Alm! I am so glad you are joining us! There is no trick, no gimmick. God designed our bodies to function in a certain way. Society tells us to function differently. Weight loss gurus will tell us "eat this, not that", exercise 2 hours a day, take this pill, drink that shake, deal with your emotional problems. All that is well and good. For people who have 10 lbs to lose, all that works great. When someone is "morbidly obese" (I hate that term!), like me, stuff like that doesn't work. Now, I can only speak for me, I am not a doctor, or a nutritionist. Instead, I am a wife, a mother, a woman who doesn't want to be fat anymore!
You are like me, Alm, you've done all the diets, you've read all the literature, you've exercised until you thought your heart would explode! And nothing! I am going back to basics. How did God design my body. He set up our tummy's to tell us when we are hungry. You feel that slow burn, that rumble, and if you focus, you will feel the emptiness in your stomach. Our enemy is our emotions. I am a voracious emotional eater, emotions good, emotions bad, if I have a feeling, I want to "medicate it" with food. Emotions do have their place, but it isn't in the kitchen. This is basic physics.
Step by step of what I am doing.
I wake up, after prayer (and coffee, which I drink black, no sugar, I never take in any calories in my beverages, 'cause that can throw off the whole thing). I take inventory. I focus inward. Not on how I am feeling, but on my stomach. If it's calm and quiet, I am not hungry.
Breakfast time may come and go. I feed the kids, while I am cooking, I keep my attention on my stomach. If I am still not hungry, I don't eat. Yes, it looks good, oh, how good that bacon smells. I can feel a reaction, am I hungry? Hmm. Then I drink a glass of water (if you are really hungry, water won't block the hunger pangs, you may get "slooshy" but if you are truly hungry, it won't stop the grumbles. After about 10 minutes, I will know if it is truly hunger, not just habit and love of food.
When I do realize that what I feel is hunger, I eat. I eat what I feel like. I put my portion on my plate, picking at it, finding all the best bites. I take time with chewing (who knew food had taste!), I will push my plate away a few times while I am eating, attending to the baby, getting a glass of water, whatever I can to not just suck down the food rapidly (I have always eaten too fast). After 3 bites, I start the stomach check again. Remember, rule of thumb is that your stomach, unstretched is no bigger than your fist. Even with my gargantuan "man" hands, my fist isn't all that big. I couldn't hold a piece of pizza in my hand without it oozing out. So I may have a few more bites, focusing on my stomach, am I starting to feel the food? Yes, time to stop. I always leave food on my plate. I am having to train myself to stop being a Gold Member of the Clean Plate Club.
Watch thin, ok, skinny people eat. They pick at their food. They don't hold their fork. They will get up and walk away, and come back later. They forget that they were even eating. They eat the parts they like best. This is what I am doing. Since I don't do this naturally, I do it conscientiously. I am changing my thinking about food. Hyper vigilance is a must. Becoming lax could lead to a "scarf" session! Remember, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to signal your stomach that it's full, once you feel that food is getting to your stomach, that will be just the first bites. Your stomach is nearing full, or at least fulfilled just a few bites in. If you stop, the bites you took, are still in transit, so it will take just a few minutes then your brain will go STOP. The best thing is, you already have stopped. Your brain says "cool", feeling good.
Now, all this is really easy. Eat smaller portions, stop after a few bites, leave food on your plate. Easy peasy! But, as usual, the devil is in the details. Emotional eating. If you are like me, you eat because you are bored. You eat, to celebrate. You eat 'cause someone hijacked your parking space. You eat because your child did well at a spelling bee! Pick any emotion, and you will find food attached to it! Good and bad! So, you have to distinguish between real, rumbly tummy, hunger, from I am bored and just want to eat out of habit. We can't fill our heart with food. Cheesecake really doesn't make you feel better. Emotions are a heart/head issue, not a food issue. When we have an emotional episode, we feel the need to fill our hearts. Because we are chronic overeaters, we have been trying to feel good with food, but again, food doesn't fill the heart, it fills the stomach, then it fills our thighs! To conquer this, you have to turn to the only one that can truly fill our hearts. This is the time to begin a real running dialogue with the Lord. Cry out to Him. You can tell yourself "no" (I do it all the time. Thinking I need a munchy, then I will say, out loud, Lord help me! Then like a bad child, I tell myself NO!). Since we are conditioned with the word "no", saying it out loud does work. You may feel silly, but it will stop the impulse to grab at a bag of chips! Take inventory. Are you hungry? If you are not sure, drink a big glass of water. If you are not hungry, the slooshy feeling will not be so pronounced, if you are really hungry, feel for the signs, that slow burning, the rumbles, this will last for about 10 minutes. Now, are you close to a meal time? Then wait. If you aren't, then eat something, following the Skinny People Rules. Yesterday I got hungry at about 9 am, I got on the scale, and found out I reached my goal! I was so happy, now, because I don't want to feed the emotional monkey, I had to wait to eat, to confirm that I was truly hungry, which I was, but because I was so happy, I had to calm down. So, I drank my coffee, and chilled out. By 10, I knew I had to eat something, figuring, that lunch was a scant 2 hours away, I choose a banana. As I ate it, I would take a bite, lay it down, moved the laundry around, came back, took another bite, blogged, took another bite.....see the pattern?
Now, this is what has worked for me, but, a few things have worked, even if for only a week or 2. I don't eat by a clock, except in certain cases, like I don't eat after 7 pm. If I pass on dinner for lack of hunger, then I start feeling the hunger pangs at 7:45, well, I am just out of luck. Breakfast is only 12 hours away, I have plenty of "fuel" on my belly to hold me over. Maybe it will be a breakfast? Maybe not. I let my body tell me when right, not my head, not my heart, and not a clock.
Sorry for the novel! I am so passionate about this, mainly because it is working. Since I am taking in a lot less calories, I am losing weight like crazy here in the beginning. This will naturally level out, I have a huge excess of energy that my body is using right now in the form of fat. I don't run to the fridge anymore. I don't snack, ever. I don't need to. Either I am hungry (true hunger) and eat, or don't. As for exercise, I am not too concerned about adding loads of exercise. It takes 3000-3500 calories to keep me at 300 lbs. I am not sure, but I figure I am eating about half that (I stopped worrying about how many calories food contains, since it doesn't matter this way), which translates into losing a pound every 2.5 days (3500 = 1 lb). All that, without exercising, because I still have to move and breath and chase kids! When I am bored and watching TV, I will bring out my "step" and do that, instead of cruising around the kitchen looking to graze. Once I start to plateau, I will have to change up and add a regimen of exercise, but, right now I am just enjoying the ride!
When to start? Start now! If you've eaten, great, don't eat again until you're hungry, that may be at lunch, or dinner, or not until tomorrow morning. You want to feel physical hunger, not eating because everyone else is. No tasting, snacking or worrying about passing out, 'cause you won't. Sit with the family, and drink an unsweetened/fake sugar tea, or water. No caloric intake with your beverages! Start learning your emotional triggers, you eating that's habitual, get in touch with your body, the biology of it, the whys and whatfors. I made sure I let my husband (my skinny husband) in on what I was doing, because to those who love us, we appear to be trying to starve ourselves, which is as far from the truth as you can get! We eat what we need, not when we want. Getting back to basics. If you are hungry, eat. That's the only rule. If you don't know what true hunger is, learn, listen to your tummy, it will tell you! If you know you are being emotional, don't eat, even if you were having hunger pangs. You are training your heart and head to listen to your stomach, not feeding an emotional need, but a true physical one! Pray. Tell the Lord what you are doing. Ask for His strength, especially during those emotional episodes. Abba Father wants us to be healthy. He wants us to trust the system that He created for us. He wants us to worship Him, not food. Turn to Him, not food. This reality is what set me on this path. I was putting food before the Father, thankfully, with Him all things are possible. I asked forgiveness for idolizing food, and moved on. No condemnation, thank you Lord Jesus, for your gift of salvation! Jesus paid this debt for me on the cross!
Alm, again, sorry about the novel. I am so glad you are here with me, and Joy and a few others. We can learn, we can become the healthy people God intended us to be! You will be in my daily prayers!
In love and faithfulness, Rusty