Learning to Run after Running for a Year: The Clinic

ltr-2010After getting into running just over a year ago, I have finally decided to do a “Learn-to-Run” Clinic at Runner’s Choice, my favorite local running shop.  It might seem like an odd decision, given that I’ve already run a 5K race and had committed, in early winter, to train for a 10K with the “ease into 10K” app.

But I fell out of routine in February when harsh wind chills outside made me say, “forget this.” Since running inside on the treadmill was never what I had in mind, I just switched over to swimming for the rest of the winter. I ran only when the weather was favorable, and my standards for favorable weather kept getting higher and higher.

I figured that running with a group would be a good way to get on track. Both the 5K and 10K training groups were about to end, not to resume again until August.  Learn to Run was about to start. Since I’ve never really learned to run — I just went out and ran — and since I have hardly been running lately and, when I do, I’ve struggled to stick with it (taking “do less” to new minimums), starting at the beginning sounded pretty appealing to me.

The learn to run at Runner’s Choice has three levels, each with its own leader. Level 1 is for total beginners, people who have never run in any significant way. Even for me, that seemed too basic. Level 2 is also pretty basic, but requires you to run in week one for 10 minutes at a stretch, with a 5 minute warm up and cool down walk on either end.  Level 3 starts off with a 20 minute run. In my 10K training I was at 4 sets of 8 minutes each, with 1 minute of rest in between and a 5 minute warm up and cool down. 20 minutes struck me as too ambitious.  I chose Level 2.

Last week, the first session took place during a brief and welcome break in the weather — pouring rain just half an hour prior to the clinic, a hailstorm less than an hour after the end of the run. Each week starts off with a short talk, followed by the run at whichever level you’re in.  27 people showed up at the store, and I have to say that it felt good to be in the company of others, women and men of all ages, shapes, sizes, and physical abilities.

The first week’s talk was about goals and expectations.  We were asked to think about what we wanted out of the program. I had the gratifying experience of automatically going to performance goals. I have two specific goals for the next little while: (1) I want to be able to comfortably run for 30 minutes without needing to take a walk break and (2) I want to pick up my pace.  A third goal, not performance oriented, is that I want to get back into a routine. And a fourth goal is that I would like to meet one or two others to run with regularly.

The instructor explicitly said that it’s not likely that anyone will experience any noticeable weight loss during the duration of the 12-week course.  It was only when she said that that I realized my small victory: despite my disappointment at the bod pod just a couple of days prior, I never once considered weight loss or even fat loss as my goal for running.  That’s a huge step forward for me and tells me that I am successfully reconditioning my default ways of thinking about the role of these activities in my life.

By far the majority chose Level 1.  In my Level 2 group, there were just 6 of us plus the instructor.  We set out for a little warm-up walk and then some dynamic stretching in the park.  And then it was time to run. 10 minutes might not seem like a long time, but remember, I’ve been doing about 8 minutes and then taking a walk break. So it was 2 minutes longer than what I’m used to (to the extent that I’m used to anything at the moment, given that I’d backed off of my running routine so much).

The ten minutes flew by when I was running with the group. I ran alongside the instructor and one other woman, with an older and faster man running up ahead of us, and three other women falling into a slightly slower pace behind us. We ran at an easy pace, chatting the whole time. Before I knew it, we were ready for the cool down.

Here’s what I like about doing the Learn-to-Run:

1. I knew very well that I wasn’t the fastest runner on the road, but it was also gratifying to learn that I’m not the slowest either!  Nothing wrong with my pace even if my goal is to pick it up.

2. Going out with a group is more fun than I thought it would be. I’ve written before about my tendency to prefer going it alone. I like the meditative aspect of running or swimming alone. It allows me to get into my own rhythm and zone. But it’s not always like that, and running with others felt lighter, less serious, more enjoyable.

3. Having the clinic that night ensured that I would go. Once I commit to a program that involves showing up somewhere and doing it with at least one other person, I’m pretty reliable (even more so if I’ve paid for it, which I had — a bargain at $45).

4. Between weekly sessions we have homework, which is to get out at least two other times to do the same assignment. In my case that meant at least two other sessions of 5 minutes of walking, 10 minutes of running, and 5 minutes of walking. I changed it up a bit and did two rounds of the 10-minutes of running with a short walk break in between. Since our time increases each week, there is real incentive to do the homework. So the clinic has me re-committed to a routine after less than one week.

5. It’s in keeping with my “do less” approach.  Though I am starting out doing less, the way this program is set up I will be doing more than I’ve ever done before the end of it. By week 10, we will be running for 35 minutes in a row. That’s amazing!

6. I’m getting some good information about running from the short talks, and I now have experienced and knowledgeable instructors who I can go to when I have questions. Though I’ve been running for a year, I still feel like a novice. I think that’s precisely because I have had no instruction. I’m a workshoppy kind of person who likes classes and courses and clinics when I’m learning new things. Not sure why I’ve waited so long where running is concerned, but I do feel as if the session will build my confidence and help me determine reasonable performance goals.

7. They operate on the premise of gradual progression. Each week is a little bit more demanding than the week before, but not enormously so.  I find that when I am going out by myself, I can get stuck in a rut where I don’t progress at all, I just stick with what I’ve always done. I know full well that staying in my comfort zone isn’t going to get me anywhere, but I’m not always effective at keeping myself on task.

So that’s a bit about why I’m doing such a basic clinic and what I’m enjoying about it.  Most communities have learn-to-run and more advanced clinics for 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon training.  If you are just starting out or have aspirations to increase your distance and think the support and camaraderie of a group would help, I highly recommend that you explore the options in your community.

Related posts:

Come Join in the Fun

On Running and Riding with Friends

Things You Learn from Working out with Others

Working out Alone and with Others

Vegan, plant-based, plant strong? What’s in a name?

Times they are a changing for those of us moved by animal suffering, the environment, and human health to eat a diet more about plants and less about flesh.

It seems there are more and more high profile vegetarians and vegans (even Bill Clinton!). And recently, all of the conferences I’ve been to have had terrific vegan food. Indeed, the most recent conference had only vegetarian and vegan lunches and no one complained.

What’s interesting are the number of people who are happy to, or who are inclined to, eat vegan much or most of the time. More people seem to be following Michael Pollan’s advice: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Some people call this moderate approach to plant based living ,’flexitarianism.’ The Guardian asks isn’t that just vegetarianism with cheating.

Mark  Bittman in a New York Times column The Flexitarian: Healthy, Meet Delicious puts it this way:

“The moderate, conscious eater — the flexitarian — knows where the goal lies: a diet that’s higher in plants and lower in both animal products and hyperprocessed foods, the stuff that makes up something like three-quarters of what’s sold in supermarkets. That’s the kind of cooking and eating I’ll be exploring in this monthly column. (It’s also the topic of my new book, “VB6” — for vegan before 6 p.m.)”

There’s now a plethora of names for the way one eats and I’m interested here in the people who describe their diet, not as vegan, but instead as plant based or plant strong.

What’s the difference?

First, the latter two admit of degrees. I say I’m mostly vegan but people look at me oddly since veganism is an all or nothing thing. But if I say that saying I’m eating a primarily plant based diet my moderation makes sense. See my post Experiments in Moderation for an explanation of what I’m up to.

Second, there’s a political association with veganism and animal rights that I think some would rather distance themselves from. Although it’s not necessary–we might be moderates to minimize animal suffering for example–the focus of most plant strong people seems to be human health and the environment.

This Huffington Post piece Vegetarianism Cooking talks about the move away from lifestyle vegetarianism which apparently involves wearing birkenstocks and eating lentil loaf. It says that people can now choose cauliflower and kale without a side of ideology.

Third, ‘vegan’ is an identity term and the others aren’t. You’d describe yourself as a feminist, an athlete, and a vegan but the others need to be claimed in connection with the way one eats. “I am a vegan” versus “I eat a mostly plant based diet.’

Vegans aren’t also usually associated with athletic achievement and manliness, Thug Kitchen aside (though note they’re also plant based leaving full strength veganism to the girlfriends).

The most prominent plant based moderate is Lance Armstrong. Here’s Armstrong talking about his 2/3 vegan lifestyle.

Lance Armstrong In 2012: On Exercise, Diet And Why He Won’t Go Into Politics

LA: I started swimming again, and I swim with a guy [ed’s note: former triathlete Rip Esselstyn] who started basically a food program called the Engine 2 Diet, which is a plant-based, 100% natural, organic diet. His dad was a famous cardiologist who did Forks Over Knives, and was President Clinton’s doctor. Clinton has gone to a completely vegan diet and he’s essentially erased his heart disease.

It’s basically whole grains, different types of beans, kale salad with creative alternatives for dressing. They’ll bring out something that looks like a brownie, but it’s not a brownie … though it tastes a bit like a brownie. So I did it for one day, then two days. Then I branched out and started doing it at breakfast and lunch. I still insist that I get to do whatever I want for dinner. But it’s made a significant difference in just in a month.

HPC: What kind of difference?

LA: Energy level. Even when you’re training really hard, it’s normal that you would have certain things for lunch or certain things for breakfast, and then have this dip, or almost like a food coma … I don’t experience that anymore. My energy level has never been this consistent, and not just consistent, but high. I’m a big napper — I couldn’t even take a nap these days if I wanted to.

The other thing — I expected to get rid of that dip, but I didn’t expect the mental side of it, and the sharpness and the focus that I’ve noticed. And I was the biggest non-believer, I was like ‘whatever man’, and I’m in. I’m not doing dinners yet, but breakfast and lunch, I’m in.

HPC: Do you think it’s pretty sustainable?

LA: If I were to stay in Austin, it’s very sustainable. It’s harder when you get on the road, of course — I mean, you walk out that door and breakfast is sitting there. None of that [muffins, croissants, etc.] is on the Engine 2 diet. So it gets harder and harder. But you can even travel with stuff. Breakfast is not hard, you bring your cereal and then you go to the store and buy almond milk, you buy bananas to put on top of it. If you plan, then it’s possible.

Where do I fall? I’m still not sure. I think of myself as an aspiring vegan, someone who recognizes the force of the moral argument and is doing as much as I’m able. Better to be good most of the time than rotten all of the time, basically.

But by description of how I’m actually eating: I’m eating a primarily plant based diet.

And maybe that’s okay. My reasons for being a vegetarian at all aren’t about animal death. They’re about animal suffering. I’m mostly concerned with factory farming and unnecessary animal pain so maybe I can maintain my roughly 2/3 vegan diet while remaining true to those concerns. I’m not sure. I’m still thinking! I’m a philosopher after all.

What do I think of the move to ‘plant strong’ over ‘vegan’? Insofar as it seems to distance our diets from concern for animals, I’m not thrilled. If it results in less animals being raised in and killed in horrible conditions, I think it’s great. In the end, I’ll be happy with good results even if they don’t come about for reasons that I think are the right reasons. But that argument, between results and motives and their moral significance takes us right into the deep end of moral philosophy, so I’ll stop here and go enjoy my buckwheat waffles and green smoothie!

Plant Strong Resources:

Living Plant Strong

TheEngine2Diet

There’s electric bikes and there’s electric bikes: Why one kind of them is making me grouchy

I have a new pet peeve as a cyclist and it’s a switch from hating on cars and inconsiderate drivers. My new least favorite vehicle is the e-bike. I especially hate them on the bike path. The other day I saw one on the bike path towing another bike (the regular sort) with a rope between them across the path. I wasn’t thrilled when I wanted to pass and couldn’t because of the rope barrier.

To be clear, these aren’t your European electric assist bikes. Regular bikes with e-assist seem like a terrific idea. I had a friend in Canberra whose father got e-assist so he could keep riding into his 70s and still cope with the hills. I have another friend, in Germany, who commutes by bike and hates arriving sweaty and e-assist made that possible. But in these cases they’re riding regular bikes and most of the time aren’t using the motor.

The ones I hate are like bloated overgrown scooters on steroids with vestigial pedals. As far as I can tell no one actually uses the pedals. They’re just there to make the thing legally a bike. As the ad for e-bikes at a shop near my house says “Ride with no license, no insurance, and no registration.” Great. I know they are better for the environment than cars and for that I’m thankful.

Here’s the Ontario governments FAQ about e-bikes.

What do you think of them?

Against: No pedals? Get out of my bike lane

For: Please, stop hating on e-bikes

How many bikes is too many?

It’s spring finally, the season when a young (or not so young) woman’s heart turns to bicycles. That’s the way that saying goes isn’t it?

Cyclists all the know the formula for calculating how many bikes you need to own. It’s n + 1, of course, where n=the number of bikes you currently possess.

But my household has a different rule and unfortunately we’re maxed out on bicycles at the moment. We’ve set a household limit of fifteen (3 per person)  and I already own more than my fair share: road,  cyclocross, fixed gear road bike, mountain and track….

Since my partner and I are both cyclists we needed a limit because otherwise each time one of us would need a new bike, so too did the other, and so the bikes went forth and multiplied.

People with non cyclists as partners have the terrible task of having to argue for each new bike. For some excellent advice on argumentative technique see the Fat Cyclist’s column on how to justify your next bike.

I’ve also overflowed our outside bike cage (that’s where the “place de cyclistes” sign can be found, thanks Dave and Gillian!) and I keep my best bike in my office. I joke that the romance is over because it used to live in my bedroom but I’ve moved it to less intimate quarters.

And really, I don’t need a new bike. But my eye is taken with the girly cruiser bikes in pastel shades with baskets and bells that come out on warm days. They look suitable for wearing with sun dresses and riding to coffee shops and the market on sunny spring days. I know I’m in trouble when I start browsing Copenhagen Cycle Chic, a fashion blog featuring bikes.

Truth is though, I like speed. I know from past experience of renting cruiser bikes that I’ve tried hard to make them go fast. And I hate being passed. So for now I’ll just look and admire.

I do like cargo bikes though…

What kind of bike are you lusting after this spring? And how many bikes do you think is too many?

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What is a cruiser style bike? Here’s some examples:
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Thug Kitchen and bro nutrition

The Saveur’s best new food blog of 2013 is Thug Kitchen.

The blog’s tagline is “EAT LIKE YOU GIVE A FUCK.”

I’m amused by this twist on macho nutrition. I like that it’s not your usual manly foods. (See here and here for posts on food and masculinity.)

I’m going to write later about the language of “plant based” and “plant strong” versus “vegan.” What I like about it is that you can say you eat a “primarily plant based diet” and there’s no assumption you’re just a lousy vegan! Amber at Go Kaleo eats this way too. She writes:

“I live in a temperate climate with a year-round growing season that supports a rich and varied plant based diet, so that is what I eat. It is also how I enjoy eating, and it supports my value system of using the fewest resources possible to support my needs, so that there is more for everyone to thrive. These things are important to me. Others have different tastes and values and other climates support different food systems. There are some places on earth where animal foods require fewer resources to produce (or import) than plant foods; climates like that would more sustainably support an animal foods based diet.”

What I worry about it is the distancing oneself from vegan politics and the concern for animal welfare. But, as I said, more on that and the politics of “plant strong” later.

Back to Thug Kitchen, home of tasty plant based cooking, nutrition tips, and foul language.

From their FAQ:

“where the fuck am I?”
THUG KITCHEN, BITCH. THAT’S WHERE THE INTERNET BUS DRIVER JUST DROPPED YOUR SORRY ASS OFF. YOU’RE IN MY HOUSE. I’M GOING TO DROP SOME KNOWLEDGE ON YOUR ASS.

“what is thug kitchen?”
THIS SITE IS HERE TO HELP YOUR NARROW DIETARY MINDED ASS EXPLORE SOME FUCKING OPTIONS SO THAT YOU CAN LOOK AND FEEL LIKE A FUCKING CHAMP. PART OF WHAT WE ENJOY ABOUT TK IS HOW, HOPEFULLY, IT WILL GET READERS THINKING ABOUT WHAT KIND OF ADDITIONAL BEHAVIORS THEY ATTRIBUTE TO PEOPLE WHO TRY TO EAT HEALTHY. EVERYONE DESERVES TO FEEL A PART OF OUR COUNTRY’S PUSH TOWARD A HEALTHIER DIET, NOT JUST PEOPLE WITH DISPOSABLE INCOMES WHO SPEAK A CERTAIN WAY. WE AIM TO EDUCATE AS WELL AS ENTERTAIN, MOTHER FUCKER.

“are you vegan?”
NAW BUT MY DIET IS ALMOST COMPLETELY PLANT-BASED. MY GIRL IS VEGAN AS HELL AND I SUPPORT THAT SHIT.

THERE AIN’T NOTHING ZESTY ABOUT A DRIVE-THRU DIET. Kick those Dorito-dusted cheese ditches to the curb and park your ass in the kitchen.  You don’t need those tacos misérables, TK has your back.SWEET POTATO AND PINTO BEAN TACOS3 cups of cooked pinto beans (about 2-15 ounce cans)1 teaspoons of coconut or olive oil (whatever you already have)½ cup veggie broth or water2 teaspoons smoked paprika or chili powder2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses (this has a bunch of fucking iron in it and is near the maple syrup at the store)2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice2-3 garlic cloves 1 pound of sweet potatoes (this should be about 2 cups when you chop it all up)½ of a yellow onion1 teaspoon coconut or olive oilsalt to tastesoft corn tortillas*whatever toppings you got Warm the first teaspoon of oil in a medium pot. Add the beans, broth, smoked paprika, molasses, vinegar, and garlic. Get it to start bubbling slowly for about 5 minutes and then turn off the heat.Chop up the sweet potato and onion so they are about the size of a pinto bean so you’re not taking any confusing bites. Warm up the oil in a large skillet or big-ass pan and add the onion and sweet potato. Cook them until the onion is getting brown and the sweet potato softens up. Add the beans and whatever broth is still in that other pot you already forgot about. Cook this mixture on a medium heat until the potatoes are soft enough for you. This should take 5-8 minutes. If it starts to look dry, add some water. Add salt to taste but don’t go fucking crazy.I served my tacos topped with lime juice, shredded lettuce, radishes, white onion, green onions, and jalapenos but add the shit you like.Makes 8 tacos*to avoid GMO corn, buy organic

Reflections on Setbacks

Disappointment concept.I had a demoralizing experience at the bod pod earlier this week. The bod pod measures body composition (lean mass to fat ratio).  I went once before, in September.  And since getting leaner is one of the goals I have, the bod pod is a good way to get an objective measure on that.  Tuesday’s result: I’ve lost 2 pounds of lean mass and gained 4 pounds of fat since September.

I had some reservations about going to the bod pod at all. First, I’ve been following the intuitive eating recommendation of staying away from the scale. This has been a great freedom for me and has released me from years of obsession with food and weight. That alone is a great success for me, not one I will trade in, even for a few pounds.

Second, I know for a fact that I’ve fallen out of routine lately, with both my running and my weight training suffering for it.  Backing off of the weight training is likely a key explanation for my loss of lean mass.

Third, I don’t think I’m getting enough protein. As explained in my last post, I’m making an effort to get more.  That post yielded some good advice. I’m tracking protein for a little while anyway, until I get on track. I’ve got some distance to go. Yesterday I fell short of my 100 grams/day goal by 24 grams.

So I have the explanation for why the decline in lean mass and increase in fat.  Today I’m feeling okay about it but I have to say that on Tuesday and yesterday I felt pretty discouraged.  I remember that feeling from when I used to weigh myself regularly.  Given that I’ve fallen out of my routine, I probably didn’t need the bod pod to tell me that my lean mass hasn’t increased and that my fat has increased. In fact, that little voice in the back of my head was telling me to cancel the appointment.

The thing was all made worse by the fact that the bod pod guy assumed that I would feel discouraged and went into a long list of suggestions about what I should or could do about it.  These ranged from relatively sound advice about working with a sports nutritionist or following the Precision Nutrition plan, to eating all of my food within a six hour period each day between 4 p.m and 10 p.m. (!!).  I really just wanted to get out of there at that point, but he’s a nice man and I didn’t want to be rude. At the same time, I wasn’t seeking his input, just the results of the test.

I only enjoy wallowing in the negative for a short time.  So I spent that evening and yesterday feeling discouraged and demoralized, a little bit hopeless and a little bit helpless, frustrated and sorry for myself. I shared my tale of woe with Sam, who is always great at lending an empathetic ear and seeing the positive side of things.

What good can I glean from this setback, if that’s even what it is?  The first question is of course this: is doing a bod pod measurement a useful thing for me to do, given my aspirations to stick with intuitive eating?  I’m not so sure it is. I think for the time being I would do better not to monitor my “progress” in this manner, but instead to stick with a few performance goals that I can feel good about.

To that end, I’m getting back on track with my running now that the weather is a bit better. I start a clinic with a local running group this evening.  It’ll be my first experience running with people and I’m kind of excited about it.

The other issue is my resistance training.  I’m not pushing myself as hard as my trainer used to push me. That’s I guess the main reason we hire trainers, isn’t it? But I’m not interested (at the moment, anyway) in going back to the training studio.  It’s a lot of money and I have enough knowledge to figure out my own workouts. It’s the motivation factor that I need to get back.  I’ve got to mull that one over a bit. I could start training at the Y again. I have a membership already because of the pool, and I have fond memories of the camaraderie of the gym.  Maybe.  If I can’t get my home routine back on track over the month of May, then the Y is an option.

And then there’s the issue of what IS working. Sam reminded me that, for me, getting over the food obsession and letting go of the scale are significant changes.  The bod pod result made me question everything for a short time. I started to think that intuitive eating wasn’t “working.”  I even felt drawn to go on some sort of diet, but then remembered that diets don’t work. The fact is, intuitive eating is working just fine.  Other than that I now feel it’s time to focus a bit more on high protein choices, I’m doing well with the intuitive eating approach.

A brief reflection on “what went wrong” yields that the main issue hasn’t been food (other than that I could get more protein) but training.

Being fixated on the numbers that the bod pod gives me isn’t much different from fixating on the numbers on the scale.  I’ve learned that it’s really difficult for me to react well to a reading that isn’t as “good” as I wanted it to be.  Yes, it’s information, but is it the sort of information that I really need to have in order to achieve my fitness goals?  I’m not so sure about that.

Re-grouping, I plan to stick to my original commitments: running 3 x a week; resistance training 3 x a week; yoga 3 x a week; swimming 2 x a week; leaving the car at home more often, opting to walk or cycle instead.  That’s a good re-start.

Once I have the routine back in place, I can think about upping my performance goals.  I like the strategy of gradual progression, adding just a little bit each day or week.  For example, instead of swimming for 25 minutes, swim for 30; or make a few of the laps sprints. Instead of doing 20 kettlebell swings, do 22.  That sort of thing. Subject matter for a future blog post.

For now, I’ve got to be somewhere soon, and if I’m going to walk instead of drive, I need to hit the road!

[image from Bigstock]

Hack your nutrition

So if i trust my body, but not 100%, what can I do to steer me, in a non restrictive way, to better food choices?

I’m interested in hacks, that is, in quick and unexpected fixes for hard problems.

Mostly what I’m interested in are changes in environment that influence choice. Cass Sunstein in his book Nudge outlines a variety of ways in which structuring choice situations differently leads people to better choices (as judged by their own lights) without making rules that govern behavior. You can read about Sunstein’s libertarian paternalism here.

Here is a great example from that book, one which actually concerns nutritional choices. The study concerned people selecting food from a self serve cafeteria. The intervention was intended to get people to choose more fruits and vegetables without coercive measures. All that researchers did was change the order of the food being selected. Putting fruits and vegetables first meant that people chose them and left less room on their plates and trays for processed alternatives.

What changes in our lives can we make that are ‘nudge’ like? I’m not talking about restrictions. Calorie restricted diets don’t interest me and I’m not convinced they work. Instead, I’m interested in environmental approaches that change the choice scenario.

We were chatting about environmental changes lots at the implicit bias conference I was attending on the weekend. One slogan, used by a social psychologist, caught my ear: automate, don’t ruminate. Make good choices easy and automatic. Setting yourself up to think too much is more likely to lead to failure.

We know this of course from the literature on habit. I’ve written here about how good habits are key to change. So it’s not about harsh rules and struggles, deep thought and massive amounts of will power.

But what sorts of changes might we made regarding nutritional choices?

Precision Nutrition has a number of habits they encourage people to establish. Eating when hungry, eating slowly, eating to 80% full, eating protein, vegetables and healthy fats with every meal, choosing better carbs.

Like the cafeteria example, we might think in terms of eating veggies first. Some people recommend eating vegetable soup before each meal. That sounds tedious to me but I do eat raw chopped veggies before dinner on most days. I don’t eat standing up or while doing something else. Vegetables are an exception to that general rule.

I also try not to bring food into the house I don’t want to eat. John Berardi at PN urges people to clean house and get rid of food that they don’t want to eat. He jokingly says that if you bring food into your house odds are that sooner or later you or someone you love will eat it.

I agree with Tracy that there are no ‘evil’ foods but there are annoying foods that I inevitably eat more of than I would like. It’s not that they’re a great treat. I’m a big fan of delicious treats. These are foods I’d rather not eat but can’t resist if they’re there.

Tracy is skeptical about claims that we’re addicted to certain foods and I agree but at the same time there are foods that seem engineered to get me to eat more than I want.

There’s also a number of tools to help you eat more slowly. The the hapi fork isn’t for me but some people also have success slowing down by eating with their non dominant hand. Others use chopsticks, if that’s not familiar cutlery.

Why eat more slowly? It’s tied to the 80% idea. It takes awhile for our bodies to recognize how much we’ve eaten

Others like to eat using small plates and small forks. The small plates encourage us to take smaller servings and to feel like we’re eating more. The smaller forks just slow you down.

My family jokes about the American cutlery we bought. The spoons are enormous. No one wants to eat using the tablespoons and the teaspoons are just about the right size for cereal, etc.

Dish colours also make a difference in how much you eat. Aiming to eat less? Worst are dishes the same colour as the food you’re eating. Better are plates a different colour than your food. Best of all are blue plates, possibly because no food is that colour.

Read about blue plates here. I own blue plates but I didn’t buy them for that reason.

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The only restrictive rule I’m trying to adopt is limiting dessert to twice a week. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Do you have any nutritional hacks or tips that you like? Please share.

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