If you’ve read some of my previous blogs you’ll know that I had a horrible relationship with food for a very long time.  I grew up in a family who are not particularly slim, with full plates at breakfast, lunch and dinner….and with that whole “clear your plate” mentality as well. So when I started to grow up, became a model and suddenly got very body conscious, my body and brain simply rebelled against the small piece of protein and tiny green salad that I saw the other models eating.  I couldn’t adjust.  It just wasn’t ENOUGH FOOD for me and eventually I would lose it and binge like crazy, setting up a horrible cycle of starvation, binge and purge. 

What helped me change?

For the last four years I have been eating in the style nicknamed VOLUMETRICS, and it has truly helped me change my understanding of eating.  I like to eat a lot of food, I don’t want to feel stuffed after a meal but I do need to feel satisfied and full.  What I do is to chose foods partly based on the VOLUME they have on the plate and therefore in my body.

For example….if I’m craving something sweet I now know that for the same amount of calories that are in your average candy bar (that is eaten and gone in a flash) I can eat a HUGE bowl of  berries, or diced up apples and pears with low fat yoghurt (dairy or soy).  The enjoyment lasts a lot longer, it takes up way more space in my stomach so I don’t crave more food immediately and there is protein in the yoghurt, which helps me to feel satiated. It is also HIGHLY nutritious.  There’s no energy crash, there’s not the yucky sense of guilt that I get if I eat candy and my sweet tooth is satisfied. 

Soup is a big part of my food life too.  Not really ever AS the meal but definitely as a side.  I don’t really go near the cream-laden ones but I love Miso soup, the Thai-style Tom Yum soup, or just a great tomato based Garden Vegetable.  They’re all delicious but more than that they give my body that warm and cozy feeling that I want when I’m tired and hungry.  It means that when I move on to the next part of my meal I’m a lot less likely to go crazy and overeat.  Sometimes I’m industrious and make my own, or get delivery. Tinned also works, especially if I’ve been traveling a lot and there’s nothing in the fridge, but I try and get the low-sodium kinds, (less salt = less bloating, and is more heart healthy in general).

I really try and incorporate as many veggies into each meal as possible.  They’re super HIGH in nutrients, super LOW in calories and have been shown to have just about every antioxidant, cancer fighting compound there is to have.  They’re also very high in fiber which most of us apparently don’t get nearly enough of.  Fiber fills us up, and also helps the body cleanse itself….meaning less bloating (which means I feel a whole lot better!). So if I’m making rice, I mix in chopped peppers, zucchini, carrots, squash, peas, onions, asparagus, broccoli….whatever I like!  The dish is colorful and has great crunchy textures, a double whammy of the good stuff and all the vegetables I mentioned are almost calorie free.  You don’t even notice that you’re eating less rice because you get full from all the extra volume the vegetables have added in there.  I use this trick with almost all my carbs, and even when I’m making omelets or a sauce for my protein. 

If we’re ordering take-out (hey….it’s NYC…take-out’s BIG! :))  then I get my entrée with either a large mixed salad or steamed vegetables and I take out half of the carbs from my entrée and literally mix in the veg.  If I’ve ordered a Thai stir-fry (kind of a popular, healthy option for me) and I have a job coming up…or a party or I want to feel good on the beach even…..then I’ll use the salad as a base for the stir-fry instead of rice.  Lacey does this too now and says she doesn’t even really realize the rice isn’t there anymore.  

I mix in chopped fruit and some raw almonds into my oatmeal in the am too…VOLUMETRICS has really changed my way of thinking about eating healthily from deprivation to a nutrient rich feast.  The beauty of it is that it doesn’t require much of a special diet-plan or food substitutes I’ve never heard of.  It really is just a few tricks that go such a long way, but it’s actually tricking my body into eating more of what it needs and less of the things I know I have a tendency to overeat on.  It’s helped me keep my body healthier and happier than ever before, with enough energy to workout, to work, study and generally live my life without obsessing about food every second.  And that has been a wonderful gift for me.





5 Responses to “How We Eat; VOLUMETRICS”

  1. August 19, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks for a very mind opening post!

    A friend of mine wants me to ask you until what time you eat every day? Studies show until 7 pm do you believe in that?

  2. 2 shannon
    August 19, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    thanks for all of your thoughtful entries…i’m enjoying your blog!

    curious to get your thoughts on taking a day “off” each week where, within reason, you indulge in foods you wouldn’t otherwise eat. i do this on sundays sometimes and i find myself feeling depressed and guilty on mondays which leads me to believe that it’s not the healthiest choice.

  3. 3 jessica clark
    August 19, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    Thank you both for your comments and questions.

    With regards to not eating after 7pm, I have read some of those studies too, but there are also studies which show that it’s the number and quality of calories consumed on a consistent basis throughout the day which determines a persons weight…so its hard to know exactly what to believe.

    Personally speaking my schedule doesn’t always permit that strict of a food curfew as I don’t have a 9-5 job, but I do tend to eat very few carbs in my evening meal. I only really eat them earlier on in the day. My evening meals are almost always a protein and some mix of vegetables, salads and soups.

    It’s a personal decision but one that I have found works well for me as I don’t like to feel over full before I go to sleep, especially as I can’t always eat as early as I’d like to.

    With regards to a “cheat” day or meal, that is not something that works for me. This is because I’ve discovered through trial and error that it has served me much better to stay consistent with eating clean. I find it much harder to return to my preferred style of eating the next day if my taste-buds are being reminded just how tempting baked goods and sweet things are. I have also had a very emotional relationship with food in the past and I also experience pangs of guilt that night and following day if I go crazy. Which is not to say that if I’m at a birthday celebration very occasionally I won’t swerve just a little, but I do try to keep those occasions to a minimum.

    Both of these queries are very much down to personal preference. I believe very strongly that within reason nutrition is about finding your own ‘food fit’.

    If you don’t get home from work until 8pm and then want to wait for your partner to get home to eat dinner, then that is important to your well-being and your food plan can be accommodating of that fact….maybe by having a healthful snack in your bag to eat around 6pm so you are not so hungry that you eat everything and the table it’s on come 8:30pm.

    If having a cheat day helps you stay strong and motivated to eat healthfully for 6 days a week every week and you feel good about that…FANTASTIC! If it makes you feel sad and guilty…..or you find yourself being tempted into eating off your plan because Thursday is “almost the weekend” then maybe it’s not the right way for YOU.

    To me, one of the most necessary things in living a healthy lifestyle is that I am honest with myself about what works for me and what doesn’t…..even if it works really well for my friend.

    I hope this is helpful…..any more questions/queries, please don’t hesitate!!

  4. August 26, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Great tips Jess!

    You’ve inspired me to get a good lunch today.

    There’s a place right by my work that does Japanese skewers (yakitori). They serve three small (lean protein) skewers on rice or salad with a cup of miso (for, like, $7!). I always get the salad, and have contemplated getting the rice, but somehow I am always full without any carbs in that meal at all. (It’s a big box of salad). So … fahgehtaboudit!

    Their miso is so tasty, and I think you are right… miso is MAGIC!

    See you at THE BIG GAME 🙂

  5. 5 Jen
    September 4, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Jess, this is brilliant and why is it not more popular? As someone who knows you personally, i should have paid more attention when we had all those lunches together. I’m going to try adding more veggies to everything (which really does help fill me up) and eat them first, saving the carbs or meat for last. This way i will eat less of the heavier, more calorie laden stuff and still feel i’ve satiated those cravings. Good stuff!

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