Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hard Work

I never got back to post again last night. It turned out we had tickets to a Cash Night held by a local fraternal organization. You buy tickets with a number that corresponds to a numbered ball. They pick each number in random and you've got a chance to win cash or a door prize. There were also other games of chance: 50/50 (where the winner gets half the money collected from ticket sales) and chances on a grandfather clock.

My sweet, absent-minded husband never told me he bought these tickets, and he must have forgotten about them completely, because his mother called me at work yesterday to remind us about it. At first I really didn't want to go, but a bunch of our friends were going, and my daughter had an invitation to spend the evening at a friend's house, so I surrendered and went to the dinner.

The meal that went with this event was prepared by the same group that made the Mother-Daughter banquet meal I went to a few weeks ago. They're all about the comfort food -- mashed potatoes, corn, dressing, gravy. The meat this time was Swiss steak -- basically floured meat covered in gravy. Real healthy meal, if your idea of healthy is consuming a meal almost entirely comprised of carbohydrates. There was the meat, of course, and we did have applesauce, but otherwise? An utter Starch-tacular.

Of course that doesn't change the fact that it was completely delicious, and I definitely dived right in. I observed during the meal that I pretty much ate the same amount as those who I consider "normal" eaters. However, that meant we all overate. While I knew when I hit the satisfaction level on my new hunger/fullness scale, the taste of the food kept me going past that. When I reached the full mark, I did recognize it and knew to stop before I got to the uncomfortably stuffed stage.

That didn't stop me from feeling a little guilty about it, at least for a few minutes. That's definitely something I'm trying to learn as I explore intuitive eating: how to remove guilt when I overeat and accomplishment if I deprive myself. Because that sense of achievement from "going without" always winds up twisting into resentment, which then leads me way past overeating into binge territory. And then I really feel guilty. So I reminded myself that it was just one meal, and I had been able to use it as another chance to read my body's signals.

The good news about the event is that Hubby won the 50/50 drawing, and I won a $10 gift certificate! Plus I got to talk and laugh with my friends, so overall it was a good night.

This morning I woke up with what I'm thinking is not allergies but a cold. I'm really stuffed up and my body's dragging. I'm drinking lots of tea and trying to take it easy, although work isn't helping much with that.

I got home for lunch today and didn't have any real plan for lunch. I looked around the kitchen and wound up having a serving of Guiltless Gourmet tortilla chips and salsa, but after that portion I didn't want any more. But I knew I hadn't reached my level of satisfaction, so I then had two apple flautas, and then I felt good. My head quite isn't there, and I know it's that "I'm sick, so comfort me with food" syndrome. But since my stomach's content, I'm not going that route. After I'm done posting I'm going to lay down and take a short nap until I have to get Mabel and take her for her allergy shot.

While I'm glad that I'm not dieting, I'm realizing that this Intuitive Eating has its own hard work behind it. It's hard to break the diet mentality. I'm still checking out food labels on new foods, but it's mainly to see what the portion sizes are. Most of the IE literature talks about recognizing portion sizes and learning that smaller amounts of your favorite foods can often be just as satisfying, if not more so, when you learn to fully enjoy and savor them without guilt or fear of gaining weight. Before I started IE I found it interesting to see what fuzzy math these food companies do to make their labels look good. Yeah, there's only 100 calories per serving of Brand X, but they don't tell you that the single package you hold in your hand is 2.5 servings! Tricky buggers.

There's also the scale factor. After yesterday's weigh-in, I'm going to try to go for a whole week again. I almost made it last time, so I think it ought to get easier as time goes on.

But the hardest work is the effort it takes to stay in tune with my body. After spending most of my life ignoring it, whether I was overfeeding it or starving it, it's difficult to reconnect to the hunger and fullness signals it was trying in vain to send me. There are days I just don't want the extra work. I realize that this is sad, because for truly intuitive eaters, it comes as naturally as knowing when you're tired or when you have to use the restroom.

I realize now that I'm the one who has made this so difficult. To continue the simile above, when I'm sleepy I don't feel guilty about it, I know my body needs rest and I do my best to get it. When my bladder's full, I don't second-guess it and tell myself I'll be a better person if I hold it an extra hour. I'm the one who has added all the negative connotations to a natural process. I'm the one who has judged my worth as a human being on an involuntary physical need.

So now I need to get rid of all of that mental clutter I've collected around hunger and eating. And there's where the hardest work truly is.

3 comments:

iportion said...

if your eating is broken like mine
Intuitive is much harder than journaling. I have to journal but right now it drives me nuts.
I went to a party last night and had a blast.

Tree Lover said...

"how to remove guilt when I overeat and accomplishment if I deprive myself. Because that sense of achievement from "going without" always winds up twisting into resentment, which then leads me way past overeating into binge territory. And then I really feel guilty. So I reminded myself that it was just one meal, and I had been able to use it as another chance to read my body's signals."

Are you sure you have only been at this IE thing for a few weeks? Every time I read your blog I am amazed by your insights.

Lori said...

It's really weird; I spent the evening reading Elle and I definitely want to get the new Gina Kolleta (I'm mangling her last name) book on food/diet, etc.

From what I read, and mind you, I'm sleepy at the moment but her theory is that we cannot be certain sizes any more than we can be six feet tall. It's not to excuse us from being healthy, etc. etc. but I kept thinking of you when I was reading the article.