leftovers
Leftovers from a meal I had Monday night at 8pm. With the addition of more veggies, it served as my first meal of the day on Tuesday, 16 hours later.

Eat when you are hungry. Stop when you are (80%) full.

I have had an interesting couple of weeks learning my hunger cues. And before I say any more, let me also say that I realise what a privilege that is. Not all of us can choose to go hungry for several hours just to explore what it feels like. I am very fortunate.

The first thing I noticed, however, is that I had a lot of fear around being hungry. Specifically, I was anxious that I would get hungry –really hungry– and not be able to get to food. The fear was so intense, I wondered if perhaps I had actually experienced just that as a child.

And, of course, it happened almost right away. Sort of.

Thursday morning, I woke up at 8am and decided to delay breakfast until I was actually hungry. I had my physiotherapy appointment at 11:15. Sure enough, at about 10:30, I felt serious rumblings. But there was absolutely no time to prepare and eat anything, especially if I was going to follow the secret to weight loss #1, so I stuck a Larabar in my purse and off I went.

So, I’m sitting on a bench like bed, back propped up with pillows, my ankle wrapped in a hot towel and it’s happily buzzing away with “stim.” I’m reading my book…and there they are. Hunger pangs. They are gathering strength and frequency, distracting me from my novel. On a scale of 1 to 10, my hunger growled it was about an 8 or 9. Fortunately, my purse wasn’t too far away. I really wanted to eat a proper meal, so I just nibbled the Larabar until I felt about a 4 or 5. I ate about 1/2 of it. That was at about 11:30am.

That held me for a surprisingly long time.–of what I thought, then, was a surprisingly long time.  I didn’t eat “breakfast” until 1:30pm or so. I was sure to eat my scrambled eggs with wilted spinach and melted feta slowly and mindfully.

I didn’t realise how good I had it last week.

On the weekend,  I decided I would truly wait for hunger to strike before I ate. My longest period so far is 19 hours. But I’ve had at least three other episodes of waiting at least 12 hours for hunger to kick in. Needless to say, I have not eaten much in the past few days!

Waiting to eat sucks. I hadn’t realised how much I love to eat. I mean, I knew I comforted and calmed myself with food. Food stepped into that job full-time eight years ago when I stopped relying on cigarettes. That’s emotional eating of one kind.  But another is eating simply for the pleasure of chewing and tasting the food in front of you. Yes, I am a foodie. I bet that’s no surprise to anyone! But it means that my meals are important to me. And I miss my meals! A little snack of mindless candy munching at 4pm means I am still waiting for my hunger to cue me to have my supper at 8:30pm. Everyone else ate hours ago.

Eating –when, where, how much– was something I took for granted. I planned suppers to include enough left overs for lunches the next day. I always made sure I had a healthy snack (or two) with me at work. I even pre-prepared some mason jar salads for my lunches on the weekend. The fridge is bursting with food.

Now, I have no idea when I will eat, how much, what it will be,  and it could be anywhere– in my car, at physio, at work, or at home. It’s unsettling. And I’m freezing.

However.

  1. I am so blessed I get to figure this out. Not eating is my choice, thank God.
  2. I am losing weight. The scales are dropping. Cold and fatigue are “normal” side effects of burning fat for fuel.
  3. I can create more of an appetite with exercise–or maybe just being outside in the fresh air is what does it. But I have noticed that I was hungry after a walk in the brisk cold air. (Of course, it was five hours after the last meal, so maybe that’s normal.) But who knows what’s normal, anymore?

 

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