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Stop at First Fullness

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I do use all the tricks I've heard . . . drink water before I start, drink water during the meal, take small bites, chew slowly and thoroughly, put your fork down between bites. Most of these seem to address the physical fullness: the water makes my belly actually contain more, and the other behaviors slow the process down so my satiety signals can kick in before I start panicking that my food's gone and I'm not satisfied.

The biggest turning point for me has been paying enough attention to that first nudge of fullness in my tummy. Over many weeks I got more and more consistent choosing to physically set my plate aside (or stick it in the frig) the moment I felt the least bit full. This was a huge psychological leap for me. What happened is this: I would serve myself what seemed reasonable. Then I would eat slowly and mindfully, savoring every bite. FIRST TWINGE of fullness, I would stop.

That was the commitment I worked toward. It took a while to develop the control to do this, but it was self-perpetuating. What I mean is, every time I got myself to stop before my plate was empty, sure enough, in just a few minutes I felt VERY FULL and completely satisfied. Plus, I gleefully eyed that remaining food that I knew was not going on my waist. I celebrated that. If I was having a tough time not continuing to eat, just because of food desire, or nervousness that maybe this time it wouldn't be enough, I wrote down the time so I could check in 20 minutes to see if I was actually satisfied. I told myself I could have more if I really needed it then.

The outcome is that I have "re-trained" my eye. I have proven to myself over and over and over that the lesser amount truly is enough. I have experienced over and over, eating less than I eyeballed, and feeling satisfied afterwards.

It was experimental at first; I was frustrated with the scale not moving and I was looking for what felt possible, that might produce results. The first couple times I thought, "I can probably stop now and not eat this part," I was so amazed that I could stop and not be starving. Then I kept trying it, with setbacks of course, but it demonstrated objectively to me that I could trim some volume, pay attention to my "gut feeling" (literally!) and save a few calories.

This habit was sorely tested today. I had planned to have two slices of pizza at a group lunch after the Mom-Toddler drop-in gym we help with at church. It was deep-dish, browned perfectly, and delectable. Mediocre pizza no longer tempts me, but this was great pizza. I felt myself waffling after a couple bites of the first piece. After all, a lot more was easily available. Maybe I would eat more than two. I was really enjoying it.

BUT habit was my friend. My save-your-skin friend. A few bites into the second piece, I could feel the difference in my tummy. (I had eaten salad also.) By God's grace, and by weeks and weeks of determined choices, I decided to stop. I must confess I took 2 more bites. But we're not going for perfection. Leaving half the second piece was remarkable. I was not even in agony, so don't be too impressed. And in less than 10 minutes I was COMPLETELY full--didn't want any more at all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Excellent, good for you. This is major self control and living in the moment. Your resistance muscle is strong and you know if you want more you can order it up for another day, another meal and count it., We don't have to eat it all at once. You should feel very proud of yourself and your self confidence must be climbing high!!

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SUCHAHOOT 3/12/2010 12:20PM

    Wow, I know for sure I would have at least eaten BOTH pieces I'd planned! Great insight & self-control.

"By God's grace and weeks and weeks of determined choice.." I love that. It's a partnership, isn't it?


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JLITT62 3/12/2010 5:45AM

    A major NSV!

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SEWINGMEG 3/11/2010 10:09PM

    GREAT JOB!!!

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SLIMMERJESSE 3/11/2010 7:57PM

    Wow, this is terrific. Good for you! Pizza is particularly hard to resist in my world. (smiling) You're doing great.

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AMARAN 3/11/2010 7:29PM

    Good job! Pizza is hard to resist!


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HGISFM 3/11/2010 7:21PM

    That is TOTALLT awesome!!!!!!

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INGRACE 3/11/2010 7:20PM

  Yay for You!!!!! Rejoicing with you. Happy dance! emoticon

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Quote Digest 7 - Risk! Change! Courage!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

I am having to take a hard look at why I engaged in self-destructive habits for so long. Changing those self-destructive habits requires a good deal of self inspection as well, since in order to truly change a habit, you have to deal with the reason you have the habit in the first place. - from MOUSEWEILER blog 2/20

Never be divided from the truth by what you would like to believe. - from MOUSEWEILER fortune cookie, in blog 3/1

. . . the fears that we let rule our lives hold us back from living our lives. Sometimes you just have to give that fear a kick to the side, live your life, and realize that what you feared wasn't so bad after all. - from JLITT62 blog 2/23

"Who says I can't be free?
From all of the things that I used to be
Re-write my history
Who says I can't be free?"
~ John Mayer from LotusFlower page

Being fat is hard. Being fit is hard. Choose your hard. - from MARIEAN page

All day, I've been thinking about what it means to change one's life significantly and what it might take to do that...I'm beginning to understand that I have a choice in every moment. I can reinforce the life I've been living for years, the one where I'm checked out, numb, and unhappy, or I can do something to build my new life, the one that will make me feel proud and satisfied...Every choice, from making my bed instead of letting it go, to talking with my family instead of sticking my nose into a book, to making plans for dinner instead of scrambling at the last minute, to doing something productive with my time instead of watching TV, is a choice that will reinforce one life or the other. Which life will I choose? - from UPTOWNZOO blog 2/21

There were so many things wrong that just weren't my fault. (self righteousness) But I still had to fix them. I had to even though I shouldn't have had to. So I had to let go of pity and self righteousness and grab a hold of self reliance, independence and self assurance. Those three are my real friends. They don't lie to me. They encourage me when no one else did. They encouraged me when I needed it most. I can do it. - from The_Jules blog 3/05

". . . The same stubbornness that enabled her to maintain her unhealthy habits all those years also gave her the strength to stick with her new program. " from "Mom and Daughters Lose 165 Pounds," speaking of Vivian Bedoya (BEMORESTUBBORN)

You can recollect the sayings of great men; you treasure up the verses of renowned poets; ought you not to be profound in your knowledge of the words of God, so that you may be able to quote them readily when you would solve a difficulty, or overthrow a doubt? Since "He hath said" is the source of all wisdom, and the fountain of all comfort, let it dwell in you richly, as "A well of water, springing up unto everlasting life." So shall you grow healthy, strong, and happy in the divine life. from Charles Haddon Spurgeon, British minister, 1834-1892

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    emoticon Let's load all of our JUNK into the dump truck and take it on out of our lives. If it could only be so easy. In the meanwhile Freelady we have you to put this all together for us.

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ANNANN63 3/10/2010 12:31PM

    I love what Joyce Meyer says: You can be pitiful or powerful but not both--you have to chose one.

Good for all of us that we are making the right choices. One thing I say to myself every day: I want to be successful more than I want to eat.

You rock!

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AMARAN 3/10/2010 7:51AM

    Have you read "Love to Eat/Hate to Eat" by Elyse Fitzpatrick?


She addresses eating disorders (AN, bulimia, and overeating) from a spiritual perspective. I found this book to be landmark in my decision to change my behaviors and heart attitudes about food.

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SLIMMERJESSE 3/10/2010 12:02AM

    You may want to read "The End of Overeating" by Dr. David Kessler. In addition to all of the reasons we have learned to overeat, he explains how food is engineered to be addictive.

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BEMORESTUBBORN 3/10/2010 12:00AM

    Indeed - being more stubborn than the scale was the only thing that kept me going and it keeps me going even today... Thank you for sharing! Best wishes!

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INGRACE 3/9/2010 9:54PM

  You have to love Spurgeon! Thanks for sharing.

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DAY 30: Stay in Control When Eating Out

Monday, March 08, 2010

My number one survival technique is to ask for a take-out box when I order. I usually have to ask twice, since servers are surprised and don't seem to believe I really want it at the beginning of the meal. That's okay---it's just something I have to do for my health, as Beck would say.

I put about half of the meal in the box right away. Then the decision is over with and I can just enjoy my portion.

Yes, I could just order less. But if I'm dining out, I'd like the variety . . . some salad, a bit of bread, some entree, some side item. Plus, it feels like a little positive reinforcement when I have those special leftovers another day. Eating moderately at the restaurant means I get to enjoy the meal later also.

[Numbered days refer to steps in The Beck Diet Solution by Judith S. Beck]

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANNANN63 3/10/2010 12:52PM

    DH and I share meals out all the time. We generally have no problems deciding what to eat. We are often offered an extra plate and sometimes they divide the food in the kitchen and bring it on 2 plates. If they don't I will use the bread plate or we just sit the plate between us and we each eat off one side.

DH eats more than I do but almost always we still bring some food home.


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MAZZYR 3/9/2010 10:41AM


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LOSINGAMBER 3/8/2010 7:37PM

    Good idea!

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TRAVELGRRL 3/8/2010 7:34PM

    I listened to a podcast once by a woman who lost 130 pounds -- the old fashioned way, no surgery.

She said the same thing -- half in the box before she took the first bite. But her "rule" was that if she still felt hungry when she got home, she gave herself permission to eat the other half. But the funny part of it is, she never DID. Just knowing that she COULD eat the other half of the meal made it OK not to.

I have never shared a meal at a restaurant -- do they bring you two plates or do you just set it between you and dig in??

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ID_VANDAL 3/8/2010 4:25PM

    That is an excellent tip. Sometimes when PM and I go out we will share a meal on those occasions when we agree on what we want. Usually that means I eat what she wants but that's okay she always was better at eating smart when we go out.

The other thing you mention is that once you have half in the box - that decision is history - it's done and been implemented so you are free to enjoy the rest of the meal!

Great job. Like Slimmerjesse I look forward to your blogs and the great tips you always seem to have for us.



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SLIMMERJESSE 3/8/2010 9:46AM

    I look forward to your blogs. They are great reminders for me since I really like that book as well. I used to eat out all the time, and now, not so much. But that's a good tip to remember next time. Have a wonderful day.

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DAY 29: Resist (or Re-direct) Food Pushers

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Beck recommends that I say "No, thank you" as many times as necessary. Be like a broken record is suggested, and that is effective as far as helping me be firm and not just give in to repeated offers. But what about when the food pusher is someone close to me, or when I wonder if refusal might have social or business repercussions?

I have a theory. I don't think most food pushers have a big stake in what goes down into my belly. Often they are trying to be polite, to show affection or trying to take care of me in a way they know how. Often what they really seek is a meaningful connection with me, or to feel that they're still needed by me (mothers or mother-figures especially). Some are looking for recognition for their artistry, or needing affirmation of the thoughtfulness that motivated the cooking gesture, or appreciation of the generosity of their purchase on my behalf.

Most of the time, if I give a warm, attentive, and appreciative response to the PERSON and to the item itself, that will make the giver perfectly happy. Seldom is it essential that they see me put it in my mouth or even that I put it on my plate.

I have been observing this as I've had to turn down food that is offered by lovely people with warm-hearted intentions. I was very concerned that I not offend them or injure their feelings, so I would be especially gracious in the moment, with smiles and eye contact and a touch if appropriate. Sometimes I think of some sincere compliment or item of interest to them, to provide positive content to the encounter. And I kept noticing with surprise that over and over, people didn't seem to mind a bit that I didn't take the food. They felt good about the moment of interaction and that's all that mattered.

So here's my strategy: Respond in a way that affirms the relationship, recognizes the talent, or praises the value of the gift.

Decorated birthday cake: "How did you ever get that frosting so smooth? I love how you used candies for the flower centers." (Go over and look at it and comment on it. What offends would be the feeling that the cake and their efforts is irrelevant to me because of my diet, not that I don't swallow any.)

"Wow, that smells fabulous! You must be a pie genius!"

"That looks like a high-quality ice-cream, really creamy with lots of . . ."

"Boy, you put a lot of work into these cookies! Is it your own recipe?"

"Look at that color! What a beautiful golden brown!' (Looking and smelling add no calories, but they can make the food pusher feel a lot better that you didn't take any---or perhaps not notice.)

"Cool, does it have raisins in it? My kids love raisins in everything!"

"Wow, that was SO thoughtful of you to get this for me! That's a fascinating store , isn't it . . . "

"You're always doing something nice for me. You're such a sweet friend . . ."

"Look, even the box this came in is cute . . . "

"Awww, you make me feel so pampered . . ."

What I find is that this takes the focus off of the food itself. The underlying need is met, and often they don't even notice whether I actually ate any of what was offered!

Certainly exceptions occur. Also, some people are determined to make me eat it; some people are determined to be offended. These are just a few possible tools to add to the arsenal.

Ideally those who are the very closest to me care enough to pay attention to my true needs and desires, and their suggestions or gifts will reflect respect for my eating plan. Even so, food can have a very complicated position in a household, and when my healthy choices shake things up, it may help if I consider other relationship needs that used to be interwoven with previous food habits!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FREELADY 3/8/2010 8:29AM

    BLW, this did not occur to me. You are so right. You always help me think more and think better!
emoticon emoticon

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    I think those who might be offended are those who need you to come into their eating arena which validates what they are doing. One of those, I'm okay you're okay things. If you eat two cookies then I can eat two cookies.

I guess this would be an opportunity to show them the Spark people website you have found and the wonderful things that are happening in your life.

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ID_VANDAL 3/7/2010 8:14PM

    You are such a nice person. Always thinking of others. Those are great suggestions. That result is a win win for both parties.

If someone is offended then I guess it's just an "oh well" moment but I can't imagine anyone being offended with the approaches you just outlined!



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SLIMMERJESSE 3/7/2010 7:17PM

    Great suggestions. Thanks!

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DAY 28: Weigh In

Saturday, March 06, 2010

I am very happy to officially reach the milestone of 50 pounds lost.

I can just barely lift 50 pounds for a few moments; how could I have carried that mass around for so many years? No wonder I was tired, slu ggish, and my joints ached.

Losing 50 pounds took 14 months. That's less than a pound a week. My weight tracker shows I need to lose 30 more pounds. I definitely have time to reach my goal weight this year. When I arrive at that point, I'll see whether that's a good maintenance point, or whether it would be healthier to lose 10 or 15 pounds more and then maintain.

I am so grateful to the Spark Community for warm and generous support each day. I am grateful to my Creator who gives me breath and strength: He is the ultimate source of every good gift.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RHEMAMUSIC 3/7/2010 11:34PM


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ANNANN63 3/7/2010 1:56PM

    You have done a wonderful job. Losing slowly is the way to go. You learn how to eat so you can keep it off. You should be very proud of yourself. I am proud of you.

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MAZZYR 3/7/2010 9:48AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NANCY- 3/7/2010 8:32AM

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SLIMMERJESSE 3/6/2010 11:26PM

    WOW! That's fabulous. Mega-congrats.

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INGRACE 3/6/2010 11:14PM

  Yay for you! Congratulations on your achievement and all of the effort you put into attaining it. Well done!

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