I tell people that I've lost all this weight and I eat as much as I want, whenever I want. I tell them that I eat more than I ever have, and it's true. For the first time in my life I can eat guilt free, because I've learned to eat foods so low in calories and high in fiber that I'm literally stuffed to the gills before I've consumed enough calories to make me gain weight, or even to stop losing weight. And I'm not just stuffed, but stuffed with healthy, nutritious food that will stick to my ribs long enough to satisfy my appetite so I'm not hungry again before bedtime.
So I've been eating even more food than I ever did, because even at my heaviest, even with my worst eating habits, there was ALWAYS that nagging guilt about eating too much and my world of eating revolved around a conflict between eating enough to satisfy my appetite while not overdoing it TOO much. What a miserable place that was! If I ate enough to satisfy my appetite I invariably put on weight faster than ever, but if I pulled in the reigns hard enough to not gain weight, I found myself constantly hungry. And lets not even talk about the torture of cutting my intake down enough to actually lose weight... We all know how that works for most people.
So when I discovered this way of eating and found I could eat as much as I want and still lose weight, I was thrilled!! I've been at this for a while now and let me tell you, I haven't gone to bed hungry once. I haven't gotten up in the morning wondering if I could "pull it off another day". I've not had that inner conflict that pitted my appetite against my own health. I have no guilt in eating as much as I want!! None!! And I've come to view all of this as.....
A License To Eat.
I admit it. I've gone overboard!! I've expanded my volume of food to the point that I know it's too much. Sure, I am still losing weight. But that is because it takes an incredible amount of calories to maintain a body at my size and even at the volume I'm eating my low-calorie high-fiber diet still gives me a sufficient margin to lose weight. But this won't be the case forever. At some point I'll have lost enough weight to where my calorie intake will match my needs and I'll plateau. I'll have reached my set-point for the diet I'm currently eating.
I've known from day one that at some point I'm going to have to learn to eat more like a normal person. As my body loses more weight, gets healthier, and becomes more efficient, I'll have need for fewer and fewer calories. If I want to continue losing weight when that happens then I'm going to have to learn to eat less. This doesn't mean I'll have to starve myself, or torture myself with the pain of not satisfying my appetite. It means I need to learn to satisfy my appetite in a manner that doesn't cause me to over indulge. I am what Dr. McDougall would call a Volume Eater, as described in his excellent newsletter article on the subject here: How to Help the Volume Eater In that article he says:
"This is the advice I give to volume eaters: They must slow down their intake and give the food they eat time to register. The stomach needs to tell the brain that food has been consumed. A pause must be taken so that hormones signalling that calories have been consumed can deliver their messages throughout the body. In essence, the binge-eater must change from a gorger to a nibbler and a grazer. In practical terms, they are to consume a medium-size plate of food and then go work on some other project—to return to the dinner table a half-hour later and have another similar-sized plate. This slowed pattern sends signals of satiety to the brain before over-consumption occurs."
It is this advice that I have recently started to adopt. I am not eating my HUGE breakfast all at once. I have found that I can break my morning oats/barley into 2 and a half servings. There is at least a half hour and a half mile of walking between each serving. Dinner, likewise, I'm breaking down into smaller portions with 30 or more minutes in between and if I still want more after my second serving, going for a short walk before indulging. I've only been doing this a few days but I have some initial observations.
1. I'm eating less.
2. I'm enjoying not having the sensation of being stuffed to the gills.
3. I'm eating enough to satisfy my appetite.
I'm not necessarily eating less at meal time. Breakfast, for example, is a constant. I cook up the same amount of food and I eat it all. But it's taking me much longer to finish it all. Today I didn't finish the last of my breakfast food till 4pm, and started eating dinner around 5:30. Dinner tonight was soup. and I love my soup, and I ate the same amount of soup as usual. The difference, today, is that there was nothing in between. No mid day grazing. Well, I guess there was... but it was grazing on my breakfast I hadn't finished yet. Yesterday I ate a noticeable amount less at dinner time, but my mid-day "grazing" was the same as usual. If I find my breakfast consistently lasts till mid-afternoon, I may consider cooking less of it. But maybe not. What could be more healthful to graze on than my super nutritious ultra-delicious low-calorie high-fiber oats and barley? I'm also exercising more. Today I walked a total of six miles, my personal best. By inserting short walks in between portions of food it helps spread the exercise out during the day making it easier to do more.
Between learning to eat less, and exercising more, I will continue to maintain my weight loss at it's steady pace, helping me extend my 52 weeks of continuous weight loss out for another year!!
-Norm (aka John Smith)