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Skwigg Blog
Saturday, 22 May 2010
Trust, Hunger and Chocolate

It seems my big struggles are 1) not trusting myself around food and 2) feeling like I'm hungry all the time (totally in my head, I know).  How did you get past those things?  I look in awe at your Cadbury drawer and anticipate the day when I might be able to have that much chocolate at my disposal and not eat it all in one sitting...

Dieters binge. Dieters are also hungry all the time. The years of restraint make them crazy. If you're always entering your food into software, using measuring cups, sticking to a food list, agonizing over meal decisions, and feeling deprived, when faced with a drawer of chocolate, you'll lose your mind. Someone who eats whatever they want at every meal, including chocolate, will see a drawer of Cadbury Eggs and go, "Meh... maybe later."

I was totally out of touch with my hunger when I did the six meals a day thing. I might eat a two or three hundred calorie "meal" and be hungry enough to eat office furniture an hour later. Or maybe after several of those "meals" I wouldn't feel anything. No hunger, no fullness, no connection at all to my real appetite. I was eating entirely by the clock and rules, which again is a recipe for being mentally ravenous around drawers of chocolate.

When I started listening to my hunger and food preferences instead of battling or denying them, the mental starvation thing went away. I lean toward three meals a day now. I eat what I like, which is mostly healthy and mostly plants but with a dash of cheeseburger or Ben & Jerry's. I don't feel good when I binge on junk food so I don't do that. I'm not happy when I deny myself treats so I don't do that either.

Now, as to how to eat what you want and LOSE weight, there is some portion control involved, some balancing. If I have a carb-heavy breakfast maybe I'll have a lighter mostly plants lunch, and maybe I'll have a steak and vegetable dinner (with dessert, of course). So, over the course of the day it kind of balances out and I'm not eating all bread, all dessert, or all chicken and protein shakes.

It helps to be a picky eater. If I don't love something, I don't finish it. If I find something crazy delicious, I save some for later. I try to make decisions like a naturally thin person instead of like a struggling dieter. Dieters binge, feel guilty, start over, binge, feel guilty, start over. They set up a bunch of rules and then rebel against them. I try to avoid doing anything a struggling dieter would do, like restricting carbs, counting calories, skipping dessert, or consuming anything light or low-fat. 

I've received all kinds of book recommendations since the last post. Another one that looks interesting is Runaway Eating: The Eight Point Plan to Conquer Adult Food and Weight Obsessions by Cynthia Bulik and Nadine Taylor. I haven't read it and probably won't. I kind of quit looking for "solution" books because, ironically, just reading them tends to make problems spring up where there weren't any. Have you ever done that thing where reading a diet book makes you binge? Like, just thinking about starting makes you want some pie? Well, I'm kind of becoming that way with eating habits books. My eating habits are fine, but if I start thinking that I'm doing it wrong or that I need to change everything, that makes me want McDonald's. So, lately I just go with what's working and try not analyze it to death.

Couple of reads: I did a fun interview with Sheila at LiveWell 360. Then I read the most amazing cautionary tale on how NOT to lose two pounds. Check out Lisa's Story over at Prior Fat Girl. Wow! I felt for her. I've experienced similar madness. It's better to accept and appreciate your fit self than to step onto the crazy train.

Posted by skwigg at 11:46 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, 22 May 2010 11:59 AM CDT

Saturday, 22 May 2010 - 2:04 PM CDT

Name: "Joy (A Little Bit Fit)"
Home Page: http://ALittleBitFit.blogspot.com

Great post, as always!  I love your honest insight to health and nutrition.  Thank you for sharing the link to Lisa's story.  I have had similar, although less extreme, battle and am working on eating intuitively and having a healthy relationship with food.  Your blog is one that is helping on that journey.  Thank you!

Saturday, 22 May 2010 - 5:23 PM CDT

Name: "Chelle"
Home Page: http://chellesultimatechallenge.blogspot.com/

Awesome post girl. I'm just about to complete my 5th week of ESE and the results have been amazing. The fat is melting off (way faster than typical bodybuiling cal restricted diets), i'm looking great, feeling confident and most importantly it has taught me about what 'real' hunger. I finally feel in CONTROL!

Saturday, 22 May 2010 - 5:40 PM CDT

Name: "Vicky Morris"

Thanks again, Skwigg another great read!  I love your posts because you have done "it" and you are honest.  I am on the same journey as a lot of others and appreciate that I'm not the only one!  

Saturday, 22 May 2010 - 6:34 PM CDT

Name: "Emoore81"

How does intuitive eating need to be tailored for people with specific fitness goals like gaining xlb of muscle or losing xlb of fat?

Sunday, 23 May 2010 - 10:36 AM CDT

Name: "Melissa"

"I kind of quit looking for "solution" books because, ironically, just reading them tends to make problems spring up where there weren't any. Have you ever done that thing where reading a diet book makes you binge?"

OMG! YES!! I always thought one of my biggest binge triggers was lack of self-control plus junk food in house. It's not. It's self-doubt plus someone who claims to have "the answer." If I go online, to the book store, etc., looking for "the solution," I've basically left the door open for someone else to convince me that they're right and I'm wrong. When they convince me that I don't know what's good and what works for me then — WHAMMO! — binge. If I can't even take care of myself with something as basic as food, then might as well start stuffing Twinkies.

Now that I've figured this out, I've become really, really picky about what sites, blogs, books, etc., I read. Like a lot of the wonderful chicks that read your blog, I'm definitely interested in nutrition which can make it tricky. I just approach every new site, article or book very cautiously with the question in my head of "Is this person/group/company trying to give me info or trying to convince me I'm wrong?" If they're trying to convince me I'm wrong — which often comes with a sales pitch — I run like hell.

Love, love, love your blog!! Keep up the good work!! 


Sunday, 23 May 2010 - 11:18 AM CDT

Name: "Carrie"
Home Page: http://carrannmorfitness.com/

I have to say that for myself, it was a roller coaster learning how to eat intuitively.  I thought I had gotten to that point, but then I started unintentionally increasing portion sizes, eating junk, gaining weight, feeling awful, and starting an awful cycle.  Then, I started scaling it again (rather than going on a diet), feeling better, losing a little bit of weight, and the cycle went upward.  Now, the point is to focus on veggies, then lean meats/proteins, and it helps me if I carb cycle fairly intentionally (the high carb day resets my brain, while the low/no carb days keep me leaning out further).  It's a matter of finding what works so that intuitive eating can be, well, intuitive.  It doesn't help me to get obsessive over specific numbers (that sets me up for acting like a lunatic searching for the next buffet).  It does help me to focus on increasing the vegetable servings I'm having, or the amount of water I'm drinking.

Sunday, 23 May 2010 - 11:27 AM CDT

Name: skwigg
Home Page: http://skwigg.tripod.com

How does intuitive eating need to be tailored for people with specific fitness goals like gaining xlb of muscle or losing xlb of fat?

I think most people who are drawn to intuitive eating have peace, happiness, and simplicity as primary objectives. They still have health and fitness goals but not like I want to lose x number of pounds and gain x amount of muscle by x date. If your primary goal is a number or a date, the surest way to get there is probably with a diet, a compliance grid and a cooler full of pre-portioned Tupperware meals. 

That makes me want to poke an eye out though. To lose fat, I eat less overall and stay active. Freakishly, that works every time. If I wanted to gain muscle I would eat more, lift heavier, start taking creatine again, and be more conscious about eating protein foods.

Most of us have experienced enough nutrition and fitness plans to already know what works, what sets us up for failure, and what drives us up a tree whether it works or not. The "intuitive" part is about listening to and embracing your preferences instead of fighting them.

If there's a drawback it's that it might take some trial and error to get the "it's working" part down. No problem for happy campers discovering their own way and achieving every goal in due time. Big problem for somebody who has to lean out to a crazy degree for a photo shoot on a specific date. That's why you don't see many figure competitors or bodybuilders relying on intuition to prepare for a contest. It kicks ass for daily living though. You discover your own blissed out fitness approach keep doing it.

Sunday, 23 May 2010 - 3:47 PM CDT

Name: "Heather (Perspective Is Everything)"
Home Page: http://www.heathers-perspective.blogspot.com

I think the following (from Lisa's blog) could be life-changing for some people.

 So yes, I mean it when I said that you need to “leave your food in the kitchen.” It has no place in your day-to-day or minute-to-minute thoughts. Try something new, go find a hobby, and start living your life instead of planning your meals.

 Skwigg, thanks for the link to that blog.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010 - 8:08 PM CDT

Name: "Hayley Cepeda"
Home Page: http://www.hayleycepeda.wordpress.com

I was going through the links on my blog and realized that i hadn't read yours in a while.  Always a favorite site, I was very surprised at myself!!  Once again it was like fate (or the universe??) brought me here, because I just today wrote a post on how I'm trying to become a "normal eater" and give up dieting for good.  I will definitely be adding your most recent post to my page!  As always you give excellent advice.  Thanks so much for keeping it real and keeping it going!

Friday, 28 May 2010 - 3:14 PM CDT

Name: "Eve"

Thank you for posting the link to Lisa's story. I had similar issues--what is it about size 8? 

Monday, 31 May 2010 - 12:33 PM CDT

Name: bisousmd
Home Page: http://bisousmd.tripod.com

Hi Skwigg!  About 8 weeks ago I started eating "paleo" along the lines of Mark's Daily Apple blog.  I love his "80/20" approach (80% on plan, 20% whatever you want, so nothing is off limits) - and eating real glorious food we evolved to eat.  I feel fantastic, I've lost 21 pounds and I'm back into my pre-baby clothes.  By avoiding (for the most part) sugar, wheat, and processed food, regular food tastes so wonderful!  Also, paleo eaters get to eat fat, which has actually made my cellulite go away, unlike any BFL or low fat-type diet.  I am so enthused by this lifestyle and eating - I don't even want a chocolate chip cookie.  Never thought I would say that. :)  But if I did want one, I would go out and get the best chocolate chip cookie on the planet and really enjoy it.  Taking the calories in=calories out approach to living means you can exercise to be an awesome, fit omnivore rather than to atone for that dessert you had last night.  I can skip a meal if I don't feel like eating, and I don't have to worry about packing a zillion snacks.  I'll just make up for it (intuitively!) with the next steak dinner.   As a physician, I've been doing a TON of research into nutrition lately, and I'm having a blast doing it too.  Anyway, just thought I'd share as it goes along the lines of what you are doing too! 

Monday, 31 May 2010 - 9:38 PM CDT

Name: skwigg
Home Page: http://skwigg.tripod.com

Awesome! Congrats on the weight loss. Mark Sisson also did an interview with LiveWell 360. I have his Primal Blueprint book and love his philosophy, especially regarding exercise. I really enjoy a good high-fat primal meal like his eggs, avocado and berries breakfast or a steak and and a big salad. I have a weird thing where I appreciate both raw vegan eaters and primal eaters. The philosphies don't conflict (much) in my mind because the emphasis is on whole unprocessed foods. Neither camp is big into Lean Cuisines, pasta, or protein bars. I admire that and look to both groups for clever whole food meal ideas. My thing is to add as much delicious real food as possible without getting too tweaked about totally eliminating pretzles or whatever. Then it becomes just another no-fun diet scheme.

Saturday, 5 June 2010 - 5:25 AM CDT

Name: "Ellen"

Then I read the most amazing cautionary tale on how NOT to lose two pounds.


This is the article I'm interested in reading, but you don't provide a link?

Saturday, 5 June 2010 - 7:55 AM CDT

Name: skwigg
Home Page: http://skwigg.tripod.com

Lisa's Story the link right after the quoted sentence. :-)

Saturday, 5 June 2010 - 10:52 AM CDT

Name: "Ellen"

OH duh  thanks.

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