“No lo sabes?” Asked Carmen, my Spanish roomate, while we stood in our tiny kitchen in the middle of our little flat in Madrid.
No lo sabes translates to “Don’t you know that?”-- a phrase Carmen would say to me frequently over the year that I lived with her.
Carmen had decided at some point, probably before she even met me, that it was her responsibility to educate poor little ignorant American girls on the evils of the American diet and to enlighten us with the wonders of Mediterranean gastronomy.
And while she typically trended towards the dramatic, she was pretty on point with her knowledge.
Americans have a ton of mental anguish around their bodies and eating.
Spanish women, on the other hand, barely think about it.
Americans, after all, are constantly struggling with their weight and dieting like their lives depend on it, while the French, Spanish, and Italians are known for quite the opposite.
They enjoy good food and maintain la bella figura effortlessly.
I found this fascinating.
I was a sponge for Carmen’s lessons.
I had moved to Spain with the intention of learning how Spaniards enjoyed food and yet stayed slim. I was hyper aware of the evils of the American diet then and yet, despite eating a very healthy diet, was still overweight.
Carmen was the perfect guide.
And she taught how to cook and answered all of my questions.
She took me out until 5 in the morning to secret flamenco bars where we danced for hours.
On my own I would study people in cafes and restaurants to see what and how they were eating.
Here is what I learned.
We have a lot to learn from Mediterranean gastronomic food traditions, but the most important points are not about the actual gastronomy. Instead we could stand to examine how people think-- and don't think-- about food and how that, in turn, informs how they feel, the actions they then take, and the results they get.
I recommend you pick one thing from the list of 10 to start to implement today. Pick one that feels good to you and go for it.
No drama, mama.
Lia Pinelli is a weight loss coach and educator who helps women put an end to emotional overeating and lose weight, permanently.