Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Binge-free streak

Today was my weigh-in, and I was happy to see that I dropped 7 pounds this week, bringing me BACK to 142. I'm also excited to talk about something that I've been wanting to mention all week but haven't out of fear of jinxing myself...

I didn't count a single calorie this week. I managed to lose 7 pounds without counting calories. When I wrote my goals on my anniversary post, one of the goals was to try to learn more about my binge eating and keep a food journal more focused on WHY I eat rather than how many calories I'm consuming. I decided to try that out this week and experiment with intuitive eating. Now, intuitive eating is nothing new to me--I've tried it numerous times in the past. But this past week has been different for me because my goal was not weight loss, but to eat like a normal person and not binge. I even told myself that if I did binge, it wouldn't mean I failed--I could just write down all I was feeling surrounding the binge and hopefully discover some binge triggers.

In an ideal world for me, I would be an intuitive eater. I wouldn't obsess over food or count or weigh/measure my food. I would just eat a normal amount of food and maintain a normal weight. Sounds perfect, right? While it sounds too good to be true, I'm really going to try to reach this goal this year. I've maintained a 100+ pound weight loss for over a year now, and I think I'm ready to really focus on fixing the eating issues I have (binge eating, emotional eating, compulsive eating).

This week was very eye-opening for me. In the past, when I've tried intuitive eating, I had a hard time just letting go of certain thoughts and TRUSTING myself 100%. If I felt hungry, I would tell myself, "Well, I just ate 30 minutes ago, so I know I'm not really hungry."  Or, "I'm hungry. I'm craving cookies. Since that's what I'm craving, that's what I'll eat." But I wasn't really craving cookies. I just thought that's what I SHOULD be craving, if that makes sense. I might have been craving grapes, but I would have thought that was absurd, because who craves grapes?!

So anyway, this week I decided to completely separate my mind from my body when it came to eating. I trusted my body and when my mind tried to butt in with thoughts about my eating, I shoved the thoughts aside. I turned out to have a very successful week--I didn't binge at all, and I felt like a "normal" person. There are a few eating occasions that stand out in my mind, that I'll mention:

Graduation party--We went to a grad party next door on Saturday, and I was hungry. I scoped out the food and chose everything that sounded good to me, completely disregarding thoughts of health and nutrition. I filled a plate with about 5 different items. When I sat down to eat, I cut a pulled pork sandwich in half and gave half to Jerry. I ate and truly enjoyed everything on my plate. I left one bite of each item--not to conserve calories, but to mentally acknowledge that it's okay to leave food on my plate. Then the CAKE... I split a piece with Noah, stopping when I was comfortably full and satisfied, and leaving a bite on my plate.

Chocolate chips and almonds--A few evenings ago, I was hungry for a snack after dinner. I wanted chocolate chips and almonds, so I put together a small bowl of about an ounce of each. I ate it and really wanted more. THIS is the point where, in the past, I would have said, "You don't really want more, you're satisfied, you just think you want more, etc." So this time, I tried something different. I got another bowl (again, about an ounce of each of the chocolate chips and almonds). I ate that. And I wanted MORE. I wasn't feeling at all sick of the chocolate or full or anything. So I got another bowl. I ate 1 almond with 2 chocolate chips, and something at THAT point make me think, "Okay, now I'm satisfied," and I put the rest of the almonds and chocolate chips back. I wasn't full, I didn't feel sick, and I felt like I truly trusted my body.

Cereal for dinner--Last night, I wanted cereal for dinner. The serving size on the cereal I chose (some sort of wheat flakes with pecans, dates, and raisins) was 3/4 cup. That's a tiny amount of cereal! I didn't measure it out, but I poured probably a little over a cup into my bowl and added almond milk. I ate the cereal and enjoyed it. But even though I had more than the serving size, I still wasn't full. I poured some more (about 1/2 cup) and ate that, and then I felt satisfied.

There is a very fine line between being satisfied/comfortably full and overeating. I didn't want to overeat, but I didn't want to be hungry either, because that always triggers a binge for me. This week, I learned how to find that magical spot. I learned that it takes more than I thought to satisfy me. I read intuitive eating books and they say that it takes an amount "approximately the size of your fist" to satisfy you, or "about 1 cup of food". I always used to think I failed if I ate more than that. But I was never truly satisfied! So this week, like I said, I totally trusted my body and ate until I felt comfortably full and didn't want any more. And it took more than a fist-sized amount of food. But I discovered that when I ate to that point, I was able to stop thinking about food, I was able to stop craving food, and I was able to focus on something other than FOOD for once.

Sorry, this entry has gotten way too long! This week, I'm going to continue what I've been doing. I'm going to try to keep a food journal this week (not a "what I ate" journal, but revelations I might have like I did above). I'll probably write about this during the week. I kept it quiet all week because I didn't want to jinx it, like I said.

Oh, and look what is still going strong in my house--I've only eaten one per day!


What is the hardest part of intuitive eating for you? Is it knowing when you're hungry? Knowing when you're full (but not TOO full)? Trusting your cravings? Eating for reasons other than hunger? For me, I think it's knowing when to stop eating. I tend to eat too little while trying to eat intuitively, and that leads to a binge. Hopefully I can remedy that. And don't even get me started on emotional eating ;)


19 comments:

  1. Congrats on your breakthrough!

    My intuitive eating is terrible! When I have cravings, I don't stop thinking about that craving until I eat the food I want. It may be days later, but I never forget about it. And I often eat for reasons other than hunger.

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  2. I am tired of being tired. I just want to break down today.... I feel like no one gets me. I have issues and it isnt just with food. I want to get to the point where you are... SIGH

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  3. I love intuitive eating, and I've been really bad over the last six weeks, completely neglecting it. That's my biggest issue with Spark, the fact that I tend to pay more attention to numbers than my body. I spent the last six weeks trying to eat in a lower calorie range to lose faster (1.5 lbs/week compared to 1 lb/wk before) and all I did was mess up my ability to pay attention to those cues that would tell me when to eat and when to stop. I actually wrote about this in a Spark blog today, ironically. I need to get back to paying attention to my body and not to numbers!

    I'm glad you're able to listen to your body that way. I don't think we can quantify what will and won't satisfy us. It depends on the food and a lot of other factors. But paying attention to that cue that says "I'm done" really does help, and you've proved that this week! I remember I posted once about the 10 things that have changed for me on this journey, one being freedom from food, and you commented that you didn't feel like you had that yet - I wonder if you feel any closer to it after this week, like you can get there one day?

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  4. I don't think I'll ever be free from food or trust myself to not keep an eye on things, even though I did lose 50 of the 75 pounds (I lost 75 pounds as of this morning! Yay me!)by not counting calories but cutting back and exercising a lot. By joining myfitnesspal and counting calories it really finally sank in that if I eat real food, like fruits, vegetables and quality protein and carbs, then I get a lot more food to eat. However, eating a piece of fruit just doesn't cut it sometimes and I need some dark chocolate! I have learned, though, to tell myself that the cookies, candy or whatever will still be there tomorrow (if my 15 year old son hasn't gotten to it) and I can have more then. I don't need to eat it all in one night!

    Congratulations on your successful week!

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  5. Hi Katie! Wow...this week deserves a WOO HOO on many levels. Your weight loss, your listening to your body successfully, and for those who graduated! Have a good day!

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  6. I am not able to eat that way yet. I have to measure out my calories and portions according to a little higher than spark levels for my "sweet spot" but if left to my own devices, I eat too much every time. I am still learning my full signals since for years I thought feeling full was loosening up the pants! Congratulations, this is very exciting and I look forward to more posts like it!

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  7. I really enjoy eating intuitively, and I think that's the key to what will help me succeed long-term. I'm still a work-in-progress with figuring out my food intuition, but I *do* love the feeling of listening to my body to see what it wants. If I want a cookie, some days I need to just eat one cookie instead of picking at this-and-that that I don't really want for what ends up being the same number of calories.

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  8. I struggle with the being satisfied part. I think my body actually wants to be 250 pounds and if I eat until I am satisfied most times, it is really more than my body needs at its current weight. I do have to weigh and measure my food, but I honestly like doing it (cause I am a dork that way).

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  9. My hardest part is knowing when I'm full enough! I always go overboard and later on get a really sluggish stomachache. I hate it. But sometimes when i think I've eaten enough for a 'normal' person, within an hour I'm hungry again! I hate it, but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one out there :) And congrats on the weigh in and trackless week!!

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  10. The hardest part for intuitive eating for me is the WEEKENDS! I just want to celebrate having gone through another week, but it always has bitten me in the butt! I loved this post!

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  11. Great job on you weight loss and listening to your body!

    My problem right now is that after a lifetime of dieting I am sick of it and I want to eat intuitively. I am craving that freedom. However, I am at an "unhappy weight" and I can maintain eating intuitively, but haven't lost in the past.

    I am struggling right now, trying to decide whether to stick with intuitive eating or suck it up and count calories. I would really like to END this issue in my life once and for all. On the other hand, I'd really like to lose 8 pounds before school starts..... :)

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  12. Way to GO! I'm so glad that you posted this today as I've been totally stressing about this road trip I'm taking tomorrow. I'm a control freak so I've been all worried about what food will be available and how I'm going to track and measure it that I didn't even think of just eating intuitively. I've had great successes with doing just that so this will give me a great excuse to get back to it.

    Like another person mentioned, I've been so focused on eating within my numbers that I've forgotten to pay attention to my body's hunger and fullness signals. Like last night I had the calories left to eat that banana with Hershey's syrup, but I was hungry only in the head and not the stomach so I shouldn't have eaten it. Ugh.
    Oh well, today is a new day. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and congrats on the huge breakthru!
    Paula

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  13. Wow--7 pounds! Super! I've not been tracking lately, but sometimes try to add it all up in my head, and have been coming in at around 1,500. I might leave out a few handfuls of this or that that I stuff into my mouth, however. Intuitively, I just eat TOO MUCH!

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  14. That is awesome Katie! Congrats on the 7 pound weight loss! I am very strict about what I eat because I am still trying to lose weight however I might try that idea in a couple weeks when I'm on vacation! Thanks for sharing your good news!

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  15. Good job Katie!

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  16. Wow Katie. This is ana amazing accommplishment that never even occured to me as something I want before. But it is most definitely something I aspire to be able to do. Thanks for sharing this first step with us and I hope someday I'll be able to successfully do the same! :)

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  17. I really love this post-- thanks for sharing it.
    After almost three years of counting calories, I still can't eat "intuitively." I think about it in the same way, that I wish I could eat "like a normal person" but when I try I start gaining weight back. I think it's impressive and inspiring that you learned to do so.
    kmb

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  18. I am inspired by your blog on intuitive eating! How wonderful that you've figured out how much YOU need to eat without still feeling hungry and without feeling too full. It seems like a science, indeed, that you needed to experiment with to find your sweet spot. I was just thinking about this today...right now I am weighing what you weighed at your largest (according to what you posted on your SparkPage) and I was thinking, well, maybe typical serving sizes on food is meant for a lighter person and not me. Whenever I give myself more cereal than the suggested serving size, for example, I feel guilt that I'm eating too much. But my stomach still doesn't feel satisfied. I'm going to try more intuitive eating rather than, "I should eat no more than the size of my fist". Thank you for posting this!! And a BIG congrats on your weight loss.

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  19. I am inspired by your blog on intuitive eating! How wonderful that you've figured out how much YOU need to eat without still feeling hungry and without feeling too full. It seems like a science, indeed, that you needed to experiment with to find your sweet spot. I was just thinking about this today...right now I am weighing what you weighed at your largest (according to what you posted on your SparkPage) and I was thinking, well, maybe typical serving sizes on food is meant for a lighter person and not me. Whenever I give myself more cereal than the suggested serving size, for example, I feel guilt that I'm eating too much. But my stomach still doesn't feel satisfied. I'm going to try more intuitive eating rather than, "I should eat no more than the size of my fist". Thank you for posting this!! And a BIG congrats on your weight loss.

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