Back when I was calorie counting,
I used to have nightmares about becoming fat.
And I’m not talking a little extra “cushion for the pushin'”…
No, I saw myself with three chins, thighs the size of tree trunks, waddling down a beach in a black and white swimsuit…with horizontal stripes. Why was I on a beach? Well, probably because that is where I feel the most self-conscious about my body.
Dude, I just came up with that! Oh heck yeah, I’m totally starting my own business in dream analysis…$20 a hour! Any takers? 😉
I felt that if I gave up counting, I would not only go BACK to the weight I was at before (about 14 pounds heavier), but THEN SOME…yeah, I’ve always been a bit of
a diva an emotional exaggerator, but there’s a reason for this logic.
You see, all my life I’ve been a card-carrying member of…
The Clean-Your-Plate Club!
My parents meant well (I was a seriously picky eater when I was younger so getting me to eat was not always easy), but it was something that stuck with me over the years and eventually became a problem…
In college, I worked full-time AND went to school full-time. There wasn’t much time to sit down and have a “meal”…heck, most of the time the only thing that reminded me to eat was the sudden “I’m going to chew my own arm off” feeling which actually got me invited me into a NEW club…
The My-Eyes-Are-Bigger-Than-My-Stomach Club!
I think you see where I’m going with this…I was so busy with work and school, I never realized the conflicting schedule. Yep, both clubs were meeting at the SAME time on an almost every meal basis and this is something that went unnoticed for YEARS!
I first became aware of my “portion distortion” not long after I began calorie counting…but when I say “portions”, I don’t just mean serving sizes. Even before tracking, I would always measure out servings of calorie heavy foods but never thought about how they added up in the end.
After I began logging my foods, I started subtracting things from my plate/bowl…whole items…it became hard for me to eat something with peanut butter AND a banana (because those two things themselves are already high in calories)…I never ONCE considered eating LESS than a full or half serving…I have no idea why.
Dream analysis is my thing, not PSYCHOanalysis…
Emphasis on the psycho! 😉
But calorie counting STILL didn’t stop me from overeating.
Some days I would be totally within my “food limit” but would have felt stuffed and miserable after more than one meal/snack. You know why? Because I had already added up all the calories on that plate and it “fit” my allowance…I had to finish each and every bite…otherwise I’d NEVER know how many calories actually went in my mouth! Duh! 😉
When I FINALLY gave up counting and made a commitment to intuitive eating, I was nervous about trusting myself to recognize my own satiety. In the past, I never gave myself enough time to eat, let alone a minute to pause and evaluate whether or not I was still hungry. And if I wasn’t putting my food away in 10 minutes or less, I was ALWAYS in front of my computer/phone…totally distracted.
I started to worry.
What would it feel like?
Would I get ENOUGH calories?
What if I was hungry again in like an hour??
But you know what? All that worry was for nothing! As soon as I started sitting down, slowing down, and FOCUSSING on the flavors of each meal WITHOUT distraction, it actually came pretty naturally!
Yep, my clubbin’ days are OVER! I’ve torn up my cards and have officially entered delinquent status! 😉
Jamie mentioned something in her email yesterday that resonated with me…
When you think you might be full, YOU ARE FULL!
You just have to “trust your gut” 😉 …try not to let your mind/knowledge get the better of you. If you are eating something that is low in calorie…like a plate full of veggies with a simple dip or even just ONE protein bar…don’t feel obligated to finish it if you think you might be getting full. Remember, you can ALWAYS have more later if you are hungry.
Be sure to head on over to Peas & Crayons to how everyone else is
clubbin’ partyin’ it up this week! And as always, a big thanks to Jenn for hosting! 🙂
How in touch are you with your satiety?
What’s the last thing you were too full to finish?
Good for you darling! I’m glad you are listening to your BODY and not what you feel you should do!
p.s. I want everything on this post.. especially the banana bread.
Oh girl, I feel you!!! This could be from me. Many times I finish my plate just because ‘it’s on the plan’. And then I feel stuffed with a huge volume of veggies. I start to get better since I listen better and I know I don’t HAVE to eat it all, and it’s ok to eat an hour later again. But to connect body and mind together if you had listened to your mind half your life, it’s hard! I am so proud of you for doing such a GREAT job in this challenge!!
PS. Your food looks DELICIOUS. I want the flatout wrap and the Breakfast wrap! I like wraps, did you figure? 🙂
Oh yeah, it is definitely a struggle to get that mind body connection after having been “off” for so long. I used to think of veggies as like a “free food” so I would stuff myself silly on them…and then would regret it an hour later when my stomach was all pooched out from all the gas/air inside…what a miserable feeling!
Um, Heather …? Please stop reading my mind as it’s getting creepy … Not only a dream analyst but also a mind reader – you sure are big in business ;). Really, though, my WIAW post today is focussed on the very same subject. As a volume eater and calorie counter – yes, still guilty 🙁 though not as extreme anymore – I raced through my meals eating every single bite to a point it hurt, too. Feeling full is great – overly: not so much.
While I wish I could say I already was fully in touch with my satiety it’s still a work in progress. But one I truly feel I’m getting better at. There have been many meals I didn’t finish lately, the last probably being the “eggy” casserole I had for lunch yesterday and my usual [about an ounce] daily bar of chocolate. It feels so good to know I’m not as much of a bottomless pit as I thought I was – or at least not every day.
Honestly, I think figuring out our satiety is a constant work in progress…especially since we live in a world full of so many distractions. Couple that with the membership to “the club” and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. I just keep trying to tell myself to slow down…focus…savor. It really does make a big difference when you can get physical AND mental satisfaction from a meal. I’m so proud of you for staying strong in your IE journey and being patient with yourself…baby steps are sometimes the biggest steps! 😀 xoxo
I’m so glad you’re fine now and much much happier! Youre such an inspiration!
The breakfast wrap and the pizza look delicious, Heather. I’ll be waiting for the recipe on the wrap. Happy WIAW!
Hey Bugga-Boo. I didn’t realize you were a picky eater as a child (me too!!) and that you worked full time while going to school full time. Now that is super impressive.
Onto the meat of this post, I’m glad you are learning to listen to your body and it’s cues. It’s not always easy, it’s not always perfect, but it works. And those scrambled eggs (with two whole eggs!! and cheddar cheese), well they look delicious. I also noticed you finished those, and I know why because they were fantastic. I love the veggie platter too but that’s not really surprising either.
Omg they WERE fantastic!! I’m really shocked at how satisfying cheese is for me…I always had problems with high fat foods/meals filling me up in the past, but after I stopped and thought about it, most of that fat was from plant sources. I guess animal fat with the natural cholesterols makes a big difference. I also think we should start a cheese club! 😉
PS, I put blue cheese on a salad at Whole Foods on Saturday night and couldn’t help but think of you! 😉
If you think of me when you eat cheese, well then my work here is done. 😉
I used to do a similar thing. I’d already counted out the calories for each meal a head of time so I felt like I HAD to finish the meal, or else I was missing out, and I’d be starving later. I would end up going to bed SO FULL (of things like carrots…) it was so uncomfortable! I’ve gotten better at recognizing when enough is enough!
Oh yeah, veggies were always like a “free food” to me…unfortunately, that leads to “stomach full” and not “energy full” so even if you feel stuffed to the brim, you still don’t end up with the fuel that your body needs!
Way to go on learning to listen to your body more! It’s awesome that you’re just letting your body control what you eat instead of you mind – it’s so hard to do that! I definitely struggle with it. I’m a member of the clean your plate club too. I’ve gotten a lot better at not always polishing off my meals at restaurants, but I tend to always clean my plate at home. I just like eating too much to stop lol!
Haha! I know exactly what you mean! Plus, everyone KNOWS they always exaggerate servings at restaurants, but it’s harder to see that sometimes we can be guilty of it too…even if it’s an actual “serving” sometimes our bodies just don’t need it ALL!
I’m still a member of both of these clubs you speak of. I have a very hard time not finishing what’s on my plate and my eyes are always too big for my stomach.
Good on you for being able to cancel both memberships! You just keep continuing to inspire me every day 🙂
It definitely takes time to cancel your membership…lots of politics and red tape! 😉 You just gotta be patient and open to feeling your body’s natural signals. If you DO overeat, stop and think about why. Where you overly hungry going into your meal? Were you distracted? Did you feel “obligated” to finish? These are all questions that have helped me understand things a little better! 🙂
Well you see, I have a problem stopping with froyo, haha! I may be full from a dinner but always have room for that!
I am so happy you are in a better place when it comes to eating! <3
Hope your week is great so far love! Love you!!
I definitely feel you on the ‘clean your plate’ club! I was a really picky eater as a kid, so it’s been instilled in me now. I’m gotten better with it out at restaurants (because I know the portions are huge so I shouldn’t expect myself to finish it) but 9 times out of 10 I clean my plate at home even when I’m full. Ooops…something to work on, I suppose!
Oh yeah, it’s definitely more difficult to see a portion at home as being too much…especially if it’s the same amount you’ve eaten in the past and finished. I just have to remind myself that every day (and every meal) is different. What fills me up on one occasion may be too much (or not enough) on another. That’s where that irritating trial and error comes into play! Grr!
Being a full-time college student with a full-time job myself, I can totally relate to the whole “always on-the-go” thing. It’s very tough to get your daily tasks done, make sure you’re fed, and then some! Keep up the #IEchallenge, girl! I’m rooting for ya!
Oh yeah, when you’re bombarding with so many things on a daily basis, it’s easy to lose sight of the subtle cues our bodies try to give us. We just have to remember to SLOW DOWN sometimes…it’s not easy, but it can make SO much of a difference!
Great post girl! I’m still a member of the clean plate club. It’s a work in progress I suppose… 🙂
Now gimme that salad. Yum!
You pretty much just described me with the calorie counting! Like last night I made my usual stovetop popcorn with carrots and PB on the side even though I wasn’t that hungry. But after a run, I felt I MUST get some calories so forced myself to eat it. I guess counting in my sense of control since I am 100% type A personality. I think I have about 10 lists on my desk from when to do laundry to what I’m going to buy the next time I go grocery shopping ( I just went this Saturday). I really want to give this a try, but find it hard to even think about not counting. It’s almost intuitive since I’ve been doing it so long. You are very inspiring though, so keep on keepin’ on! : )
Oh yeah, those kind of habits can be the toughest to break. Just remember, our bodies don’t start over at midnight…balance can be spread out for DAYS! It may be hard to not eat when you know you “should”, but if you start honing in on your body’s natural cues, you’ll begin to see that it always makes up for what it needs later. 🙂
I love the looks of that blueberry sauce, yuuum. Anything with blueberries in it, I am down to try! I usually finish all my meals even if i am so full so I cant even remember the last time this happened, haha
It’s hard to be in tune with our tummies sometimes. While I’ve gotten SO much better about SLOWING down my eating so I can be more in tune with my body, I’m still allowing myself to be distracted by TV, internet or my phone taking away. I’m also working to be in tune with my body to ensure I’m actually hungry and not just eating because “it’s time” – sometimes that’s hard with work but I don’t usually need an evening snack if I’m not getting dinner until 8pm but it can be hard to realize that and break that habit.
Oh yeah, I’ve definitely struggled with the whole meal “time” thing. It’s funny though, I noticed that if I stop checking the clock throughout the day and try to really just go off my hunger cues, I actually don’t end up having “lunch” on most days…it’s more like 2-3 smaller snacks instead. Some days I’ll crave more, but for the most part, I’m good with smaller portions every couple of hours. Of course, we’ll see how well that works out once I have to go back to work next week! 😯
I love your dream analysis!!! I can stop eating mediocre food… But if its good (read: or involves chocolate), I’m happy as a stuffed pig in shit.
Love this! I often wonder if bloggers eat everything they put on their plates for pictures. I’ve gotten really good at serving up plate sizes that are fit for my appetite. However, I’ll also often over eat because I haven’t cleared my plate, especially at lunch. I need to work on thinking more about how I feel as I eat rather than finishing my plate. Thanks for sharing “what you didn’t eat” 🙂
I was such a clean plate member and I’m working on paying attention to when I’m full, but I can’t stop eating good food 🙂 I want that greek breakfast wrap recipe please!
Your food pictures looked great, but I really enjoyed the writing in this post. I have been a member of BOTH of those clubs. Recently, I have been counting calories and get mad if anyone in my family takes a bite of what I am eating because it will mess up my calorie count. I knew it was a little wacky and you just confirmed it for me. I need to listen to my body and not be so obsessed with counting. Thanks for the great post!
Thank you so much Sonja! And omg, I can totally relate! It’s funny how quickly we can lose that connection that we naturally have with our bodies once we start only focusing on the numbers of it all…I mean, even if all the numbers “fit”, are we really satisfied? It can be difficult to get that connection back, but if you are patient with yourself, it slowly gets easier and easier to hear that little voice in your head telling you that you’ve had enough. Let me know if you ever need any advice on things…I’m only an email away! 😀
AMAZING! I can totally relate to the “I have to have the full serving or half a serving” feeling. I know we discussed that before, but seriously – how awesome is it to just eat a tablespoon of something now!? SERIOUSLY.
You couldn’t have wrote this post better, my love! Be very very proud of yourself and all of your success AND HOW MUCH YOU HELP OTHERS 😀
I love you like a sister girlfriend <3
I could totally stand to work on this. I need to be more aware of when I’m full . . . and TRUST myself to know when it happens.
P.S. Loved the broccoli bomb! Made my day. 🙂
Aww, I’m glad! It was great to catch up with you! I’ve seriously been dreaming of your yolk dressing for a week now! I even boiled up some eggs before the weekend, but I STILL haven’t got around to making it yet! lol
um. can you please stop writing my story for me? I don’t know when I got it ingrained in my brain that I always had to clean my plate, but I did. And still, that’s the hardest part of this whole thing for me. I’ve left the eyes-bigger-than-stomach club recently, when I was tracking and learned that I was going way overboard on portions. I’ve learned to make myself smaller plates, and try to make exactly what I’m hungry for, but when it comes to restaurants and other people feeding me, or the day when I’m not super hungry, I still have trouble.
I often have to say out loud “Rachel, you’re not going to starve if you don’t finish your food. there will always be more for later”. Yup, kind of embarrassing.
Omg, don’t be embarrassed! I have to tell myself the same thing! OR if there’s something that I’m eating that is really good and I don’t want to stop I have to be like, “Heather, it will still be there later if you want some more…don’t make yourself sick!” I sometimes can’t help but roll my eyes at myself…sounds so ridiculous to have to remind yourself of simple things like that, but it really does help!
Oh how well I remember having to stick to exact servings and cleaning everything off my plate, because heaven forbid I didn’t know precisely how many calories I was eating. I don’t think I’ve ever been out of tune with my body more than I was during the time that I was counting calories and macros. I would eat when I wasn’t hungry, not eat when I was, deny myself what I was really craving… it was misery. I’m so happy to see you having all these wonderful realizations, hun 🙂 You’re seriously rocking all this IE stuff!
This past year we feel we are learning to be more in touch with our satiety, we notice when we have a balanced meal we tend to get that satiety feeling more, especially with healthy fats 🙂
That is great that you are learning to listen to your body and not just your head. I am not the best when it comes to understanding when I am full and will often eat past the point of fullness. This is something I need to work on.
Good for you lovely lady! I actually don’t know that I ever felt so stuffed from what I had ‘plated’ because I probably had just figured out exactly what I needed to be ‘done.’ Of course, I often was probably still really hungry and not eating more. This is a super interesting perspective though, and one I’m happy you are putting forward. 🙂
I usually stop eating before I’m full–unless it involves nut butter or granola (apparently my trigger foods)–and am pretty good about waiting to see if I want more after a little bit. It can be hard though. I am a super speedy eater, and I am bad about really sitting down to my plate and focusing on it.
I am rambling now….but I love this post. You just seem…happier now.
Love! I am still a part of both of those clubs… I’m trying very hard to listen to my body and push away when I’m full instead of “cleaning my plate”. My biggest downfall is eating when I’m not hungry. Especially at night… I HAVE to have a night time snack. Even if I’m not hungry. It is such a hard habit to break!
Oh yeah, habit eating is the most difficult thing to break away from….especially if say, you’re not one who likes/accepts change very well! 😉 Just try small changes at first…dip your toes in the water a bit…try having a different kind/smaller size snack for a couple of days and/or try doing something with your hands as a distraction for 30 minutes or so. Maybe after a while, you’ll begin to realize that you don’t ALWAYS have to have it.
this was a fun one for me to learn too! the “think you’re full” thing seemed soo weird that I would ever question it before! oh and i am definitely a member of the eyes are bigger than my stomach club…but i think that’s ok as long as i cancel my subscription to the clean plate club, which i definitely have! hooray!!
i have a reaaaaally bad habit of cleaning my plate, all the time. that’s why itz better when i eat at home because i can portion my plates. ugh. i need to pay more attention this while i’m out!
Just remember you can ALWAYS take it home for later…seems like such a simple thing to remind yourself of, but it has really helped me to remind myself of that from time to time. And also try pausing more during a meal (engage in conversation, sip some water) and then come back to see if you want more after a few minutes have passed…it’s amazing how many mindless bites we can shove down while we’re distracted.
I can relate on all accounts. But lately I’ve been having a hard time figuring out if i’m full or still hungry. I know that sounds crazy.
Again, I LOVE your learning process!!!! I know IE is not for me but in a way with my portion control & all, I still do it but my way… I know when I am hungry or not & I listen to my bod well…. I guess more mindful eating for me.. but also listen to what my bod has to say! 🙂
I never got super crazy with weighing & all that stuff so tmaybe that is why I can do it without craziness. 🙂
I pretty much always clean my plate- at home anyway. Not always in restaurants. I guess that’s because I make an effort at home to only prepare what I know I need to/will eat. It’s easier for me to leave food on a plate when I eat out- because portions are usually ridiculous.
My eyes can definitely be bigger than my stomach- but dude, it also seems to take A LOT to fill me!
I feel you on being self-conscious on the beach. Ugh.
Anyway- you are doing GREAT girl. And all of that food looks DELICIOUS.
All of your meals look delish, especially those cheesy eggs and I’m thinking kabocha squash for dinner. I have some that needs to be roasted….yay!
Everything looks so yummy, especially your wrap! My eyes can definitely be bigger than my stomach and I tend to order at restaurants with them. It is something I’m constantly trying to work on. At home, I usually clean my plate, as we eat healthy and watch our portions. When we are eating out (which doesn’t happen too often), my husband and I usually split something, so we don’t end up overeating. Also, it saves room to split a dessert! 🙂
Splitting a meal is a GREAT idea! I’ve actually taken to doing that more with the man-friend lately since I rarely ever finish my plate when we go out. It’s nice to have leftovers, but with the amount of times we go out in a weekend sometimes, it can be a bit overkill! Lol
I have totally been a member of those clubs. Glad to see someone else quit. 😉 It’s not difficult for me to become full during meals…in fact, I usually don’t finish everything. However, my problem is snacking. For some reason my body doesn’t tell my mind that I’m full, so I tend to overeat. It’s something I’m definitely trying to work on.
Are you snacking on the go? Or otherwise distracted? That was my problem as well…I never really sat down and/or paused my mind when I went to have a snack in the past…I would almost always overeat then!
I’m am DEFINITELY a stress and boredom snacker. Really the only thing that works is either buying healthy snacks only or chewing gum!
Oh yeah, GUILTY!! This is where, for me anyway, it’s helpful to get as far away from the kitchen as possible…drink water…go for a walk…listen to music…anything to distract myself for a little while (EXCEPT for reading blogs! Lol) Most of the time, I completely forget about the food after a few minutes!
Ooh, I am totally crushing on those pb and j celery boats! My dad is growing celery in his garden (from which I have already stolen loads of kale) so I am hoping it survives the wrath of my dog and I can get my hands on some. 🙂
I used to be a dedicated member of the clean plate club as well, but somewhere along the way I discovered that there are these two great concepts called “leftovers” and the “refrigerator” (aka that fancy appliance that keeps your food nice and fresh for you if you can’t finish it all in one sitting, who would have thought?) 😉 I’m loving continuing to read about your intuitive eating experiences, you always add that signature factor of creativity that never fails to make me think and laugh at the same time.
“…you always add that signature factor of creativity that never fails to make me think and laugh at the same time” <- Aww, that makes me so happy! That is my ultimate goal in my posts...a fusion of enlightenment and entertainment if you will! 😉 Lol And I seriously laughed out loud at your realization of the concepts of "leftovers" and a "refrigerator"! Omg, totally guilty of forgetting about those in the past! Lol PS, is there anything your dad is NOT growing in his garden?!?! I'm still jealous about the kale!
it’s decided. i am eating a pb&j celery boat when I get home.
I want all of your food, RIGHT NOW!! (Not that I could eat any of it, I’m full, but that is how good your pictures look). I love that you are getting more comfortable with trusting your gut, and I love how you used the before and after plates to help visual learners (like me!) really see what you’re talking about in your post 🙂
I’m glad it helped Sarah! I know the feeling…I am SUCH a visual person!
Everything looks so yummy! 🙂
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I’ve been following yours and Kammie’s intuitive eating path and it is encouraging me to rip up my membership to the counting club. I’ve been counting points for three years now and sure it has lead me to a happy and healthier place where I know so much more about nutrition but I do think having this diet mentality is not good for my psyche. This year I want to move away from counting points or calories and just trust my instincts and body to know when I’m hungry.
Love it. You already know that 😉
BUT, omg, I can’t wait till you read the chapter on raising kids that eat intuitively. It’s amazing to see that well-meaning parents can mess things up so badly and not even know it. It’s amazing how these things stick with us for YEARS.
SO happy you and I dropped out of that stupid club. Who needs it anyways? 🙂
I just want you to know that I almost skipped that chapter until I noticed your comment the other day…I was like, “Eh, that can’t really pertain to me” but it has been SO enlightening! I’ve always jokingly blamed my parents for my membership to the clean your plate club, but I’m only now realizing how deep it really runs! Kinda makes me scared to think of raising my (possible) future children! Eek!
Ohh man, and this is why intuitive eating just DOESN’T work for me–I can put away HUGE amounts of food and still have room. Pretty sure I can eat two big meals in a row on some days, gets a little bottomless-pit-scary. But is also really fun when eating with others–Nothing like their looks of bafflement when I put away a burrito the size of Texas with no effort.
Also, I want that flatbread pizza.
Love this post! So much so that I shared it in our weekly newsletter! Xx thhe newsletter is here http://tinyurl.com/SILnews1
Aww, I saw that the other day, Kristy! Thank you so much for sharing!! xoxox
Girl, you always make me laugh! —both clubs were meeting at the SAME time –Trouble! I’m a member of the clean your plate club. It’s almost a complex lately. I should read this book you keep talking about. Have a fabulous day!!
You really should! I cannot even BEGIN to tell you how helpful it has been to have some stuff spelled out for me. I’m only 3/4 of the way done but I already plan on reading it again once I’m finished!
I just got it from the library at lunch today! Can’t wait to start reading!
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