Wednesday, January 05, 2011
I salute anyone who has actually made eating exactly what you want only when hungry and stopping before full work. I tried for years, and I'm sure I didn't use all the "tools" I could have. I also tried eating 5 -6 times a day for 7 years, carefully packing great meals and snacks, but I have just found that an alternate idea I went with last year has helped me cut down on my compulsive overeating tremendously-- it's not gone, but I'd say reduced to about 20% of what it was is real progress, not perfection. My plan most days, as some of you know, is to eat three meals of one plate or bowl a day of any food I want except sweets, which are added on the weekend and any two days a month I choose, for birthdays or such. I don't mean this to be a debate, but just a reporting of my experience for those who might find it useful.
Actually, paradoxically, my last bout of WW several years ago helped me a lot with figuring out what I wanted to eat most of the time. I was finally able to see what kinds of meals, including foods I found delicious, just "luscious" enough, and satisfying, allowed me to get hungry enough to eat often enough for me to be happy. Part of the problem was that "eat only when hungry" made me a slave to hunger and my food choices, making it impractical for many people who have regular work schedules. Having to decide right when I got hungry what I wanted to eat was not workable, and it's not what thin people do much of the time. They have a lot of routine foods they like and eat; maybe once in awhile they'll not eat much of the lunch they brought because they weren't in the mood for it right then, but usually, they just eat. I also found on-the-hunger-whim eating, that I often wasn't hungry when others were for traditional meal times, and since I was single and didn't get to eat with others often, it made it even harder to have social meals. I missed this terribly.
The basic 3-meal structure makes it very easy to fit in with most societal norms, including the not snacking. People don't give you much resistance if you turn down an offered snack if you say, "I don't want to ruin my appetite for lunch," or "I'm just going to wait for dinner," but it sure seems like there's a lot more pressure if you try skipping a meal because you already ate when you're supposed to eat with others . This is not to say it can't be done and I would be the first to say you have to stand up for your own needs, but if my needs include having to eat a meal and I can work it in reasonably with others, I prefer to shoot for it. Plus, in the past, I often feel deprived of one of the pleasures of eating when I can't partake of the meal with others because I ate right when I was hungry an hour before and now I'm not hungry. So I would often fret or go ahead and eat something and everything got cattywompers. It seems to me that one of the biggest issues that gets bingers going is dealing with outside pressure to eat., whether it be from actual people saying something, to social events, to the smell or sight of food, which then pairs up with some emotional cue on the inside... AAaagh!
Eating my 3 meals a day-- one plate of whatever I want-- has lifted the huge burden of deciding if I'm hungry enough to eat, is this good enough to eat, on and on and on. ( Most days, I am plenty hungry to eat! I have the option occasionally if I'm truly not hungry to wait until later.) Even thin people have been shown to be susceptible to other cues in our culture; that's one of the reasons people are on average much heavier than they were 40 years ago. Brian Wansink of Mindless Eating has shown that slim and fat people will eat more if more food is served to them, especially if they don't have a way of determining visually how much they are eating, and even if it's not meal time. Overeaters are especially susceptible to free food. I find it doesn't matter now. I usually not even hungry when the between-meals snacks are served, and i have the option to take some food and add it or replace some food in my next meal. It's a lot easier to say no when you know you have a nice meal coming up. Besides, it's just not done! That's the way I think about it now, and it is truly easier.
Another issue with not aiming at some kind of meal structure is not being able to get through the period of time of learning how much and what kind of food is going to allow a person to get hungry enough to eat often enough. I experiment with more relaxed rules on weekends, and I've found that if I eat a piece of pizza from Costco at 1 p.m., even without feeling overly full, I will not get hungry again that day. I have to really balance whether I want to do that, or eat a lot less so that I would get to eat later, because I found I often got so tired of waiting to get hungry after, say, 5 hours of not getting one bit hungry, I started to fall apart. I find now that I've been on on 3-a-day for a year, even at just a few months into it, I can/could sometimes wait even longer for a meal if I have to for some reason; being hungry is just not that much of a deal. I don't wolf the following meal and I don't eat any more at the meal. I find I get full pretty fast. Weight losers are taught to be so afraid of getting very hungry; I'm convinced it's because no one teaches them that they just have to get past their mental/physical desire to eat too much; it might take several tries, but it becomes a habit. I've found that just about every "trigger" is just a habit and can be overcome WITH PRACTICE. I'm not advocating piling every trigger food on your plate all the time, but it's amazing how things can change.
I don't say this to offend any intuititve eaters, or practitioners of any other plans, but more to let people know there are ways to modify anti-diet programs to make then more workable, at least in the short run, and when you're talking about getting over disordered eating, a year IS the short run! In fact, and I may be repeating myself, Reinhard Engels, the founder of the program I use, says there is no such thing as before and after, only before and "during," because a person can always go back to old habits. In fact, we know that 95% of weight loss wannabees do.
I do admit that I've never been morbidly obese and those issues may be more pronounced. I'm not saying this is for everyone, but it deals with the worst offenders of many people: too much food at one sitting, too much eating between meals, esp. when not hungry, too little attention to hunger cues and an inablity to order eating event to discover them, and the fact that sweets are concentrated, and hard to regulate in small quantities because they are engineered to bypass the natural satiety feedback system, though even that can be manipulated
I have noticed that the people who have the hardest time with scheduled meals are those whose work is freelance or something like that, and that is understandable. They do have to find what works for them. But even they have to find a way to work around their constraints. They will not always have the opportunity to eat right when they're hungry!
Geesh, this is a real soapbox for me, but it's because I just see so much pain around this issue, and I've been on the site devoted to this eating lifestyle a lot. There I've heard so many people say 1) they had to see how much of their eating between meals was about all sorts of other things besides true hunger, 2) how much they enjoy their meals when they're really hungry for them and when they know food is coming, and 3) how much easier it is to say no to all those societal or emotional cues to eat when it's just not an option because it's not time to eat. For these reasons and others, I have become a real convert. But I finally committed to No S because I read of people there who said that they tried it even though the founder says he is not a nutritionist or psychologist or anything and to NOT LISTEN to him if you feel you have an eating disorder. They ended up throwing away all their anti-diet, anti-bingeing, eating disorder books because the structure of meals and the freedom to choose what they wanted was all they needed. Now, I still read books on eating issues because I believe I won't really be steady with this for another 4 years of practice practice practice, but other people's experience gave the courage to try good old-fashioned meals, and I am so glad. Those other posters felt that all the emphasis on trying to figure out what emotion a person was feeling and how they were going to deal with that was distracting! I know that sounds like heresy, and I continue to educate myself about how to deal with the urges to eat when not hungry, and to examine my faulty thinking in many areas of my life, but I do know that you're not going to be able to solve all the problems that bring up those emotions on the spot. Some people then get so caught up in that difficulty that when they can't figure out a solution, they eat! Instead of realizing life has these problems and sometimes you just have to accept it as unresolved for now and find something else to do until it's meal time. (For that purpose, 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself without Food is my newest re-education attempt. I try to remind myself of and use these even when it's not a crisis. A crisis can come even if you've had months of seeming ease.)
Some people on No S do decide to incorporate an extra small meal somewhere in the mix, but they are usually people who either athletic or who are in college or something that demands they have a big stretch during the day with no time for a real meal.
As I said, I'm well aware that there is different advice out there for curing compulsive eating. If you've tried to implement one of them, I mean really gave it a real run, and it's proved too challenging, consider planning to have nice meals regularly. Not "weight loss" meals. See what happens. Over a period of time, a nice meal may come to look like a weight loss meal, but because you find when get only 3 shots a day, you'd really rather have some fiber and fresh veggies, not because someone told you to. You'll just be more in touch with hunger and satiety. It's a nice place to be-- even if it's just a few days a week to start .
Thursday, November 18, 2010
We may not like to accept it, but the simple truth is that if we have eaten and exercised to create a calorie deficit, we will have lost fat. If not, we won't. The scale measures that only to a certain degree. The body can fluctuate in POUNDS on a daily basis only in its water content. Unless you actually burn off an extra 3,500 calories in one day, your weight loss has little to do with fat loss. Perhaps a drop in our water content can make us happy temporarily, but let's recognize it for what it is.
It's hard to shift our attention away from the scale, and weighing a certain amount is correlated to good health and an admired appearance, but while we are on the way, it's only a ballpark instrument to use. I want to reinforce to myself the importance of using a measure of my habits as the real foundation of success. There are some on Spark who are at a good weight, but who are in pain because their eating remains disordered and they are at war with their body image as well. In fact, I realize now that is how I was 30 years ago when I weighed 30 lbs. less than I do now at about 145--in the middle of my "normal" BMI range-- yet hated my body and felt like a failure on nearly a daily basis because of my daily binge on about 1,000 calories of chocolate, cake, and ice cream. Surely the peace of moderate, sane eating is worth more than the scale dropping, but with little confidence in our habits. I AM confident that practicing consistent moderate eating will result in weight loss, especially because building the habit of discipline will aid me in reducing calories, should the day come when I decide I need and want to, and in maintaining reasonable exercise habits as well.
Hey, normally I am a lot funnier than this.
Monday, November 08, 2010
Goll darn this university researcher! Of course it's a man who took off 27 lbs. in 10 weeks! Why can't I just buckle down and do it? Then again, let's see him in a year.
Monday, November 08, 2010
I recently bought a newly-released program that purports to show what the best cosmetic proportions are for women and that talks about calorie requirements for weight loss and weight maintenance. The program is called The Venus Index. It was probably a mistake to get it, as I have a ton of workout videos and such that I never use, but it does have a prescribed progressive program, and I did have good results using such a program several years ago, but it was an online membership that was even more expensive and I'm pretty sure I need to use gym machines for that. For this, I don't.
Also, I want to be sure you know I am in NO WAY recommending this program. I am simply telling you a bit of what I have learned. I think this information is not only found here, either.
One of the interesting points that seems obvious but good to be reminded of is that being overweight doesn't mean that a person is overeating presently, but that she had to have overeaten at some time in the near or distant past at least, and has not presently created enough of a calorie deficit to overcome it. Possibly a harsh truth, but nevertheless... They also claim that you cannot be eating too few calories for your metabolism, if your body weight is too high, but that you may need a minimum number ON AVERAGE, not every day, for essential nutrients.
Even 15 extra pounds of muscle accounts for only 70-90 extra calorie use a day. The truth is that the MAJORITY of individual women, but not all, of course, of a given height have roughly the same weight of lean body mass, no matter how much fat they carry. Fat uses even fewer calories than muscle, so the difference in need is not changed much by being heavier. The other determiner of calorie need is activity. Most women of the same height will need roughly the same number of calories for essential nutrients a day no matter how fat, thin, or even muscular they are. The exceptions are just that, only a few percentage points of the population.
The authors believe that the best way to achieve a desirable body is to use mostly resistance exercise (to shape the muscle) performed in a way that improves conditioning at the same time, rather than long bouts of cardio. They believe that it is easier to reduce calorie consumption than to exercise fat off, since a cardio workout that accounts for 500 calorie usage is pretty substantial and removes only about 2 ounces of fat.
That is their opinion and each individual would have to answer that for herself.
Here is a link with a bit more info about the program. from this connection, you can do related searches that will get you a lot of free information without buying anything.
Saturday, October 02, 2010
This is a long post I put on a thread as an answer to one of our posters who has a consistent problem with eating at her nighttime job as a waitress. The thread is about anti-bingeing, not weight loss, though of course most of us are higher than our normal BMI's.
I think one thing you need to look at is the sheer mental energy you are spending thinking about this. LBF-ers strive to work towards a normal relationship with food. A slim person whose eating is pretty much in line with her energy needs might eat bites of this and that, but I doubt she frets over it a lot beforehand.Then she will FORGET ABOUT IT. Before you eat something, think: am I hungry? (Sorry, not do I want it? I don't believe you can conquer food by eating it because you want it. I don't mean we can never have luscious foods we want--you know that by previous posts-- but we've already seen that the body can fool us about what we want.) And also think: will I be able to enjoy this and then let it go and focus on what I need to do now? And is this the best use of my mental energy right now? Do I need to focus now on a needed eating event? I know this sounds like I am increasing the mental energy, but it will likely take only about 10 of these experiences before it is more routine. As it is now, you wonder and dicker a lot. This is torture! Find a way out.
I think you will come to the conclusion that often it's not worth it to eat, especially if it's just because the food is there. In our society, we must conquer this desire to eat because food is there. For millions of years, it was very smart of humans to eat because food was there. Now, it's become a nuisance, and a drain on mental energy and plain old self-trust. Not to mention on our health and vitality.
Here is a quote from an article publish by MIT by Richard A. Muller, a physicist who lost weight. "Anybody can lose weight. Energy is conserved. Just stop scratching that itch. [the desire to eat] Of course, you'll have to sacrifice instant gratification. Is it worth it? You decide. Food is delicious and cheap. You might reasonably choose to take advantage of this unique historical circumstance, and decide to be fat." I would exchange "lose weight" with "manage our eating." And I would add, "or decide I just want to eat whatever I want, whenever I want and have the body that produces". And if I don't want that, I have to decide just how I am going to manage eating. This is the real question!. There is no other way!
I firmly believe in compartmentalizing eating events, meaning have MEALS, a specific eating event where you concentrate on eating and have a beginning, middle, and end of the event. Same for snacks, if you choose to eat them. The problems with bites of this and that is that we eat much more when we don't have a way of SEEING at once what we are eating. (In Mindless Eating, it was reported that people who ate wings at a restaurant ate many fewer if the plate they put the bones on was not taken away. This was true whether the people were thin or fat. They had a visual reminder of what they had eaten and chose to stop.) And we don't fully register it as a satisfying eating event when we graze. There is more than just calories in being sated.
It's also a problem because it increases the time we spend thinking about food. One of our problems with food is that it dominates our lives and one way it does is by our constantly allowing ourselves the option of eating. We must find a way to put food in its place, or A place. Of course, I do not mean with severe calorie cutting. I think having food in its very important place is why having three meals a day with no snacking (except beverages) has worked so well for me. I concentrate on having pleasurable, satisfying meals, and then the option of eating is OUT at all other times. When I am doing this consistently, thoughts of food in between meals just recede. If they come, I can easily divert from them. It's not time for food! It's time to work or read or clean or whatever else there is to do in life. I enjoy food more and I enjoy the rest of my life more! Reggie eats more often, but she has a food plan. She can choose to include rich foods or not, but if it's not in the plan, she doesn't have it. This is not about deprivation or punishment or being good or being bad. It is about putting food in its place as a source of nutrition and LIMITED pleasure AND about conserving your mental energy for other things. We've got to learn to stop bingeing on thoughts about food as well as on food itself!
This eating at work seems to be your real area of battle. Conquering this is going to give you a lot of bang for your buck. I think you need to decide on a policy and stick with it. 1) Have a good meal with enough variety, including fat, before work and then don't eat there, nothing, not even a stick of celery. That just perpetuates the eating response. Or, 2) decide you will have a snack at work because you can't eat enough before work not to get hungry. Have one eating event, and eat anything you want on a plate, including limiting it any way you want. Sit down and enjoy every bite. Or 3) graze all night WITHOUT GUILT OR RECRIMINATION. Any of these is a better option than what is happening now, don't you think? (Gosh, I hope I am not being high and mighty! You did ask!)
By the way, Muller said when he cut down on his eating, he grew to really like the feeling of getting really hungry for his meals. He doesn't eat more at the meals because he is hungry. He said he feels like he floats now rather than walks. (He didn't increase his exercise!) He maintains easily because he doesn't eat so much or so often that he isn't in that state of being very full very often. If we eat all the time, it's hard to get that feeling and learn to appreciate it! Learning to really cherish the peace and contentment of not bingeing and eventually not overeating is the real antidote. I believe it is what we are longing for and it is worth every white-knuckle moment.
Get An Email Alert Each Time OOLALA53 Posts