For the month of January, I’ve committed to posting every day, having accepted the 30-day challenge.
This is day 17 of 30.
Some of the things that I’ve learned over the past year or so in regards to eating:
- Hunger is not an emergency. A comparison that I read recently is that it’s akin to feeling tired. Yes, when I start getting tired at night it’s time to start moving towards going to bed, but it’s not like I’m going to pass out in the middle of the kitchen if I don’t do something about it NOW (well, usually not…). Same thing with hunger — it might feel like an immediate need, but sitting with the feeling for 30 to 60 minutes is a good way to check whether or not it’s hunger or something else that’s signaling your brain to stuff your piehole.
- Just because it’s mealtime doesn’t mean it’s time to eat. Now, I know that there are many instances where mealtime isn’t all that negotiable — for example, during the week, I eat lunch at 11:30am. Every day. Never changes. Partially because of the schedule of other people eating in the lunchroom, partially because that’s when my group eats lunch and I don’t want to miss the social aspect of it. But other than that? Just because it’s 5:30pm doesn’t mean I have to eat dinner if I’m not hungry. Same with breakfast. Once I realized that my stomach didn’t always run on the same schedule that I had in mind, I started eating more in response to hunger cues than just because it “was time.”
- Eating slowly and mindfully = eating less food. How often do you sit in front of the TV and eat? Or eat standing up in the kitchen shoveling in your food? Never? Well, than you live in some sort of fantasy world and I’d appreciate an invitation, please. I do both of those things, though. Oh, and eating while reading. Do that all the time, too. And what happens when you are distracted like that? You eat fast, which doesn’t give your stomach time to get the “I’M FULL STOP FEEDING ME, STUPID!” signal to your brain. And you eat more than you intended because even if your stomach sends that signal, it doesn’t mean you notice it. It’s like driving while talking on the phone — all of a sudden you end up somewhere with no idea how you got there. Except that with food you’ve got crumbs on your shirt and hamburger grease on your face with no idea how it happened.
- Eating fewer meals might be a good idea. This one I’m testing out but I think it’s a keeper. There are studies that show that the idea of eating every couple of hours to keep your metabolism stoked isn’t necessarily true — science doesn’t support it. So why go back to 3 meals a day? A few reasons: first, you eat more at each meal and are likely to feel more satiated when you finish and second, eating fewer meals allows you to get hungry in between meals which then allows you to use hunger cues more effectively. When you get hungry, you’ll have the time to wait about an hour to make sure that it’s hunger and not boredom or stress or the delicious smell of your cubicle mate’s snack that makes you think you need to eat (and note that if your cube mate oftentimes eats delicious things in front of you, it wouldn’t be bad form to “accidentally” throw a stapler at him).
That’s where I’m at these days. As always, it’s a work in progress as I tweak details to create a lifestyle where I can eat what I want and still maintain a healthy weight. As I’ve said before, I don’t ever want foods to be off limits — there are no “good” or “bad” foods, it’s all just food — and I never want to feel like I have to restrict because restriction never leads to anything good for me. Well, not unless you consider binging on Oreos or ice cream to be a good thing.
What are some lessons that you’ve learned to help you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full?