A matter of balance


During one of my session with doctor Zermati, I broached the question of balanced diet.

– No because you see, indeed I’ve lost weight, but I have the impression  that I eat any old how.

– What does it mean eating any old how? (The question which will lead to a stupid answer from me which will be flummoxed in one second, doctor Zermati’s secret trick)

– Well… it means the five fruits and veggies per day, when we play hide and seek, damn, they can’t find me.

– And is it a problem for you? Are you afraid of deficiencies, are you balance obsessed? (Ok I feel the coup de grâce coming)

– Hum… no, that’s not it, but on the days I eat no vegetable and no fruit, I…

–  … feel guilty? (And bang, spot on, he wins again, it’s too unfair)

– Let’s say I guess it’s not that good for my health, is it? (the girl who tries to buck the trend without really believing in it)

Wrong. Wrong, he explained, mister Zermati, alias Obi Wan Kenobi. Wait he didn’t recommend eating chips with mayo every day, eh, let’s be serious. But you shouldn’t mention too many times these campaigns about 5 fruits and vegs a day to my master Yoda. He looks kind but he could get mad. Why? Because according to him food balance shouldn’t be reached within a short time like one day. Not even one week.

Translation: it’s not because you don’t eat dairy products during a few days that you’ll break into pieces or that all your teeth will fall. Same for oranges, there’s no risk of scurvy if we skip them for a month.

The body knows how to ask for what he needs, same way as it knows how to show it’s hungry. And forcing yourself to eat broccolis with your steak when you feel full, it’s simply dumb (now it’s me talking, doctor Z. is more polite). Because in the end, not only will it not change much on a nutritional level but, furthermore, you gather calories for nothing. And so… you put on weight. By eating broccolis.

The truth, after six months of therapy, is I’ve never bought that many vegetables at the market. Not because I have to, but because I enjoy cooking them and, some evening, after a lunch made of quiche/custard tart/brownie/sandwich (not all at once of course) I want only one thing, to eat another type of food.

But there are also weeks when lacking time, will or need, starches will dominate my diet, or dairies, or fruits or what have you. Likewise thus for my kids. And not only do I keep losing weight but I don’t feel tired or nauseous.

In short, as mister Zermati explained to me, between eating for lunch a pain au chocolat and a full meal like ‘chicken, green beans, bread, yogurt and apple’, it’s the pain au chocolat that will be less calorific. Thus the full meal will make you put on more weight. It doesn’t mean – I insist – that having pain au chocolat at every lunch is good idea. It’s just that we have stupid patterns in mind, as a proof, when he asked me to point out which one of the two lunches would make me put on more weight I chose the pastry. Then I changed my mind, suspecting the trick.

I don’t know for you but it’s doing me so much good this idea that balance is on a longer period than a day. And I can’t tell you how relieved my kids are as I’ve stopped hammering home my dumb principles according to which they will shrink and lose their hair if they don’t finish their soup. It’s a bit like that thing on video games versus reading, basically. You can very well have books periods followed by Mario Bross weeks. And in the end, you will have done both at your own pace…

Come on, may the force be with you, grasshoppers…

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