Am I hungry?
Am I full?
Are there things missing that my body needs?
I think this sorta goes hand in hand (or hand to mouth) with binge eating. Though binge eating has mental aspects to why I do it, I have also taught myself to ignore my body and what it really needs when it comes to food.
I have been SO FULL and yet I have just kept eating.
I have gone without eating and been so hungry I scream and cry and act a fool.
I have ignored those items my body needs for a craving of something that i don't need.
But now, I am trying really hard to LISTEN to my body. Know what it needs and what it doesn't need. I am retraining myself to stop and listen.
For decades it has been about my desire for food, the love of food, the comfort of food, the taste of food, the way food makes me feel well before learning to respect food and make it one part of my life and not MY life.
I remember a few weeks into this journey, I started going to bed with this feeling that was new to me. I was satisfied by what I had eaten all day, but i also had this bit of hunger in me. For years I had gone to bed after eating a full meal and I was always stuffed, so stuffed I could feel it most of the night. But this new feeling actually felt great. So this is what it feels like to not feel stuffed. So this is what it is like to eat ENOUGH and no more.
Part of this journey is creating a new lifestyle. It is keeping my love of food but learning to respect and be aware of what I put in my body.
So what I am doing, exactly?
1. Don't Eat on Auto-Pilot (Also known as mindless eating.)
I am an emotional eater. I tend to go on autopilot when it comes to food. But now I have started counting out my snacks based on portion size. So instead of bring the bag of baked cheetos or almonds to the living room and going on auto pilot with the food and 30 minutes later realizing I ate 3 servings, I count everything out. Bring out my 34 pieces of cheetos in the living room and eat that portion. Then I wait at least a half an hour. Am I still hungry? Then I get more. But normally I have been satisfied with what I ate and I move on.
2. Eat When I am Hungry
When counting calories I have had guilt when I go over. But I have had to learn that some days I am just hungrier than others, while other days I barely hit my calorie goal. Not sure why, but if I am hungry I now eat. BUT I now know the difference between real hunger, boredom, or eating because I think I should eat. In fact, I ask myself those questions to see why I am eating.
3. Stop When I am Satisfied and Before I get Too Full
Sometimes I actually WANT to eat more. Recently I really wanted food, it was one of my emotional/stressed days. I was eating my meal and noticed I was satisfied and starting to get full. I actually got angry with myself that I was getting FULL. I WANTED TO KEEP EATING. It was my comfort. What will happen if I just stop. What about the food I didn't eat, what will happen to it. I don't want to wait to eat the rest of the food later. I want it NOW.
I got mad all because I was full but wanted the rest of my meal. Logic goes out the door for those moments. In the past I would have kept going because it would comfort me and I would eat to the point of feeling sick. But I stopped. I told myself that I can eat the rest for lunch the next day and it would be amazing! Yeah, I sorta had to reason with myself like I reason with my 3 1/2 year old. I also told myself that if I was hungry later, really hungry I could have a snack. You want to know something, I didn't feel I needed the snack later. Now don't get me wrong, I wanted a snack because I was thinking about it...but I also knew I was fine. I wasn't feeling hungry. I then went to bed and felt good all because I stopped when I was satisfied.
4. Enjoy What I am Eating (aka SLOW DOWN)
Being a binge eater you tend to be a fast eater. Eat as much as you can in a short amount of time. With that, it takes your stomach and mind awhile to communicate to each other that you are infact DONE eating. When I am eating now I really try to slow down. Put my fork down in between bites. Taste the food and not rush. This. Is. Hard. and something I am still struggling with every day. But I am working on it. I had some cheesecake the other day and it took me 20 minutes to eat it. I intentionally slowed down. Anticipated and then enjoyed EACH and EVERY bite. Snacks, I eat one at a time instead of stuffing a handful in my mouth. Dinner I sit and eat slowly. I am respecting the food and savoring what I eat.
5. Eat What Your Body Wants
I still snack. I still eat some bites of chocolate every day (thank goodness for Hershey kisses!!) I still eat carbs. I still drink my lattes in moderation. But I am also eating lots of lean meats, fruits and vegetables. I am keeping my diet balanced, without giving up those things that make me happy. Moderation and balance and eating the things my body wants....just in WAY smaller portions and not all the time.
So this is where I am now. Learning to listen to my body!!! And on the eve of my 35th birthday, I am finding that now, more than ever, I need to stop and listen!