Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Reality Check - Overeating

I've been plugging along with my workouts and still stuck in that seven-pound window. A few days ago I actually popped up over that window and I freaked out! What was going on?

I spent a day evaluating everything I was doing. I had to be brutally honest with myself...I was still overeating. I was thinking that I could eyeball quantities of food and get by just fine because I was eating really healthy, clean food, and I wasn't eating till I was absolutely stuffed, like I used to. I was pacing out my meals throughout the day, every three hours, so I wouldn't get hypoglycemic and find myself plunging into a bucket of KFC, head first. But when I actually journaled what I ate and evaluated my caloric intake, I was absolutely overeating, to the tune of 800 calories a day.

I was really surprised, and soooooo disappointed. I was enjoying being a large woman and getting to eat more than the average woman. For someone my size and age, it takes about 2700 calories to maintain my weight. According to http://www.calorie-count.com/, when I plugged in exact amounts, I was eating between 2500 and 2800 calories a day. Additionally, about 40% of my calories were from fat, and another 40% came from carbohydrates. All this added up to the weight slowly creeping back on.

Well, that sucks! I hate having to account for every bite of food. I'm an emotional eater and I'm easily distracted. I hate having to plan for meals! I have an artists temprament...I have ADD...I think I'm bipolar! I don't do schedules, planning, and I hate being accountable! I do NOT know how I'm going to get past this.

It's time to get real with myself. I've spent the last two days planning meals and accounting for it on the Calorie-Count website. I even downloaded their toolbar so that every time I'm online, I can visually track my caloric intake, meal by meal. I can use the site to plan my meals for the day, seeing where I've been overindulging and making changes accordingly. My fat intake has gone down appreciably. I can't believe how fatty I was eating before!

I realize that I'm going to be bumping up against my evening cravings for a long time. I've been more accustomed to eating more at dinner. Cutting that meal back to save calories for an evening snack is tough. I'm still not down to the caloried intake I need to achieve. but I'm much closer to it. I'll weigh-in again on Friday and we'll see how it goes.

Earlier this week I watched I Can Make You Thin on The Learning Channel. The host, Paul McKenna, is presenting this show, based on his book, to help people lose weight without dieting. The first episode was basically about eating mindfully, paying attention to what we're eating, taking our time to enjoy it and savor it, eating only when hungry and stopping when satisfied. I've been having a problem with that last point, being mindful of the satisfied feeling. I've felt too edgy to sit with being satisfied, and I think I've been overeating to numb that feeling. I've been overeating to manage occasional low-level mania. Staying present while eating, since I'm now being more honest with myself, is not something I've been doing very well, and a real struggle for me now that I'm more conscious of it. I'll implement Mr. McKenna's suggestions, to put the fork and knife down between bites, to learn to savor each bite by chewing each bite of food about 20 times, and I won't be distracted by TV or being online. Next week he's going to address emotional eating. Can't wait to see that episode!

Today I watched Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations on The Travel Channel. He was in Paris and he discussed the Parisian way of eating, as opposed to the American way. In the cafes, Parisians gathered with family and friends over meals. They were occasions to enjoy great food with great company. They took their time eating, savoring each morsel, of both food and companionship. I was in Paris just before Christmas, with my family, and I have to admit, all our meals, even the deliciously quitesential French ones, were wasted experiences on us. We burned through the meals like we were on an eating schedule, barely tasting anything, barely savoring each other. I hope to go back to Paris soon and do it all over again, properly!

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