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The biggest thing I've learned in this whole process is identifying the difference between eating until you're not hungry and eating until you're stuffed. I've always been a eat-until-I'm-stuffed person, because that's how I was raised. We always had to clean our plate as kids. That taught me to continue eating even when I wasn't hungry anymore. We always had seconds, or even thirds, if it was something tasty. These are things I've had to identify in myself and practice going against those ingrained habits. It's all self control and knowing that you don't need nearly as much to survive as you consume. Sometimes, especially at first, you're going to feel hungry a lot if you control your portions, but you'll adapt and that will go away. That's why we all track, because we all naturally eat too much. This will tell you how much you need to be eating. Once you get used to the portions that you should be eating, then hopefully consuming those small amounts will become second nature. I feel like the tracker forces you to practice restraint until you're able to do it a little more on your own. I think you might be wanting some magic answer here, but the reality is I think you already know what you need to do, but we can't practice self control for you.
“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.”
--Christian D. Larson
First of all, I don't know anyone who doesn't love eating. The next thing is, we only have foods we like in our fridge/pantry. So if we ate just because we liked the food, we would never stop.
So at some point you have to be " full ", and stop eating. This implies that there is a desire or " hunger ", to eat a 2nd, or 3rd helping. If there is no hunger/cravings, then the answer is simple. Stop eating the extra servings. However, most of us don't overeat once we feel full, or even satisfied. We stop, unless we are "hungry ". So I doubt that you are feeling full, and decide to overeat, even while it is not enjoyable. This means that you want to eat the food, and it is there, and your meal did NOT fill you up. Being hungry, you ate more.
If you are still hungry after your planned meal, then it isn't willpower you need. You need to get rid of those feelings of hunger. As long as you are hungry, you will eat more. So what you need to do is ask why you are hungry. Hunger isn't something a person here will probably ever experience. You have extra food, but are still " hungry ". We all eat daily, so we don't experience hunger. True hunger takes days to set in. What we experience are cravings. Solve this problem, and you can eat the proper amount.
First assess whether you are merely eating too little with your regular meals. If so, this is also an easy fix. Eat more. Most likely though, you eat within range, and just feel like eating after you already ate enough to provide energy and nutrition that you need, and any more is just excess. You have no reason to eat more, but can't stop yourself from doing so.
People always act like this is normal. That we just keep eating more food than we need. I love my food that I make, or else I wouldn't have it in my home, and since I shop weekly, I have plenty of food to chow down on , if I felt like eating more, but I never do.....anymore.
Since we all have plenty of food at our fingertips, and I have yet to meet anyone who purposefully stocks their own home with food they hate, why would good food, and plenty of it be the reason we overeat. If this was so, we would all be doing exactly what you are doing. How do some of us eat the proper amount, despite the opportunity to overeat the food we love? Quite simple.. we aren't hungry!
I used to binge on cereal and fast food, and drank about 6 liters of Pepsi a day. I couldn't control my eating, and while your problem may be smaller than my 5000-8000 calories 4th meals, it is likely caused by the same issue. Something you are eating is causing you to feel cravings/hunger, when you should be full. So you keep eating.
While Michelle may have been a bit off, if she was suggesting that you eat meat, I am pretty sure the point she was trying to make was that by simply switching foods that she ate, her hunger disappeared. This happened for me, when I started low carb. Obviously, this isn't a plan you want to do, or could stick to, and I am not suggesting that you do so.
What you can learn from low carbers is which carbs cause issues, and about eating lower glycemic carbs when you are selecting your meals. Protein is 20-25% for most people, whether low carb, or vegetarian. We need a certain amount of protein, so I am guessing that you eat around that range. So that leaves 75-80 % fat/carbs. You obviously eat more carbs than I would, but what really worked for me with low carb was cutting certain carbs. Those same group of carbs affect almost everybody, but most people can control it, by having some of it, but not 3 servings. The rest of us have some issues with these carbs. That says nothing about the other 90% of carbs. Carbs that you as a vegetarian, can enjoy.
Outside of vegans/vegetarians, I would guess that low carbers eat more vegetables than anyone else. Protein and fat don't cause cravings ( maybe rarely ), so the carbs are the culprit. However I don't know anyone who is overeating low glycemic fruits, and vegetables, or if it is even possible. Eating more of them is usually a good thing.
I like the idea of keeping track of what foods made you feel the fullest. I think if you do so, it will be the foods that are highest in fats, and protein. You will also find that the foods that spike your blood sugars the most ( high glycemic ), are the ones that cause you to feel hungry in an hour... Chinese? The reason is that it causes a huge Insulin release, and the glucose is stored as body fat, or glycogen. The faster the glucose is removed from your body, the faster your blood sugar drops. As it nears 70-80, you will feel hungry. So a high glycemic meal will cause a huge Insulin spike, and your energy gets stored as triglyceride ( bodyfat ), and you feel hungry enough for helping 2.
So simply changing to lower glycemic carbs will probably do the trick, as well as spacing them out evenly to allow the body to process them, since you undoubtedly eat quite a few carbs. You can still eat plenty of carbs, since you are vegetarian, not a low carber, but will be able to control what you eat, without willpower, since you won't be hungry. Just eliminate the foods that cause these cravings, and eat the other carbs.
If one is hungry, and uses willpower to ignore the hunger, they will still be hungry. The idea of being hungry for the rest of your life, is not the answer. Read up on some of these ideas, and see if any can be useful in YOUR plan. I hope it is of some help, but realize that you need to incorporate it into your lifestyle for it to work. Good Luck.
"We can't solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them "
- Albert Einstein
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”
- Henry Ford
First of all, I want to thank all of you for your thoughtful and thorough replies!
I do believe that I have my emotional eating under control, at least in the sense where I realize when I'm eating for an emotional reason. Even if I'm not always successful at stopping, I can at least realize what I'm doing. I still maintain, however, that most of the time my overeating happens just because I love the food and I want to keep enjoying it.
I like the idea of just finding the reason for my weight loss that propels me past my love of the food. I've had reasons for a long time, but I've never been able to use them effectively enough to put the fork down. That is something I need to work on, and maybe now that I'm older and closer to the future that I've imagined, those reasons (mainly my wedding and having kids) will be strong enough now to fight back.
I also like the idea of making only enough for a portion, but that's tough to swallow since I usually like to make large batches of food for the ease of leftovers. However, whoever stated that there are no leftovers anyway when you eat three times what you're supposed to...you are totally right. ;)
I find that I am less hungry if I get a ton of protein, so that is something I'm working on improving. I do get enough fats, as I'm a big fan of low fat cheeses, olive oil, avocado, and the occasional butter.
I think it's going to come down to sheer willpower and teaching myself to be satisfied when I've eaten the right portion. I do appreciate all of your suggestions so much though, and I will keep coming back to this thread for new ammo whenever I need a new approach to controlling myself.
January Goal: 185 lbs
you might want to get a hunger satiety scale and start paying attention to where you are on it when you eat and how soon you get hungry again. because the fact of the matter is that not all foods fill us up the same and keep us full the same.
i'll use me as an example. i like eggs, but even when i add a few cups of veggies to them they do not keep me full. i'm basically as hungry after eating eggs as i was when i started. so i need to make sure that i am not relying on eggs to keep me full. i eat them because i happen to like them, but i make sure to put them in things that i am full on independent of the eggs. so knowing that your tabbouleh only keeps you two hours whereas your chili keeps you for four can help you better plan what foods to have when.
the other point to track is where you are on that scale right before you eat. if you're quite hungry it might just be that you're essentially waiting too long to eat, savoring your good meal quickly, and essentially inhaling too much food too fast. eating smaller meals more frequently might help you from getting to that too hungry point. it's easier to turn down more food, even if it is good, if your stomach is quite full.
how much fat are you getting? fat is what unlocks quite a bit of the good parts of proteins and vegetables and fruit as well as being something that helps keep you full. when you aren't eating meat you aren't getting this automatic, built in source of the stuff. i'm not saying you need to add meat by any stretch, but tofu has no fat, veggies besides avocado have little to no fat, rice has no fat and a hint of oil with a ton of veggies might just not be enough fat for you. and on the extreme end of that, most people could eat a head of celery and they'll be bored with it far before they'll get full on it. it has a little water, but no fat and not really any calories. when you eat really heavily veg like that it's possible that there isn't enough of what your stomach counts as food that fills you up. sort of like having a ton of dimes and pennies in a coin sorter when you're trying to get a roll of quarters up. your body knows what it counts as food and what you're giving it just isn't hitting that bar on the first couple gos. which does bring us back to what is keeping you full.
and finally are you sure you have emotional eating under control. it comes in so many types. and even if you have the standard happy/mad/sad/bored/stressed under control is it possible that it's something a little more complicated and you're rewarding yourself with extra food?
-google first. ask questions later.
I tend to be a multi-portion eater also... if there is food left over then all I can think about is eating it! What I find that helps is:
Cook only one portion at a time. Go ahead and chop enough veggies for a big stir fry but cook one portion and store the rest uncooked in the refrigerator for another day. Cook only enough rice for one portion. In theory we can save ourselves cooking time by making a big meal and then storing away the left overs for other meals but really... what left overs after we go back 3 or more times?? ;)
Also, you can find a happy medium and allow yourself multi portions of truly healthy food but not of the side dish or dense foods. For example... your stir fry: you can have more lightly cooked veggies but not more rice. Make only enough rice for one portion. Or have another spinach salad but leave out the cheese, avocado, dressing, olives, or whatever else should be avoided in large quantities.
Some physical tips: portion leftover food for storage right away BEFORE eating your first plate. Put into the FREEZER so you aren't tempted to get it out of the refrigerator and eat it. Or, if you don't want to save the leftovers then put something really awful on it and throw it away, such as bug spray. You won't be eating THAT! :)
It takes a lot of sheer determination to not let the eating get out of control. Sometimes I simply have to tell my inner child who is screaming for another plate of food "NO. You have had enough, you are NOT hungry, you will be okay, you will survive this." And as someone else said... just decide you WON'T eat more and go find something else to do while you battle the inner voices tempting you back for more food. Because we know the reality right... getting another plate of food won't stop the cravings, it won't stop the urge to get yet ANOTHER plate of food because once that plate is gone the cravings want another then another. So you will be battling those cravings and urges even if you get another plate - because it's never enough. So you CAN choose to battle the cravings without getting more food. And the bonus is you won't have to suffer the guilt and self-loathing that accompanies those extra plates of food... which gives you more energy to battle the cravings.
Do drink lots and lots of FILTERED water to stay hydrated. 10 cups may seem like a lot but maybe your body needs more.
Edited by: JANBAMBOO at: 12/26/2013 (02:45)
I'm with IvyLass and Renata...TRACK and follow your limits! Its all up to you, and you CAN do this!
Do you ever pre-plan your meals and snacks? If so, then looking forward to something just as good as what you just finished eating, but which meets a different Nutrition need (increase your magnesium for instance, or add a healthy fat serving...) will help you focus on moving past the recent meal.
Remind yourself that your wonderful homemade meals will be just as good tomorrow. Package them up right after eating; bury them in the refrig, (preferably freeze them!); .and get yourself out of the kitchen: Find a new kind of tea for that late evening snack and read a book..Get on Spark; go for a short walk; lay on the floor and do a few stretches...and the urge to emotionally eat will eventually pass. It IS a difficult part of this journey, no doubt about it.....
"You're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view" Obiwan Return of the Jedi
Suggesting to a near-lifelong vegetarian that she should eliminate grains and add meat is more than a little annoying to me. She asked for help with over-eating (that's not due to being hungry), not to be told her diet is all wrong for her when it likely isn't.
To the OP: I'm not sure what to tell you. I'm not sure if the situation I faced relates well or not. Overlarge portions was only one of my issues, but it was something I had to deal with, and in the end I pretty much just said "heck with it, I'm cutting my portions way down and I'll allow two small healthy snacks on top of those smaller portions and that's it -- unless I'm about to chew a table leg off with hunger, that's all I get". Which is probably not the best way to go about it, even though it worked out great for me, better than I expected or probably deserved. But the bottom line is that if you want to start losing weight (or even just stop gaining by reducing calories that far), you have to find a reason to want to do it that matters more to you than does the "freedom" to eat as much as you want, whenever you want.
Once you have that reason, nothing about it is really all that complicated. Reduce overall calories into weight-loss range, in stages or all at once. Limit sweets and munchies and high-calorie snacks to things that are indulged in only rarely, or at least don't count for more than a few percent of your daily calories. Cut everything else more or less proportionally, though it might help a little if sugars and simple starches are cut a tad bit more than everything else, since you really need the staying power of proteins and fats and the bulk of vegetables when you're working on less than maintenance calories for an extended period of time.
And then you just keep going.
I'm a near-vegetarian myself; that's not an issue.
Height 5'8 1/2"
CW: 141.0 Woohoo!
5K 4/21/11: 31:55
I feel much more satisfied since eliminating grains and sugars. Veggies, fruits (low sugar varieties), meats, and fats keep me satisfied.
Edited by: MICHELLEXXXX at: 12/25/2013 (20:53)
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
Yes. I was doing the same thing...eating too much. Track your food on the Nutrition Tracker and learn how to control your portions.
One stumble does not a failure make.
Everything in moderation.
This is similar to one of the other hot posts right now about just loving food, but my situation is a little different.
I do LOVE food, and I love everything about it. Shopping for it, cooking it, feeding it to others, and eating it myself gives me so much joy. I don't each much processed food. I don't eat junk food like chips, candies, etc. I don't buy anything with hydrogenated oil or dyes or artificial sweeteners. I'm vegetarian and have been since I was 8 years old. If I eat cookies, they are baked completely from scratch. If I eat pizza, it's baked entirely from scratch with whole wheat flour. I eat out once a week or so, and it's never, ever to a fast food place like McDonald's or Burger King. I don't crave things like that.
I LOVE HEALTHY FOOD. I will make a beautiful, healthy stir-fry with tons of veggies, fresh tofu, lots of seasonings, just a hint of oil, and serve it with brown rice. Instead of having one bowl for dinner, however, I have two. Then I'll have another a few hours later. I just can't stop myself, and honestly, I would be able to eat way less junky food than I do food I prepare myself because what I make myself is just so darn good! Just today I made my own protein bars entirely from scratch, and it's taking everything in my power not to eat the entire tray. I will even find myself binging on spinach salad!
How I can prevent this? I know I emotionally eat sometimes, but I'm very aware of it, and the majority of the time I'm overeating like this I'm doing it purely because the food just tastes so darn good. But, a beautiful stir-fry isn't healthy any more when you eat 3 servings of it!
I know a lot of people say were able to eat less when they started focusing only on quality, not quantity...but I'm obsessed with quality already! I also drink a ton of water, 10+ cups all day every day, and I never drink anything else besides unsweetened tea. I know I'm not thirsty and mistaking it for hunger. Has anyone been through this? Do you have any tips?
January Goal: 185 lbs