Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Mystery of Hunger

The last week or so has been a state of wonderment about the mysteries of hunger, especially "real" hunger, the kind that's related to how much food is or is not in your stomach at a given moment. It never ceases to amaze me how variable my hunger levels are from one day to the next.
For example, some days, I wake up hungry and stay hungry all day and it seems I never quite reach satisfaction. One day week before last, my stomach was growling impatiently about 5 seconds after I got out of bed and I still had my hour on the treadmill ahead of me. Down girl! And I could definitely tell it wasn't just "want to eat", it was the real hunger deal.
Other days, the same amount of food overstuffs me. Last Thursday, I went through a not-hungry day yesterday. My breakfast filled me up and I pretty much stayed full all day, I ate some lunch, but didn't want to eat all of it (alert the media!). At supper, I got full right away and didn't finish it. I'm not doing anything different really from one day to the next. It's curious.
Of course, maybe it's always like this and I just never knew it. The fact is that the way I got so heavy to start with was because I ate a lot and never really let my tank get empty and didn't know what stomach hunger feels like. The whole time I was losing weight, I was pretty much a little bit hungry all the time, but that was deliberate and expected. Now that I've reached my goal weight and I'm working on maintaining it, paying attention to hunger cues and keying into what is going to be most satisfying and healthy is a bit of a learning curve.
For example, I was ruminating the other night about the old days of how I used to eat. Actually I was feeling a little sorry for myself about the fact that I couldn't eat as much of my pasta dinner as I wanted, which was just so tasty. And I got to remembering how "nice" it was when I could just eat as much as I wanted whenever I wanted and how I was always full and all. So after spending about 30 seconds in that thought pattern, called bulls**t on myself, because when I really remembered those feelings, it wasn't just full it was overfull and also full of shame. It couldn't have been that satisfying - otherwise I wouldn't have had to keep doing it over and over again.

So again, it still comes down to taking the time to prepare savory and tasty meals and focus on them as I am eating them so that I don't fall into the mindset of feeling deprived. I know what the healthy and appropriate quantities are, if only I listen to my stomach and its level of fullness at any given moment


MizFit said...

youve nailed it 100% on the calling BULLSH** on yourself notion!

in fitness.
in relationships.
in jobs.

Id not thought of it in those terms before but that's precisely it.


Crabby McSlacker said...

I'm like you in that sometimes I have "hungry days" and other days it takes hardly anything to fill me up. And I have such a hard time listening to my body when it says, "sorry, a snack may SOUND good but you aren't actually hungry enough for one!"

It's an ongoing battle...