A Sea Change

I wrote the following on October 20, before I got ahold of Geneen Roth’s book, Women Food and God.

I like to eat.
I like to eat sweet, salty, and calorie-dense foods.
I eat when I am not hungry.
I eat when I am bored.
I eat when I feel stressed.
I resist the idea of portion control.
I resist the idea of restricting food.
I resist the method of counting calories or WW points.
I eat whatever I want whenever I want.
I want to eat whatever I want whenever I want.
I resist exercise.
I resist sweating.
I enjoy being lazy.
It feels like too much effort to move my body.
It feels like too much effort to lose weight.
It feels like too much effort to finagle my schedule to get exercise time.
Before I met my husband, I exercised a lot and ate better, in part because I was unhappy and avoided being home alone. Exercise was a way of coping. And I could not afford to buy the kind of food I do now, or indulge as I do now.
I ache most days in my joints. I move slowly. I have little core strength and less limb strength. My ability to balance is decreasing.
What does it take to get motivated? Do I get healthy for myself, for my mother, for my daughter? What level of self-loathing underlies all this behavior?
Reality: My body does not need a high calorie intake because of a) age and b) activity level. Yet calorie-dense foods are EVERYWHERE.

I read Roth’s book in mid-November, and it really didn’t tell me new information. (I do think it useful for someone without a lot of educational background in psychology.) However, I decided to follow her eating guidelines, as listed below:

The Eating Guidelines

  1. Eat when you are hungry.
  2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
  3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.
  4. Eat what your body wants.
  5. Eat until you are satisfied.
  6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
  7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.

I’ve also been getting on the bike nearly every day for about 30 minutes. It’s boring. I almost loathe it. But about seven minutes into the routine I hit my stride and resistance goes away (though I’m still bored), and by the end I feel really great. It gives me more energy and I feel stronger. I realized, too, that I would often eat in anticipation of future hunger. In other words, I would eat when not hungry before we left the house, because I figured we might not have time to get food while we were out, and I’m cranky when I’m hungry. And I wouldn’t think much about what I ate.

Once I began to pause and really feel what my body felt hungry for, I started choosing more vegetables and fruits and less peanut butter. Though, at times, I have to really pay attention to discern what my body wants versus what my taste buds want. Once I began to focus more on taste and texture, I began to feel satisfied sooner and my portions reduced. I eat sweets (a cookie or two, a bit of toffee) and enjoy the “just right” amount.

So what has happened in the past month? I’ve lost 11 pounds. It feels good. We’ll see if the weight continues to come off. My life feels less fraught with frustration at myself.

Explore posts in the same categories: Culinary Delights, Journal, Motherhood, Recreation, Science

7 Comments on “A Sea Change”

  1. Aunt LP Says:

    Wonderful! I’m very proud of you 🙂 Have you tried reading while on the bike, or listening to good music? Makes the time go much faster!

  2. Kathryn Says:

    Thank you! Yeah, I do read while on the bike, and it does make time go faster. Music occasionally — I need to find my iPod!

  3. acm Says:

    feels good and less fraught sounds like you’ve already won! anything else is just a bonus from there. good luck!

  4. Aunt LP Says:

    Don’t know where your bike is, but TV helps too. I used to ride your own one while watching, and now I run in place on an exercise board while watching. The time goes zooooom!

  5. Barbara Says:

    This is wonderful! I love the seven points you have outlined. I think I’ll print them out for myself. I have been trying to live by the motto of eat less, move more and it has worked, but I like the specificity of your points. Keep up the great work!


  6. Liora Says:

    I could have written the list you wrote. I hate exercise and dread it, and I’ve wondered why this is so. Why is it so hard to do something that obviously has huge benefits in so many areas of life? The worst part of it seems transitioning from inertia to exercise. Like you, I find it doable once I’ve been in motion for several minutes. But it is boring. I find TV boring for the most part as well, so suggestions to watch TV while exercising aren’t very enticing. The best thing that’s worked for me has to stop thinking and stop the tug-of-war. If everything is laid out (workout clothes) and I’m in a pattern, it’s easier. If I decide I will exercise for 20 minutes five days this week, that’s also easier because there’s no tug-of-war. Audiobooks sometimes help on the stationary bike because I don’t have to keep my eyes open. I can play little games with myself: Try to focus on the book and get into the story without checking the time. Then when I finally cave and check the time, so much will have elapsed or maybe I’ll even hear a beep and my work will be over. But all in all, it’s not a fun thing by any means. In my 40s, I’m finding it so necessary, though. I am not willing to give up every tasty thing.

  7. Faith Says:

    Your blog title caught my eye. I intend to come back and read some more. I just wanted you to know I was here.

    Happy New Year, blessings, and happiness.