Thursday, October 17, 2013

On diets and discipline

I gave up my daily strict diet for a long time. Not because of laziness or because I had some sudden health problems, but because I wanted to have the pleasure of tasting those foods that I forbade myself to eat for more than a decade. After all, I wanted to improve my cooking skills and one of my biggest challenges was to discover how to match different food and tastes. With a very limited list of foods on the daily menu, I was unable to do it so I put my diet on hold for a while. At the same time, I continued with exercise, the interdictio
n of eating after 7pm and so on. But I will approach those aspects on a different post. For now, I want to recall my memories of the diet years.

Teenager temptations

As many teenagers, I started to carefully watch my weight when I was 16. Most probably, today girls start around 14 (hope not earlier). I was not fat or overweight according to the general standards, but I was allergic and without a clear daily eating plan. The life was hectic; we, the kids were mostly left on our own, with busy parents working hard for allowing us the best education they were not able to have for themselves. 
Once the week we had the family meal with some diversity of foods on the table, but for the rest of the week, our dining times were rarely matching. I was enjoying a lot of freedom to wander in the city or to read till late in the night but the food was never important enough to make me think more than in terms of nourishment. I was eating when hungry and when hungry, needed to see what is available in the fridge. And the choices were usually limited, but we had a healthy bunch of milk, eggs, veggies and fruits. 

My diet plans

My diet plans were an attempt to avoid the frequent allergies that were turning very dangerous sometimes, plus to keep myself fit as a good looking girl. I did not have at the time too many resources in order to organize my eating habits (no Internet or glossy magazines lecturing about it or even products mentioning the level of fat). But I knew that too much oil is not healthy, and chocolate is bad, and wheat can create weight problems. I ended up eating a lot of tomatoes, a glass of milk, and a lot of black bread per day. Apples were my favourite sweets, with some melon or peaches or apricots. Sweets and pastry in general were forbidden. My 'luck' was that my diet plans were never took too seriously in the family and rather considered a typical outburst of the age. 10 years after, I was still eating maximum twice the day, with a generous breakfast limited to: black bread, eggs, tomatoes and maybe some very low fat cheese. 
I remember that it was not very easy at the beginning, but I succeeded to plan everything carefully with a discipline that helped me later to have a good time management and an almost perfect career organization and a very successful writing time. I added to the diet a very clear set of exercises in the morning, that I still practise from time to time, plus a walking of minimum 60 minutes. I never did a strict control of my weight, but I knew that I was close to the very skinny ideal. Nothing worried me and the fact that I eliminated the allergies from my life for a long time - later on I discovered that mostly, there are associated with immunity problems so food is not always their main cause. 

Lessons learned

Any mother coping with her girls' new sudden diet plans will hate me maybe for saying this, but honestly, I don't know where I would have been without my diet. Once I realized that I can discipline my stomach, I knew that I can achieve everything I realistically planned. I know now that it was not 100% normal, but for a while, eating was not my priority, unless for having enough strength to work, read and write. 
The same discipline helped me to keep my metabolism after little by little I extended the list of foods and meals I wanted to have back into my life. I still stop eating after 7pm during the week, and I eat when I am hungry. I am mostly interested in healthy recipes and salads and the sweet pastry is the experiment I try only once the week. 
As in the case of many things in life, I feel more free now than when I was a rebellious teenager. Plus, I have a nice blog where I can share recipes and food tips. 

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