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What are we really hungry for? Exercise 49

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Old 03-23-2002, 09:29 AM   #1
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Default What are we really hungry for? Exercise 49

What are we really hungry for?
The Non-Diet Approach, March 23, 2002

Lose weight without dieting? HOW?!?!

By getting to the root of why you overeat in the first place! "Why Weight," written by Geneen Roth, is a non-diet book that contains exercises designed to help compulsive eaters learn how to stop using food as a substitute for handling difficult emotions or situations. You'll also learn how to enjoy eating and still lose weight naturally. This program offers reassuring guidelines on:

-- kicking the scale-watching habit forever
-- learning to say no
-- discovering other pleasures besides food
-- learning the difference between physical and emotional hunger
-- listening to and trusting your body's hunger and fullness signals

Each week at least one exercise will be posted and you are encouraged to share your answers, thoughts, etc..

Please share any insight, ideas, articles or other information that you may have.

Join us in Breaking Free from Compulsive Eating!
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Old 03-23-2002, 09:30 AM   #2
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Exercise 49

Hunger Scale = 0 is hungry, 5 is comfortable, 10 is stuffed

On the hunger scale, satisfaction is the number at which you feel comfortable stopping. Remember that satisfaction is relative. What is satisfying to you one day might not be enough to satisfy you the next.

What amount of food feels satisfying to you today?

Rate yourself on the hunger scale and complete the following sentence.
I was satisfied when I stopped eating at number ______.
I knew I was satisfied because ____________________.

Depending on the season, or on how you feel physically and emotionally, the need for the type and quantity of food changes. Eat accordingly.

Practice: Eat half the food on your plate and then check to see where you are on the hunger scale. After eating half the food on my plate, I am at number _____ on the hunger scale.
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Old 03-23-2002, 10:03 PM   #3
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Exercise 49: "On the hunger scale, satisfaction is the number at which you feel comfortable stopping. Remember that satisfaction is relative. What is satisfying to you one day might not be enough to satisfy you the next."

That's true. The ability to feel satisified varies not only from day to day but from hour to hour for me. And I don't think satisfaction for me is related to hunger at all. It's more related to what I'm eating. Slimfast and cookies and creme bars satisfy more than vegetables. Protein satisfies more than potatoes.

What amount of food feels satisfying to you today?

I've only felt satisfied once today, as far as food goes. I really wanted a piece of a friend's birthday cake, even though I'd had plenty to eat and didn't think I should eat the cake. But a small piece made me feel very complete.

Rate yourself on the hunger scale and complete the following sentence.

I was satisfied when I stopped eating (the cake) at number 2.

I knew I was satisfied because I really enjoyed the cake but didn't desire a second piece. When I am not satisfied by a certain food, I keep eating it. If I never reach satisfaction, I tell myself that I've had the optimum amount of calories of that food, so I should stop eating. Nine times out of 10, I have no inner mechanism that allows me to feel full at the correct point; I have to apply a formula instead. It's like algebra, an intellectual exercise having little to do with the enjoyment of food. That's nine out of 10 times; but the 10th is satisfication, e.g., the birthday cake.
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Old 03-25-2002, 12:35 PM   #4
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I find this exercise really helpful -- I think we did something similar to it before, at least as far as rating our hunger. It makes me feel better, because oftentimes I feel like eating when I am not "tummy-rumbling" hungry and thought that I wasn't supposed to eat then. However, if I want to eat, I can usually rank my hunger somewhere around 5, but iffy. I've started to try to eat smaller meals and then go back and have something else if I'm actually hungry. It's interesting to notice the hunger levels. Even when I'd rate my hunger at 1, I often feel much less hungry after only a few bites. Now, this afternoon, I feel vaguely hungry (maybe a 4), and feel like I really want a treat. Hmmm... I've had a bit of a sugar crave on the last few days. If I'm going to have something sweet, I'll try to make sure it's good!

What amount of food feels satisfying to you today?

Rate yourself on the hunger scale and complete the following sentence.
I was satisfied when I stopped eating at number 5.
I knew I was satisfied because i was no longer hungry and didn't really want any more.

Depending on the season, or on how you feel physically and emotionally, the need for the type and quantity of food changes. Eat accordingly.

Practice: Eat half the food on your plate and then check to see where you are on the hunger scale. After eating half the food on my plate, I am at number _____ on the hunger scale.

Hmm.. haven't tried this one yet. I do occasionally feel like I've had enough food before I've eaten everything. I'd love to stop there, but I almost never do. I admire people who can. However, I do also try to put an amount of food on my plate that will just fill me. I almost never eat until I feel stuffed, because I hate that feeling.
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Old 03-25-2002, 10:08 PM   #5
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Jill Podjasek's book (The 10 Habits of Naturally Slim People) also has hunger scale exercises. The first step, she says, is to allow oneself to become hungry, promising that one can eat the moment hunger is felt and that one will never become ravenous. This is in the interest of learning to eat when hungry, not "when it's time to eat."

I tried doing this (and have tried the experiment many times in the past). It just doesn't work on me, because I never feel "hungry" in the sense of the hunger scale. Most of the time these days I rationally decide what and how much and when I should eat. The rest of the time, I eat because I'm mad, nervous, upset, sad, joyful, whatever. Usually, I eat the correct number of calories to manage my weight, but often I binge.

I've tried waiting a very long time to get "hungry" but I never do, so eventually I decide to eat. Usually if I've waited too long, I have great control when I first start to eat and have a sensible, nutritious meal. Two hours later, I usually go on a binge and don't recover for days.

This is why I'm not 100 percent convinced that it's not good to eat on a schedule, e.g. to eat "when it's time" ... at least for me.


I've had more success with the Roth exercise of rating satisfaction after eating half the food you've taken. I rarely finish all the food I've taken on my plate (though if I have ice cream bars, I have to eat at least the outside portion of every bar in the box). I routinely put food on my plate for Old Dog. If I don't give her bites at regular intervals, she will not give me any peace, so I just do it. Terrible lack of discipline, but there it is.
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Old 03-28-2002, 07:48 AM   #6
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Hi! I've taken my time responding to this one because I've got my own little project going. I'm counting calories now and after afew days of pouting and *****ing about it, I'm kind of enjoying it now and it's nice to use my rusty math skills too!
For years now I've been counting fat grams, so God only knows how many excess calories I've been taking in---it's been very enlightening to try to keep it between 1500-2000 a day. [I'm averaging 1650.]
I'm finding that I really am content with less food, I'm much more discriminating, my sugar consumption is way down, I don't want any empty calorie foods, so my fruit-vegetable intake is thru the roof, and this is the best thing: I'm enjoying my food more! I guess since I know I'm alotted this certain amount I make sure I enjoy it and I eat slowly.
I feel like I finally know what "enough" feels like!
 
Old 03-28-2002, 04:32 PM   #7
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Eydie: I love counting calories, even when I go over my planned amount. It is fun and it helps me stay focused and somewhat in control. I aim for 1500-2000 also, averaging about 1700. I enter the daily figures in a spreadsheet and it computes the totals and averages for me so I can automatically see how well I'm doing. I also enter exercise minutes per day and it computes approximate calories burned for that day and for the week. Then it graphs everything and also my weight fluctuations so I can see the relationship of calories and exercise to weight. I like playing with this stuff!

Having said how in control I am, I shall now go get ice cream!

Resistance is futile.
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Old 03-28-2002, 07:45 PM   #8
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Crone, I've been plotting and scheming to have an ice cream meal this weekend! I figure if I carefully measure out an entire cup of ice cream and a tbsp of caramel or chocolate sauce plus lots of berries, kiwis, and banana chunx I can justify it! A month ago I would've had a meal AND the ice cream, but a new day has dawned!

By the way, Healthy Choice's Dulce de Leche ice cream is superb and low-fat...Yes, the old wheels are turning, it's going to be an event!!! But a very controlled event...
 
Old 03-28-2002, 07:55 PM   #9
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Crone - you always crack me up or/and make me think.

Eydie - Crone enjoy the ice cream....after Friends I will post the next exercise.
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Old 03-28-2002, 08:18 PM   #10
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Eydie: I didn't know Healthy Choice had Dulce de Leche! Haven't seen it ... must look more closely tomorrow! Dannon has a Dulce de Leche creamy yogurt for 140 calories that is good, for yogurt. Somewhat healthy, anyway.

LLB: Thanks for posting these threads. I'll be back for the next one.
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