, low carb, cardboard tasting, cake alternative. Suddenly, two days seems like a very long time.
Dieting myths or facts …
1. Eating 6 small meals a day – this seems to be the fad right now and anyone who works with a trainer or a nutritionist has told me that this is their recommendation. The theory is that if you convince your body that food is coming, it won’t feel the need to store extra calories. Some people feel that it will decrease your appetite and increase you baseline metabolic rate. The truth is that there is no evidence to back this up. It is generally accepted that three meals can do the same thing which is why it is always unwise to skip breakfast, lunch or dinner. My personal problem with this technique is two-fold. One, I sometimes don’t have time in my day for 3 meals, let alone 6. Two, what is a meal? I like to look forward to a full plate of food and for me, six meals a day would be more like grazing. If it works for you, great. You aren’t doing any harm, just make sure that your caloric intake is not higher than it would be with three bigger meals.
2. Eating at night has always been considered a no-no on a diet, but why? People tend to eat more at night than they would during the day because they are relaxing at home or in front of a TV. Many diets recommend not eating after 6 or 7pm because of this tendency to consume more. There is now some decent scientific evidence that eating at night, regardless of the amount, causes weight gain. In 2009, some mice were broken up into two groups, given the same amount of food, the same amount of exercise but different timing of their meals. Those who ate closer to when they should be sleeping, gained 48% more weight. You may remember Gus from Cinderella. He was part of this study. No human studies yet but, to me, pretty interesting.
3. Eating before or after exercise — I always thought that you should eat after exercise because your metabolic rate was higher and therefore, you would be burning off those calories. If you are not a serious athlete though, it seems that it doesn’t really matter how you time your food around your exercise. You should follow your own hunger, fatigue cues and remember that hydration is most important. Be careful not to do what I usually do — not eat, exercise, become light-headed and dizzy. Then, I binge on everything with sugar and butter in my cabinets. You may be surprised to know that this is not a good strategy.
4. Eating slower — Have you heard of the slow-food movement designed to counteract the fast-food craze? It started in Italy a couple of decades ago and appears to work on several levels. I have been to Italy and my husband almost got whiplash from checking out every beautiful woman who walked by — they must be doing something right. Sit down and enjoy what you eat. Don’t eat in the car, standing at your kitchen counter or in front of the TV. Take small bites and chew slowly. It takes 20 minutes for your body to realize that it is full. Give it the time it needs to tell you, “Enough. We’re good now. Calmly put down the fork and walk away.” The evidence shows that not only does this help to lose weight, it reduces stress.
5. Drinking while you are eating — I did a little research, and while I am not sold on the idea, there are a lot of sources that say that drinking while you are eating is not good. The general idea is that water dilutes the digestive enzymes making it harder for your stomach to do its job. Cold drinks especially, seem to be a culprit. I am pleased to say that I am in no danger here since I prefer my wine at room temperature. Whew! Finally one that’s easy to follow.
Yesterday, I went to an evening yoga class. There were about 15 teenage girls in the room which was terrible for my self image (I kept my eyes closed most of the time) but was wonderful in so many other ways. I have to admit, I was annoyed when I walked into the room to see all those cute, energetic people with no spit up on their shoulders and no bags under their eyes. I was afraid they would be chatty through the whole class and not take it seriously. But once the instructor started, they got zen. Yoga preaches non-competitive practice, it teaches being happy with who you are and where you are. It enforces the feeling that, much like the HSM Wildcats, we are all in this together. What could be a better alternative to text bullying and cyber-relationships? Way to go girls.