Once Upon a Fat Girl

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Diet Survivor: Lesson #1

I've been reading a little book called The Diet Survivor's Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care by Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel (both Licensed Clinical Social Workers.)

The book is very interesting. It goes along with what I've been trying to do: Give up dieting. So, I've decided to write about each lesson...one a day...over the next sixty days. The end of each lesson has questions or tasks, which I will also be writing about here.

Lesson one: Welcome your body's interal cues to instruct you when, what, and how much to eat.

They call it attuned eating. Eating what you want, when you are hungry, until you are full. I call it natural eating. The hardest part, by far, is trusting my body to know when it's full. And the anxiety that STILL occassionally crops up when I get full with my plate still half full of what my Daddy calls "good grubbin'."

I mean, really--how am I supposed to leave behind half of a delicious grilled chicken breast or a nice hunk of cheese...just cause I'm not hungry? What kind of nonsense is that?

It gets easier though. The first two weeks were hell. The last two months haven't been so bad.

Children always eat naturally. The older they get, the less attuned they are to their eating. I've been thinking about why that is, for me. What happened on the way to 300-plus pounds?

My natural eating was derailed. By a mother who insisted that I clear my plate, and a step-mother and father who wouldn't let me have seconds if I was still hungry. Talk about conflicted messages.

It was also thrown off track by this little fear that I've had for as long as I can remember--the fear that I will not have enough. Not enough to eat. Not enough to be full. Maybe that comes from having so many siblings. Maybe it comes from being the big one, and so always worrying that I'm eating too much.

Where ever it comes from, I need to retrain myself. I have enough now. Enough so that every time I'm hungry, I can eat anything I want. That idea is finally starting to break through my boundaries. I don't have to eat ALL of it now...because I can have more of it when I'm hungry again, if I want. More than likely, by the time I'm hungry again, some other new delicous-ness will be beckoning.

End of the lesson activity:

1. Think of a time when you felt hungry and ate what you craved. How did it taste?
How did it feel in your stomach?

hmmm...when I was pregnant with Adrienne, 14 years ago (!), I craved Little Debbies fudge rounds and Kool-Aid pink lemonade. I ate them when I was hungry, but I have had a little pregnancy quirk all three times--I can't eat past being full, or I get sick. I can still remember sinking my teeth into the refridgerated goodness of those fudgy rounds. We kept them in the fridge, because let me tell you--Summer in Vegas is not a nice time to be pregnant. I needed to cool off. Those treats, and the tangy sweet lemonaid were absolutely perfect.

2. Think of a time when you felt hungry but ate something that you weren't hungry for in order to be "good." How did it taste? How did it feel in your stomach?

I've done this a million times. Ate carrot sticks, when I wanted chocolate. Or ordered a salad when I wanted a juicy burger. "Good" foods don't taste real well when they come with a side-order of resentment. Usually--I'd end up binging on some other crap, often the crap that I wanted to eat in the first place.

3. Think of a time when you weren't hungry but ate anyway. How did it taste? How did it feel in your stomach?

Boy. How many times have I done this? Bucket o' popcorn at the movies anyone? Or big bowl of ice cream whilst zoning in front of the tube? Finishing a yummy sandwich, just because it was yummy. The food tasted great. Especially the first few bites. My stomach nearly always suffered--you know that over-full, ouchie stomach feeling? Ick.


Blogger Michelle said...

I found your post very helpful. I'll definitely be checking in daily to see what else your book has to offer.

Umm...might also snatch your questions and put answers on them at my blog. Hope you don't mind. (o:

1:35 PM  
Blogger TrixieBelden said...

I know what you mean about feeling like you won't get enough food. I often feel that way when I'm deciding what to order at a restaurant, or when I'm sharing food with people - like pizza or an appetizer. I'm afraid I'll still be hungry after we divide up the food. I'm trying to set aside those fears and just reassure myself that I will get enough to eat, but its hard.

Thanks for giving me something to think about.

7:37 PM  
Blogger iportion said...

Hope the book helps you.

My atuned eating is broken so I journal.

1:28 AM  
Blogger Cookie said...

This sounds like a really good book. The questions you posed today were very helpful for me, especially number 3. That is a huge downfall for me. I will eat stuff because it's there and because it tastes good, not because I am actually hungry.

Thanks for sharing this, I think I might have to pick this book up for myself.

1:06 PM  

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