Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Hunger Scale

Hungry Vs. Tired/Sad/Depressed/Mad/Bored

The past few weeks I've been working on learning when I'm truly hungry. Only eating until I feel satisfied and actually stopping at the point of "feeling" satisfied.

For some people this probably isn't an issue. You're probably wondering what I'm talking about. You mean you eat when you're not hungry? You keep going when you're full? Well yeah. That would probably explain the plus size jeans...

Emotional eating. I do it. And over the holidays and through the past 6 months I did it a lot. There were some stressful weeks over the past few months... but it really wasn't all because of stress. And it's not because I was sad or frustrated or even mad... but bored? Quite possibly. Because it's a habit? Definitely. 

I know how to eat well. But actually making healthy eating a daily practice is often quite a challenge. And I get off track. It's almost like a bad "on again - off again" boyfriend that you just can't seem to shake no matter how unhealthy the relationship is. Yeah I had a few of those too.

But thanks to good friends like Erin Elbertson of Gluten Free Fitness  and Meghan Telpner of Making Love in the Kitchen... I'm trying to let go of that "on again - off again" bad boyfriend eating habit for good.

Meals lately have been simple. I'm focusing on lean proteins (so GLAD my body likes eggs, I'd be so sad if I couldn't eat them!), nuts, beans, fresh vegetables and fruits. I'm still eating carbohydrates, but I just keep an eye on how much I eat.

Last night my dinner was a veggie sandwich on Udi's bread. I very thinly spread some mayo (don't judge me, I'm working on cutting my southern girl mayo habit! lol) & some dijon mustard on the bread, and then I piled up sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, and some fresh spinach. It was exactly what I wanted. It was satisfying. it was crunchy from the carrots and toasted gluten free bread. It was soft & a tiny bit sweet from the tomatoes. I'm trying to learn to eat fresh vegetables when my body craves them. I'm trying to be a better listener to my internal signals of what my body really needs.

But I also wanted cake. So I made a gluten free cake mix. I used egg whites, applesauce, and cut the oil in half. I made a loaf cake, which is so pretty it doesn't need icing. I had 2 small slices. I sliced up the rest of the cake and froze the slices so that they were not immediately accessible. I made a lower-fat version of the chocolate cake. And it was delicious. And I had just enough. It's still a process. 

I'm keeping a journal that includes my food intake/activity/water intake every day. I really stink at making sure I get enough water. I just never feel thirsty!

But I know that's part of the journey. I know that sometimes my brain tells me I want food when my body actually just needs some water. It's all a process. I'm learning. It will take time for this to be permanent. Erin is helping me learn that to make REAL & healthy habits stick it will take time. I need to start with small changes. So that is what I am doing.

Here is an excellent PDF that explains the hunger scale and how to start listening to the signals from your body: http://medweb.mit.edu/pdf/hunger_scale.pdf

How are you doing? Tell me about how your day is going? Do you keep track of your "hunger scale?"

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