I’ve created a new term: Negative Metabolism*. Negative metabolism is that state where you gain weight simply by looking at food. This is my life. My old, super efficient, metabolism has moved on and it has been replaced by a new defective metabolism that either missed the briefing session or simply hasn’t understood what I’d like it to do. It’s simple. I want to eat things, such as carbohydrates, and have the resulting calories disappear without having ever been aware that they had been consumed. Just like I did in the old days – before I was 40.
I’m doing my part – I’ve got the consumption part down pat. It’s the miraculous disappearing calorie part that is not working. My metabolism is letting me down! The frightful reality is that people’s metabolism slows as we get older. The news is worse if you don’t exercise because the higher your body fat, the slower your metabolism (I read a great article on this, see my listed resources below). The bottom-line – unless I want to replace all of my clothes for larger ones, I’m going to need to get better at managing my diet… or exercise more… or both.
A quick survey of Gorgeous Knickers Facebook readers and my similarly aged friends found that very few of us is happy with our weight! I asked, “Are you happy with your weight?” and this comment from a reader sums it up “No but am doing something about it”. We are all using diet or exercise to actively manage our weight. Personally I struggle to get in enough exercise – but about twelve months ago I adopted the Dukan Diet. Don’t wince! There is a popular misconception that the Dukan Diet only includes meat. That’s really not true. In its pure form, as prescribed by Dr Dukan, the diet is nutritionally balanced and it doesn’t involve starvation. I’m passionate about both of those things! Prior to Dukan, about four years ago, I read French Women Don’t Get Fat. That was similarly brilliant – and surprisingly similar. Maybe it’s because both authors are French and so the diets are drawing from a similar cultural ethos?
The Dukan Diet, while being clear that you should never be hungry, does replace a lot of foods in your diet with low fat, low sugar alternatives. For example, artificial sugars replace natural sweeteners; low-fat yoghurt replaces full-fat varieties. A protein only day included in every week. The French Women Don’t Get Fat ‘diet’ encourages natural foods but with more strict portion control. You can eat chocolate and you can enjoy pastries at any time of the day. Multiple courses for dinner is OK too. Moderation is the key to success.
Neither of these diets has failed me, I just believe that the mid-life truth lies in between the two. I find that I revert to my own variant of these diets because it works better for me. Where I differ from the Dukan Diet is that I prefer to avoid additional processing to my foods. Reducing sugar and fat in your diet is a good idea but doing this to regular foods (such as making a low fat variant of a product like cream cheese) often leads to additional processing steps or chemical additives. I prefer to reduce sugar and fat by eating less of those foods. How I vary the French Diet is that I believe in eating my high-calorific treats only in the morning. I also struggle enormously to maintain a high level of self-control over a long period. I’ll be great for a week – then I’ll fall apart. So I cannot have multiple courses! I manage my behaviour by putting what I want to eat on one plate and then, that’s it! No more.
So here it is;
Gorgeous Knickers’ Diet Rules
Frenemies. These guys look like friends but believe me, they are not.
- BREAD is dietary suicide. If you must have it, eat it (subject to the wholemeal rule) at breakfast.
- PIZZA is not your friend. Sad, but true. You know this already, right? I’m sure I didn’t need to tell you…
- NEVER have dessert at night-time. NEVER EVER.
Sometime friends. Acquaintances?
- Have your CAKE and eat it too. Deprivation is cruel. Deprivation also makes a diet unsustainable. Eat chocolate, eat cake, fudge, lollies… – but only in the morning and preferably with breakfast (see my point about dessert with breakfast).
- Enjoy your WINE AFTER DINNER. Alcohol reduces inhibitions – especially the strong guard that you are trying to maintain over your self-control. A single glass of wine can release the nasty binge genie who is just waiting to be let loose. Second helpings, dessert, bread, pizza – I’ve run amock with all of the frenemies after a single glass of wine.
- WATER is your best friend.
- WHOLEMEAL everything. Unrefined everything. Unprocessed everything.
- PORTION CONTROL is your friend. This could also be called the NO second helpings rule. Once you have decided how much you should eat, then that’s it. No more. That way your brain, not your taste buds or anything else, is deciding how much you should eat.
- SIT DOWN to eat. This rule is a brilliant way of cutting out the naughty snacking that tempts me. Ever noticed how you tend to snack standing up? Often eating straight from the packet? Stop it!
- BIG BREAKFAST, no lunch. You can live without lunch, but you need a substantial breakfast. I have multiple courses for breakfast, including dessert. Then I drink, drink, drink so that I am not hungry. Nonetheless, I stop for a quick yoghurt and lemon tea around midday to make sure that I can make it to dinner. The yoghurt also ensures that I am getting enough calcium. Eating a sensible breakfast ensures a nice slow energy release that really and truly will take you through the day.
The Gorgeous Knickers Diet Rules Challenge!
Choose one thing to do that improves your diet. Drink water, cut-out bread. You choose.
I have half a slice of wholemeal, multi-grain toast with my breakfast omelette. That’s it. No more bread all day. The most effective thing that I did towards controlling my weight was to reduce the amount of bread that I eat. So that’s what I recommend that you do first, but it is up to you.
Tell me (comment below) if you are up for the challenge and what you are going to do!
French Women Don’t Get Fat has its own web-site. Click the book title to visit it. I still love this book. I expect that it would be beneficial to read it again. If you’ve read French Women Don’t Get Fat then you might see that “Gorgeous Knickers Diet Rules” are heavily influenced by the French philosophy. The author also advocates many other sensible things such as sleep! and building exercise into everything you do. For example walking up stairs, rather than taking elevators – walking to talk to your neighbour rather than SMS’ing them next door. Not that I’ve ever done that :).
The Dukan Diet also has its own official web-site. I think that the site has a lot of hype. You don’t need any of that. If you are interested in it then one book will help you. That’s it.
I enjoyed reading this article “Speed Up Your Metabolism at Midlife” on the site Midlife & Beyond. See the full article here .
*Actually, being perfectly honest, there are two non-medical references to the term “negative metabolism” term when I Google it. These are the links: