Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 25

Here is how my assignment works. I can eat absolutely anything, and I mean anything, I want (including peanut butter cookie dough for breakfast) as long as my body is actually hungry for it.

Now hunger is tricky. Sure, I know how it feels to be famished in a panicked sort of way that if I don't eat this very second I might shrivel up and die. And I know how to eat so little I can barely get off the couch just so I can fit into my size 2 pants. But the truth is that I, we, rarely eat out of hunger. I eat because the bread smells amazing, or it's dinner time, or because I am on vacation and if I don't eat it now I might never get another chance to eat it again in my entire life! 

Photo: Joyce Dopkeen/The New York Times

Which isn't really true if you think about it.

But when I am in a divine, one-of-a-kind bakery, that sells that one-of-a-kind-cupcake that had it's own hour special on the Food Network, I'm not measuring my body on a hunger scale. I'm ordering everything in the store.

I'm sure it's a deprivation thing that's probably linked to my childhood and the fact that I wasn't breast fed. My mom doesn't read this blog. Let's blame her! (Just kidding)

Anyway my hunger mentality isn't working for me anymore and I am so, so, so ready to change it. Mostly, so I can walk into Cheesecake factory and order a slice of Godiva Heaven, eat every single bite, like a normal person, and not feel like I committed a deadly sin.

So, I wake and wait for hunger to sink it. Nothing happens, until 10:45 when I feel the beginnings of hollow in the belly hunger. Then I eat whatever I'm hankerin'. (I know this goes against what modern science says about metabolism and eating first thing in the morning, but I am trying to trust that my body knows more about what it needs than some male scientist at the Mayo clinic.)
I ate what I was craving, A banana and four ripe strawberries. I kid you not, it was the best banana I have ever tasted in my life! And I was full again. Just like that.

And that is what's supposed to happen, wait until you are hungry, eat what you want, and your food will actually taste better. 

That doesn't mean I don't want to eat the 23 1/2 other hours of the day. I just trying not to. I've committed to myself to sit and think, or write, about why I want to eat at any given moment. Most of the time I don't even know the emotion driving my cravings until after I take a time out and think about it. I've trained my body to desire food instead of feel emotion.

Here are a few of the emotions triggered by cravings I've jotted down in the past week: bored, tired, lonely, thirsty, happy, sad, pensive, excited, affectionate and angry. (You can see why some of my recent posts have been downers. I'm not burying the emotions in my stomach so they're resurfacing all over the place.

It's been interesting so far. I haven't gained any weight (my greatest terror was that if I let myself eat whatever I wanted whenever, I'd go hog wild and resemble Jabba the Hut by New Years).

I haven't lost anything either. Which isn't really the point, I guess. The experiment is to learn to listen to what I want and then—this is the kicker—give it. 

So what do I really want if it's not food? Stay tuned.

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