Hunger or Plan?

I’ve covered this before, but still find this question interesting. To eat when hungry or to follow a strict meal plan?

In a way, I kind of do both. I do my best to eat only when my body signals hunger, but when I do eat I stick to foods and amounts that are very comfortable for me.

But if I’m not hungry, I don’t eat and don’t want to eat. Sometimes, I have to eat when I’m not necessarily hungry – a client lunch, a holiday meal, an impromptu meal with the boyfriend’s parents… But otherwise, I just don’t.

I do work with many women who follow a clear food plan that tells them exactly when and how much to eat. And to eat no less and no more.

This works – all the worry about when and what and how much to eat is resolved. And, I have to remember, nearly everyone gets hungrier than I do. I’m a sloth – I probably burn fewer calories than a lawn ornament. -) So, most of the women i know ARE hungry when they eat their prepared meals.

I respect how my sponsees eat, and it works for them. Still, I often have a moment when a woman says that she was so busy and tired and not hungry that she forgot to eat her snack. And she perceives that as bad and a mess-up with her food plan.

My first thought is – but that’s a normal, healthy approach. Normal women who are busy and tired and not hungry would rather just skip the meal and/or go to bed.

However, I do know – we are NOT normal. And whatever works, works. I salute that, embrace and encourage each individual to find and do what’s best for her.

A Day off my Food Plan?

Yesterday was such a long and busy day, and I was tired. Also, I knew I’d be eating a couple of meals on the run and at odd times. One of those meals would be with someone who’s weird about the way I eat – small quantities and only when hungry.

Briefly, I considered bending my ‘rules’ – the very guidelines that keep me sane and comfortable. I must have been really tired, because I can’t remember the last time that thought came to mind.

What would be so bad about taking ‘a day off’ from my way of eating? Why not have a cheeseburger with a friend before a concert, even though I wasn’t slightly hungry and had eaten a late lunch?

Immediately, my mind gave me the answer. I could visualize clearly exactly what would happen. I would consume a burger, and food would consume ME.

AND I wouldn’t pay a minutes attention to the concert I’d been longing to see. I’d be sitting there thinking about how much I’d just eaten, how full I felt, how wrong I’d been to eat it AND I’d then think exclusively about food. What could I eat next? When could I’d eat next? How I’d need to starve tomorrow to make up for the damage.
I could picture the scenario as though it were happening – a lovely night completely annihilated by eating off my perfect plan for me.

The concert tickets were a gift from my friend. They were way way too expensive (amazing seats) and more than she could afford. We were going to see my favorite performer of all time. My friend drove us all the way to Queens and back. And although she had a badly sprained ankle, she gamely walked (limped on a cane) blocks and blocks and blocks from our parking spot to the arena. The concert was beyond wonderful, and I watched and heard every moment with open eyes, an open heart and compete awareness. Heaven!!!!

Now imagine that very same concert if I’d decide to throw my food plan to the wind….

More on Weight Gate

Yes, I’m glad to see Chris Christie go. However, I am so sick and tired and pissed about all the fat jokes that came with his governship and continue to this day.

My usually kind friend, Jim, said the governor should now go join the circus, as a fat Pennywise the clown. That would make him even scarier than the original, right?

The comment made my skin crawl. Why is fat scary? Why is fat funny?

When in doubt, Christie haters could call him a fat fuck and feel relief. Why, when most everything else is off limits, are fat jokes still okay?

I suppose prejudice of any kind is wrong, but especially here. Let’s say I, a Jewish woman, dislike all Neo Nazis as a whole. Well, that at least makes some kind of sense.

But how many legions of fat people tried to slaughter an entire race? What did a fat person ever do to you, Jim?

Food and the Bake Sale

Today, I helped out at a bake sale for a dear friend. The strangest thing happened – surrounded by every kind of home-made cake, brownie, cookie, muffin, cupcake, candy – I had absolutely no desire to eat any of them.

I didn’t have to think about it or push myself away – I just wasn’t interested. At all.

To me, that’s insane – well, actually, a miracle. I’m a woman who regularly ate quarts of ice cream while watching one evening’s television. For starters!

Sugar was my absolute weakness. I could consume more dessert than seemed humanly possibly – I’d shock even myself. There was no stopping me – I’d gorge until barely able to breathe.

When not eating them, I was fantasizing about sugary desserts. As an anorexic in my 30s, I’d keep lists of foods that I dreamt of eating. They were ALL sugar. Pecan pie, hot fudge sundaes, Sara Lee brownies….and on and on.

Today, all day – no interest. I didn’t even want anything.

Why? Well, I can’t quite put my finger on why it works – but the 12 Steps changed me. Most likey, because I gave up and accepted the process.

Why did I give up? I just could no longer live with my face in a trough. I couldn’t spend one more minute in obsession, compulsion, misery and most of all, self-hatred.

I was done. Like the 12 Steps, I highly recommend giving up. It’s incredibly peaceful.

Back in the day, today’s bake sale would have set me back at least 20,000 calories.

Here are some of the excuses I would have used to allow me to binge;

First of all, Saturday is the only morning that I have to myself. It’s my one catching up on a sleep, running errands, calling friends, relaxing morning.

So, having to be somewhere other than my bed early Saturday would have provided a perfect reason to start gorging on the baked goods.

Second, it was really cold outside, and I stood out there for almost 7 hours. I HATE THE COLD. Being cold would ALWAYS have been a perfect and great reason to binge on baked goods.

Third, at times standing outside selling cookies for hours wasn’t scintillating. BOREDOM – the IDEAL reason to binge on baked goods. Come on, that’s a no-brainer, right?

But not today. Today, I was tired, cold and sometimes bored. But I was never, even once, interested in eating dessert.

What I was able to do was focus on the reason I was out there today – to raise money for a very brave woman battling cancer. When tired and cold, I reminded myself why I was selling baked goods and raising funds.

And I was blown away by the kindness and generosity of friends, acquaintances and even strangers. My belief in the good of humanity was re-kindled – not so easy in these troubled times – so I am even more grateful. I left the bake sale truly at peace.


Food and Boredom

Boredom is my arch enemy. I can NOT tolerate being bored!

But that’s a lie, isn’t it? Of course, I can tolerate boredom. I have relatives who survived concentration camps – I can deal with some dull down-time.

Boredom passes. Being bored for a few hours is just that – being bored for a few hours.

I find many addicts believe we can’t handle, stand or tolerate boredom. On long lonely days, I would tell myself that having a few Bloody Mary’s in the morning was classy; taking Ambien and a nap mid-day was restful; and bingeing all thru the night – well, that’s just what i had to do when there seemed to be nothing else.

Basically, believing I couldn’t tolerate boredom got me really fat. It also got me to rehab a few times, but that’s for a different blog.

Today, I experienced serious boredom for a while. First, I got cranky and then, I wondered when lunch would arrive. Eating – something to do, right?!

Wrong. I eat when I’m hungry. That resolved that.

And I began a new project, which blew away the boredom.

The crankiness – that came with birth. That I always need to work on!!

The Good with the Sad

There seems to be sadness all around – friends who are very ill, have lost their jobs, fight in the midst of excruciating divorce, face children in the throes of serious addiction …and I could go on.

All news seems to be sad these days. Where, I wonder, is the good stuff? Is there any at all, anywhere? It doesn’t appear that way lately.

But, of course, there is great good everywhere.

All around me, I see great good people putting out loving hands to help. I see this everywhere. And am overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity and sacrifice of those around me.

My job is to model these folks. That’s all I can do. It lifts me up a little to think about how I can help, through kindness, generosity and self-sacrifice.