When I was 18, I read the book French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano, which kicked off my obsession with other cultures, their eating habits, and why they don’t seem to struggle like Americans do with living, eating and drinking.
The stark difference between Americans and other cultures was further revealed by my study abroad experience, where I discovered that my international flatmates all had their own unique traditions and habits – and they all maintained their weight without any difficulty.
So why do Americans have so much trouble staying healthy?
I believe that it’s all in the implementation; in the day-to-day, minute-to-minute choices we make. That lifestyle determines whether we will lose, gain or maintain.
Other cultures seem to do this effortlessly, and I want to find out how.
I’m all about using myself and my fiance (through the sheer fact that he eats what I make) as the guinea pigs in an experiment. The goal? Live, eat and drink according to other cultures to find out the’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong when it comes to healthy living and eating.
This exploration begins with France, the land of red wine, abundant cheese and baguettes – and a relatively low obesity rate.
I was born, raised and college-educated in Kansas and after college, I made the move to NYC to kick-off my adult life. But even as I gained a full-time career, my own apartment and a 401K, I was still living a college lifestyle. I rarely cooked my own food, I never planned ahead for meals, and consequently I was in a constant cycle of dieting or overindulging.
Until one day, for no rational reason at all, I decided that it was time to train for and run a marathon.
The marathon training changed the way I looked at my diet. Food became a source of fuel instead of enemy no. 1, and that’s when I really started focusing on what I was putting into my body. Paying attention to what you’re eating is wonderful when you’re training for a marathon (hello, pasta!). But all too soon, the marathon was over, and so were those 20 mile training runs. I could no longer eat to my heart’s delight, and I felt disinclined (for the time being) to start training for another. So I fell quickly back into my old habits.
But this time it was different.
I was tired of the cycle of overeating and then overcompensating for it. Of punishing myself at the gym for last night’s sins. Of constantly worrying.
Then I noticed for the first time that everyone else around me was having the same problems. Despite the fact that New Yorkers are traditionally touted as thin fashionistas, nearly all of my friends (girls and guys alike) were struggling to find a middle ground.
That’s where UnSporked came in. No matter where you live, something about our lifestyle in America isn’t working.
UnSporked is my experiment to see if there is a way to live life, enjoy food and drink, and not diet all at the same time.
I’m not a scientist, nutritionist, or any kind of -ologist and I don’t claim to have any special expertise here. I’m just trying to figure out what works for me and sharing what I’ve learned!