Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wear Your Sneakers to Work Day

So it was "Wear Your Sneakers to Work Day" at my company today, and, like, four people participated. LOL. I was really surprised! Our dress code policy is business professional, so I thought this was a big deal and was looking forward to it, so I donned my Sketchers proudly all day long. I guess other people don't care as much, haha. Well, whatever. We never get the opportunity to do it, and it was nice to not have to wear heels or boots for a change.

My vacation day yesterday was nice! Not in terms of the weather, though. It was rainy and cold all day long... luckily, I only ventured to the gym and to get gas, and that was it. The rest of the day was spent writing in my journal and watching my new fun DVD, Knots Landing. Cheesy 80s' drama= perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon.   :-D   Here's my problem with vacation days, though- as nice as they are, they make me wish that I never had to work, LOL. I want to be a housewife- only without the husband or the kids. Now, how do I make that work???  Haha.

Although coming back to work today was not so bad. I'm working on a project that comes in once a quarter, and it keeps me pretty busy for a few days, and I'm a fan of anything that makes time go by quickly at work! And the project itself isn't hard- it's mostly fact-checking data... and sad is it sounds, I like it! I don't mind fact-checking because it's so black-and-white. It's either right or it's wrong. A nice break from grammatical rules and verb tenses, haha.   :-)   How was your Tuesday? I hope it was pleasant!

So in honor of the new episode of The Real Housewives of New York City that is on tonight (I'm slowly getting into this show), I figured now is the time to share my thoughts on Naturally Thin.  I'm not much of a book critic- I either like something or I don't, LOL- but I had mixed emotions on this book that I wanted to share and see what other people thought of this book too. I know a lot of bloggeristas have read it recently, and we all seem to have a similar consensus.

At first, I was a little turned off by the title. I'm not really into "dieting" books because I don't believe in dieting. I believe in healthy eating as a lifestyle. I think that diets are deprivation, both physically and mentally. But the more I heard about this book and how it was more of a book about "lifestyle" changes and choices, I was intrigued and reserved a copy at my library (yes, I broke my "no-checking-books-out-of-the-library-until-I've-read-all-of-mine" rule, but I didn't want to spend money on this book, since I didn't know if I'd really like it or not; plus, based on reviews and excerpts I'd read, a lot of it sounded like stuff that I already know and incorporate into my own eating lifestyle, or common sense, or stuff you can easily find for free on the internet.

So the book was divided into two sections- the first section was about the ten "rules" that are actually more like "mindframes" than rules, that encourage you to practice certain habits to engage in healthy eating and healthy living. I like that right off the bat, Bethenny lays it right on the table. She shuns dieting, for the same reasons I do, she says that these rules work for her and she's not saying that they will work exactly the same for everyone else, says she is NOT a doctor, NOT a nutritionist, NOT a professionally trained chef, this is just what works for her and she just wants to share that info with other people. She admits that she doesn't even follow her own rules sometimes, that she's not perfect and doesn't expect anyone else to be, either. Take what you want, and leave the rest, and I pretty much did that for the most part. There were some rules that I really liked, and some I knew wouldn't really apply to me or how I like to eat. Section two was more of a "guideline" of Bethenny walking you through a week's worth of her food choices, along with suggestions for your own. This is the part I wasn't completely on board with, but more on that later. For now, let's start with the "rules". I'll lay out each one, and what I thought of it and how I will/will not apply it to me.

Rule 1: Your diet is a bank account. So this is basically what it sounds like- balance everything out. Moderation is our friend. Make "smart investments" with your eating choices, just as you would with your money. She makes the comparison that you wouldn't buy a sweater that didn't fit or didn't look good on you, so why waste calories on something that you don't really want or enjoy all that much? She also compares food noise to food voice- food noise is negative inner dialogue, and food voice is basically the good voice, the angel on your shoulder telling you what your body wants or needs in terms of food. She also explains the term differential, which is the difference between two choices, and whether or not that difference is worthwhile to you (the example she gives is beef chili vs. turkey chili vs. vegetarian chili, and how to make that choice based on your personal differential, if you don't mind giving up the beef chili for a leaner choice, or if it matters to you more and you do want the beef chili, than to choose that, but to remember to balance the rest of your food choices for the day in terms of fat, sodium, whatever). I thought that this was a great rule. If you balance your choices accordingly, you should be able to enjoy all the food that you want to eat. This makes sense. If you have a piece of cake at work for dessert, don't have cookies after dinner later. You haven't deprived yourself, you just made your choice. I liked this rule, and feel I already use it.

Rule 2: You Can Have It All, Just Not All At Once. This rule focused on listening to your "food voice" and making the choices that you really want. If you really want something decadent, don't deprive yourself- you're just setting yourself up for a binge later, and you'll feel bad mentally, and most likely overeat whatever you were craving in the first place. Ah, that demon food noise strikes again! Instead, go ahead and give in to your craving. Pick what you want, make sure it's what you really want, then have it, enjoy it, and make it count. Savor and enjoy it! Just balance out your other choices accordingly. This is actually a lot like Rule #1. They kind of go hand-in-hand.

Rule #3: Taste Everything, Eat Nothing. I thought this was a pretty interesting chapter. This rule encourages really "tasting" your food in terms of eating to feel "satisfied", not "full". To eat little bits of really great food that you enjoy. Also, the chapter talks about "switching lanes"- meaning to take a few bites of something you love, and then switch to a different taste so that your taste buds don't get bored. I confess, this is something I could work on. I notice that when I eat dinner, which usually consists of a sweet potato, a protein source like chicken or salmon, and a veggie, I notice that I tend to eat the veggie first, then the protein and a little of the sweet potato, but I leave most of the sweet potato for the end. I'm not sure why I do this- there's no reason or anything, although I think I like to leave most of the sweet potato until the end because it's my favorite part of the meal, haha. But it's something I could work on. I can see how my taste buds would want a little more excitement after ten bites of broccoli, LOL!

Rule #4: Pay Attention. Out of all the rules in this book, I loved this one the most, and it's the one I feel is the most important. This one focused on eating consciously, taking the time to chew and appreciate every bite, taking your time to eat and appreciate what you're putting into your body, etc. If you don't pay attention while you're eating, then your mind hasn't registered that you've eaten, and you won't feel mentally satisfied even if you're physically satiated. Make your food an "experience", take the time to appreciate your food, and don't multitask while eating (watching TV, reading, driving, using the computer, etc). And eat slowly! People eat way too quickly. I used to date a guy who would have his food downed before I even sat down to the table to eat,  not even kidding. It was appalling on many levels. Now, I've always been a slow eater. Seriously, I'd miss recess a lot as a kid because it took me so long to eat. It takes me about an hour to eat my lunch, and about 30-45 minutes to eat dinner usually. I've always been like this. Not that I've never eaten fast, obviously, but whenever I have, I've felt uncomfortably sick. I remember in high school, my Chemistry teacher told me that one day I'd consider that a "blessing", because I'd have really good metabolism as an adult. But also, I enjoy eating slowly, because I truly believe that eating is just as much an emotional experience as it is a physical one, and I enjoy eating foods that I take the time to prepare for myself, so I like to take the time to savor and appreciate it! But I do confess that I am guilty of multitasking while I eat. I like to read while I'm eating. I like to watch TV when I'm eating dinner. I usually eat up eating my preworkout snack in the car. I can certainly understand how multitasking takes away from the point of savoring and enjoying your food, but I LIKE to read and watch TV while I'm eating, and I figure, if I can do both at the same time, and I enjoy eating that way, I'll keep doing what makes me happy until it's not making me happy anymore, LOL. But if multitasking isn't your thing, and you are someone who really needs to focus just on the food and can't appreciate your meal while doing other things, this could be a helpful tool.

Rule #5: Downsize Now. This is pretty much what it sounds like- small portions of delicious food that you enjoy. And don't ever eat out of the bag- always put everything on a plate or a bowl. Truthfully, I feel this didn't really apply to me. I don't really go out to eat often, and when I do, it's places that are pretty portion-controlled, like sushi, or sandwiches, etc. I make all my meals at home for the most part- and I'm the one who's in control of the portion size and all that, so I didn't find this rule particularly applicable to me. But if you eat out a lot or are often in situations where you're not really able to figure out portions, this could be a good rule for you. Oh, and I never eat out of a bag- I put everything on a plate or a bowl, which I'm sure my roommate just loves since it means we have to run the dishwasher every other night, LOL- but I'm a big believer in that rule. Eating out of a bag isn't fun! I like to put everything on a pretty plate or blog. Why not? It's more fun that way. And food should be fun, always!   ;-D

Rule #6: Cancel Your Membership to the Clean Plate Club. Again, exactly what it sounds like- don't feel obligated to eat everything on your plate. Eat until you're satisfied. If there's anything left over, save it for later. This is a good tip if you eat at restaurants a lot, because their portions are crazy ridiculous. But, again, I rarely eat out, and when I do, it's stuff that's pretty portion-controlled. But I will confess that I am a member of the Clean Plate Club. Even at restaurants, I always tend to want to eat the whole thing, no matter what. And I usually do! I guess I figure, I'm paying for it, and I am not big on leftovers in general- they never taste the same to me- so I feel compelled to finish it. I've always been guilty of this one. It's something I could work on the next time I'm in this situation. But, again, since I eat at home most of the time, I'm in charge of the portions, and I portion stuff out, so I will finish off my whole meal and not care. I'm not going to leave, like, five bites of chicken on my plate- I figure, I might as well finish it off! Haha. A good rule, but probably not one I'll practice unless I'm served some crazy-ass portion of something the next time I'm at a restaurant.

Rule #7: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself. This rule encourages you to eat "real food", and not fake, processed foods. Your body and your mind will not be satisfied. We weren't built to eat fat-free cheese, kids. We just weren't. Eat a small portion of the real thing and you will feel much more satisfied on many levels. I like this rule and already follow it. This rule also talks about emotional eating and bingeing. I'm also really lucky in the sense that I have honestly never binged. You might not believe me, but it's true. I've never been a binge-eater. I'm someone who goes the other way- when I'm sad, upset, mad, stressed, I have no appetite at all. I've never been an emotional eater- my negative emotions tend to suppress my appetite. But I know that's really uncommon, and a lot of women struggle with emotional eating and bingeing, and so if you are one of them, this is a good chapter.

Rule #8: Know Thyself. This chapter focused on surrounding yourself with positive energy and influences, getting to know who you really are and what you really want out of life. That, in turn, will help you know your hunger. I liked this rule. Be friends with yourself!

Rule #9: Get Real. Eat real food, avoid packaged and processed foods whenever possible, care about what you eat, and eat high-volume "real" food- fruit, veggies, whole-grain pastas and cereals, beans, etc. Again, a rule I already follow. I'm real!  :-D

Rule #10:  Be Good To Yourself. I think I liked this rule the best. None of the other rules will ever work if you are not kind to yourself. Love yourself and treat yourself. I really try to be good to myself, but like most people, I know I could do a better job. I'm working on it.  :-)


So I really liked the rules. And I really liked the weekly "guidelines" that helped walk you through the different choices you could make based on your wants and needs and tastes. But then I got to Bethenny's food diary... and I was confused. For example, dinner one night was one glass of wine, a small crabcake, and the cheese and sauce off a soggy piece of pizza (she says the crust was "not worth eating"). Um, WHAT? Okay, this dinner would leave me completely unsatisfied physically and mentally. Where's the food??? Where are those fruits and veggies and whole grains she mentioned earlier? Personally, I'd rather have a real meal than four bites of fried food and liquor! But if that's what she wanted, then hey, great. She also says it's okay to skip a meal if you're not hungry for one- while she doesn't encourage it, she says if you're not hungry, don't eat. I do not endorse this idea.  I strongly oppose meal-skipping. It's bad for your body, bad for your metabolism, and could potentially set you up to overeat later. I eat three meals and two snacks a day, whether I'm hungry or not. I know my body well enough to know it needs to eat at least that often. While I would never tell anyone else how to live their life, I would never, ever encourage anyone to skip a meal. If you are not a breakfast person- the most skipped-over meal of the day, and ironically, the most important- make yourself a smoothie, have some yogurt, sip one of those Carnation Instant Breakfasts, something, anything. I couldn't believe she skipped meals sometimes! And some of her choices were just bizarre... but I guess that was the point. She made the choices she wanted and balanced her choices accordingly.

I don't know... my take on it is, I liked the rules, but I didn't think she really practiced what she preached in the end. She should have picked a different week to journal, haha. Her meals seemed really low in calories, vitamins/nutrients, fruits and veggies (but plentiful in alcohol... guess she wanted to save her calories for drinks, haha!). I'm glad I read this book, I definitely learned some things I want to incorporate into my own eating lifestyle and food choices, but let's just say I'm glad I borrowed this book from the library and that I didn't buy it.

So there's the review. I hope it was worth the wait. If you felt it wasn't, then I'm sorry I wasted your precious time.   :-P

Speaking of time, it's time for me to call it a night. Until we meet again, friends!

1 comment:

itsawrapteacher said...

Friday is jeans day at our work and nobody takes advantage of it either.

The book was really interesting to me as well. I definitely need to work on rule #4. I have to be reading or watching TV while eating. It's too creepy not to be doing something especially if I'm by myself.