When it comes to nutrition, it is very difficult for people to change their habits, and more often these are very much defended. Why? In every culture, food plays a much bigger role than just a basic need. There is no culture on this planet where a person is supposed to eat alone. Food is a symbol of reunion, community and belonging. It makes family relationships emotionally stronger, it gives a feeling of comfort and durability. It is very difficult to separate a person from the taste of food that he or she grew up with. The things we eat tell a lot about who we are and where we come from, it gives each of us a unique stamp. Hence, changing dietary habits means more or less changing oneself. These changes are possible, but they are not easy and they need more time. Because of this, my journey was also not the fastest one.
From my “kitchen”
Life in different countries brought me into contact with different cultures, traditions and of course with different dietary habits. In Moscow I was always wondering how both adults and children like and eat caviar, salty fish, dark bread, and how they all are used drinking black tea after meals. Their sauces and salads were made with lots of mayonnaise, whereas buckwheat was the most common side dish. All of this did not fit with my habits. On the other side, I noticed that their portions were much smaller than ours, their lunch could have been only a plate of vegetable soup or mushrooms and a slice of dark bread, their meat consumption was quite low, whereas fish was consumed more often. The thing that for me was the most difficult was the food purchase in a metropolis like Moscow, for which you had to take a “day-off”. Supermarkets were huge, included over 60 cash registers, with a variety of food so great that it does not allow a proper quality and background check. During 5 years this mass purchase and mass consumption has influenced my weight, which slowly but continuously increased, reaching 80kg at the height of 172cm. I was still able to find clothes, which became XL with the time, but somehow I was not even that shocked or depressed about that fact, my priority was always something or someone else.
In 2008, looking like that I came to Austria (Innsbruck, Tyrol), where everyone – old and young – was riding bicycles, on it there was always a small box where people bought food “only for today”. I have to admit, that was for me a cultural shock. Since then I started looking at food differently, especially since in Tyrol the production and control of food products was excellent. The thing that surprised me most positively was the fact that people had a tradition of buying products from their region. Austrian people would not buy strawberries from neighboring Italy in order to eat them sooner, but will wait for the ones from Tyrol. Or for example, meat purchase – Austrians will never buy German meat, even if it is cheaper, having a motto: Better less, but with more quality (“Klasse statt Masse”) This different way of life also influenced my way of thinking and living.
Why? People have a natural need to protect themselves from everything new, even if it is a positive thing, a new environment, and so on. People like to follow their habits and traditions. However, the first phase of transformation begins here. It begins when we decline all the changes, we are full of critics due to not knowing and a great confidence in our opinion and our habits. I was like that, fighting back, saying: “How can you all like these huge bread dumplings?”, “Aren’t these Spätzle very fat for you? “, “How can you eat only sweet for lunch?” (“Keiserschmarrn” – sweet tatters with jam, which are a very common meal in Tyrol). On the opposite side I was very shocked when on my question: “How do you like sarma?” – they answered that they ate some better things, not talking about the time when I prepared a cake with 12 eggs, which they thought of as a bomb.
The second phase comes with time, you slowly start changing. First time it happened to me was when my favourite aunt’s ajvar went bad in the fridge, then the same happened to kajmak. I understood that there are other tasty things that are much less fatty. And I also understood that I do not want to go back. I started enjoying the changes. With my new 70kg (of which 19.5% was fat during first BIA measurement, the most important thing was that I was not hungry and still taking care and controlling type of food I was consuming. I got used to the integral bread, which is the best Austrian product. Since many years I prepare it by myself. Yes, bread has become my main ingredient, it gives me a long feeling of satiety and tastes perfect with all the other dishes. In Montenegro I ate it with tomatoes and cheese, in Russia with a salad of herring, in Tyrol with potatoes! With this kind of dietary practice I was not only loosing weight but mostly fat mass. My friends started asking me questions about my diet and I always answered that it was just about a healthy nutrition. That has become my main motto. After two years my weight was 63kg (out of which 13.4kg of fat mass), which I have managed to maintain until today. In total, out of 7 kg lost, 6.3 kg were fat mass.
The final goal is the third phase, the “concious phase” and it starts when these changes start being a normal part of your life. These changes are long-term. I needed 4 years to understand this and integrate them into my new life, for you only 2 months will be needed with the help of Fett-Frei.