Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hungering for hunger

So about a month ago, or a little more, I was at my weekly weight-loss support group meeting (2Sexy, for the interested). The topic that night was how to deal with emotional eating. At the time, I'd been doing pretty strict paleo/primal eating for a good while, keeping up with Crossfit 4-5 times a week, and picking up running again. I felt fantastic, and all the personal details of my life (job, stuff with T and my fam, etc) were going pretty swimmingly as well. So when the discussion came around the circle to me, I blithely said that I didn't have any issues with emotional eating anymore.

Now, I'm just a little bit of a superstitious person in general (case in point: the GM swept up a penny when we were closing the shop last night and I wouldn't pick it up because it was tails-up), but for some reason I didn't even stop to think that I might be jinxing myself (or, for the scientific-minded, just speaking way too soon, at the best). However you think of it, the fact remains that directly after I made that remark (literally; it was only a couple days before shit started happening), the various factors in my life combined to make me remember exactly what emotional eating was. I sprained my ankle pretty badly and couldn't exercise for a while, which got me in a funk; drama started happening with my job and wages, which got me really on edge; and things got not-so-great with T, which I'm totally not going to detail here. And in response to all that, I ate.

Pinches of cookie dough and slices of the kids' pizzas at work, along with "healthy" salads slathered in dressing instead of bringing lunch from home. Doubling up on portions of normally healthy fare like sardines, and going back for seconds (and thirds) on Family Chinese & Movie Night. Coffee every day, all day, and not nearly enough water to make up for it. Just crap in general, and way too much of it. Not because I was hungry, but because I wanted to be full. As a result, I've put on somewhere between five and ten pounds in just that short time, while ostensibly trying to move in the other direction.

So I picked up this book, "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan, during my latest library run. Here's the book as described on Pollan's site, and here's the Amazon page for it. It's mainly about the industrialization of the "Western diet," and how it's led to so many of the most common illnesses and medical problems in our society (and that part is fascinating in itself). But in the last few sections, Pollan lays out a series of rules for eating (what and how) that, while terribly exhaustive, is also pretty inspiring, and most of them are sensible (obviously not everyone has the room for a freezer big enough to store an entire hog in). And these three I've picked, along with one of my own, are especially what I'll be aspiring to follow in an effort to shake myself out of this poor-health funk and back into something closer to my normal state. Here they are:
  • Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognise as food (also: don't eat anything incapable of rotting).
  • Avoid foods containing ingredients that are A. unfamiliar, B. unpronounceable, C. more than five in number or that include D. high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Do all your eating at a table (a desk does not count).
And my own:
  • Don't eat unless you are actually hungry (i.e. stomach rumbling).
This last one (which I used to stick to religiously) seems like it makes all the sense in the world, but it's the one I've ignored most often recently. Things taste better when you're hungry, and if you're not, you will feel like you need more of them to satisfy you. So today, this was my breakfast:

No coffee. Nothing solid, either - I wasn't hungry, and I respected that fact. Just a big ol' glass of water and the puzzle section. The water helped with any caffeine withdrawal, and now, hours after this picture was taken, I feel hungry enough to actually enjoy what I'm about to eat, which is this:
Raspberries, almonds, organic milk and oysters (just 3 ingredients on the can :D)

Wish me luck, you guys!


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