This started out as a comment on Kris’ recent blog post about dieting, but grew to be so long that I decided to post it here.
In his entry, Kris talks about eating until you’re “not hungry” instead of eating until you “feel full”.
That’s a real key to eating less. We’re conditioned to think that we’re supposed feel full at the end of a meal (such as those Taco Bell ads where the guy triumphantly shouts, “I’m full!”), but really, we’re just supposed to feel =not hungry=.
When I first started counting calories, I was surprised at how little food it took to feel “not full”. Instead of eating a whole big bunch of food, I only had to eat a little bit. Instead of feeling either hungry or full, I found that, by changing how much I ate and when I ate it, I reached a point where I never felt full, but also never felt hungry.
Another change was when to eat (and how frequently). Different diets will tell you different things about the exact times (for example, The Zone says you should eat within an hour before going to bed, whereas other diets tell you not to eat within three hours of going to bed), but one thing they all agree on is the frequency. You should eat about five times a day, three meals and two snacks. It’s usually a good idea to start with carbs and move toward proteins as the day goes along. A high-carb breakfast will kick-start your metabolism and a high-protein dinner will end up with less of your food being stored as fat (depending on how lean/sugary your meat is).
My pattern is pretty well established, but if I eat a particularly large meal (say, lunch), I’m not afraid to skip my next snack. The really hard part was eating when I wasn’t hungry. If it’s snack time and I’ve had a normal meal (that is, one that I wouldn’t consider to be big, or that wasn’t high in calories), then I know I’m supposed to eat. Again, the idea is not to feel hungry or full. If you’re hungry, it’s a sign that you need to eat; if you’re full, it’s a sign that you’ve eaten too much.
I just said that, when you feel hungry, you need to eat. Be careful with this one. When I first started eating less, I found that, from time to time, I would think that I was hungry when I really wasn’t. I quickly learned to drink some water and wait. If I thought about it and I was still hungry, then okay, perhaps I really was. But most of the time, after a few minutes, the feeling went away.
Another thing to be careful with is eating too few calories. If you do, bad things can (and probably will) happen. For example, you can pass out like I did once when I didn’t eat enough (luckily Morah was home to help me. Believe me, it was scary as hell). Also, your body will start to panic and go into starvation mode. This means that you’ll actually store more of your calories as fat. Your body thinks it won’t be getting enough to eat, so it stores everything it can as quickly as it can. People who are obese are often shocked (and sometimes angry) when they’re told that, in order for them to lose weight, they need to eat more.
Anyway, that’s plenty for now. I hadn’t planned to write a whole diatribe about dieting. Geez, I’m blogging like Phoenix does (except that Phoenix hasn’t updated his blog in almost half a year).
The thing to take away from all of this is that dieting is different for everyone and you need to find what works for you. Do the research, talk to a doctor or nutritionist, and be smart. Everyone needs to eat a different number of calories, so what works for me (or Kris), may not work for you. And before everyone starts flaming me for what I’ve said, this are things that I believe to be true based on what I’ve read or learned over the years. If you’re going to correct me, please be polite about it.0 People like this. Be the first!