I ate two and a half lunches yesterday. I'm not a perfect zen-eater or habit-follower by any stretch of the imagination, because how boring. :-) Thursday, my husband came home from work and found me standing in the kitchen eating potato chips out of a big family-sized bag and making frosting. He's like, "What's up?" I told him, "I've gone rogue" LOL Crunch...crunch...crunch... I was making the marble cake with chocolate buttercream. It's gone now, BTW. The two of us ate the whole thing in three days. How fun! I love cake. That's what started the two and a half lunches yesterday, a big piece of cake mid-morning for no reason other than I wanted cake. I wasn't hungry. I knew I'd be throwing off my lunch hunger signals. Oh, well. Hunger signal tampering isn't a crime. I still very much wanted my lunch. I made a chicken sandwich on my homemade bread with cheddar and mayo. Drinking vegetables or crunching carrots didn't appeal, so I skipped the green smoothie and had a handful of potato chips instead, but those are like eating greasy air. They taste good but don't really contribute to fullness. I decided they weren't cutting it and made some popcorn with olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Mmm, that was exactly what I wanted. But as soon as I finished, I also wanted M&Ms because I have hard wired those two foods together in my happy little brain. M&Ms it is! I had a pretty big handful. Then, maybe because there was a parade, fireworks, and a marching band going off in my brain's pleasure center, I thought fun size candy bars sounded really excellent. I ate a Snickes and Butterfingers, then went back for another Snickers and Butterfingers. After the cake, the sandwich, the potato chips, the bowl of popcorn, the M&Ms, and the candy bars, I was totally done and satisfied, a full but comfortable belly, a smile on my face, and no urge to keep eating. I always have a big lunch but that was about twice what I normally eat, plus the cake.
Interesting, I thought. What was that? Maybe some "whew!" eating after the health screening? Work stress? Have I been undereating lately? Am I bored with my meals? Maybe none of those? Maybe a little of all of them? Oh, yawn. The reason doesn't really matter. What matters is that I chose all of those foods and portions with complete awareness, owned the decision, enjoyed myself thoroughly, and let it go. Afterward, I was packing my work lunch and contemplated taking less food because surely I wouldn't be very hungry. Luckily, I took everything because my stomach started growling right on time. I was physically hungry for dinner, and I was light and empty again before bed. So, I'm left shrugging and thinking, well, I must have needed it. I've noticed that if I'm not quite meeting my energy needs, my body will find creative ways to take up the slack. I'll eat a little bigger and weirder for a meal or a day (or a few) and then everything's fine. My weight stays freakishly stable and my body stays lean if I just roll with the natural ups and downs of my appetite and don't try to restrict or compensate. I also don't assign meaning. "If I do _____ it means _____. As long as I _____ I'll never _____." Storytelling can cause problems because it makes us emotional and causes our choices feel loaded.