How to Love Food Yet Keep an Hour Glass Shape

I learned a long time ago, how to manage my weight while at the same time, being able to almost eat whatever I wanted, not feeling deprived or prevented from eating any certain food group.

My mother, when I was about 12, got me into my school’s track & field, solely for the purpose of learning how to effectively control my weight & shape via healthy exercise.  In our American culture, where fast food is everywhere and so tempting, and processed food makes up the bulk of our grocery markets, I’m so glad she had the whereabouts to teach me something that is now seen as drastic in order to stay in shape for life: exercise and eating generally healthy.

She told me that when practice was especially hard, to picture someone’s body I adored (Catherine Zeta-Jones became it for me 🙂 ), and know that shape was my prize.  Nevermind that she and I have completely different body types, it was such a great motivator – picturing the body I wanted, but then love of the sport took over, and I found myself genuinely enjoying running and racing hurdles.  That was basically the goal, for me to learn to appreciate and enjoy the feel of exercise and taking care of my body, as well as to understand the award and results for doing so.

Something I’ve seen rampant in our country is that exercise becomes some kind of idol, or center of our life.  For women in particular, don’t take exercise or weight lifting so seriously that you cross over to a masculine extreme.

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Female Masculinity…

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This is another beauty of the French woman… she still keeps her shape womanly and soft with a bit of lean muscle – she doesn’t lose her breast tissue in the pursuit of gaining strength that appears like a male torso.

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The French typically have a laid back view on beauty, exercise and eating, they aren’t trying too hard with it – a view we Americans would do very well to integrate into our mindset.  As far as beauty goes, it is a very relaxed approach almost sometimes a little unkempt, but always sexy in a very French way.  Most French girls don’t even own a brush!  When I was young, and even now, I didn’t and don’t actually brush my hair, and I have one hair brush that I never ever use packed away in the storage under our sink.  I comb it when its detangled and wet, but never brush it out.

American women approach exercise out of fear and with great stress, leading most to give up because they’re already overweight and don’t see results fast enough to keep their motivation.  We typically are found going after workouts with too great an ambition – after a New Year’s declaration or seeing ourselves in reality in our social media pictures.  Instead of a steady, peaceful pursuit of health, it becomes a stressful chore to add to our to-do list – workout 3x per week… or else!  You can’t lose weight when stressed and under such pressure, but you can easily lose your motivation and perspective on life and its pleasures.

Americans tend to be at both ends of the extreme – either never exercising or exercising being their life center where they literally run around all day in work out clothes (guilty to some degree, at least with the workout attire).  The French only really wear their workout clothes when going to the gym or when actually working out.

Another thing I’ve realized is that Americans work out from the anxiety and pressure to be thin. The French exercise from the desire and pleasure to be thin… one is forced, the other is a natural, peaceful habit.

There are very few overweight women in France, I’m sure you’ve heard that cliche.  Its true for the most part.  When they start to feel their clothes getting tight, they up their daily exercise by simply taking the stairs, walking extra in their daily routine, and determinedly, eating less or avoiding dessert for awhile.

A word about dessert.

When the French eat something decadent, they try to avoid cheap imitations or processed and packaged sweets.  It just isn’t worth it to them, they value dessert more than that.  All those empty calories for something that doesn’t even taste that great compared to the real, homemade/handmade, exquisite little pastry or sweet, it just isn’t worth it.  As a result, because the dessert is heavier or more rich in taste, they naturally eat a lot less or they begin to feel sick (as it should be when one overeats).  Only one dessert a day is considered enough, and it is enough because it meets a very real need for the craving of deliciousness and pleasure, while at the same time, being satisfying enough that you don’t even think about eating more of it.  The French don’t deprive themselves by sticking to strange and restrictive diets that produce temporary results at best.  They don’t really do diets at all, but approach food as a pleasure to be enjoyed.

‘Je deprime donc je chocolate.’

“When I’m down, I chocolate.”

Refuse to buy packaged sweets if you can, we only do so extremely rarely, like if they are on an amazing deal and I get them for free.  Last week, I actually did obtain a box of Hostess Cupcakes, the first I’ve bought probably ever, but it was only because they were part of a “meal deal” where my buying ham & cheese gave me the cupcakes for free.  I already needed the deli meat and cheese, but the added free fattening desserts were a treat.  My son was delighted, but he understands we only do that for rare occasions… packaged sweets like that are usually never in my pantry.  Go figure in America they tempt you with buying the things you actually need (protein meats and cheese) and give you their packaged crap for free to try to get you addicted.  If you never usually buy them, they’re never a real temptation.

I’ve never read the book, French Women Don’t Get Fat, by Mireille Guiliano, but I’ve heard great things about it, and the few things I have read fit right in line with everything I’m telling you in this post.  A quote from Mireille perfectly describes the difference in the American stressful mindset of food, versus the relaxed French perspective,

“French women think about good things to eat;

American women typically worry about bad things to eat.”

The French eat carbs… but don’t overeat or stress.  I couldn’t find any studies in particular, however, I would guess that the cortisol levels in American women vs French women is much higher, as is the newly medical term, The Hurried Woman Syndrome.  American women push themselves, constantly trying to be more competitive, to be perfectionists, to be the Super Mom… aggressive, successful, and in general, more masculine in nature.  Compared to the laid back approach of the parenting style and life of the French woman, the American woman is far more stressed and more than likely at risk to use pharmaceutical drugs in order to achieve peace of mind about her life.  This has even been noted as a reason why French women age better than American women, almost seeming to never appear old.  Yes, they take care of their skin immaculately and admirably, but it stems from a no-nonsense view of stress, as well as valuing their sleep each night (getting 8.5 hours compared to the American 6.5) so that cortisol levels don’t build up over extended periods of time.

They also have a natural awareness of calorie intake – if they eat something full of carbs they eat something light later, if they eat a dessert that was a lot of calories or particularly heavy, they modify their diet the next day to balance it out.

A few things to remember in starting the Fall off right:

  • Potion size difference… always remember that ours in America, is out of proportion.  Never finish all a restaurant gives you to eat, eat 1/4 to 1/2 and save the rest.
  • Eat an incredible breakfast.
  • Eating slower… actually enjoy the eating experience as a pleasure – taste and love the food you eat
  • Only eat really good food – avoid the empty carbs and sugars and processed crap of packaged foods as much as you can.
  • Cook for yourself!  Learn to LOVE to cook and bake your own treats… it will give you an appreciation of the process and art of food.
  • Eat a little dark chocolate everyday, never deprive yourself of chocolate.  As a woman, this is a sin.
  • Don’t be afraid to drink a little wine – I usually do in the Fall and Winter, and then for some reason (maybe the extreme heat here in Texas) I abstain pretty well in the Spring and Summer.
  •  Joie de Vivre!  Embrace the exuberant enjoyment of life!
  • Have healthy snacks always available, especially fruit, plain greek yogurt (add your own sugar) and cheese.
  • Stay away from diet foods, sugar free foods, sodas (at all costs).  We drink sodas rarely, adding ice into a soda is a great trick to water it down, making it actually healthier in albeit, a small way.

“Here is what I have seen to be good: it is appropriate to eat, drink, and experience good in all the labor one does under the sun during the few days of his life God has given him, because that is his reward.  God has also given riches and wealth to every man, and He has allowed him to enjoy them, take his reward, and rejoice in his labor.  This is a gift of God, for he does not often consider the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with the joy of his heart.

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

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So I always thought I was a cat person.  I had no idea dogs – especially puppies – were such wonderful creatures.  I had a dog growing up but since we lived in the country, I spent very little time with her, we never trained her, so she was pretty wild and independent.  We never had a real bond between us… she wasn’t an inside dog, and I never played with her outside very much.  Maybe it started with that little dachshund making it’s way into our garage and us keeping it a few days, trying to return it to whoever lost it.  It was so sweet – so different from a cat – I couldn’t get over it.  No one in the neighborhood claimed her, but she ended up being wanted by an awesome lady who works with my husband!

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But this dog… this little dal… is soooooo sweet.  He has become my new best friend – seriously!

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He goes everywhere with us… loves kids (chases little kids though because they run away… lol must work on that).  He’s friendly!!!  Wants to please!!!!  And oh-so beautiful.

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Healthy & Loaded Spaghetti Carbonara

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Our family loves a good, hearty Italian dish, and this is a modified form of the delicious Spaghetti Carbonara I came up with based on whatever leftovers we had on hand this week.  Because we’re big on eating protein in our foods, I added in some cooked chopped chicken (2 breasts boiled and chopped) I had done earlier in the day, the traditional recipe only uses chopped pancetta (a pork product very similar to bacon).  We never typically have real bacon or pork products on hand, however we use different kinds of sausage to flavor meals fairly regularly, and this was the perfect time to use some beef sausage to capture that intense, aromatic and spicy flavor to go with the sauce.

Traditional Carbonara doesn’t use any kind of cream base sauce, however, I find that whipping up a quick white sauce- made from flour, butter, and milk to be super easy and healthier than the typical cream cheese or other cream based sauces used in Chicken Alfredo or restaurant Carbonaras.  I used to make this simple sauce when we were students, not only is it far healthier than using heavy cream or cream cheese, its also more cost efficient.

It’s so rustic, and one usually always has on hand flour, milk, and butter – making it a quick solution without an extra run to the store.

Boil a package (1 lb) of spaghetti, while waiting for it to cook, make the simple white sauce if you want a creamier base for your Spaghetti Carbonara without the extra calories of real cream or cream cheese.  Traditional Spaghetti Carbonara has no cream sauce, if you desire to cook it that way, skip to egg picture.

Healthy White Cream Sauce – Gravy

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Use 3/4 stick butter, or half a cup of margarine, in a pan on medium heat – melt down until in liquid form.  Add 1/2 cup flour, mix together to form a wet, clumpy mixture.  Take OFF heat.

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Add in 1 cup cold milk, and 1 1/2 cups cold water, put back on heat and whisk the mixture until its incorporated into the milk and water to form a smooth, white cream.  Let cook on heat for 5 minutes, slowly stirring every now and then, sauce will thicken nicely.

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I used fresh basil and oregano from our garden, along with some fine garlic to give the sauce flavor.  Add in 1 tsp of kosher salt along with crushed black pepper (1 tsp or to taste).

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Use 2 eggs (or 4 if you’re omitting the white sauce), beat until pale yellow.  Once spaghetti is cooked, pour eggs over drained, hot spaghetti, stirring quickly.  The heat from the spaghetti cooks the eggs and creates a unique texture over the noodles.  Incorporate as much freshly grated Parmesan cheese as you’d like (typically 1/2 a cup to 1 cup).

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This is what it looks like with just the eggs cooked onto the hot noodles (below).

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This is what it looks like when the cream is poured over the egg and cheese mixture (below).  We like it to be creamier this way.

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I briefly cooked (reheated) the meats in the pan and then added them into the spaghetti.  This would be a great time to add in chopped onions, mushrooms, chives or extras you’d like in your dish!

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So there you have it… a healthier version of Spaghetti Carbonara, loaded with chicken, beef sausage, and creamy white sauce based on pantry or fridge leftovers.

Extras you might love to try:

From the Real Italian Foodies, a adorable couple who have an Italian restaurant in Limerick specialising in simple authentic Italian food, and also have a range of fresh Italian pasta sauces under the Real Italian Foodie brand

From  Johnney’s version – not as traditional, but a great alternative and presented in such a manly way….

Inspiration

Einstein-Intuitive-1024x819Intuition is something that has always inspired me – the ability to understand something, or have perception of truth or fact without any experience or reasoning process (according to dictionary.reference.com).  It seems that we value rationality more than intuitive ways of thinking, and maybe that is because rational thinking is easily qualified and proven to work in most cases.  Thinking irrationally is surely not something that is admired or to be modeled… but what if intuitive thinking is really necessary for a fuller, deeper life?

What if paying attention to your inner feelings and inhibitions can actually lead you in the right direction after-all?

I knew a man who was writing a book on Fear, and how dangerous it can be to ignore those feelings you get that warn you something bad could happen.  He was essentially talking about intuition.  The insight you feel when there could be danger, he posed that it could actually save your life to pay attention to your inner feelings considering fear, and he had many personal crime-related stories to include in it.  He thought fear was a God-given insight intended to protect when otherwise, we wouldn’t have a clue what was going to happen if we were simply thinking rationally, or relying soley on rationality.

Maybe rational thinking can come from deep reflection on intuition, many people allow their thoughts to be directed by the mystery of the unconscious when they get in touch with it by journaling things that come to mind, having moments of quiet where they focus on their breathing, or simply being able to access peace.  Before I sound like a total hippie, you can’t always pay attention to dreams and inner thoughts that really are irrational or wrong.  Your subconscious makes raw decisions and interpretations all the time, with little evidence to go on, and although these can definitely be helpful in giving insight, they can also be purely inconsequential.  The subconscious is a tool of sorts to be used, rather than the complete innate source of wisdom.  The subconscious really can get things wrong or twisted, however there are times when it can be a window into perception!

Some think that both the ability to think rationality and intuitively are both gifts, others, like Einstein, thought the true value was found in intuitive thinking.

There is one thing I definitely know for certain, creativity (especially in my experience) comes from intuition… rationality is the tailoring of that creativity into something that is workable, but it is most certainly not what drives the creation.

 

 

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Ambiance is Addicting

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So I’ve been transforming our back office/storage room in the house into a studio where I’ve been making clothes.  The picture above is of a kitchen, obviously, but it’s ambiance is somewhat what I want to capture eventually in my work studio.  I would never normally paint the walls any sort of pink, but for creative girlish & feminine clothing, it gives the right sort of ambiance.

Think of this as a virtual mood board.  ❤

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qphknagXqA

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Inspiration

This past Wednesday was my 6 month anniversary of blogging daily during the week… it has been a great creative outlet, and what started as a way to get my thoughts in order myself on topics like these, has turned into something very different.  I started it as purely just a way to get thoughts out – not as a way to give advice on anything – but as a resource to myself, to remind myself of these truths & realities in life.

The mass majority of people who blog seem to say that it’s near impossible to blog daily – how do you keep up with inspiration?  Wouldn’t it feel forced or inauthentic?  For me, inspiration comes all the time, anywhere I am… so I literally have to carry a journal with me at all times in order to capture the thought for later use in a post.

If I didn’t create posts about these ideas in my head, it’d be a waste of creativity,

a waste of this inspiration that comes to me.

It came to me for a reason, and creativity never used

is a sad existence.

I wanted to let you Readers into my dashboard so to speak, for a blog that started out as my own journal, it’s definitely come a very long way.

Number of Followers:  263 Followers

Number of Posts:  171 Posts

Number of Comments:  423 Comments

Number of Site Views:  4,585 Views

Awards awarded from other WordPress Bloggers/Readers: 4,  The Sunshine Award, The Liebster Award for up-and-coming bloggers, The Shauny Award for Blogging Excellence, and The Howler Award

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I love this one

 

A few comments I’ve loved from readers:

“I really appreciate this article! Although I am only 20, I got out of a 4 year relationship 1 year ago. But, the growth I have experienced being single is TREMENDOUS. It was like becoming single was the catalyst I needed to ignite my pursuit of my dreams and passions and development as a woman. I completely agree the single life is not the time to wait around. It’s the perfect time to be selfish and seize every opportunity.”  Posted on Single Women… Be Radiant & Happy

 

“Thanks for your marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.  I will be sure to bookmark your blog and may come back someday. I want to encourage you continue your great work, have a nice evening!”  Posted on an Inspiration post

 

“I’ve seen many ‘nice’ men. And too many con-men. Actually, I’ve seen the whole range (and their women). I remember Errol Flynn’s advice to young men—

“Treat a duchess like a whore … and a whore like a duchess”

—and sometimes he was right. Some of the con-men types followed the ‘four-F’ formula to the very letter (don’t ask) and left trails of broken hearts. I never could … was I too ‘nice’? I’d rather go without than make (or imply) false promises, I even now wear my heart on my sleeve and as best I can keep my word.
I think I can let ol’ Willie Shakespeare sum it up—

This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

—and for any feminists out there: that final ‘man’ embraces all women too …”  Posted on Single: Women Don’t Want Nice Men

 

“I would like to say I love your blog and the wonderful and beautiful things you share as well as the inspiration and smiles you bring in doing so! Thank you for being you and I hope even if you do not accept awards you will accept the sentiment expressed as I honor you with one. There is no prize that comes with the award other than my appreciation and being grateful you are part of our world and making a difference by sharing in such a positive way…
I have posted the award and link to it here I hope you will accept it or at least the sentiment behind it!

With love,
Joe”  Posted on Spiritual Growth

 

““”Taking care of your appearance, exercising and making sure you look your best as a woman is not selfish, in fact, if you’re married, it’s selfish not to.””

This is so important. How many women complain that their husband swivels his head 360 to check out the hottie? How many of those women have let themselves get fat? Sure, everyone ages. But getting older does not automatically come with extra pounds.

I wonder how many of the wives that say “he should love me for who I am” would tolerate a husband who decided that going to work was just too hard. She should love me for who I am. Why do I have to earn a living and pay the bills?

I would add men’s porn use to this discussion. How many wives have decided that they just can’t be bothered to have sex w/ their hubs, but will complain that he uses porn?

You have a very solid understanding of what men care about. I predict a long mariage for you.”  Posted on Men Need an Attractive Wife

 

“And your focus was well timed for me. This is what I’m cultivating in my life, knowing and expressing my true feminine qualities. I’d miss-learned and misapplied and arrived at a moment in my life with a fine mess, but I’m learning and realizing it was never something I didn’t know, it was just buried.

Your words give my faith something tangible which gives me greater faith.”  Posted on The Incredible Power Women Have Over Men

 

“Well timed post. Had a frustrating conversation with a friend yesterday. I knew I was being a bit of an ass, as was he, and though I endeavor not to be, it’s clear I’m still a work in progress.

I was tired and frustrated with myself, but woke with my good intentions.

And then you posted this and I got to read it, served it up with my morning coffee, and I can now have it as clear intentions for the day. This makes my work of being a better person is easier.”  Posted on How Do You Speak in Truth w/o Provoking People?

 

So if you’re thinking about blogging just for fun, be prepared… you might get in to something that sort of takes it’s own flight. 

Creativity expressed has a way of touching people… you never know who will be reading your words or how they will affect them in their own personal journey.

Happy Reading & remember to use your creativity!!!

Inspiration

5 Beautiful Ideas:

1)  A beautiful Blue Blossom Turban Headband (Anthropologie.com)

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 2) This Losin Sugar & Creamer (Anthropologie.com)

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3) Using mirrors as mock windows to reflect more light into a room (Elledecoration.co.za)

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4) Embellishing simple things like these Damselfly Hair Clips (Anthropologie.com)

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5) Great quotes from start up online businesses about making a small business actually work in the longrun (GOOP.com)

 “Solving problems. Start with solving a problem instead of having a technology and then searching for problems it might solve. When you create a problem driven business your roadmap dictates itself.” Instagram

Building only what you need to prove that you can succeedCreate the minimum you can in order to test the hypothesis of whether your business will succeed or not. Polish, and bells & whistles are great, but if you focus on answering whether your fundamental assumptions are correct, you’ll be much better off in the long run.” Instagram

Failure is part of the process – In many ways, you should fail your way to success.

Nobody gets it right the first time, so fail quickly and fail often and learn from each of the steps in order to create a winning strategy.” Instagram

Do what you love. If you enjoy what you’re doing, it won’t feel like work and you are inherently more likely to do well.” Zagat

Don’t quit your day (or night) job. Having a steady income is helpful so you’re not totally dependent on the new project.” Zagat

Real commitment, and patience. I think specifically with internet companies and the dramatic highs and lows we’ve seen in the industry over the last decade, we (myself, our two founders, and our creative director) were sort of conditioned to expect extreme success or failure really quickly. In fact, our success has been about the long-haul, staying focused and committed over time, and keeping each other motivated as a result.” Refinery 29

Be bold. I know this might sound cliché, but the internet is like an instant global broadcasting mechanism for everything you do. Everyone’s watching (or seems to be) 24/7, so that occasionally made me and our other core team members hesitant about moving too quickly on a hire, a project, or producing content that was maybe too risqué. We learned however, and fast, that it’s those big pushes and occasional leaps of faith that really propelled the company forward and got us noticed amid all the competition. Plus, it’s absolutely energizing. You definitely want to contemplate growth and change seriously, but it’s also important not to get stuck in the “what ifs” and circumstances you likely never have control over.” Refinery 29