Today, I will be reviewing Steps 6 and 7 from The French Don't Diet Plan by Dr. Will Clower. At the rate I am going with this book it will take me through mid-May, but sometimes, it is nice to slow the pace down every once in a while. A few of you have also e-mailed me with suggestions for future French Fridays, merci beaucoup! If you have a book you think would lend itself well to French Fridays, please let me know.
Now, back to the French Don't Diet Plan.
Step 6: Don't Eat and Drink at the Same Time
When you think of the beverage that French people eat with their meal, the majority of us will think of a nice glass of wine. Do we think of the French as a country of sloppy drunk people? Of course not, the French think of wine as food, appreciate it as an accompaniment to their meals, and sip and savor their wine. A serving of wine would be about 4-6 oz. When we think of the accompaniment to an American meal, what do we think of? A 20 oz. bottle of soda? A 16 oz. glass of water? Dr. Clower uses these drink portions as another way to point out American over-consumption. Even in something as calorically innocuous as water, Dr. Clower says that we train our bodies to over-consume when we drink this much. He suggests eating meals for a few weeks without anything to drink. Then re-introducing beverages back into the meal in small portions to sip with meals, not gulp, as a way to enjoy your meal more. (and I'm sure he would tell you to throw the soda in the garbage as it is chock full of faux ingredients)
I would agree with Dr. Clower up to a point, but water consumption is one way to trick your stomach into feeling it is full. When you are cutting back on portion sizes, this is an important part in the arsenal of not being hungry. Again, everything in moderation and everything gradual. Cut back on your drink portions gradually. Start by sipping your drink, not gulping. Naturally, your portions may cut themselves down on their own!
Step 7: Eat All You Want (You'll Just Want Less)
In this step, Dr. Clower discusses what he calles the "ender", a small, calorically dense nibble of food that signals to your brain that the meal is finished. French enders consist of cheese, a square of dark chocolate, coffee or tea. The ender is what helps the French avoid snacking between meals by creating a mental bookend to the meal. Dr. Clower also discusses strategies for getting over the hurdle of between meal hunger. Have you noticed how hunger is a progressive feeling. Between meals, it starts out small, may get raving for a moment, but then after a few minutes disappears? Your body is telling you that it is starting to get hungry, but it is not starving. In order to make it to your next meal, be sure to eat three meals a day and on time. Then, to survive your hunger blips, Dr. Clower suggests either waiting out your hunger blip, drinking a small glass of water (slowly!), or perhaps having a small snack if you can't take it anymore, but it is merely a small snack, something to help you make it to your next meal, it is not a meal unto itself.
Homework for this week:
1. Sip and savor your beverages with your meals. Do not gulp. Drink in small portions.
2. Eat regularly and healthily to control between meal hunger.
3. If you are struggling with between meal hunger, try some of Dr. Clower's strategies for making it through between meal hunger blips.
Next Friday, I will be discussing Steps 8-10 from the French Don't Diet Plan. Until then lovely French people, enjoy the beautiful spring weather!