by Nathalie Botros
We all know how to lose weight: “eat less and healthier, exercise more”. So how come we keep failing?
It isn’t because of lack of strength and determination, but because we try to lose the weight with a “diet”. The minute we say the word “diet”, our brain translates it to “restriction”. Which means we are forbidden to eat what we want. In human psychology, when we are forbidden to do something, we right away want to do it. Remember Adam and Eve; God told them they could eat from any tree, except one. And of course, Eve ate the forbidden fruit from that tree…
Until ten years old, I lived in Turkey; I was on a Mediterranean diet. Then my parents sent me to a boarding school in Switzerland; I was on cheese and chocolate diet. After finishing my studies and working in Switzerland, I moved to Italy; I was on pasta and pizza diet. Finally, I moved to the United States; the fast food, delivery and TV ads diet.
Although I started dieting at an early age, I became a professional dieter when I moved to the United States and gained 40 pounds. I have tried all the good ones, the bad ones, the trendy ones and the desperate ones: low carb, high protein, low calorie, vegetarian, and alkaline just to name few. I have even tried the controversial HCG diet, where you inject yourself with HCG hormones which are pregnancy hormones.
Some worked for a little while, some others not at all. I have even gained weight with some. Depressed, angry and desperate, I have decided to stop the diet and start the lifestyle. A “diet” means “restriction”; a “lifestyle” means “the way we live”. It was the birth of The Bon-Vivant Girl.
Translated from French, “bon-vivant” means “well-living”. The Bon-Vivant Girl’s lifestyle is all about living to our fullest potential, being happy and healthy and losing weight without a diet and our appetite for life. Instead of asking you to stay home cutting or counting your food intake, this lifestyle encourages you to go out and socialize.
Some people “eat to live”, some others “live to eat”. I am the happiest when I am around a table with friends and family. To incorporate my philosophy, I have created some tips to follow at a restaurant without feeling restricted. You can follow most of these tips at home as well.
– Choose the right restaurant:
Always opt for a spot where you can enjoy your lunch or dinner. Not a fast food restaurant, where everything happens in 10 -15 minutes, served by an unhappy person, who cooked your food with no joy. This is your time of pleasure, so why to spend it eating miserable food prepared by unhappy people.
– Check the menu before you go:
We all have access to restaurants’ menus nowadays, why not take advantage of that. It is a good way to have an idea about the food you will eat. You can prepare yourself accordingly. For example, if you have chosen an Italian restaurant for dinner, and the pasta dishes looks amazing; don’t eat pasta for lunch.
– Share your food:
Sometimes we are attracted to more than one dish on the menu, so why to not share our food with the others so we can order more options. It is an excellent way to taste more dishes and not feel obliged to finish our plate as someone will be helping us.
– Don’t order all your dishes at once:
Why hurry and order everything at once, when you are out to enjoy your time? Don’t place all your orders at once, order your appetizers; once done, decide your entrees. It is a great trick to avoid ordering too much food and making the wrong choices. After each course, you can see if your table is still hungry and what you are craving for.
– Start your meal with a “less naughty” dish:
You can order everything, no restriction. Although, if you start with a healthy choice, you have chances to fill fuller before you get into the “naughty one”. For example, if you start with a salad as it contains a lot of water, you will feel satiated faster.
– Take your time to eat:
Remember, you are not eating fast food, so you can take your time to enjoy every bite. Eating slowly will reduce the amount you eat, making it better for digestion you’ll feel satiated faster. In other words, give time to your body to send “I am full signal” to your brain.
– Ask always for the sauce or dressing on the side:
It won’t change the taste of your food. You can always pour it into your dish or salad. But having them on the side will automatically make you eat less of that rich sauce or dressing.
– Taste your food before adding salt:
Restaurants are supposed to have the right amount of salt on the dishes, so try your food first. I am sure it has enough salt. You might lose few seconds, but you avoid eating too salty.
– Add ice to your drink:
It works very well with champagne and white wine, and it is fashionable in St Tropez. It is called “piscine”, which means “pool”. It works so well that some champagne companies created bottles, especially for that purpose. If you feel like a cocktail, ask without sugar. And don’t forget: For each glass of alcohol, you need to drink at least one glass of water.
The most important tip when you are eating out is to enjoy your lunch or dinner with no guilt!!!
You can find more tips and tricks on the Bon-Vivant Girl’s book: If you are what you eat, should I eat a skinny girl?