How was your week, little sisters? I was .06 pounds away from goal, AGAIN. I've added Pilates to my workout, which feels amazing. I'm starting to be able to see little muscles under there!
This week, I've been thinking a lot about why I've have a hard time connecting how I eat with how my body feels. While there are a million reasons I've always been overweight (Snackwells, I'm looking at you*), one reason in particular resonates deeply within me. It sounds a little crazy, but stick with me, ok? I think I misunderstood the term "full". Not like the time I didn't understand I was only supposed to call it "roast beast" when we were eating at home. I think I somehow got the concept of what it means to "feel full" completely wrong. Maybe I'm the only one, but what if I'm not?
When I was a little kid, being full was important. You had to clean your plate. You had to finish your food. There were starving kids in other countries and leaving food behind was practically a sin. That is awesome when you're a kid because you needed to learn that you have to eat what your parents give you.
Way back in the day, eating until you were full meant having fuel to run around the neighborhood until dinner time. Full meant being sated. It meant having enough food in your belly to swim, play and run around until the next meal. Lunch was a PB&J and an apple and you were happy, energetic and almost never got stomach cramps if you jumped in the pool too early.
Somewhere along the road, that playful sense of being full was traded for a dreadfully comforting feeling of being full. We are literally striving to be uncomfortable. Why on earth are we doing that to ourselves?
Here is some actual science. The human stomach comfortably holds about one liter of food. However, it can be distended to hold over four liters of food. That means you've eaten over a gallon of food every time you feel like you could "burst". A gallon!
Eating should be pleasurable, yummy and give us energy to make the most of our lives until our next meal. How do we break the cycle of going from starving to stuffed?
1. Learn to understand the difference between feeling sated and feeling stuffed. (Hint: one is barely detectable and one is uncomfortable.)
2. Ignore the pressure to eat everything on your plate. Think about what a serving size should be and recognize that your Cheesecake Factory meal contains three (or more!) servings than your body actually needs.
3. Remove money from the equation. If you catch yourself feeling like you should finish your plate because you paid for it, wait for a few minutes, sit back and really connect with how your body feels.
4. Stop making excuses and don't allow pressure from others to dictate anything about what you do or don't eat.
We all move so fast, while so focused on what we think we need, that we miss the obvious signs. You aren't supposed to need a nap after lunch. Your pants aren't supposed to be expandable. You probably shouldn't feel your food after you've eaten it.
And yes, when you first switch from eating to feel full to eating to feel sated, you might be a little hungry for a day or two. I have to presume it's because our stomachs are screaming, "I have more room in here! Send more pasta!"
Ignore those cries and after a few days of eating proper servings, you won't be hungry. Pay attention to how you feel. Really pay attention, it's harder than you think. Before you know it, you will barely notice how the food feels in your stomach. And that is probably exactly how it should be.
Have you ever really thought about what it means to feel full? Or do you have a hard time seeing those signs? Let's chat in the comments, I want to hear from you! Wanna lose weight with me on Weight Watchers? Let's do this!
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*If you are a certain age, you no doubt remember when the first low fat cookies came out. Everyone was screaming, "fat makes you fat!" and low fat seemed like the answer. We didn't realize what went in to making low fat treats (all those chemicals!) and how it would trick our brains. No matter how many times my Mom said, "low fat doesn't mean you can eat more", that wasn't the message I received. I heard, "eat lots of these and you won't gain weight". I can't be the only one...
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