Follow-up on the Mindless Eating

So, I realized the other day it´s been a year following the advice from Brian Wansink. What has happened to my foodscape?
  • I have downsized my plates. Not for parties (that would look cheap!), but for everyday. One portion is about 20% smaller than I used to eat.
  • We buy food in small packages. Instead of buying a large bag of chips, which I will eat most of, we buy two one-portion bags. If I crave chocolate, I don´t stock up, I go for the smallest piece in the store. To tell you the truth, they don´t really make small pieces any more.
  • I started making desserts with fruit and meringue instead of cake and whipped cream. 
I have also changed my eating scripts:
  • At restaurants: beer = a treat. No beer in the house (except at parties).
  • At cafés: coffee and one piece of cookie or cake. No more "vrålfika" = cookie plate the size of a whole meal. 
  • I eat knäckebröd for breakfast and saves the home-made bread for dinners with salads and soups. 
Sizzling chocolate cake - the tastiest thing food-wise in Luleå right now.
Some things I did for the first few months didn´t work out in the long run, like making porridge every morning and baking cookies with raisins or stocking up on licorice (no one ate them!). And we have not stayed away from health-food; actually, the husband came home from Nashville converted to Whole Food-ism, and now we even drink ecological milk. I can´t imagine this is a bad thing.
    The first thing I noticed was that I became hungry from my stomach again. For a long time, mealtimes would come sooner than hunger. It gave me the feeling of being on a diet (without being on a diet) while still not being deprived of cookies (in cafés and at friends´ houses) or sweets (individually wrapped) if I wanted them. There was never that pressure of "now I can´t have anything I like until I have lost the six pounds I owe myself". Which made me relax. A year on, I find I have stopped snacking between meals. No more reading snacks.

    In May, a doctor called me to tell me my blood-sugar was exceptionally high and needed to be checked out. The first test indicated that everything was probably all right, but I confess I was nervous about it. In July, I saw that BBC documentary by Dr Michael Mosley that everyone else had seen in March, and was so impressed that I started the much talked about 5:2 diet. This isn´t really a diet at all, but rather a method, not aimed at weight-loss primarily, but health and longevity.

    Since then I have semi-fasted two days a week, and my sugar has gone down a bit - I am all out of danger of having diabetes, as a second round of testing has proved. I have also noticed that my vision is better, oddly enough, but then the fasting is supposed to lower your levels of growth hormones and turn the body to self-repair, so perhaps that´s what´s actually going on. I have no illusions that I will not be needing reading glasses eventually, though. Actually, the fasting method suits me well; I don´t normally have strong hunger feelings, nor do I really know when I´m full - which is why I gain when I eat socially. Fasting days are like a vacation from eating and takes the pressure off when I´m eating with others; I´m more relaxed about food issues overall.

    Also, the intermittent fasting days make me more mindful of what I eat, which is great. My sweet-tooth seems to be gone, and when the number of meals I eat in a week has gone down, I am more keen on really good (for me) food when I actually do eat. I find that I am spending more time cooking, and going for recipes from my childhood. Perhaps that is just a phase.

    Today I weigh 65 kilos, which is two less than last year, and perfect. I gained 3-4 kilos when we were on vacation (this really doesn´t sound much, but it pushes me into a size above what I normally wear, which is annoying - I don´t keep a two-sized wardrobe), but with the fasting I lost it pretty quickly. I don´t go under 65, though, and don´t really need to.

    To summarize, Wansink´s advice has really changed the way we think about food, food purchases, and eating in this household. As long as we stay in this environment that we control ourselves, we stay slim and healthy. Add to that the semi-fasting for me, and I think I have pretty much nailed it for the future.

    I´d be curious to know if anyone else has experience from the 5:2 method, and if you have any other effect by it than just the weight-loss?


    1. the last time we bought plates, they were huge! i had no idea how big dinner plates had gotten. next time, i plan on buying dinnerware by the piece and getting only the mid-sized plates. about 9 inches, i think, which is plenty big.

      i had heard of the 5/2 diet and seen some articles on it but hadn't paid too much attention. diets come and go so quickly. this plan sounds like it might suit me, though. cooking is not my favorite thing, and sanctioned skipping of preparing entire meals sounds great. ;) i would worry about increasing my snacking, which i seem to be doing more of these last few years. i might gain weight on it instead of losing. i would indeed have to be more mindful.

      1. Yes, I do know of several people who have gained on the 5:2 diet. I suppose they go crazy on the cookies after a fasting day or something like that. I find with me, it´s rather the opposite.

        When I was in Iowa, 30 years ago, I stayed with a family who did not have Sunday dinner. The mum in this family said that she deserved a resting day as everyone else and she just made a huge batch of popcorn instead. We didn´t get gargantuan portions of popcorn either, so I suppose that was a kind of semi-fasting.