Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's not that intuitive

For the past six months, I've barely mentioned a thing about my weight or eating. Back when I was trying out acupuncture for pain the practitioner recommended that I look into something called "Intuitive Eating."

I looked into it and it sounded like "just eating" to me. Still, the idea is to not obsess over food and to listen to your body. Mine said, "Please, May, eat a lot more cheese and dessert." So, I listened and complied and gained ten pounds in six months.

And then something interesting happened. I felt physically uncomfortable with the weight. It wasn't a psychological thing--I actually felt blobby and slow and uncomfortable in my clothes. Begin part 2 of intuitive eating: Getting over whatever it was you felt you were being deprived of.

The idea is to not have a sense of deprivation and to not have a sense of guilt when you're not depriving yourself of what you want. You get to have it, and then you get over it.

I can't say I'm "over" cheese" or Tostitos black bean chips or ranch dressing, but I don't feel like I have to have any of those things.

Today, maybe with a lack of thoughtful planning or regard for possible consequences, I packed a healthy lunch: Lentil soup, whole grain crackers, an apple, and for an afternoon snack, prunes (yes, I actually like them, especially the lemon or orange infused type). I finished the soup and apple and was craving dessert, when I sat back and asked myself if I was actually hungry. Hadn't the apple given my brain the "sweet" signal indicated lunch was over?

The truth was, I wasn't actually hungry; I just wanted something fun to eat. I had one of the prunes and chewed it mindfully. Mindfulness is an important part of intuitive eating. It is not emotionally satisfying. Then again, neither is having to wear only clothes with an elastic waist.

Being fat makes me sad, and that's an inescapable fact that I'm quite mindful of. I'm trying to ease myself into normal eating patterns. I need to cut back from two glasses of red wine a day to one. One slice of low-fat Alpine Lace Swiss cheese with crackers daily instead of two. No more lunch dessert, but maybe a more substantial healthy lunch.

I can do this. Maybe. I really don't like to be sad. I think being really, really skinny will make me a much happier person.

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