September 25, 2010

Hunger

Since I've started regularly exercising, eating right, and experiencing success with losing weight, I've noticed a few things. The way my pants fit, even immediately after I take them out of the dryer (when I bought them in July, I had to lay on the bed and my sisters helped me zip and button them - crazy muffin top situation - and now they're loose all over). The way my hips feel when I put my hands on them and step on the scale (I think there might be bones under there!). The way I breathe after going up the stairs to my second floor apartment (one floor is hardly a challenge anymore!).

One of the best things I'm recognizing is my hunger. I think the last time I was really, truly hungry was probably when I was a baby. Everything since then has been mostly mindless eating, such as eating on a schedule or eating for boredom. I wasn't eating because my body wanted food, I was eating because my mind did.

Feeling hungry is a pretty amazing feeling, actually. It means that I am working my body enough to use up all the fuel I am giving it, and in order to keep going, I need to refuel. I know "intuitive eating" is a debatable topic, but for me, it works. It's easy to oversimplify it, but essentially, if I'm hungry I eat. The trick is deciding if I'm really hungry, or if I'm thirsty or bored.

One of the biggest changes for me has been my snacking habits. In the past, I would consume huge quantities of snack foods, not because I was hungry, but because I was bored, or because I was watching a movie, or because any other reason I could easily justify for eating high calorie and high fat "snacks." Dinners have also changed for me. I grew up in a household where every night we had some variation on the basic theme of a meat, a starch, and a vegetable. I'm trying to get away from that now, at least in a general sense. I'm trying to eat balanced meals, but not necessarily the ones I grew up with. For example, I will chunk up a grilled chicken breast, make some plain rice, take a scoop of fat-free refried black beans, mix it all up with some chili garlic sauce, and eat it wrapped up in lettuce leaves. I'm still getting the nutritional balance without having childhood flashbacks of a piece of steak covered in A-1, a baked potato drenched in butter and sour cream, and some broccoli I ignored.

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Now, I have a cup of yogurt for breakfast, a Lean Cuisine or Weight Watcher frozen meal for lunch, and plenty of water throughout the day. I pack a 100-120 calorie snack to bring to work since I feel hungry after I finish teaching at 3. When I get home around 5:30 or quarter to 6, I start to feel hungry again, and since I go for my nightly walk right after I drop my things off at home, I grab a piece of fruit. Then, when I get home, I wash up, change, check my e-mail, and start to feel hungry again, so I make dinner. After dinner I work on the Wii Fit, then draft my blog entry for the next day, answer any e-mails from students, and try to read and comment on a few blogs. If I feel hungry at all after dinner, I have light snacks around - baby carrots, hard-boiled eggs (egg whites only!), prunes, etc. I think prunes get a bad rep - they're delicious and they totally satisfy my sweet craving for only a few calories!

So basically, I'm still eating my three basic meals, and I'm still snacking throughout the day, but I think the main difference is the counterpart to feeling hunger - recognizing fullness. I have two or three egg whites, or maybe four or five prunes, or a banana, and the hunger subsides. I'm trying to improve not only quality, but quantity.

5 comments:

Ann (-8 lbs in 60 lb challenge) said...

Great NSVs!! This was a thoughtful post, and you are really showing improvement on how you are reading the signals your body gives you! It'll tell us what we need, if we give our bodies a chance to, that is. LOL Great job!! I'm going to go out and buy some prunes. I forget about them, actually.

Amy said...

Your posts always amaze me. You really paint a picture into a different world. I'm so happy for you that you are finding things on your journey that keep you motivated and successful!

I used to love prunes, I haven't bought them in years. I love dried fruit, it definitely gets a bad rap.

~Shannon~ said...

You've got a great routine going! Sounds like you get a lot of walking in which is awesome! Unfortunately, where I live the public transportation needs a serious overhaul. Everyone I know owns a car and no one ever bikes or walks anywhere...unless they don't own a car.

So I have to ask...did you like prunes before or is this something you're just getting into? Never had/tried a prune..I only mildly recall my grandma trying to force me to eat one. What's it like? I'm nervous to try one..LOL.. and that sounds so stupid!

As for breakfast stuff (re: your comment on my blog..) whole wheat pancakes with fresh berries...cooked down fresh fruit mixed in to yogurt with granola thrown on top..fresh fruit smoothies..the list goes on. I'm a breakfast NUT!

oh_mg said...

Shannon - I always liked prunes. They've been remarketing them lately as "dried plums" (which is what they are) because the name "prunes" is associated with something negative for whatever reason. I think they're delicious - sweet and tons of vitamins, minerals, and fiber! I think if people like raisins or other dried fruit (stuff like those overly sugary dried pineapple rings doesn't count!), they'd probably like prunes!

jayme said...

great post! and yeah, i've sort of picked up on the 'intuitive eating' thing as well. good going, mary!! and i'll have to look into the prunes....i'm someone who thought they were only for old people, but 'dried plums' sounds much more appetizing! ;o)