I have a friend who seems to be what I call “naturally slim”. When she’s sitting across the table I feel it’s like nature’s unfairness staring me right in the face. Nature says: “See, this could have been you. But someone else won the genetic lottery jackpot.”
She doesn’t order skinny lattes. She doesn’t skip desserts.
Needless to say, I wanted to know her secret.
She said she’d tell me, but that it would be “much less exciting than you think!”. I was leaning forward, holding my breath:
You can eat everything you want, as long as you truly enjoy your food.
I sank back into my chair, somewhat deflated. Really? That was it?
She just added three words:
Think about it.
I did, and realised what she said was much more profound than it seemed at first. Did I truly enjoy that first bite of chocolate cake? Hell, yes! Did I enjoy the second or even third piece of cake? No. The first few bites are marvellous. Everything after that is nothing but guilt-ridden, compulsive eating driven by the sugar high. It’s not enjoyable. It’s pure addiction, followed by intense guilt. Guilt so intense, it completely wipes out the initial pleasure.
This reminded me of something my husband shared with me at the very beginning of our relationship. He’s from France and of course I had to try to find out why French women (who seem to be eating absolutely everything!) are so incredibly slim. He replied: “Yes, they eat everything. But only a little bit of everything. Too much of a good thing spoils it.” Now I understood how the concept of 13 (yes, thirteen) desserts for Christmas worked: You shared them around, and everybody just had one teaspoon. One of them could be nuts, or grapes – so you’d have one each.
Some French women apparently cut down on their main course just to fit in a few spoons of dessert. It makes sense, no? If you are full before the dessert arrives, you can’t truly enjoy it.
So this Christmas, I’ll be doing just that: Eating just until the point where I notice that I don’t fully enjoy my food any longer. And being “allowed” everything suddenly makes the unhealthy options (no longer the “forbidden foods”) much less attractive.
This also reminded me of something I had read in one of the Dalai Lama’s books. He says that something is only inherently good for us if we can increase its quantity without it turning into something harmful.
Love vs. chocolate cake, for example 🙂
I hope you truly enjoy this Christmas, in the midst of your loved ones,