Thursday, August 5, 2010

Past Deadline: On Hunger and Gravity

Just in case too much time has passed since I last told you about my apparent obsession with the Quest to Find My Waist (I think it has been a whole two weeks, after all), here is an update.

Something remarkable has happened.

Get this: sometimes I’m not hungry, so I don’t eat.

Gasp! I know! Isn’t that crazy?

If you’ve been following along, you might remember I recently lamented that despite the fact I am running my butt off I am not, actually, running my butt off. Nor my hips. Nor my gut. So, my Calgary buddy and I have set a new goal – to adjust our eating to complement the exercising in an extraordinarily clever effort to convince our bodies that, yes, weighing a tad less would be just fine, thank you very much if you don’t mind please.

The first part of the plan was to control what gets ingested at suppertime and beyond. Portion sizes and evening snacking have long been issues for me. So instead of having a big snack of cereal before bed, I’ll settle for a bit of fruit and/or a glass of milk.

Guess what? It seems to be working! Not only have I not died of starvation while I’m doing that strenuous activity known as sleeping, but I’ve even lost a couple of pounds!

Controlling my evening eating seems to have had a surprising, but welcome, effect during the rest of the day, too. Since I am eating less at night, my body seems to be expecting less during the rest of the day. Somehow, I have managed to trick my brain into doing what so many other people do naturally. Some people won’t eat food if they’re not hungry – even if the food is right there in front of them! It’s just craziness.

Believe it or not, this is a surprisingly huge accomplishment in my world. Oh – and get this! Sometimes I eat a meal, feel full and actually stop eating. I might even leave some food on my plate – uneaten! Whoa. You have no idea how revolutionary it is to do this. The best part is that by doing this I actually feel good instead of being obnoxiously full after a meal.

Here’s something else that’s mind blowing: sometimes I feel hungry and it turn out I actually am hungry because I haven’t eaten in a while – as in hours. Hours without snacking. The best part? I’m okay! I haven’t grown weak or dizzy. I haven’t died of starvation!

This little exercise has reminded me of a few simple things that are not rocket science, for sure, but it’s nice to put into practice what I have long known. For one thing, I really don’t need to eat as much as I do. Smarter choices and smaller portion sizes make me feel better and don’t compromise my energy level – they actually increase it. (Short people and/or cats waking me up in the night compromise my energy level.)

I should add there is a Best Actor in a Supporting Role that should be thanked in this drama called Adventures in Responsible Eating, and that is Humidity. Yes, the kind of heat that makes one feel nauseous when sitting still is a good deterrent against ingesting giant meals. That means it will be interesting to see what happens with these newly rediscovered eating habits when the weather cools down in the fall and all those warm, yummy, comfort foods start popping up on the menu again.

There’s another cast member, though, that deserves an Academy Award for its villainous role. That is Gravity. While I am pleased to report there are signs my waist might reappear, it is definitely in an altered form. It’s amazing how having kids and gaining some weight redistributes things in unflattering and strange bulgy ways. I now totally get why girdles were invented. They weren’t necessarily a form of torture. It’s just that some of us girls need more help with elasticity than others. I suppose I should feel gratified in knowing some of the problem is skin as opposed to fat, but strangely I am not appeased by this.

Oh, yes. It’s wonderful being a girl. Indeed.

Published in The Perth Courier, July 29, 2010

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