Jemileh, Jemileh, ohhhhhhhhh, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, Jemileh
In tonight’s class we are learning the choreography to “Jemileh.” It’s a slow, haunting ballad. The lyrics are in Turkish, but consist mainly of the name “Jemileh” sung mournfully over and over. I can’t tell whether the singer is lamenting a lost love or pining for a love he’ll never have. Either way, it did not turn out well for him. Sigh. Such is life.
We are learning beginner-level choreography to “Jemileh.” The hardest part so far is a shimmy that goes on for the first 60 seconds of the song. It is really difficult for me to maintain a shimmy for that long. In fact, I can’t. But I’m working on it.
Miss K calculates about 15 seconds of choreography “learned” per class. Yes, it takes an hour for the average class to learn 15 seconds of steps well enough to dance them in time to the music and with a marginally acceptable level of competence. As time goes on, of course, you repeat the steps you’ve already learned many times. After the whole choreography is taught, then rough edges can be smoothed. Some dancers (but, alas, not all) will eventually be able to perform the dance with some fluidity and grace. It’s a long process. People don’t realize that it takes months to make a 3 or 4 minute dance presentable.
My So-Called Diet
All the bad things I ate over the weekend caught up with me, and the cheeseburger and fries I had last night didn’t help. I have regained 5 of the 12 pounds I lost. They reappeared practically overnight. But I’m not too worried. I know that I just need to get back on track, and it won’t take long to re-lose those 5 pounds. Think positive!
A friend of mine, one of the few I have told about my blog so far, begged me to tell her my dieting “secret.” So Nancy, this is for you. I hope others may find it helpful, too.
Let me say, first of all, it’s not actually a “diet.” I am constitutionally unable to diet. And my program is not a secret. It’s based on the tried-and-true formula of eat less and exercise more. But my system works for me, because I can stick to it without much effort and without feeling hungry or deprived. I didn’t even start this “diet” program with the intent to lose weight. I just decided to start eating better. My new program just happened to have the happy side effect of causing me to lose weight. So here it is.
My eating plan is based on three simple rules set out in a book whose title and author escape me. (I’ll find out and provide that info later.) The rules are:
Eat real food.
Not too much.
“Real food” means unprocessed food, food that is not canned, packaged, or frozen. All those processes involve a lot of sodium, chemicals, and, often, fat and calories to add taste. Fast food is not real food, either.
“Not too much” is self-explanatory. If you push yourself away from the table announcing you’re stuffed, you’ve probably eaten double what you need to feel satisfied. Most of the time when I go out to eat, I bring home half of my meal and save it for lunch the next day.
“Mostly plants” means your diet should consist mostly of vegetables, fruits, and grains. You know, stuff that originally grows as a plant.
In practice, this is what I did and still do:
1. I don't eat beef, except the occasional cheeseburger when I crave it.
2. I eat several small meals a day. I’m naturally a grazer, so this comes naturally.
3. I have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast every morning. I buy those instant packages, regular flavor, if you call that a flavor. I also have coffee with some evaporated milk as creamer. Oh, and I add some slivers of real butter to my oatmeal. Yum.
4. At lunch I eat a homemade sandwich (small slice of turkey or chicken, slice of Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mustard on whole wheat), plus--my guilty pleasure—some potato chips.
5. At night I have plant food only. I eat a big salad with a variety of fresh vegetables cut up in it. I put regular dressing on it—a tablespoon or so is sufficient to make it tasty. I'm partial to dried cranberries and toasted almond slivers sprinkled on top. Or I eat cut up vegetables dipped in dressing.
6. I don’t eat later than seven o’clock, or three hours before I go to bed. I might feel a little hungry by bedtime, but I figure I’m going to be asleep soon anyway. And I’ll wake up thinner.
7. For snacks between meals I'll have some fresh or dried fruit, almonds or peanuts (or almond or peanut butter on a half piece of bread), dry popcorn, stuff like that.
8. I drink mostly water. I don’t drink sodas, diet or otherwise. I drink very little milk. (Don’t worry. I take my calcium tablets.)
One more thing: I don’t eat “diet” anything, except mayonnaise, and that only because I can’t tell the difference between the diet and real mayo. I don’t like the taste of diet foods, they harbor all kinds of chemicals, and I swear they make me feel hungrier. People tend to eat more of a diet food than they would the non-diet version, which defeats the purpose, and it doesn’t even taste good. So what’s the point? In the end they feel deprived, and will eventually make up for it by binging on the good stuff. So eat the real food to begin with. Eat real butter. Use real salad dressing. You’ll eat less and feel more satisfied. That's my rant on diet foods.
Tomorrow I’ll answer some FAQ’s about my eating plan.