Appetite Awareness Training: Week II

19 Jan

Let’s recap.

My goals for week 1 were as follows: eat scheduled meals/snacks, avoid getting too hungry, resist urges to eat when not hungry, stop at moderate fullness, and jot down any negative feelings experienced during eating.  I did a decent job of sticking to these guidelines but discovered that my mindfulness could use some tuning up.  I display some ADD behavior at times.  I often multitask when I eat, because I want to get something specific done or just refuse to wait until I’m done eating before starting something else.  I drink my breakfast smoothie in front of the computer, text while I eat my lunch, and eat dinner in front of the television.  Distractions certainly impede upon accurate appetite awareness.

I did stick to the “no grazing” policy.  Eating at set times helps prevent overeating.  It’s easy to eat a little here, a little there, without having to experience the discomfort of being overfull.  This is a good way to gain weight without noticing.  No thanks.

Sometimes it is hard to gauge fullness, such as when eating soup.  I would eat to moderate fullness and then be starving a couple hours later when all of the water was absorbed and my body realized that my supper only contained 200 calories.  As a result, I would eat soup past the point of feeling moderately full, so I wouldn’t be hit with a snack attack right before bed.

In my notes, I commented on the fact that I was proud of myself for being less likely to finish what I had started “just ’cause”.  There is a cognitive deficit known as the “project completion effect”.  This is an instance in which you’ve already invested so much in one idea, that once it becomes clear it is no longer a worthy investment, you continue to pursue its completion for the mere satisfaction of finishing what you started.  I always think of this brain trick whenever I have the urge to eat past the point of satisfaction.  In the past, those cues have gone something like this: I love ice cream soooooo much.  I am going to eat this entire pint, because it will make me really happy to do so… (20 minutes and 3/4 of the ice cream container later) I feel sick and this ice cream really doesn’t taste that great anymore.  Oh well.  It’s not enough to save, I already feel sick, and I don’t want to let it go to waste….nom nom nom!…<groan>  Ignore your project completion cues when you can!  I also split a sandwich and bag of chips with Derek instead of us both ordering a whole sandwich when knowing that would be enough food to satisfy me.  Baby steps.

By eating according to my biological appetite, I lost 2 pounds in 1 week without trying.  Not bad.

Week II Agenda: I will continue to monitor my appetite but also start to take a closer look at the external cues that encourage me to overeat, including food availability.  I am to pay attention to whether or not I make a conscious decision to eat and a conscious decision to stop for every meal/snack. 

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One Response to “Appetite Awareness Training: Week II”

  1. tessatito January 19, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

    Good work Justine! I am proud of you! I think this sounds like a healthy habit of eating both physically and emotionally. This is sort of what they teach you if you have an eating disorder, start to develop a healthy relationship with food and get used to being full instead of hollow and always hungry or binging/ purging.

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