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Old 05-20-2008, 03:05 PM   #121  
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By Michelle May, M.D.

Even healthy doctors end up on the other side of the
stethoscope sometimes. No worries; I'm fine now but the
experience was a wonderful reminder of how valuable it is
to be able to "sit" with discomfort rather than trying to
push it away.

What does that have to do with "Am I Hungry?" you ask?
Everything as it turns out.

Recognizing that I needed to have surgery, I found myself
dreading the pre-op clear liquid diet. A person who names
her company "Am I Hungry?" wouldn't intentionally ignore
her hunger signals, would she? As I stocked up on tea,
Jell-O, and bullion, I realized that I actually felt
anxious about going 36 hours without food. The anxiety
reminded me of times in the past when I automatically
reached for food to make other uncomfortable feelings go
away, like boredom or feeling overwhelmed.

When I made the connection between how I felt just
anticipating the discomfort of hunger (which I knew I would
survive) and the discomfort of stress and other triggers
(which I also knew I could survive), I realized that I had
been given a gift. I had an opportunity to mindfully
experience something I wouldn't have voluntarily chosen but
had no choice but to endure. The moment I stopped resisting
the idea and began to embrace it instead, my whole
perspective shifted.

I became alive and in tune with my body and everything that
was going on around me. I had previously considered
canceling my morning hike because of the fast ahead, but
now I relished every step, knowing it would be several
weeks before I could climb my favorite trail again.
Afterward I treated myself to one final yoga class and
settled easily and deeply into "corpse pose" at the end of
my practice despite the audible grumbling of my stomach.

As the day progressed, I mentally reviewed the details of
each level of hunger on the Hunger and Fullness Scale as I
passed through it:

5 - No hunger or fullness
4 - Just hunger pangs; it's my first awareness that I'll
need more fuel soon
3 - I'm definitely hungry now; my stomach is growling
2 - A growing emptiness in the pit of my stomach. My blood
sugar must be dipping as I'm increasingly distracted by
thoughts of food
1 - Ah yes, I am famished. Headache - check. Difficulty
concentrating - check. Irritability - check. Why does every
commercial seem to be about food? And why is my husband
eating in front of me?

At one point, I actually laughed out loud, "Hey, this is
just like I described in my book!" Since eating anything
more than a cup of broth was not an option, I remained calm
and introspective. Other than feeling less energetic than
usual, nothing bad happened. The hunger would subside then
come back stronger awhile later to remind me that I was
still ignoring it.

All too often, we resist any sort of physical or emotional
discomfort. As soon as we notice loneliness, anger, fear,
stress, pain or other unavoidable suffering that comes with
being human, we turn on the tube, shovel food in our
mouths, have a glass of wine - or sometimes all three
simultaneously. It's as though we believe we can tune it
out, shove it down, or drown it. Sooner or later, it comes
bubbling back up to the surface, so we reach for our next
quick fix.

What's your fix? Shopping? Work? Sex? Chocolate? Exercise?
Dieting? Perfection? It doesn't matter; none of them work
for long because what you resist, persists; and the longer,
the stronger.

In our "Gotta feel good all the time" culture, we've been
taught that buying more, eating more, or achieving more
will keep us happy all the time. This is the greatest lie
ever told and perhaps it is keeping you trapped in an
endless quest to avoid feeling anything at all.

To be clear, your emotional and physical feelings (both
wonderful and painful) are your body's way of communicating
your needs with you. Rather than pushing them away with
food or some other quick fix, practice observing them,
accepting them, even embracing them. Here are some ways you
can sit with your feelings when you're ready to try it:

* Become aware of your breathing.
* Sit with your feelings and watch how they naturally ebb
and flow.
* Write your feelings down, unedited, using a journal,
computer or even a scrap of paper.
* Complete the sentence: I feel... or I am... For example, "I
feel lonely," or "I am angry with my boss" or "I am worried
about my children."
* Imagine there is a pressure valve on your body that you
can turn to release some of your emotions. You can turn the
valve higher or lower to control the flow of emotions.
* Describe your feelings as a picture or a metaphor. Start
with, "My feelings are like..." and compare them to a color,
an animal, a familiar story, or whatever images surface.
* Draw images or scribble on a pad of paper to see what
* Talk about your thoughts and feelings out loud or into a
tape recorder.
* Discuss your feelings with a trusted friend or family
* Seek the assistance of a counselor or therapist if you
feel overwhelmed, scared or unable to identify or work
through your emotions.

When I woke up in pain after surgery, my first impulse was
to tense up and somehow try to make it go away. From
somewhere, the lessons I learned during my fast emerged. I
took a few deep breaths, asked for a back rub, and was soon
back asleep. Sixty hours passed before I ate again (who
knew hospital eggs could taste so good). Now, slowly,
things are getting back to normal--eating according to my
body's signals and looking forward to crab legs for my
anniversary tonight.

I am grateful for the experience and to be honest, glad it
was only temporary. I absolutely don't advocate fasting for
weight loss and I'm not convinced that it's necessary for
cleansing despite all the crazy claims out there. However,
that feeling of peace in the face of discomfort helped me
finally understand why people fast for spiritual reasons.

It also left me more convinced than ever that asking
yourself, "Am I hungry?" when you feel like eating is a
wonderful first step for tuning into your true needs. But
next time, instead of rushing in to make yourself feel
better, simply remain present to the experience and the
lessons you might discover in that moment.
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Old 05-20-2008, 06:11 PM   #122  
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Today is my first day not counting calories!

After owning the book for a few weeks, I took the plunge and ate according to how I felt. I am still measuring out meats, cereal/oats, and fats with my food scale but I feel... liberated. It's fantastic!
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Old 05-22-2008, 11:42 AM   #123  
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Yesterday was my first day not counting calories in years. It felt incredible. I felt like a darn normal person for once. I had to keep reminding myself to resist the urge to measure, look at the label, and count calories in my head. I kept feeling like it would completely throw me off track and I'd gain 50lbs. But seriously, it's so logical. If I really listen to my body there's NO WAY I'm going to gain weight, or even maintain my weight. I just have to let it go.

I was so happy last night. It was amazing. My boyfriend grilled burgers and I took ONE, put it on 2 slices of bread, took ONE serving of sweet potatoes, and enjoyed it. I was surprisingly full afterwards. On a normal "cheat" night I would have had 2 burgers, no bread, and like 2-3 servings of potatoes. What's the point of dieting all week, being miserable, then binging on the weekends? It's never gotten me anywhere. It's only made me miserable!!!!!
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Old 05-22-2008, 01:45 PM   #124  
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Hi Rocknroll and Michelle. I think I'll post some of the old posts from 2 yr. ago that are interesting.

I am working from the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. I guess we could just keep posting here, and if we get big enough we could get a subheading like some of the other groups...(I don't really know how they decide what goes where)
I thought I might go ahead and show one big breakthrough I've had. I used to think I was addicted to chocolate. I would sneak and buy pounder bags of almond m&m's and eat the whole thing at least once a week. The rest of the week I would obsess over chocolate. If chocolate was offered to me, I would eat all I could. I would also often sneak and buy chocolate other days of the week. I had a hard time accepting that it might actually be okay to eat chocolate, so I switched to dark chocolate to make myself feel like I was getting something a little healther. (The whole food acceptance thing takes a while) At first I was eating a large bar of chocolate every day. Then I found that I could eat a few squares and feel satisfied. Now I don't feel the need to eat chocolate every day. I've had a half eaten bar in my fridge for over a month, I don't obsess over chocolate anymore, and I haven't "binged" on chocolate in two months. Negative thoughts try to creep into my head when I decide to eat chocolate, but I am being gentle and nurturing. I actually enjoy chocolate more now when I do eat it because I try to be totally conscious of what I am doing. There have been a few times when I felt like I ate more than I was comfortable with, but now I don't beat myself up. I am able to examine why I did it and take it as a learning experience. Today I thought I wanted some sweets, but I realized that I didn't have enough protein with breakfast(I only had toast and milk). I decided that I might actually need to go ahead and have a healthy lunch a little early. If I decide I would still like chocolate later, I am going to go ahead an have some. After eating some chicken and rice, I feel satisfied. I like that I am taking the time to ask myself what I need and honoring my hunger. I feel so free.
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Old 05-22-2008, 02:05 PM   #125  
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Hi Kay,

I've seriously been on about 5 different diets in the last 3 months. I would switch every week. It's the worst case of 'dieting ADD' I've had ever (yes, I've had it before). And this time it made my head hurt. I was so angry at myself. Nothing was working.

2 years ago I lost 20lbs (down to 177) and was very happy. I was literally watching the weight come off. I just slowed down, ate whatever I wished, but ate A LOT less. I was practicing just letting the whole food issue go, and eating what my body told me too. It was a wonderful thing I had never experienced before then.

Then I started dating my DBF, and he eats fast and a lot (and has no weight problem, grrr). For some reason I went back to my old habits, which brings me to now.

I was literally on the verge of a break down before I finally screamed to myself ENOUGH.

It's only been 24 hours, but a very peaceful and happy 24 hours. Like I said, last night we made burgers. Instead of forcing DBF to buy turkey burgers, I said he could buy beef. I put the burger on 2 slices of wheat bread instead of eating it alone (and having two burgers instead of bread).

A female should be satisfied after a meal of one 4-oz burger on toast and a serving of sweet potatoes. That's just enough. She doesn't need more. And you know what? I was full. I was actually full. Amazing. And I ate my meal twice as slow, let DBF finish his long before mine. I even kicked my legs up on my chair, and just picked at the dish and talked up a storm to him. This is how I was 2 years ago. It feels so good!

It'd be great to get this thread going again. I'll be here. I've been following "Thintuition".
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Old 05-22-2008, 03:00 PM   #126  
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I've had some recent successes myself these past few days. Yesterday the thought of cheesecake was wonderful. My daughter and I were in the grocery store, looked at the cheesecakes and decided they just didn't look that wonderful. And I'm not eating something unless it's I did not buy that subpar cheesecake.

I also learned that noodles have no flavor. You might be wondering 'huh.....' after a comment like that, but let me explain. I ordered a lovely "long-life soup" when out for chinese yesterday. I ate half in the store, it was so nice. I got home, was still hungry and I ate the rest. As I was eating it, I realized it wasn't the noodles that tasted so good. It was the rest that tasted good, the yummy broth, the chicken and shrimp, and the veggies. The noodles just FELT good in my tummy. So I'm concluding that noodles feel good, and don't necessarily taste like much.
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Old 05-22-2008, 05:57 PM   #127  
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Isn't this strange. I just stopped buying store noodles and started making my own as I used to. What a difference! The whole family gobbles them up. I usually make beef and noodles but I'm going to make them for soup now, too. Oh, Michelle, Kay was a girl who used to post here 2 yr. ago but hasn't been around. She had the best posts, too.
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Old 05-23-2008, 12:19 AM   #128  
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Its so good to see many people posting in here again. I'm still doing good. Tomorrow will make it 60 days binge free and I haven't quite decided what to do.

Alright--I've figured out a few foods that I can do without since starting this process.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:50 PM   #129  
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Looks like I'll be the first to get the ball rolling here again. Hope all of you are still out there. ha! I've just been eating my favorite things today........a little bit here a little bite there..........just not hungry for any sort of meal. Probably I'll eat with the family tonight but I'm making ruebens for them and I can't have cheese so don't know what I'll fix for myself. There all such late eaters here and I find it hard to get used to not growing up that way.......even after 39 yr. of marriage next Sat.
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Old 06-07-2008, 01:24 AM   #130  
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Hi , doing good here. just eating right and watching portions. so far good. good luck to all and your plans. LaDean
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:24 AM   #131  
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Originally Posted by carolr3639 View Post
.......even after 39 yr. of marriage next Sat.
Good morning, everyone! Carol, Happy Anniversary a little bit early! What a wonderful thing it is, especially in this day and age, to keep a marriage going for 39 years! May you enjoy many more.

You'd think I would learn about myself-every time I decide to ditch the diets, my eating slows down a lot. The urge to eat and keep eating takes a nosedive, and I don't feel all worked up inside, or obsessed about fats, carbs, calories, or whatever. Once I start staying off the scale, I usually start feeling a little lighter too. I don't know if that's because seeing the numbers every day makes me feel "heavy" inside, or what, but I don't feel as dragged down when I'm not weighing myself.

This is my third day of not weighing, not writing down what I eat, and not entering eating or exercise into Spark People. (I didn't do Spark People every day, but I did it enough to make a "diet thing" out of it. Better to leave it alone, for my peace of mind.) I am recording how many steps I get on my pedometer each day, but that's not for "diet" purposes. That's just because I'm trying to increase my walking, and I like to compete with myself and see if I can do better as I go along. Keeping track of that number doesn't throw me back into diet mentality.

We're trying to get our garden in, but today is supposed to hit at least 90 degrees, with lots of humidity, so I don't know how much we'll accomplish. This is a little early for Vermont to hit the nineties, and I'm not a fan of heat, so we'll see what happens. Just a few days ago, we were still wearing sweatshirts, so there hasn't been very long to get acclimated to the heat.

Well, time to dive into the day. I hope you all have a great Saturday!
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Old 06-07-2008, 09:38 AM   #132  
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It's cool again here in WI so maybe it will come your way. At 90 degrees your garden should be up in no time. We've been getting lots of rain here, have you? I know what you mean about the scale thing. Last year I was in a challenge on another forum and I think it didn't do me any good to way every week. I really need to stay off the scale and go by how my clothes fit which I notice are a little looser than last summer. Sounds like IE is working for you Becky. Keep up the good work.
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Old 06-07-2008, 01:33 PM   #133  
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Hi all. I feel like I've been on a roller coaster ride the last 10 days or so. Then I come here, and my last couple of posts are gone. I thought I was going crazy until I read the message about the server crash and lost posts.
I had 3 of my grandkids with me all this week, and when they are here I never get a turn at the computer. Sooo - I don't know what you all have been up to, but I've been having a real hard time with eating my feelings. I've been trying to write it all out in my journal, but unfortuately, I ate over them a lot too. It didn't help when my son e-mailed me the pictures he took at my granddaughter's graduation. You know, I look at myself in the mirror every day, but I am always shocked when I see pictures of myself. It's like I'm looking at someone I don't know. I'm usually the one taking pictures, so it's been a long time since I saw a picture of myself. I look so old and so heavy. I've been reading in the 'stop hating your body' book, and the bad body feelings are easing up some. I'm now at the point of trying to make myself look at the pictures again. And keep looking at them until I get used to how I really look, not what I look like to myself when I look in the mirror. Has this ever happened to any of the rest of you?? Not recognizing yourself when you see a picture of you?? I can't believe the tailspin it sent me into.

I envy you your cool weather Carol. We won't see daytime temps below 100 now until Oct. or Nov. I wish I was incredibly wealthy and could spend my winters here in the desert, and then live in Alaska or somewhere for the summer. It seems the older I get, the more the heat bothers me. I get to where I do any errands early early in the morning, and spend the rest of the day inside with the ac.

Congrats Becky on breaking free from the "diet". It made me feel better too - and happier. For the most part, I let myself eat what I'm hungry for. One day last week I wanted popcorn, so that's what I ate when I got hungry again. Turned out, it ended up being my dinner. Before IE, I would have eaten a "healthy" dinner, and then would end up eating the popcorn too, because I still wanted it. This is so much better.

Well - hope all are well. Have a great weekend.

Last edited by soiley; 06-07-2008 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 06-07-2008, 01:51 PM   #134  
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Jerie, I can relate to the picture thing really well. But remember, everyone has good pictures and bad ones so don't beat yourself up too much. Maybe you should take a few more until you find one you like. Professional photographers can make anyone look good.
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Old 06-07-2008, 04:03 PM   #135  
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Regarding heat--it is 96 here today. A hot mess!

Jerie--I'm the same when I see pictures. I know I am considered morbidly obese yet I am shocked when I see myself in pictures. For me it is extra motivation for me to take care of myself.

It is a shame that 2 weeks worth of posts were lost because the thread was really getting busy again. But it allows me to jump back in because I have not been able to post as much as I would like. I had a great example of IE today. I wanted to plan really well for today because I was helping to lead a 4 hour training today for our summer staff so I knew I wouldn't be able to eat when I wanted to. We provided bagels, cream cheese, cereal bars, granola bars and water for everyone. I made a bagel with a little bit of cream cheese. I put the bagel up to my mouth but couldn't make myself eat it. I have never had that ever happen in my life. I was amazed. I did end eating a banana given to me by a co-worker. I didn't have my first full meal until I got home which was vegetarian meal I got from a restaurant.
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