Get to work, bitch. (probably NSFW.)

Naturally Thin

by margo fontaine

Thorston (TK) on flickr

Tonight I had the most delicious martini that ever was.

I KNOW, I know. I should not be having ANY martini. But I’m on vacay, and just hear me out for a second.

As my airplane travel reading today, I chose Naturally Thin, by Bethenny Frankel. You may know her as the least offensive member of The Real Housewives of New York City, or from what was apparently a popular turn (that I never saw) on Martha Stewart: Apprentice. She is also a natural food chef, owner of BethennyBakes™, and writes a monthly column for Health magazine. I’m only on chapter 5, but already I highly recommend this book.

Frankel’s goal is to help change our habits and the way we think about food, “because that’s where your body starts—in your head.” She lays out 10 rules for getting and staying naturally thin, without a diet to dictate what you are allowed to eat, without measuring or counting, without all those “I hate myself, I am so fat” messages that go along with the whole dieting process:

1. Your diet is a bank account (it’s all about balance).
2. You can have it all, just not all at once (because it’s all about balance).
3. Taste everything, eat nothing (or really: OVEReat nothing).
4. Pay Attention.
5. Downsize Now!
6. Cancel your membership in the Clean Plate Club.
7. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
8. Know thyself.
9. Get real. (ie: not processed food.)
10. Good for you.

Some of these are more self-explanatory than others, and like I said, I’m only on #5. There is a lot worth saying about this book, but for this second, I’d like to focus on Rule #4: Pay Attention. This “rule” really encompasses all the rest of them, but especially the first 3, and as I’m sure you’ve surmised by now, it’s all about being mindful of what you put in your mouth. If you’re paying attention to anything other than what you are eating when you’re eating it (ie: television, internet, driving, working, another person), then you are much more likely to overeat, not feel satisfied, eat things you don’t really want, and more than anything else, not enjoy (or sometimes even notice) the thing you’re eating. (Voila: fat Americans.)

So, I’m dining alone in the hotel restaurant tonight, and what I really wanted was a gin martini. I ordered the shrimp and a glass of water, and I did my thing where I drink the water and change my path and try to determine if I *really* want the thing or just think I want it—and the hankering wasn’t going away. So I ordered the drink.

When it came, I didn’t slurp it up right away, because I was enjoying my dinner and enjoying reading this book (and still experiencing the high from the sprint-till-you-puke workout of earlier). I had just been reading about rule number 4, and I picked up the martini and had a sip and it was as if I’d never tasted Tangueray before and suddenly had a thousand extra taste buds. No lie.  I had this sort of love affair with this martini for about 45 minutes. It never got less delicious. It was never about getting intoxicated. It was truly a delicious, savory experience, and I suddenly really understood the term “empty calories,” because that was exactly the opposite of the experience I was having.  And now I really believe it’s the empty calories that cause the weight gain.

I’m not saying that everyone should go out and have as many drinks as they want so long as they “pay attention” to them.  I’m saying that because I chose to really experience what I was putting into my body, I enjoyed that one martini far more than I would have 3 glasses of wine and some chocolate cake.  I was so into that martini that as I was reading about a recipe for arugula salad*, I actually started to salivate (AFTER I was done with my meal, so I wasn’t hungry)—and I hate arugula!

So, this is my new thing: PAYING ATTENTION.  Obviously, I’m not going to just have martini’s every day.  But you know how much I like the booze.  And if paying attention to what I’m taking in means that, not only do I enjoy it 3 times more, but I need to have 3 times less of it?  That sounds like something worth trying to me.

More about this no diet diet plan later.  So far, I think she has a lot of good stuff to say and she says it well.  And, yeah, yeah, I’m laying off the booze.  Now that I really get what it means to enjoy a drink, I will never drink the same way again.

* One of the reasons I have so much good to say about this book is because it wasn’t until the 5th chapter of recipes that I saw something and did not immediately think “DELICIOUS!!!”  Even that recipe about something I don’t eat or like made me think, “Hm, well, OK, I’ll try that.”  And I am the most finicky eater you will ever meet.

The other reason I like Bethenny is for this:


4 Responses to “Naturally Thin”

  1. I know it’s stupid that I just posted this big boozey post after your “if it kills me” post, which is inspirational and amazing. I don’t think I explained it all that well, but it was really a big perspective shift for me. Not just in a gin-soaked way.


  2. What in the world are you apologizing for? I thought it was a brilliant post and I look forward to reading the book. Or just getting the Cliff Notes from you.

    But here’s the thing about alcohol: remember when I was on Jenny Craig before I got pregnant? I’d lose 1-2 pounds per week usually, but if I drank ANYTHING that week, I’d lose something like half a pound. It’s not fair and it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I saw it over and over again.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m still drinking here too and don’t expect much of a weight loss tomorrow which means I’m just wasting my fucking time week after week and not getting serious.

    When we look like Bethany we can drink all the martinis we want. But not until then.


  3. Yes, OK, I’m with you. I know I am milking this vacay thing, and it’s only putting me on the two steps back track. I can promise to cool it a bit and keep paying attention to what I ingest until I get home on Sunday. And then, I say we make a No Booze pact.


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