I was about to workout this afternoon. I had on the clothes, got out the mat, and opened the ZGYM. Then my husband said, “You want some popcorn?” as he’s getting ready to pop it on the stove in bacon grease, which let me tell you is a magnificent corn-popping oil. I was like, what?! No! I can’t eat popcorn right now. I’m about to workout. But then I came to my senses. I told him to go ahead and make me some, that I could workout in three minutes. I grabbed a pair of dumbbells and did squats, deadlifts, bent over rows, shoulder presses, bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, and ab splitters. Then I ate a delicious little bowl of popcorn. No weirdness. Normal lunch afterward, well, if you consider putting corn, carrots, and Brussels sprouts in your smoothie “normal.” LOL It also had blueberries, pineapple, spinach, and banana, oh and olive oil. Like I said, normal. ;-) Then cheese and turkey on Wheat Thins, honey mustard pretzel pieces, and one each mini Crunch and Hershey’s with Almonds bars.
If I step back from it, I marvel that baking brownies and pot pies and enjoying all manner of carbohydrate, oil, and candy is how I eat to achieve and maintain abs. But then if I look back at how I ate as a skinny kid, it was very similar. Basic nutrition covered, plenty of fun stuff, eating to appetite, not overthinking it.
During those years of dieting and obsessing over nutrition, I ate more food. It doesn’t seem possible but that’s the deal. I thought about food ALL the time. I was never not thinking about food. I didn’t consider hunger or fullness in any of my decisions. I was that classic example of ignoring both. I ate or didn’t eat for other reasons. That total disconnect kept me about 20 pounds heavier. Frequent restriction caused frequent overeating episodes. All of my attempts to eat less resulted in eating more. How annoying! Restriction used to work! At first it was amazing, but the more I did it, the faster and worse the backlash. Eventually, all I had to do was think about restricting and I’d find myself overeating instead.
I think the craziest/best part of eating what I want when I’m hungry is that I experience satisfaction now. Full, happy, done, not thinking about food at all for hours until I get hungry again or someone offers me popcorn. Satisfaction has to be the key factor at work here. Evelyn Tribole has said that satisfaction is the locomotive that drives the intuitive eating train (or something like that). If I am physically and emotionally satisfied when I finish eating, and I know I can experience that satisfaction again the next time I eat, and the next, and the next, then I feel finished. It’s easy to stop eating in a comfortable place. While restricting and fretting about weight, I was a bottomless pit. So, calming down, eating food I enjoy, and eating to satisfaction made leaner. The mind reels. If someone had tried to explain this to my fearful dieting self, I’d have laughed, or cried and eaten M&Ms. Could have gone either way.