Once Upon a Fat Girl

Monday, August 14, 2006

Diet Survivor: Lesson #4

I am writing about the lessons in "The Diet Survivor's Guide" by Judit Matz and Ellen Frankel. Feel free to post your own answer to the activity at the end to my comments.

Lesson #4

Pay attention to your fullness. When you eat from physical hunger and eat exactly what you are hungry for, you will also notice when your stomach feels satisfied.

This is a biggie for me. As I've said, the first two weeks of May were torture. Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, in her book Fed Up! talks about the anxiety that comes from not eating enough to be Really Full.

According to this website, I was eating an astonishing 4,040 calories to maintain 323 pounds. And let's face it. I wasn't maintaining, I was gaining. That's a huge amount of food. I was used to being Really Full. So Full Enough or just Not Hungry was actually causing some rather severe anxiety.

It took two weeks to get over it. Two weeks for my body to catch on that I wasn't going to starve it. In the past, during the thousand or so diets I've been on, I would normally try to cut my calories to somewhere between 1200 and 1600. Since May I've had a general goal of 2000 calories. At least 90 percent of the time I stay between 2000 and 2500. This seems like a whole lot. But that same website says that I can eat 3000 and still lose weight.

It says that to maintain a weight of 150, I'll need to eat 2600 calories, so I'm not sweating it. Why would I? I'm losing.

I've been making an honest attempt to eat what I'm hungry for. I'll admit that I do still make an attempt to make healthier choices. Low-fat Cherry Garcia frozen yogurt, rather than the full-fat ice cream with the same cherry-chocolate deliciousness. I think that's okay. It took me some time, believe it or not, to come to terms with that. It's okay to make healthier choices--it's not okay to deny myself to the point where I'm eating gallons of Cherry Garcia after attempting to feed my craving pretzels, carrot sticks, brownies, pizza and bologna sandwiches.

For me, the stopping point is when I feel a little full. I'd still like to be able to stop eating just at the point when I'm no longer hungry--but for my mental health, eating those few more bites makes a big impact.

The only time that I eat to the point of being Really Full--but never Stuffed anymore--is when I eat out. Last night Kevin took me to Macayos. I did manage to leave half a taco and at least half my rice and beans behind. But--I was at the point of Not Hungry after chips and salsa and a small bowl of tortilla soup. I ate to Really Full--half a taco and an enchilada. I'm a work in progress, for sure.

The Activity

Write down the sensations of:

Too Full
Too full hurts. My stomach feels distended and painfully full. I feel like I can't get a good breath. I feel a little sick to my stomach, both because I'm Too Full and because I'm disappointed with myself.

Not Full Enough Not Full Enough feels like deprevation. It triggers something from my childhood--a feeling of never having enough of anything. Not Full Enough makes me buy the king size package of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, because two isn't enough. It makes me buy the large popcorn at hte movies, just to be sure I have enough. I have a hard time eating something small--when I eat I want to be Full.

Just Right
Just Right makes me feel like a good girl. A little triumphant. I still have a tingle, sometimes (especially at restaurants), of anxiety because my brain wants Just Right to feel like Really Full. Just Right means I've had enough--but not too much. It means that I've stopped before I hurt myself with Too Full. Just Right feels like taking care of myself.


Blogger Xena said...

*sigh* Just Right is indeed scary. I was doing well with that concept for awhile (eating until I was 80% full), but then went back into panic/anxiety mode and was COMPELLED to eat it all, even when I knew full (haha) well that I was already more than 80% full. I knew it, yet I did it anyway. It's a scary place. Thanks for sharing the excerpts - it sounds like an interesting book!

9:29 AM  
Blogger iportion said...

Tanks for the tips.
Eating past full iis a problem for me. A tray of brownies used to be a serving.

11:58 AM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

What a great post. Just right is scary at times. I think I always had a fear that the hunger would grow and grow and grow. Fact is, it generally subsides after a bit and is sometimes actually thirsty masquerading as hungry.

I've had a long distance relationship with my body and its functions for so many years. Losing weight and learning to eat healthy and exercise has been a means of reconnecting with my physical being.

You are doing great. Big inspiration here. Thanks so much. lynette

2:57 PM  
Blogger kathrynoh said...

I find the whole concept of "fullness" difficult. I think I've ignored my body's signals for so long that I now have difficulty interpreting them. One of the things I have noticed is that I often confuse hunger and tiredness - I think I want to eat but really I just need to rest.

4:53 PM  
Blogger TrixieBelden said...

Feeling full, or "just right" is hard for me, but I'm learning too.

When I'm too full I lie on my back on the couch, full of food and regret. I think the guilt weighs more on me that the amount of food I've eaten.

Just right makes me feel active and vibrant, like I'm ready to accomplish anything.

When I feel not full enough, its like my hands and my mouth are in control of my stomach. I need something to occupy them. I tend to drink a lot of diet soda at moments like that. And I try to distract myself from eating. Often, I'll go online.

8:58 PM  

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