Mental Progess…

December 13th, 2008

So I’ve stuck with this IE thing for awhile now, and I can say that I am definitely seeing a change in my attitude towards food.

Now when I order or take food, I actually ask myself BEFORE I ORDER, “Rachelle, how much food are you hungry for?” This is a big (yet subtle change) because in the earlier days of starting IE, I would order or set out an amount of food that I always had in the past, and then take bites and eat it until I got full, which is the IE way and save the rest for later.

BUT, the thing was, is that I ordered large amounts because I always had in the past. It was a habit. The first step was stopping when I was full, even when there was lots of food left.

Now, the second step is realizing that I don’t need that much food to make me full anymore and therefore, I can also use my hunger to gauge how much to order.

If I order the right amount for my hunger, then I may not be tempted to eat past full. Also, if I am hungry, and I need more food, I can always order more. It’s just that extra step makes me more aware of my true hunger levels.

For instance, I was hanging out with the homies last night, and I was slightly hungry. It was a late night and I wanted some Jack in the Box. I wanted to order chicken strips, bacon potato cheddar wedges, tacos and a milk shake. But then, I stopped:

1. I realized I was hungry, but not that hungry.

2. I realized I only wanted tacos

3. I realized that I had a pattern of ordering a specific amount of food. Like I said, I have been pretty good about stopping eating when I full, but I realized before my friends left to go get it that I didn’t need to order that amount.

4. So I only ordered the tacos and the milk shake.

I have to admit guys, I was pretty sad when I realized that I shouldn’t order that food. Not sad like my night was ruined sad, but sad that I realized I wasn’t hungry for those foods, and that I had come to rely on them at the end of nights of hanging out just like any other of my real live human friends.

Does this make sense? Am I crazy?

I didn’t get mad at myself for being sad that I wasn’t hungry for those foods. And it wasn’t that I wasn’t ordering those foods because “they are bad foods” or “those foods will make me fat.”

It just makes me sad that I realized I have come to put such value on foods as if they comforted and entertained me as much as humans.

I’m not sad anymore. It was an empowering experience. But like I said, now that I am realizing that food shouldn’t always be a source of comfort and entertainment I can learn to look elsewhere for it.

Oh and the tacos were good. But let me tell you. Those things are filling. I ate them last night at like 1:30 a.m and it is close to noon here, and I am not hungry. Just goes to show how when I honor my hunger, I am also learning what empty, full, satisfied, stuff and neutral feel like in my stomach.

Christmas is almost here!

xoxo,

Rachelle

Hello my friends!

So. Like the title of my blog says. I went to Arby’s. And ate. And ate. Way past my fullness.

The details go something like this. I didn’t honor my hunger, and let myself starve to the point I was light headed and wanted to eat sawdust.

I was hungry. Check. I wanted fast food. Check. This is fine so far on the IE path. Hunger=desire for fast food. Okay.

Only. I. Was. Ravenous.

So I pulled into Arbys, got a large curly fries, large popcorn chicken and 5 jalepeno poppers. And ate them all. And a small bag of M&Ms.

I was beyond full. Way beyond full. I did not honor my hunger.

I am trying very hard not to beat myself up about this. So I referred to my IE book.

I surmise from the book that every binge or eating experience is not just a simply good one (oh I ate only veggies and ‘healthy food’) or a bad one: eating tons of fast food to the point of being sick.

I have to examine the circumstances before, during, and after. And I must remind myself that there is no wagon to fall off of because IE is a process, not a linear path.

1. I should have eaten something when I first had signs of hunger. That means that I should have access to some kind of food at all times when these things crop up.

2. Because I was hungry, it was very hard for me to slow down and taste my food. I even burned myself a couple of times on the poppers because they were still hot.

3. I am proud that once I had that “eating experience” my level of guilt was less than it was in the past.

4. I am proud that I did not let this experience turn into something that gives me another excuse to keep eating things later on just because I supposedly messed up. Since I am not on a diet, there is no towel to throw in. Just something to learn from.

5. I am one week away from my period. This has also been the first time in a long time I ate fast food. I think the last time I ate was about a month ago (also around my period)

6. I had a stressful argument with my Dad today about rent money. Oh wait, he talked. And talked. And I just listened. That could have set me off.

7. I had been wanting fast food for a couple of days. So maybe it is good that I ate it today, because believe me, now the craving is gone (har de har har).

8. Most importantly, one thing I read from the book but never really took seriously is that it said that it is not really advisable to go for more than 5 hours without eating something, even if it is a little something. I think I should take that guideline a little more seriously now because:

9. Every time I eat past hunger, it is usually because I wait till I get too ravenous and I haven’t been able to control myself.

So an honest assessment of the situation is that I am sad about how I ate. I feel guilty, but not as guilty as I would have in the past. Still, I look at myself in the mirror, and I KNOW that I could not have gained weight in a course of six hours, but I imagine that my gut is bigger. I have to work on that bad thinking.

Thanks for listening,

xoxo,

R

Ending my affair with food…

November 30th, 2008

Food for awhile, used to be my dirty little secret, almost like I was having an affair with it…

I would think about what I was going to eat all day at work, plan which drive thru/restaurant I was going to go to, and as soon as work was done, make a beeline for whatever joint I had dreamt about all day.

Then, like two lovers who can hardly stand being apart from each other, at first sight (or smell) I would tear into the fries, chicken nuggets or ice cream and devour each bite like it was going to be my last…

In a way, food has lost it’s fun and daring factor with IE for me.

So the point of this blog, was that last night, I was waiting and waiting for hunger to come. I had two crunchy tacos at around 3 p.m. yesterday (one carne asada and one chix) and I even went to the gym. I wanted to eat something, but I wasn’t really hungry. I just had the sensation of wanting to eat. I just didn’t know why.

So at the gym, I was sure that after my workout, I was going to be hungry. I wasn’t. Nonetheless, I drove myself to the grocery store, telling myself that I would be hungry before I went to bed, so I had better get a snack so I’m not left high and dry at my boyfriend’s house which has no food in it (we spent Thanksgiving at my parents house).

So, there I was, roaming around the Safeway, looking for anything, something to eat! What is surprising but not new to me since I have been practicing IE is that when I am not hungry, food just doesn’t appeal to me. But I was frustrated because I wanted to eat, but I kept checking in with my hunger. Nope, not hungry. Nothing appealed to me but I still wanted to participate in the process of eating.

I went to the cracker aisle, and picked up a bag of Oyster crackers. I checked the nutritional info (something I hadn’t done in a lone time) and saw that for 65 little crackers (the ones you put in clam chowder) it was only 110 cals or something like that. I almost took it as a sign that I could eat those mindlessly and be okay. So I wandered over to where the salami was and picked it up. But still, I wasn’t excited to eat either of those, so I put them down.

I walked over to the chocolate aisle, and NOTHING appealed to me. I walked over to the veggie aisle still nothing. I finally settled on some bagel chips and garden veggie cream cheese, which still didn’t really appeal to me. I still wasn’t hungry, but as soon as I got in the car, I ripped open the bag o chips and the cream cheese dip and started eating.

I was chewing each chip 20 times, which led me to realize, that these didn’t taste very good. Then out of nowhere, I began to want to KFC, and wanted to eat it in front of the TV at home. But, I wasn’t hungry! Why did I want it? Why? I just wanted to eat it, and to have it. Why? Why?

Then, I wanted to take go through the drive thru of KFC, and just eat in in the car, alone, and not in front of my boyfriend. I was like, “Why the heck am I having these crazy thoughts?” You know, I used to do that all the time, sneak food in the car or put it in my backpack so my parents wouldn’t see me come in the house with it and carry it to my room.

Okay, okay, I told myself. You can have KFC, but you have to bring it home and eat it in front of my fiancee (ack, I keep forgetting he is no longer just my bf anymore). Sure enough, POOF, I no longer wanted to eat KFC. I felt very sad then and I think I know why I feel sad even now.

Food is no longer easily substituted as something daring, fun and secretive in my life. In that aspect, it has lost it’s fun factor. Now I am faced with having to find something else to fill that part of my life.

Now, food is fun in a different way because I get to taste it and eat it at social events. I can have everything I want when I want. But I guess I am mourning the fact that I need other ways to deal with my boredom. It’s just that food was such an accessible and affordable way to have fun, and be daring (wow…I am crazy). I mean, I can’t just hop on a plane and travel somewhere anytime.

So I didn’t wind up getting the KFC. I came home and ate some of the bagel chips, but there weren’t that great. I didn’t even eat a bunch. I went to bed still sad that I didn’t eat, but glad that I honored my hunger.

Anyone out there going through the same thing?

xoxo,

Rachelle

P.S

Hello dear readers! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoyed your time off and that you enjoyed yourselves as well! IE put a different spin on Thanksgiving for me this year, so there were no huge binges or days of eating tons of left overs…how is everyone?

Prompted by a question posed by our dear reader in France, “Round” asked me if I cleaned my plate after my planned late-night snack adventure in front of the t.v.

First of, thanks for reading and commenting on my blog dear Round. And secondly, thanks for giving me a new topic to blog about.

Everyone who has food issues will sometime in their personal quest to lose or maintain weight will be left thinking thoughts like these about the plate:

-Should I use a small one to control portion sizes?

-Should I eat it all because of poor, starving, children in (insert your third-world country here).

-I don’t want to be rude to my (host/guest/mom/sig other/friend so I’ll eat it.

-I don’t want to look like a pig, so I’ll leave something on it.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

So, according to the IE book, the answer about whether or not to clean the plate should not be found in any of the above external cues. If you look at the answers listed above, not one of them (and I’ve subscribed to all of them, and sometimes still do) have anything to do with how the person who is actually eating the food feels with REGARD TO THEIR OWN LEVEL OF FULLNESS OR HUNGER.

I am trying to learn that I have to trust my own hunger, or “intuition” that tells me whether or not to stop or keep eating.

So, as I try to find myself on the this IE journey, I try not to use the plate as my end all be all answer to if I should continue to eat or not. I try and listen to what my stomach is telling me. If I am full, I try my best to stop. If there is food on my plate, I will request to take it home or put it in a doggy bag etc, or even just honestly say that I am trying to lose some weight.

So at every meal it varies. A lot of times, I will take small portions on my plate so as to avoid the whole wasting food thing and just take more helpings until I am satisfied. Sometimes I have left large amounts on my plate and other times I have gone back from seconds. It really does just depend on me.

As far as the whole “wasting food” thing goes, there has been a ton of threads about that on the 3FC website. One poster, whose name I can’t remember said something like this. “Sure, I hate to waste food, but what do I hate to waste more? Food? Or my effort?”

However if I am hungry and even after I have eaten all that is on my plate, I will take another serving and will continue to do so until I am comfortably full. This has also required me to get over my self-consciousness of being perceived as a being a fat pig etc. etc. No easy feat.

I’ll leave you guys with the IE principle that seem to fit with this question:

5. Respect Your Fullness Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or food and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what is your current fullness level?

So fellow readers, what are your thoughts on the clean plate club?

And thanks again Round for your post-inspiring comment.

Enjoy your Sunday!

xoxo

Rachelle

Late night snacking, IE style.

November 21st, 2008

So late night, I did something that I used to forbid myself from doing and enjoyed it.

I snacked late night and in front of the TV. And I had all of my favorite foods.

I woke up last night, pretty hungry. Going with my gut (haha) I went downstairs to see what there was to eat.

I wound up eating four frozen meatballs, 1/4 a bag of chocolate M&M’s (not the small bag and not the big bag, but one of those other bags in between) and a couple of handfulls of mini-cheese sandwhich crackers.

This seems like an awfully illegal activity especially for someone who used to be an extreme dieter. Enjoying snacks and watching TV?

This also seems like it might be mindless eating, given the idea in IE that suggests you eat mindfully. But this time, I really felt like eating snacks in front of the TV. I just didn’t plunk myself down in front of the TV and rummage for whatever I could find. And every snack was something I wanted.

Here is how my eating snacks in front of the TV experience is different from my former binge fests in front of the TV.

1. I got the M&M’s, crackers and four meatballs out in the kitchen and put them on a plate instead of bringing the bags/or boxes with me to the couch. 

2. I didn’t start eating until I found a show I liked instead of eating while surfing for a channel.

3. I still chewed most of my food and really tasted it. I put only one M&M or cracker into my mouth at one time, and with each of the meatballs, I divided them into four segments and chewed each segment seperatley.

4. Overall, four meatballs, a quarter of a bag of candy and some handfulls of mini-crackers is NOTHING compared to the bag of chips, bags of candy and hot wings I would consume during my previous binge/diet days

5. I made that pretty small amount of food last over 45 minutes. Back in the day, I would have scarfed a bag of chips and 10 chicken wings down in that time.

6. I still must admit, I did feel a twinge of guilt for eating late night in front of the TV. And I did not eat until I was stuffed. Besides, because I was really tasting stuff, I didn’t really want to keep eating after a certain point.

7. I woke up this morning, not surprised to find that I wasn’t really hungry. I did feel slightly hungry, but everything except warm milk turned me off. So I had warm milk, and I’m still not hungry.

IE. Strange. But liberating. I guess I just have to keep plugging along on this journey.

xoxo,

Rachelle

YAY! The weekend is here!!!

One of the things I’ve found most interesting in my IE quest is the concept of chewing.

I’ve been trying my best to chew each bite of food of mine at least 20 times. I’ve found that this has allowed my body time to realize when it is full and has reduced the amount I eat by a third and sometimes even by half, especially with rich foods.

It also allowed me to really taste and savor food, and sometimes, it has even led me to realize that a food that I thought I used to like, I don’t really care for anymore now that I taste it without inhaling it.

Try chewing each BITE OF FOOD 20 times and let me know how it goes. Then compare the amount of time it takes you to eat a food now, compared to how you used to chew it back when eating unconsciously. Here are some fun ones to try:

1. Indiviual bag of chips: Next time you open up a bag or doritos, corn chips or whatever, try chewing each chip 20 times and waiting until you have swallowed that one chip before you reach into the bag for another. It’s amazing how I would just pop a chip in my month, grab for another or handful before I swallowed and often put new chips into my mouth before I swallowed the first one I ever even put in. It’s no wonder I used to eat whole bags of chips in one setting.

2. French Fries: Try chewing each fry 20 times before picking up the next one and popping it in your mouth. Much like the chip popping phenomenon.

These are just fun foods to try. In other blogs I’ll explore how I do this 20 chew thing with pudding, ice cream, soup etc.

When I first started trying to chew my food 20 times, sometimes I couldn’t do it. So I started off chewing my food 5, 10 or 15 times. It doesn’t have to be 20. The point it slow down enough to taste what you are eating and giving yourself a chance to get full.

Hugs!

Rachelle

Intuitive Eating-Ism of the Day

November 19th, 2008

I saw this on a post or blog or message board somewhere, so I can’t take credit for it. But when practicing IE, it if all else fails, ask yourself:

“Am I really hungry, or do I want to eat something to change how I feel?”

xoxo,

R

Hello all. I am so glad that I have a definite moment to blog.

I feel like I have traveled down a significant path thus far on my IE Road Trip. I’ve been at it since Sept. 7. Here are some highlights and lowlights of the journey. So far, I have lost four pounds over the last six or so weeks.

The journey thus far:

1. I weighed myself two weeks after starting, because I couldn’t resist the scale temptation. On that day, On Sept. 28 I had gained two pounds. I was OH SO SAD, but no matter how much I wanted to, I could not bring myself to diet.

For those of you thinking about IE or starting out, one of the most HARDEST, yet essential things is giving up the ritual of using the scale. For some of you that might mean you have to wean yourself from weighing daily to weekly, or whatever that might be. For me, I used to weigh myself weekly, so I told myself that I would wait at least a month before I weighed myself.

I can see the wisdom in this, because like I said, after that Sept 28 day, I waited until yesterday (Nov 17 to weigh myself). That is give or take 6 weeks. Now, if you divide a weight loss of four pounds over 6 weeks, that comes out to something like a a quarter or half a pound a week or less.

SO, had I weighed myself every week, I doubt those small loses would have registered on the scale. And if they had, I would have been like, “I am not losing weight fast enough. Forget it, I am either going to go on a diet or eat because I am mad and frustrated.”

Therefore, by not weighing myself weekly, those little loses accumulated to a pleasing number. Still, giving up the scale is something I struggle with, especially now that I have seen a loss and want to continue seeing it…(haha…don’t you just love human nature?)

2. Weight loss with IE is S-L-O-W.

Now, back in my diet/ww/I-must-lose-weight-at-any-cost days, I would NOT be pleased. Four pounds over six weeks? No way would I have been satisfied with that. But here is where IE is different:

IE IS NOT JUST ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS. IT IS ABOUT OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD.

Let me tell you, even though it took a long time, this was about the most pleasant four pounds I have ever lost. I ate Jack in the Box. I went on vacation and ate Hawaiian pastries. I went out on three engagement dinners at fancy restaurants. I baked cookies and I still go out to lunch with my friends.

I don’t count points anymore, and I don’t look at calories. But here is why I think I’ve been successful.

I really, really ask myself, am I hungry? And if I am hungry while I am eating, I constantly ask myself, am I full? I also chew each bite of my food 20 times, AND when I am chewing my food, I put my fork down and wait to swallow before I load up my fork again with the next mouthful. This is very different from the days when I used to put food in my mouth, load up my fork and put another bite in before I even finished the other bite. This has probably led me to decrease the amount of food I eat by 1/3 or or 1/2.

Also, when I do go to fast food restaurants, I ask myself, what do I really want here from McDonalds? Do I really want the entire meal with nuggets, fries and a drink? Or do I just want the nuggets? Or just the fries? Or just the drink? Or if I want all three, I will get the whole meal, but I will wait to eat again when I am full. There are some nights when I have eaten a big fast food meal early in the afternoon, but been so full that I have not been hungry, and therefore not have eaten until the next day. Some days, I have eaten a fast food meal and was hungry at a normal interval of time afterwards and forced myself to eat, trying to avoid the guilt trap of thinking “oh, I ate fast food, so now I have to punish myself and make up for it by starving.”

That is why intuitive eating is called “intuitive,” I’ve realized. Because you have to listen to your body and honor it, no matter what the diet police are telling you.

3. When I first started this process, there is a step where you legalize all your foods. That means eating things that you previously put off limits and learning to do so without guilt. I felt crazy doing it, and like I said gained weight doing it. But I needed to do it and I’m glad I got through that first part.

4. I finally realized, that my body knows what it is doing, if only I give it a chance. The hardest part of trusting my body is listening for what it tells me, and then following through.

That’s all for now guys! It’s good to be back in the blog world!

xoxo,

Rachelle

Hello my chickadees! Sorry it’s been awhile, but I just got back from Hawaii, took two geology tests and had a job interview. But today, I woke up this morning and had a feeling that today was the day I was going to step on the scale.

So I did.

And I lost FOUR POUNDS! Yay! Can you believe it??? Four pounds in six weeks! At first, it doesn’t look like a lot, but given the fact that I haven’t been on a diet, I’ve eaten exactly what I wanted, when I wanted and have only exercised at the gym like 10 times in six weeks, this is great! Intuitive eating really does work! Granted the weight loss is slow, but now that the holidays are coming and I’ll be off from school, I can gently schedule more exercise into my schedule!!! I want to blog more but I have to go to work soon, so I’ll blog more later!

Thanks all for your thoughts, prayers, and support!!!

xoxo,

Rachelle

Old Habits die hard…

November 7th, 2008

Sigh…

I am frustrated with myself…but I think I how I handle food is a small part of it.

I am stressed about money, school, work and my upcoming and yet to be determined date of my wedding. Although I have not been grossly overeating, I have not been as mindful as I have been with chewing slowly and taking pauses between bites.

*deep breath*

I think what is hard about IE, is that there aren’t “correct behaviors” or rules to adhere to, to verify you are on the path to weight loss. I guess because that is that weight loss is a secondary benefit of IE. The primary benefit of IE is to fix one’s relationship with food.

With an impending wedding (I”m thinking later next year) it is very hard to not want to go on a wedding diet. So to compromise, I have to keep on eating intuitively and I have to be steadfast about my exercise. I have to accept that if I want to fit into a wedding dress that I like, I do have to have a plan when it comes to working out.

The challenge now is how to be gentle with myself about it. I want to weigh myself but I don’t want to give my power to the scale. But sometimes, I feel like if I don’t weigh myself and know my number, then I’ll scare myself into thinking that I’ve gained weight when I actually haven’t. My clothes still fit the same or a little more loosely, so I’m not alarmed.

But, I do have to start checking in with my hunger levels again and start chewing more slowly. I am good about waiting until I am hungry to eat, but I am getting back to that wolfing things down mentality.

BUT, switching now to good news: I am going to Hawaii! Tomorrow! I actually think that my going to Hawaii is what caused me some stress! There was a cheap package deal from California to HI for 4 days and 3 nights for $500.00. So my friends called me this morning, and viola, the trip was booked by noon (taking advantage of this three day weekend here).

So I have a large amount of money saved, so I could totally afford it. What stressed me out is that I hate parting with my money unexpectedly, and you know that on vacation, I tend to spend more. But for awhile, I felt guilty for doing this whole unplanned purchase thing, than started to berate myself as a bad person, then started to wonder if I gained weight, then looked at my gut in the mirror, then looked at my messy apartment…on and on and on…

I’m glad that I stopped the snowball from forming. I had this immense desire to blog. And blogging helped so much. It’s just crazy that the snowball of negativity can get going that fast, that easily, and get that big!

In perspective, I am lucky and happy to be going to Hawaii. I have money saved so I can afford it, and the apartment isn’t that much of a wreck. In one respect, I didn’t turn to food to soothe me, but then I started berating how I ate at lunch (which once again in perspective is not that bad, and nowhere at all near the binge days…)

So my friends, I’ll be in Waikiki the next couple of days, practicing IE there. I’ll do my best and report when I get back.

Have a great weekend and remember to love yourselves just as you do others!

xoxo,

Rachelle

Aloha!!!