Thursday, October 29, 2009

So This Is What It Feels Like!

Is it possible for a person who was used to eating a huge number of calories from emotional overeating to being satisfied on about 1600 calories a day?


Although I've been learning to eat more slowly and pay attention to my body signals before, during and after eating, I tend to rely more on portion control. But I had an epiphany at work last Thursday night. I brought my dinner bag complete with fresh and dried fruit, nuts, a container with one portion of savory vegetable bread pudding and my bottles of water. I had my snack of a handful of raw almonds and a few pieces of candied ginger around 5pm as I always do because on work days by that time it will have been about 4 hours since I had my lunch. I never go more than 4 hours without eating a little something at least. Then about 6:30pm I sat down for my dinner break and had at my bread pudding and a magazine. After a time, I dropped my fork and said, "Ooh, that was good, I'm full!" And I looked down at the container and there was still about 3 hefty bites left in the bowl. I actually didn't finish and never even ate the rest of the food in my dinner bag! This was a big breakthrough for me.

After years of abusing food, my stomach got stretched out. Of course it would by eating for emotional reasons rather than when physically hungry, downing double portions at every meal and still forcing down a rich dessert or huge bowl of ice cream, eating lots of processed snacks between meals. This stretched out stomach condition caused me to "break so many diets" over the years. I'd be so hungry going cold turkey to a very small number of calories a day. Will power can only get you so far before you cave and find yourself in the McDonald's drive-thru slamming double cheese burgers faster than you can say, "Super size it!"

My strategy this time was to make gradual changes to my behavior (dealing with emotional issues in a non-food way) and the way I cooked and ate. By focusing on health rather than counting calories and by gradually reducing portion sizes I gave my stomach adequate time to get back to it's normal size. I only knew what "emotionally hungry" and what so "totally stuffed that I couldn't move" felt like. These gradual changes taught me the real meaning of hungry, satisfied and appropriately full. It's an amazing feeling to have your body and mind connected.

Don't be afraid to start making small, gradual changes right now. Don't wait until Monday or after the holidays. There is plenty of time to get your stomach back to its fighting weight before January 1st and instead of "breaking your diet" by Valentine's Day, you could be feeling lighter and happier and well on your way to your goal instead!


  1. Congrats.

    It is very hard to stop eating as much, like when you say, your stomach is stretched.

    I am on day 13 now of just eating right. No fastfood, no soda, no junk. More healthy foods and liquids. And I have already dropped 6 lbs. But its very hard to control portion size because sometimes I feel like I am still hungry.

  2. Oh my gosh! Andra, I am so happy for you! What a great feeling! I agree with you that slow, gradual changes are best (although I am a calorie-counter, LOL, and probably will be for the rest of my life). I remember cutting down my calories. When I was heavy, I was eating about 3,000 calories a day!!! I couldn’t believe it. No wonder I weighed so much! So then, I slowly cut my calories down. First to 1,800. Then after a few months of that: 1,500. Then after a few months of that: 1,200. I think you are right about stomach size. I know mine has shrunk! Even when I go on a special trip and allow myself to have a special meal…saying “You can have whatever you want, don’t worry about calories” I can’t put food away like I used to. Anyway, congratulations!!! By the way, that savory vegetable bread pudding sounds very intriguing. What is in it? Where did you get it, or did you make it yourself? Is it tasty? Is there a sauce involved? Inquiring minds want to know! LOL

  3. I think we have the same kitchen cabinets. Congratulations on being so in tune with your hunger and satisfaction point. It's hard after expecting to feel Thanksgiving Dinner full after every meal to feeling normal and just reasonably nourished.

  4. Great Post and congrats on getting a handle on your hunger and body signals. That is a place I want to be in very soon!

  5. What an awesome accomplishment!! I love reading posts like this because I often wonder if I will really ever eat "normally." Thanks for sharing :D

  6. It is important to remember that foods for fast weight loss are chosen and eaten as a response to the biological need of hunger and not for indulging in a habit of over-eating. It is also a good idea to choose a sensible diet that conforms to the standards necessary for weight loss, but also appeals to the taste buds. In that way, the satisfaction factor is lost and food is taken as a compulsory method of treating obesity.
    Mike Jsimon, M.D.
    University of Maryland
    Health,fitness,Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information
    Height Weight Chart.

  7. Thanks for all the comments and support, everyone. Gradually changing portion size is the best way I found to avoid feeling hungry, that and smart snacking. As opposed to what the doctor who commented, I'm not going after "fast" weight loss. Slow loss is fine with me because those are the pounds that are going to stay off. I believe that my delicious and nutritious approach is an excellent solution.