Posts Tagged ‘intuitive eating’

Back to Basics

Over the past couple of days, I have been focusing on the basic principles of intuitive eating. Eat when you are hungry and respect your fullness. Novel ideas, I know. To a compulsive over-eater like myself, these are foreign concepts and have to be re-learned. Over the past few years, while doing the weight watchers core program and starting my path to intuitive eating, I have become very in touch with my hunger signals but the signals of fullness still elude me sometimes. With practice, I am finding that my brain is starting to be re-wired, if you will, about eating only when hungry. I have learned so many new coping skills and have let so many of my pent up emotions out that the desire to eat when not hungry isn’t all day everyday anymore. I still struggle with wanting to eat after dinner but I am finding it easy to only eat when hungry during the day.

Instead of fighting with hunger, I am learning to embrace it and even find myself excited to feel it. It starts out gently by thoughts of foods and wondering when I will be hungry again. Then, within an hour or less, I start to feel an empty feeling and shortly after, a gentle gnawing happens in the pit of my stomach. When the gentle gnawing feeling happens, I think to myself “I am hungry”. If I wait to eat after this feeling, The gnawing turns into intense growling and if I still don’t respond with food, I get a headache and start to feel defensive and pissed off. I find it best to eat when I am feeling hungry or even “really” hungry but when I wait until the headache pissed off stage, it isn’t pretty.

Emotional hunger is not so gentle, it is not a physical sensation and it happens only in my mind. It is typically instant and very persistent. If I have “issues” that need to be dealt with and I ignore my emotional hunger, I start to feel what I call “bingy” and if I don’t address that emotional problem, a binge usually ensues. My emotional hunger strikes for many reasons, some are deep seeded and some are more obvious like deprivation or stress. Sometimes, the bingy feeling lasts for days ending in a binge and sometimes, it comes on suddenly. I still struggle with identifying the emotional need but recently learned a new “technique” for dealing with it. Get this….just sit with it.

Since I have given up dieting, I haven’t felt bingy at all but I can not wait to put this new idea into practice. We have always heard to distract yourself, scrub the toilet, knit, chat on the phone but this sit with it concept is all new to me. I learned this on a new online community for itutive eaters and felt shocked and in awe when I read about it. One of the members is an intuitive eating counselor and she suggests using what she calls “The 15 minute method”. And really, it is brilliant. Her name is Shannon and she suggests sitting with the emotion for 15 minutes and if you still feel like eating/binging after 15 minutes to go for it. After all, food has been such a deep seeded coping skill that sometimes it is self care to do it, at least until we learn new ways. She also suggests having a temper tantrum! How fun is that? Seriously, I have totally felt like having a tantrum a time or two in my life and permission to do that sounds marvelous.

Even with all of my new insights about dealing with feeling “Bingy” and my awareness of hunger, I am still struggling with fullness. My RD told me that each person has to figure out what “satisfaction” is and it isn’t the same for any two people. People have told me about “the sigh” and I am not sure if I don’t always get it or I am just not listening for it. I think that my problem is trying to make my body fit with what other people say works for them. I guess you could say, I have that problem in more areas that feeling fullness but I digress :D. The past couple of days, I have been eating until I think I am satisfied, I don’t feel uncomfortable but have eaten a bit more than what I feel is my “satisfied”. I seem to get wrapped up in “am I full or not” and I start to second guess if I am or not. Then, I determine I am not and even though two more bites is what I need to feel satisfied, I take six and end up feeling a little too full. I have been doing very well with not eating past this point but I really need to learn to hone in on that just right feeling. This is a work in progress, that is for sure!

What are your hunger and fullness signals?

This Time

Today is my “official” WI day and it wasn’t good; I gained. I know all of the morale boosting sayings about water weight and fluctuations but I can’t help but pin it down to the binge from Sunday. And of course, my mind takes me right back to dieting. Should I do weight watchers or should I count calories? The really sick part of that is the weight I was this morning is actually higher than when I officially joined weight watchers three weeks ago. So if dieting leads to binging and binging leads to weight gain, why do I keep wanting to go back?

I make all of these empty promises to myself about “this time”. What is this time, really? Isn’t it all just living our lives and chasing that dream of happiness? It is times like these that the voice of my RD floats around in my head. She told me to just “live out loud”; do what I want and don’t wait for thinness to pursue life. She is right, I only get this one shot and I feel like I am wasting it on these struggles. In the end, I know all of this is to teach me something. And I even think I know what that is. Live it while you can. I know first hand from my brothers passing that there are no guarantees. Tomorrow may not happen so why bother fighting with yesterday and today. Why not just live it up?

I want to be able to take on the world without fear of calories, pounds, long workouts, short workouts. I want to eat because I am hungry and exercise because it relieves stress and depression. I want to talk to my friends about things other than the latest diet and how my next five pounds are coming off. I want to take advantage of the time I spent in therapy and with my RD and really let those lessons sink in. I want to write, bead, practice yoga and run. So what would happen if I focused my energy there instead of on the scale? I have covered up the voice of my spirit for so long with the voice of my next diet that I haven’t been able to really listen to the things that make my heart sing.

And really, don’t we all just want our hearts to sing?

A Fine Line

Yesterday was not a good day, food wise. On Saturday night, I couldn’t get to sleep and eventually took a tylenol pm to lull me into dreamland. Not a good idea, I know, but I did it and woke up feeling like I was hit by a mack truck because of it. I was groggy, sore from my workout and hungry. Despite  a decent breakfast, the whole day ended up being a hungry day and those days make me grouchy, especially when I am trying to follow the points plan. My stomach had that empty hollow feeling most of the day and my points were slowly but surely drifting away. I was already in panic mode because I was out of WPA and would be dipping into AP’s if I went over my DP’s.

The day progressed and my hunger grew. I thought that the lazy Sunday was causing the hunger so I told the DH that we had to get out of the house. We headed out and went to Target and things started to really go down hill. I got a tall cafe mocha which is pretty high in points but somehow, I felt ok with it. I was still feeling a bit hungry but thought it was in my mind so we proceeded to the book store. I hung in the diet section most of the time, of course, and even bought a diet book. By the time we paid, I was ravenous. I was shaky, my stomach was growling non stop and the only thoughts in my brain were eating. We were headed to the grocery store and I saw a Mexican place and that made my brain and stomach happy. I went back and forth about whether or not to just eat the Mexican food and eventually decided against it because my points were already in the toilet.

We got what we needed from the grocery store and finally, we were headed back home to make dinner. I was so freakin hungry at this point that I ate two handfuls of almonds out of my purse. By the time we made it home, I was on a mission. I made the dinner I had planned, Hamburger “Fried” brown rice, but I didn’t measure the oil, or anything for that matter. I just dumped until it was all ready to eat. I shoveled it down like there was no tomorrow and then hit the coconut milk ice cream and the girl scout cookies. While I was making the bowl of ice cream, I nibbled on frozen brownies and frozen muffins. When I sat down with the ice cream, I felt calm and at peace. Honestly, I didn’t even feel guilty about my behavior.

But it did elicit wonder. I wonder, what would have happened had I just gone to the Mexican restaurant when my hunger was a little less? Would I have been less out of control? I had been feeling a bit out of control all day and my points budget was making those feelings worse. In the beginning of the day, I just wanted to be able to eat normal healthy food and by the end, I was shoveling every junk food I had in my mouth. I’m not really sure how to get through times like this other than give up the dieting and just concentrate on changing my lifestyle. If you know me IRL or have picked up on this in the short life of this blog, you know that this is a really hard thing for me and my brain to just settle on.

I go back and forth, on again and off again. Some people say it is willpower and I don’t believe that. My therapist and my RD would also disagree that this is not willpower situation. This is disordered. I wonder, why do I keep trying? Why do I keep chasing the thin dream? Why do I continue to diet when mentally, I feel so much more sane when I don’t? Why can’t I accept my size 16 body the way that it is and appreciate the things it can do? This is a struggle that I will probably always face. A challenge that I will forge against forever. I want to be heatlhy and fit but I don’t want to starve or deprive myself to do it because deprivation is what leads to the behavior of yesterday. There is a fine line somewhere and I just haven’t found it.