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Weight Loss Methodology

06 Aug

About a month ago I joined meetup.com. As a single person who tends to be a bit of a hermit, I’ve been searching for ways to go out and meet people that don’t mean trolling bars, or blind dates (and I’ll be honest, I’m not really in dating mode right now). The whole showing up at a park and striking up a conversation with someone else rollerblading or walking just won’t work. While I have a strong self image (I do quite like what I look like naked, mostly), I know I’m overweight, so I’m not eye candy enough to get someone’s attention (it’s all about the first impression). So back to meetup. I joined a Seattle dinner group and it’s been great! I went to 1, tried a new restaurant, and met some cool people. I just went to another one, Thursday night.

I could kick myself for going out of my way to eating out at a restaurant while on a restricted eating plan, and one that served dish after dish after dish. But I signed up and decided to go, even though I really should have cancelled. I’m doing everything in moderation – even splurging eating out. I decided to forego any acolohol and just enjoy the food. It was Thai/Laotian food. Yum! I tried a bunch of new things, and while I ate a ton, I don’t feel bad about it.

So why am I bringing this up? I was conversing with this wonderful older middle-aged woman who confided that she’d just lost 80 lbs!!!!! So we were talking about weight loss and someone mentioned that they had a client that lost a ton by realizing why he ate. He ate because he didn’t want to be hungry. Exactly!!!! I think this is the first time an excuse for being fat has hit me so hard. I’m not overweight because of sexual abuse. I’m not fat because I have a bad self-image and bad self-esteem. I’m not fat because of a traumatic experience. I’m fat because I don’t like to be hungry! So how did this guy go about losing his own weight? He decided that he would eat half. Half of everything. Imagine that. Everything you were used to eating, when you were eating unhealthfully? Just cut each portion in half and eat no more.

I’m obsessed with this concept. I recently calculated that I had been eating on average 3300 calories a day BD (before diet). If I just cut that in half, I would be eating 1650, which is a tad over what I need to be eating to lose. I can easily see that BD meal – I’d make up a pot of polenta and a huge steak. I’d eat the steak and keep eating, past full, because I liked to really feel like I was *full* and could really appreciate what a wonderful meal I had prepared. I’d have a ton of polenta and a big serving of some kind of vegetable. The meat was usually around ..65-.8 lbs and I’d do my best to finish it. The polenta was a massive amount too (let’s just call it polenty). I’d go to bed overfull and wake up the next morning still feeling full. Obviously that was too much food but I was in a cycle that I couldn’t get out of. I was also afraid of feeling hungry.

I don’t like the feeling of hunger, and it’s been really hard to accept that into my life these last 2 weeks. If I think about eating so little for the rest of my life (which seems to be what I’ll need to do to maintain a weight loss when I finally arrive at that point), it can be downright depressing. I remember all those times in the past months that I would think about eating healthy but immediately my thoughts would turn to yummy food. What would I have for dinner? I’d much rather have a nice {x,y, and z} on my plate and have that wonderfully rosey feeling of contented fullness. Deciding to eat something smaller and less calories, and with correct portion sizes was horrifying! All I could think about was how unsatisfying it would be. And after, there would be the little after dinner dessert – a bunch of dark chocolate or a bowl of popcorn (with a lot of butter). Plus a nightcap of applejack brandy or other hard liquor. Eat carrot sticks and 4 oz. of chicken breast? Why would I want to subject myself to that?!

I’ve always had a difficult time dealing with hunger. I get hungry? I eat. It’s that simple. I’m a instant gratification kind of gal. If I eat, I will EAT. Right now. I will prepare a ton of food due to the amazingly large feeling of hunger – way more than I really needed to eat to feel full, but you know how it goes – the eyes are always bigger than the stomach. So once the food was made, can’t leave an empty plate, right? And those feelings of hunger. They have always been much much stronger than thinking about getting to a goal weight, or losing a pound, or being able to fit into smaller clothes, or looking better, or being more attractive to men and being able to date successfully (ie, becoming yummy eye candy). Hunger rules me. It is much stronger than any other desire I have ever had. It still is.

So how did I get to the point that I triumph over hunger (well, for 2 weeks so far)? Because let me tell you, I am hungry. All the damn time. Seriously truly hungry, where it’s all I can think about, most of the time. I’m not sure! But I will say this. Willpower is an amazing thing. It’s when your brain makes a decision – it disrupts the hunger subroutine. Before I started 2 weeks ago with eating 1500 calories, I hadn’t made that decision. I flirted with it, but was never serious enough to move in together, let alone propose and get married, ya know? Let’s just say that I’m dating hunger. I think I’m ready to move on to a committed relationship, too.

There’s been one other experience in my life where I decided to do the same thing – when I became vegetarian and then vegan. I was vegan for 8 years, vegetarian for 10. I am no longer either, but during that time period, I had similar mental fortitude. I drew the line at eating certain types of food. When I stopped being vegetarian, for a while I drew a line at red meat, but eventually relaxed that. I’m ok with all of the decisions I’ve made, but it proves that the mind is powerful. If I could decide mentally to not eat something, despite my palate, my tastebuds, my stomach, and my salivary glands wanting me to consume wonderful yummy animal products, then I can be stronger than hunger (that’s the hope). That was a different type of hunger, but the principal is the same.

I don’t know when, or if, I’ll ever get less hungry. I know I have what  you would call a “healthy appetite,” but I don’t think I can exist being this hungry all the time. For the rest of my life. Hopefully, I’ll get more used to it. How long does it take the stomach to shrink, anyway?

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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Food issues, Starting over

 

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