Flexible restraint: it’s what’s missing from all fad diets

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

My long ago high school years were spent at Mount Mary Immaculate Academy, a convent boarding school up on the mountain overlooking Hamilton, Ontario. (Keep in mind, of course, that I’m using the Ontario definition of the word “mountain”, and not the more scenic, snow-capped, high-altitude British Columbia definition of something that actually looks like a real mountain out here).

But I digress . . .  Our Mount Mary classmates included a significant number of “Spanish girls”. These were the exotic international boarders from Mexico or Guatemala or other Spanish-speaking nations whose wealthy parents had sent their daughters north to Canada for a year or two of boarding school to help perfect their English. Our Spanish girls needed to become fluently bilingual in time for their über-extravagant celebrations back home called the quinceañera, a girl’s traditional fifteenth birthday party to mark the important passage to womanhood.

Skinny or pudgy, every Spanish girl was obsessed about her weight. They talked non-stop about dieting as the year-long countdowns to their quinceañera parties began. And whenever our Spanish girls were even remotely upset with their Canadian dormitory mates for any reason at all, the worst possible insult they could spit out at us was the only Spanish word I knew back then:

“Gorda!”

Fat.

And that’s about the time I started dieting.

Continue reading “Flexible restraint: it’s what’s missing from all fad diets”

How to stare down that plate of chocolate chip cookies

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

What would you do if you checked into your hotel room and found there a welcoming plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies waiting for you? I know what I’d do – I’d have a cookie. And then, because it tasted so darned good, I might eat another. And then, while I unpacked my suitcase, maybe just one more. And then, particularly if I were feeling tired or stressed or hungry, I might even say to myself: “Oh, what the heck! It’s been a hard day – and I deserve this little treat!” – and there goes the rest of that plate of cookies.

But that’s not what Dr. David Kessler decided to do when this very situation presented itself to him. As a person who had battled his own weight problems for years, he knew that he could have easily eaten all of those cookies in one gulp, but he also knew with equal certainty that he did not want to do that this time. There was only one way to gain the upper hand, and he had to act quickly.   Continue reading “How to stare down that plate of chocolate chip cookies”

Mindless eating: 8 reasons women eat when we’re not even hungry

by Carolyn Thomas

Cornell University researcher and food psychologist Dr. Brian Wansink knows that there are other reasons to eat besides just being hungry.

Dr. Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, a book described by CBC television as the “Freakonomics of Food“, says:

“If we knew why we ate the way we do, we could eat a little less, eat a little healthier, and enjoy it a lot more.”

He is talking about that bag of corn chips your hand keeps dipping into while you watch TV, or that big 13-inch dinner plate you load up – whether you’re hungry or not.

He says that we make about 200 food decisions a day, like:

  • Should I have coffee?
  • Should I put milk in it?
  • Whole or skim?
  • Should I butter my toast before I spread the peanut butter on?
  • Do I pour my orange juice into a short, wide glass (you’ll drink more)
  • or a tall, narrow glass (you’ll drink less)?

He also cites these eight factors that can influence what goes into our mouths that have nothing at all to do with hunger. Do any of these sound familiar to you?   Continue reading “Mindless eating: 8 reasons women eat when we’re not even hungry”

Yes, French women DO get fat!

french eiffel5

Remember that book  that came out a few years ago that explained to us the “French paradox” – why don’t French women get fat?   Anybody who has, like me, been unable to resist a Paris boulangerie without stopping to indulge has marvelled at the ability of French women to remain so thin and gorgeous in spite of all those exquisite croissants, crusty baguettes, heavenly sauces, divine cheese and oh, those wines.

Author Mireille Guilano (who, incidentally, is thin and gorgeous herself) wrote French Women Don’t Get Fat in 2004, explaining that their secret is in the eating habits of the women in France. Continue reading “Yes, French women DO get fat!”