I have a confession to make: I have not been counting calories. In fact, not only have I been not consciously counting calories, I have been consciously not counting calories, if you follow me. What’s more, I’m still losing weight at pretty much the same rate as when I was counting calories.
I’ve been reading Intuitive Eating, A Revolutionary Program that Works, and even though I’m only a third of the way through the book, I’ve been rolling the theories presented around in my head and trying to see how they can fit into my life.
For ages I’ve felt that intuitive eating is the answer, the solution, the magic bullet that every dieter is looking for. It’s not just a weight loss strategy, it’s the way I want to live my life. It’s trusting my body to take care of me if I take care of it.
It feels so very far away though. As someone who has been overweight her entire life, my body is my enemy. If I give in to my desires, I will eat everything I can fit between my teeth and I will gain weight indefinitely. Giving in to my desires is what got me to 265 pounds. How can I trust my body when I’ve seen what it does?
Of course, stuffing myself with food at every chance is not trusting my body. It’s just the opposite–ignoring my body. Intuitive eating is not about eating so much your stomach feels like it’s going to explode. Intuitive eating is eating the amount and type of food your body needs to function optimally. It’s paying attention to your hunger and satiety signals. It’s stopping when you’re satisfied.
And I’ve been trying. I’m so afraid to let go of counting calories, of watching what I eat, because I’m afraid that I’ll stop losing weight. For the past few months (although there was a short stall in there) I’ve been losing weight at a decent rate, not quickly, but it’s been coming off, and I’m afraid that if I stop doing what’s been working, I will stop losing, and perhaps even regain what I have lost.
For so much of my life I have longed to lose weight, and I don’t think I’m ready to let go of that desire.
But now that I’m learning about intuitive eating (as opposed to the past years of just thinking about it on my own), I’m trying to pay attention to my body. I’m trying to eat when I’m hungry, and not eat when I’m not hungry, and stop eating when I’m satisfied. And for the most part, I am successful in my attempts.
This is what I’ve been doing for months. While I’ve been counting calories, that translates as “eat a small, predetermined portion of some healthy, predetermined food when I’m hungry, and stop when that portion is gone.” Usually that portion satisfied me. While I am trying to honor my hunger signals, that’s not exactly eating intuitively. After all, those calories are still counted, and that food is still measured. It’s still a DIET.
So for the past few days, I haven’t been counting those calories. I haven’t been eating diet food (unless diet food is what I actually want, which usually means Laughing Cow Light). I made sourdough bread over the weekend, and I’ve been eating it with real, honest-to-god butter.
And what I’m finding now is that instead of stopping when I’m satisfied, I find myself wanting more. If some is good, more is better. I feel like I’m trying to eat fattening foods instead of healthy foods. I’m saying to myself, “I’m not counting calories right now, so I should have some _____.”
As I said earlier, I’m still losing weight, despite the sourdough. Shouldn’t that be proof that I can trust myself? Shouldn’t that be proof that intuitive eating is okay? Shouldn’t that be proof that my body does know what it’s doing, and that I really should listen to it?
I feel like I’m still hanging on to the diet mentality. I don’t know if I’m ready to let go and give in to trust.