The Shanty

The Shanty
where I grew up

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Knowing When To Stop

In the past I’ve only considered two categories of fullness:

Full and Stuffed.

The first I thought was alright…I mean the whole point of eating is to fulfill a hunger so you should feel full right? And then if you go too far you become stuffed which is bad. It leaves you feeling gross and bloated and it’s just not good to overeat. Well, I have learned of a new category—satisfied.

I always equaled satisfied with being full but they really are two different feelings. Most everyone’s body does certain things when it gets hungry to alert the individual that “Hey! It’s time to eat!” but when do those feelings and sounds subside? When you take your first bite? Probably not. Or maybe for a second but then seconds later you will still feel hungry. So when does your body actually stop telling you it’s hungry? Whenever that point is, that is when you become satisfied, at least internally. I know that some people need to be visually satisfied when they eat and they might not achieve this at the first sign of hunger pains diminishing. My point here today however is to talk about becoming internally satisfied.

How do most people determine when to stop eating? Do you fill your plate and clean it with your tongue? Do you portion out your meals according to some guideline you know of? Or maybe you overload your plate and eat until you’re full, getting rid of the rest? I am guilty of all three methods. I was taught, as many were, to eat everything on your plate. To not do so is being rude. And sometimes pre-portioning is too little and other times it’s too much! Ahhhh! What to do?!?


This concept sounds easy and obvious to be quite honest. However, the reasons listed above about learning to recognize satisfaction over fullness and then doing it is not easy at all. This stems back to childhood. As kids someone else fixed our plates for us. We couldn’t be the judge of when we’d had enough to eat. Kids’ brains are not advanced enough to truly decipher what is best. And since we are conditioned to eat this certain way as kids, often it spills over into adulthood causing overeating problems.

Learning to eat healthy is one thing but almost as equally important, I believe, is learning to eat until satisfied NOT until full or stuffed. There are a couple approaches of I’m trying to learn. They are outlined below:

  1. Learn that it’s okay not to finish what’s on your plate. Foods can always be saved, even small amounts. And if you don’t want to save something small, throw it away! Throwing it away is much better than stuffing it in your face just to not be wasteful.
  2. Eat SLOWLY. Enjoy the foods you taste and really concentrate on what signals your body is sending you. This is hard especially when something tastes really good or when you have a time constraint but it is possible.
  3. When your body is telling you it’s not hungry anymore STOP. Even if this means you become hungry again in 30 minutes. If that happens, eat again in 30 minutes! It will take some practice to learn how much to eat at one given time to stay satisfied for around 2 hours or so. And until you reach this point, eat as often as your body tells you to. It WILL become less frustrating and inconvenient with time.
  4. Enjoy how you feel! You’re stomach will feel light yet satisfied. It really is a great feeling.

There are definitely times when this methodology is more conducive than others. I work at an office where I can have food on my desk at all times if I wish. A lot of people do not have that luxury. That is why it’s important to learn how much should be eaten to stay satisfied for around 2 hours until you can maybe take a break and eat again. I don’t know. There are always excuses of why people can’t or won’t do things. But I feel if becoming healthy is something that is really important to you, as it has become to me recently, then you can and will find a way to achieve your goals including eating until you’re satisfied, no more, no less.

This ties in with my blog from yesterday because I believe that if I keep my focus on being healthy, including this concept, transformation of my body in a positive way will take place. But either way, the great feeling of only being satisfied as opposed to full or stuffed is totally worth it to me…and hopefully you too :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Diet and Exercise Gold Mine

Do you know the reasons you diet and exercise? Those two words go hand in hand (or so media has us believing) to mean “ways to lose weight”. Then when the word diet became taboo its new meaning was synonymous with “food”. Saying “my diet consists of…” no longer means “my cut-back, healthy foods consist of…” but rather “my food consists of…” that way it can be marketed without appearing to be “special” foods to help you lose weight. So we are taught that we must pay attention to our diets (food) and exercise in order to lose weight. And while this is true whatever happened to the real reason we should be doing these things—to become and/or remain healthy?

I guess companies couldn’t make any money that way. Could you imagine an infomercial promoting a healthy diet and exercise plan for the sheer purpose of feeling good?! Of course not! That’s not good enough! We all want to shed some fat and mold our bodies into whatever these programs tells us is sexy. Right?! Wrong. Actually my answer was right until very recently when I decided to shift my focus.

I have struggled with body image for as long as I can remember, as I’m sure a lot of you out there have as well. We all want to look good and be desired, we want to feel sexy and unashamed to strut out by the pool in a bikini. And guys want their tanned arms cut with muscles while wearing a sleeveless top and they want their pecks to be more than just some saggy moobs. All of this is fine but how about those of us who are miserable all the time…so uncomfortable in our own skin? We try so hard to eat right and exercise, hoping…waiting for the weight to come off and when it never does (or it does then rapidly comes back) we’re right back to feeling miserable again.

I was recently asked if I considered myself to be healthy. I didn’t have to think very long before I answered “Yes.” Blood work at the doctor later proved this to be right. Every test ran was in the healthy range despite the fact that I am overweight. And according to the BMI chart I’m obese! This is not true however as I have weighed heavy my entire life. Two different friends of mine, who are the same height as me, told me that when they weighed what I do right now they were at least 3 sizes in clothes bigger than me sooooo…I am not obese but I definitely am overweight and could stand to lose some fat…around 20 pounds worth but I do feel and am healthy.

I exercise regularly and eat healthy. So why am I not losing any weight? I’ll tell you why…because I have been “good” for the reason of wanting to lose weight and not to remain healthy. I do like to eat healthy now, just to be healthy (it took me years to get to this point though) but as far as exercise goes, my main reason for exercising has still been to help me lose weight. Boy, what a mistake this has been. When I don’t see results I get very discouraged which in turn affects my eating habits (sometimes even just subliminally) which as you well know, does bad things to body weight. What a vicious cycle I’ve been on for years!

I know how to diet (old definition) and exercise to lose weight but I know it’s only temporary. So I learned how to diet (new definition) to become and then remain healthy and now I need to get my exercising to this point as well. What this is allowing me to do is STOP WORRYING! I’m no longer depressed when I don’t see my weight decrease. In fact I got rid of my scale a few months ago and no longer have any idea how much I weigh. It has been nice. My body is not where I want it right now but at least I feel healthy. And that needs to be more important to me than trying to become “sexy”. Okay, so I have the food part down now what about the exercise part??

Going to the gym without the intent of busting as much ass as possible is going to be tough. That is what I am used to doing. My new intent needs to be to go and do at least 30 minutes at whatever intensity I feel like that day. I know to switch it up to condition my heart and other internal functions but other than that…that is all I need to be thinking about- at least 30 minutes of whatever. No more 1.5-2 hour sweat fests of killing myself every day to try to lose weight. Now if I spend that long at the gym it needs to be because I’m having fun and I don’t care if I lose weight or not, I know it’s a proven fact that exercise is good for my body—both physically and mentally.

I strongly believe that once I start behaving in this way I will become even healthier than I am now. That is probably going to mean losing weight but if it doesn’t that’s okay too. So I’m a little overweight! That’s okay. I know I’m healthy and I know how hard I work to stay that way. The other perks will follow. Until that time I will try and learn to love the body I have now, reminding myself that it’s a healthy body. I do think that one day I will be comfortable in my skin visually but until then I need to be focused and happy with the body I have internally. I know a lot of skinny people who are far unhealthier than I am. Skinny does not equal healthy by any stretch of the imagination.

MY NEW FOCUS: Eat healthy and exercise to remain healthy. Period.

Losing weight will naturally follow. I have to trust this. And more importantly I have to trust that if it doesn’t happen than it’s okay—I’ll still be one healthy broad! :)