Which direction am I going?
Thursday, December 05, 2019
It's been slow, (like years) but I’m down 108 pounds and have kept it off. 27 of those pounds came this year. I’m not there yet. I still have more short, mid and long-term goals to accomplish in the weight loss department.
I’ve been down the Weight Watchers, TOPS, Overeater’s Anonymous, Overeater’s Victorious paths, and probably a few more. I’ve tried diet pills, shakes, low carb, low fat, the cabbage soup diet and numerous other weight loss plans.
Today I practice what’s known as intuitive eating. I’m not really following a particular version of that – more something I’ve cobbled together. It’s the same way I approach cooking. I may look at a recipe for a starting point, however, there’s usually plenty of personal adaptations along the way.
The crucial piece of embracing intuitive eating for me has been learning to recognize true hunger. As a lifelong overeater and often binger, I rarely was ever physically hungry. You eat when it’s meal time, at an event, when you’re bored or stressed and so on. It was just food all the time. I finally started postponing eating until I could feel the physical pangs of hungry. Then came the next two important parts.
First, eat exactly what I was hungry for, whether that was cake or carrots. French fries or fresh veggies. Early on, I was more the French fry eater. The second piece was learning to STOP. Stop the instant I felt satiety. That was almost as hard to recognize as knowing when I was really hungry. IT WAS LIBERATING! To know I didn’t have to eat until I was stuffed. To listen to my body and satisfy cravings. To stop before I felt bloated and like crap.
An exciting side benefit to this is that I often crave healthier food now. Go figure, right? When I’ve finally given myself liberty to eat exactly what I’m hungry for, often what I’m hungry for is light and bright and fresh.
The core of this has been changing my mindset on food. For me, there is no bad food and there is no good food. It’s just food. Giving attributes to food like characterizing a person no longer made sense to me. Food is not the enemy. Food isn’t evil or angelic. It’s fuel. Fuel, certainly, but what a dull life it would be if we couldn’t enjoy food.
Today I choose to think of food as either forward or backward, not good or bad. With the intuitive eating and my new perspective on food, I can eat whatever I want when I follow my plan: Waiting until I’m truly physically hungry, eating what I’m craving and stopping when full. Here’s the kicker. If I’m craving those French fries I ask myself “Is this forward food or backward food?” Will this food take me forward toward my weight loss and health goals, or will it move me backward instead?
Sometimes I still eat those fries, but the kid’s portion. Craving satisfied. No guilt for eating “bad” food, and since I had a small portion, perhaps paired with a salad instead of a burger, those fries become neutral for me. They fit perfectly into an overall eating plan.
I understand this isn’t for everyone. There are plenty of wonderful weight loss food plans out there and folks have to choose their own path. Hopefully, you run yours by your doctor. Mine has signed off on the intuitive eating for me because she’s observed the results, not only in the weight loss, but all the lab results and my attitude on life in general.
Still marching forward,