Friday, July 27, 2012

Novick on Feasting and idea

I came across this post from Jeff Novick while looking for something else (his views on caffeine), but I really like this!  This is how I used to eat and I'm going to resume it.
A few years ago, I was interviewed on the radio just before Thanksgiving. The question was, "with Thanksgiving coming up, and so many people with health and weight problems, everyone is worried over what they should eat and not eat for the holiday. What advice to you have for everyone for Thanksgiving". 
I said, "I think everyone should enjoy themselves on Thanksgiving day and not worry."
To which they said, "But everyone IS so worried about their weight and their health, shouldn't they be concerned." 
To which I said, "No. I am not concerned with what people do on a Holiday that occurs once a year. In fact, I am not concerned with what people do on the 6 or 7 major holidays of the year. Let them enjoy themselves. That is why there are holidays "
"Cultures throughout time, including many of the long lived healthy cultures, have always had what were known as "feast" days, where they all got together and celebrated with food and drink and festivities. "  
"However, what I am concerned with is what people do the other 358 or so days a year. And I am concerned with what they do on a day to day basis each and every day outside the few holidays . Now, if they would only get that right, and take care of themselves the other 358 or so days, then we would not have to worry about what they did on the few holidays each year." No one is going to get sick and die from what they ate on 7 out of 365 days. 7 out of 365 is less than 2%" 
(NOTE: Which, for those of you following the discussions in this forum, goes right along with what I say about focusing on the 95-98% each day and getting that right and not the 2-5%.) 
"but in American we live and eat and drink each and every day like it is a holiday celebration. We eat every breakfast like it is a easter buffet, and every lunch like it is a thanksgiving feast and every dinner like it is a Christmas feast and every dessert like it is a birthday party."
"Then we worry about what we should do on Thanksgiving? THAT is NUTS!!"   
PS, to give credit where credit is due, it was Dr John McDougall who I first heard say the above comments many many years ago, of which I am just paraphrasing somewhat.
I like this because it removes forbidden foods.  My achilles heel the last few years has been during times of celebration, like when old friends are visiting or at holiday parties.  If I slipped, I figured I blew it so I went "off-diet" and was very bad.  If instead I view these things as occasional allowances, I think I will do much better.  I don't know for sure, but it's worth a try.   Jeff Novick says that 5% of your calories can be of lower quality.   For me that's 75 calories a day, or about 27,000 calories a year!  or about 2200 calories per month.  or about 500 calories per week.   I made up a little point system for myself where I earn 75 points per day and cash in points for rewards (I wrote a little program to keep tabs).   To be conservative I charge a point for each mg of caffeine, even if calories are 0, and I charge double for alcohol and oil calories, and quadruple for animal calories (I'm thinking ice cream!).  Even with all that, this allows a lot of treats. If this idea actually works, I'll post about it more and make the program available and suggest ideas for how to customize this for yourself.   I know, I'm being extremely nerdy about this.  Sorry, I'm a geek!

On my "bucket list" of treats in a year, I have an ice cream cone, a frozen custard cone, a couple of pieces of pumpkin pie, goodies at a holiday party, some wine here and there, some decaff soy lattes here and there, and some peanut butter cups here and there.  That's all I can think of.  Well a bagel and cream cheese maybe.  This is well under 27,000 calories in year!   Maybe I'm crazy but I think this could be fun.

Updated a few days later:  I'm not sure my idea in the above paragraph is so good.  A whole ice cream cone is unhealthy, fat promoting and would probably make me feel yucky for a while.  And then there is the issue of cravings caused.  Another idea is to just do taste tests occasionally--like a spoon of someone else's ice cream.  I'm not going to try this for a while (I hope!) so I'll revisit it when the time comes.


Anonymous said...

Barb, I used to believe this and looked forward to the celebration time - but found when I did celebrate I had all sorts of cravings to continue with those foods - even though they were vegan. When they were high fat or included sugar - well, it was like some door opened to crazy eating again. I don't want to live in fear of any food, but my past attempts at celebrating by eating my vegan favorites - have gone bust every single time. I wish it were otherwise and maybe someday it will be, but for me right now . . . I need to avoid those cookies, cakes, pies, almond ice creams, veganaise things I used to love.

kneecap said...

Hi Anonymous,

I can understand that. Do you have a problem with making things forbidden? I have a tendency for that to make me feel like I'm in some sort of a prison and if I stray and go out of prison I go crazy knowing I"ll have to go back into prison the next day. So I don't want to make anything forbidden. I hardly ever want the unhealthy stuff, but I want to have an approach that limits my intake on the rare occasions when I do want it.