A civil engineering metaphor and Mireille Guiliano

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emmay
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A civil engineering metaphor and Mireille Guiliano

Post by emmay » Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:01 am

Concrete is solid and strong but it is inflexible, so concrete structures always develop cracks. That is why we put in control joints. Control joints are cut into the concrete at regular intervals so that, when the cracks form, they follow the joints in neat, regular lines instead of a random pattern.
I'm blabbing on about concrete because I thought is was a good metaphor for No S. N days are the solid and strong concrete and S days are the Control Joints, allowing for inevitable cracks in a controlled way.

The other thing I've noticed about No S this time around is that it allows me to apply other nutritional advice more effectively. For example, there is a lot of information out there about how to manage portion sizes. But, portion size advice is largely irrelevant if you meals are adrift on a sea of permasnacking and emotional eating. What does it matter if you reduce your plate size if you are eating a dozen snacks in addition to your meals?
In particular, I have been reading the advice of Mireille Guiliano, the author of 'French Women Don't Get Fat'. I don't believe the title but 'Some French Women Stay Slim While Eating Delicious Food in Moderate Amounts' may not have sold as many copies. Much of her advice is highly compatible with No S. She is an advocate of breakfast, lunch and dinner with no snacking in between.
Some of her ideas that have helped me are:
- An evening tisane or herbal tea. I like to settle down with a peppermint tea after the kitchen is all cleaned up and the kids are in bed.
- The 50 Percent Solution. This is especially helpful when confronted with a large portion. To apply the 50 Percent Solution, you eat half of your food then pause and ask yourself if you are content or if you wish to eat more. If you do want more, eat half of what is left and pause again. This way you don't polish off the whole plate without thinking.
- Quality over quantity. Fresh, seasonal produce cooked simply, flavoured with fresh herbs and citrus juice.
- Eating (S day) desert with a meal. Sugary food, by itself, between meals sets you on a blood sugar roller coaster and induces cravings. Mireille suggests eating your desert ( of course it is high quality, decadent yet small) as part of a meal so that the sugar is balanced by the protein and fat in the meal.

eschano
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Post by eschano » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:13 am

Hi Emmay,
I really enjoyed your metaphor about concrete, although I don't know anything about it (it's one of those everyday miracles to me). Also thanks for summarizing some of the ideas about slim french women's eating habits.
Very interesting.
eschano - Vanilla rocks!

July 2012- January 2016
Started again July 2018

pasofan
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Post by pasofan » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:36 pm

Very helpful -Thanks for posting!

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DaveMc
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Post by DaveMc » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:20 pm

I always enjoy a good civil engineering metaphor! Thanks for sharing.

emmay
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Post by emmay » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:43 pm

I'm glad the concrete metaphor was appreciated. After I posted it I had an awkward moment when I thought I might be the only person who could see an interesting relationship between concrete and dieting.

Nicest of the Damned
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Post by Nicest of the Damned » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:17 pm

emmay wrote:I'm glad the concrete metaphor was appreciated. After I posted it I had an awkward moment when I thought I might be the only person who could see an interesting relationship between concrete and dieting.
I love the concrete metaphor!

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DaveMc
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Post by DaveMc » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:13 am

I like concrete metaphors *and* abstract metaphors. :)

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Kimbo
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Post by Kimbo » Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:30 pm

Hi emmay,

Great post! :D I've read those books too, AND I lived in France for 6 months during college... so I can say I think the title should be, "French Women [Who Eat Traditionally] Don't Get Fat."

The reality (in 1991 when I was there -- I'm totally dating myself) was that one rarely saw an overweight French person. You also never see French women in sweats and sneakers. Sneakers are a dead giveaway that you're a tourist. In fact, white shoes of any kind. There is a formality about French society, as well as a number of other societal patterns, that underscore and support health - and pleasure. Both of which Americans pretty much fail at.

In France:

- Stores, offices, and everything except restaurants shut down from like 12-3 every day. They enjoy their food and their break in the work of the day.

- Everything closes, at the latest, 7pm. There is no late-night shopping or (until we brought McDonald's over there) late night eating. Evening is the time for family and friends.

- They take off pretty much the entire month of August (sometimes most of July, too) and go on holiday.

- Everything is fresh. Bread, meat, veggies, fruits. A supermarket will have, say, salted nuts and maybe packaged madeleines for aperitifs (light snacks with drinks) but there isn't snack food. Snacking doesn't exist.

- You *never* see people eating while walking, while driving. It isn't done. You sit and eat and you take your time about it.

I ate better than I've ever eaten in France. :D I also ate too many pastries. Because I was in college and I walked everywhere, it didn't catch up to me. :lol:
~*************~
Kim

SW 11/16 224
GW 130

wosnes
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Post by wosnes » Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:15 pm

I don't remember how I found this cookbook, but there are lots of relatively quick recipes for weeknight cooking and lots of interesting information about eating in France (and the US).

You might also enjoy her blog Chez Bonne Femme.

In the beginning she talks about having been an exchange student in France and thought the first dinner she shared with her host family was a celebratory dinner in her honor. But then the next meals came and she realized that they ate this way most evenings. It wasn't only the food, but also the time spent at the table.

As Kimbo mentions, I think the French have some habits we could benefit from incorporating into our lives.
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do. Not that the nature of the thing itself has changed but our power to do it is increased." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"You are what you eat -- so don't be Fast, Easy, Cheap or Fake."

emmay
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Post by emmay » Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:14 pm

Thanks for the information Kimbo and wosnes.
I love how No S has me eating in a more traditional way. So many cultures seem to have three meals and no snacking as the traditional eating pattern. I can think of France, Italy and Japan off the top of my head.

eschano
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Post by eschano » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:13 am

Just ordered the book :mrgreen:
eschano - Vanilla rocks!

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jw
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Post by jw » Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:18 pm

so glad this bumped up to the top -- I love this metaphor!
"The second you overcomplicate it is the second it becomes the thing for which it is a corrective." -- El Fug

wosnes
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Post by wosnes » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:40 pm

More and more I look at the way the French and Italians have traditionally dealt with food, the choosing, the cooking and the consuming and find much to emulate. I know this is true of other cultures, too, but it's the French and Italians that appeal to me most.

More and more the French, Italians and others are copying our ways of eating it it is unfortunate.
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do. Not that the nature of the thing itself has changed but our power to do it is increased." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"You are what you eat -- so don't be Fast, Easy, Cheap or Fake."

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