Friday, January 15, 2010

On Hunger

I am ten months into the medical study I am enrolled in. I have lost exactly twenty pounds, and I feel great. In this study if you follow the program, your weight is supposed to level off by twelve months. The problem is that I still need to lose at least 5 more pounds, ideally more like 7 pounds, to be at my "leveling off" weight.

At the beginning it was easy to lose weight. I cut out the huge amounts of junk food I was eating (typical student food, free pizza everywhere) and it was no problem to see the weight come off. But now my body has adjusted to the new, smaller amount of good food I'm eating. So if I eat even a little more calories than I am burning, those extra calories add up and the numbers on the scale aren't going to budge. I need to really be careful that I am eating just what I need to be full, and not pigging out on dessert and big restaurant meals.

Five pounds in two months. I can do that.

So I am really trying to pay attention to my body - to eat when I am hungry, stop when I am full. I am finding that most of the time when I reach for food, it's not because I'm actually hungry. It's because I'm bored, or I am avoiding doing work, or I want to take a break from doing something else, or it's simply available (free cake someone gave us in lab today is a case in point). Or it's a habit - something to munch on while watching TV. Or it's just "time to eat." It's 12 noon, gotta have lunch - 6pm, let's get dinner on the table.

I don't want this to feel like a diet. I don't want it to be forced. Because if I feel deprived, I just want cake even more. I want this to be sustainable. So I'm practicing listening to my body - hungry? Have food. Feel full? I've had enough. I like what one of my friends said - when you sit down to a meal, think to yourself "This is not my last meal. I will eat again."

I think this is good. I think it is going to take a while, but I can learn this.


  1. "This is not my last meal. I will eat again"

    I like that a lot. And honestly, I should probably put that up in my kitchen somewhere to remind me to control portion sizes when I cook.

    Congratulations on the weight loss!

  2. Keep up the good work!

    Personally, everyone I know wants to lose 5 more pounds. I suspect we're all probably just fine where we are right now.

    Maintaining is hard enough, and I tend to build muscle, so it's not so much about my *weight* as it is about how I feel (and whether my clothes fit). Taking care of yourself can be a full-time job!