Healthy, mindful eating

Nutritionist Marilyn Glenville's book, "Fat Around the Middle" arrived in mid-December, which is the worst possible timing, but I was willing to experiment. (Thanks for the recommendation, Greying Pixie.) You can find the approach on Dr. Glenville's site, Fat Around the Middle.

She promises realistic weight management (without severe calorie restriction), wellness, and reduction of your body's stress-related hormones (cortisol) through more even regulation of blood sugar. I bought a boatload of nuts, organic plain yogurt, whole grain breads. I briefed Le Duc on menus, since he's the cook.
I studied her photo. She looks like the Ph.D. nuturitionist she is, and though I wish she'd loosen up image-wise, display of Nigellicious curves might not command compliance. I signed on except for one teensy shortcoming I'll address later.

Life was noble for ten or twelve days. Then just before Christmas, we had a blizzard and I couldn't leave the house. I went into my kitchen, took a pound of the walnuts and made Spiced Nuts.

I was just like one woman in my favourite part of the book. Dr. G. has clients keep a daily food journal and critiques their day,
sort of a dietary "What Not to Wear". This woman starts her day with Glenvillian perfection, even sails past the 4 o'clock snack trap brilliantly. But at 9 pm., kids tucked in, she enjoys a bag of crisps and three glasses of wine. Come on over, sister!
I also omitted a key element, which may have been my undoing. The long list of costly supplements Dr. G. requires were not purchased, because New Years' Eve requires a toast with friends, and those supplements must equal at least one bottle of vintage Veuve.
This week the rye bread, which had turned to the consistency of cork board, went to the squirrels, a hard sell even for snowbound, shivering rodents. I could tell they longed for the usual biscotti crumbs and bits of shortbread cookies.

I have retained some Glenvillisms: far less sugar, more grains, smaller portions. And we ate a number of vegetarian meals over the holidays. I dumped my fructose-dense granola bars and learned all the other evil "oses" are just sugar wearing makeup.

Dr. G. asks for adherence only 80% of the time. This is consistent with a simpler approach, the No S Diet: no Sweets (or sugar), no Snacks, no Seconds except Sometimes on days with S in them (Saturday, Sunday, Special days).

The philosophy that underpins both is that of mindful eating, which is one of my intentions for '09: not to "diet", but to make every meal a conscious choice. To eat real food, not too much (as Michael Pollen says in "An Eater's Manifesto"), more slowly. To learn more about its production, supply and distribution , and to support people working to provide enough, so the world can eat.

Do you have eating-related intentions as we begin a new year?


Julianne said…
I'm always trying to do better. What I need to do is move more. I think that is my shortcoming. I eat fairly well, prefer veggies to meat, but probably eat too many carbs. I think the answer is moderation, especially in portion size. Good luck to you!
WendyB said…
I'm trying not to eat my weight in sugar every day. But I'm not trying very hard.
~Tessa~Scoffs said…
I guess I am following the No-S thingy. I am not doing very well but the plan was to Not Eat Between Meals (drinking ok - coffee, perrier, martini but not olive); no desserts, and only firsts, not seconds. I really like the idea of lessening the rules on weekends and special days. As it is not a "diet," I feel like it could be a new way of life for me. However, since the new year, I have Stuffed mySelf Silly. They're still S's. Ha.
Susan B said…
I've been making a concentrated effort lately to:

--Minimize consumption of sugar and refined carbs

--Get back into eating a wider variety of veggies. Lately I've been eating a lot of salads but not much else. Last night I steamed some lovely little Brussels sprouts and doused in balsamic vinegar...yum!

--Have defined snacks. Too easy for me to just get into grazing.

Some days all of this goes better than others.
I made some radical changes to my diet last year - pretty much stopped eating white bread (except for occassional special days), now it's rye or some sort of grain bread instead - and I realise that white bread is just sugar dressed up as bread.

I also started eating more fruits and veg - which can only be good. I now crave salad and not pizza.

But my downfalls are chocolate and a nice glass of wine. I don't drink every night, but I'm fine all day, it's that 8pm chocoalte craving I tend to succumb to - if I could just get rid of that I'd be way healthy!

I have been listening to a podcast that I've found really useful - Renee Stevens ( - she talks about Continuous Improvement and Self-correcting and that we're human and it's ok to not stick to some diet as long as we self-correct and gradually improve all the time. This I find much more realistic than any 'diet'.

Cos truthfully - we all know what we should be eating don't we?

To a healthier 2009
Anonymous said…
I was going to purchase that book, but now I don't have to! I've just finished reading the Michael Pollen book and I loved it - i'm trying to follow his advice.
As for eating strategies for the new year ahead, I'm going to treat food as food (novel thought?), it's not comfort, it's not medicine and it's not entertainment (well, not very often).
Anonymous said…
I have resolved to have afternoon tea every day. Just read the Thin Commandments by Dr Stephen Gullo (may have been around for a while) and I take his point that we mostly overeat the same things at the same time every day. it's that wasteland between lunch and dinner for me, so I schedule tea and kavli biscuits with goats cheese or peanut butter, and a piece of fruit or celery and that gets me by.
For the last few years I rarely have alcohol, only on special ocasions. I find my tolerance is greatly reduced.
Duchesse said…
Imogen: I hope croissants do not count as white bread.
Tessa: Sure!
Pseu: "Lovely" so close to "Brussels Sprouts" is a stretch for me but I could go there for green beans.
Imogen: There are eating plans that allow a small piece of chocolate each day (or days when you want it) and I think that's better than banishing it; same for wine.
Cybill: Food is entertainment to me, too! But it is the "reward"I really have to watch.
Julianne: Portion size is my bete noir; I do small portions. Then have another sn=mall portion :)
Gabrielle: I love tea! Though I deeply madly love tea with scones.
Wendy: I'd really miss sweets,but am less sweet-toothy than before menopause.
Anonymous said…
Duchesse, sorry for the late response to your posting. I was away in Geneva for a few days, doing 'cold' the glamorous way with mink coat and suede boots!

I'm pleased you found the book interesting. I must admit I came apart a bit over Christmas, but as she says, it's a way of eating that is easy to come back to and somehow the second time around your body seems to know what to do, unlike the WW approach where your body just clings to every ounce of fat even more stubbornly.

Yes, the supplements are pricey, but I reckoned that in comparison with a week on a health farm (which my friend is constantly trying to entice me into) it is a small price to pay. Also the amino acids are essential for not laying down fat and discouraging a sweet tooth. It certainly is working for me as I now find sweet food too rich. I have invested in the three month course and will probably transfer to the maintainence programme after.

I do think the key is steadying the blood sugar level and eating a few nuts certainly works for me.

Let's hope we can keep eachother going through these dark grim months.

The posts with the most