Skwigg, can you share your thoughts on how you keep your eating in line with your value of being lean/fit, as in, what the thought process is like? Do you if your meals are going to help or hurt your value of being lean/fit? Or have you just developed habits that align with being lean/fit?
Ooh, good question about valuing leanness. First let me assure everyone that I’m talking about a comfortable, easy, healthy for my body level of leanness here, not the painful underweight or overshredded states I used to pursue. This is lazy leanness. This is what happens when I’m just living my active life, eating my favorite food, and not giving it too much thought. If I look closely at it, that feeling of vitality and ease is what I really value and leanness is the result. It’s not the other way around as I had so often imagined. Get lean and then I’ll feel good. That never worked because I was getting lean in ways that I didn’t enjoy and didn’t want to keep doing forever.
Definitely there are no foods or meals that help/hurt leanness. It’s all about the thoughts and habits surrounding the food. I learned from my own experience and from Georgie that the difference between losing, gaining, or maintaining is often just a few bites per meal. Nothing radical at all. So then it’s just about paying attention to what I’m doing/thinking and how my body is reacting. This very much relates to the conversation about “just enough” and “totally satisfied.” If I’m frequently eating when I’m not hungry yet or eating past satisfaction, that not only isn’t as enjoyable, it starts to affect my body comp. If I notice that happening, all I have to do is pay a little more attention to why, when, and how much I’m eating. Generally, that means deliberately *increasing* satisfaction, which is really funny considering all the restrictive gibberish I used to believe about getting lean. The idea is to be just as satisfied or more satisfied with slightly less food.
Let me give a concrete example. A few posts ago I was talking about the lunchtime candy situation, how I was eating a bit more than I really needed because I didn’t want to stop eating it and go to work. I knew I was doing this but I just watched myself do it, until two things happened, my abs started looking a little fluffy and we got a big box of deluxe Belgian truffles in the mail. Suddenly, I don’t want the boring American candy. So, instead of eating a full size candy bar, or handful of M&Ms and a couple of mini candy bars while watching sloths on YouTube, I close the laptop, pay full attention, and savor one rich, amazing, special truffle. I enjoy it more and I eat less.
Here were two other things. Thanks to the gut bacteria book, I’d been adding in more big green smoothies that didn’t necessarily align with appetite, and I’d been filling my jumbo coffee mug to the brim with cereals and nuts, even though that was leaving me legitimately too full. So, I scaled back the cereal portion by maybe 5 spoonfuls, chewed more veggies than I drank, and savored that one truffle after lunch. This while still eating pizza, baking cookies, and getting takeout, but I was doing those within the context of appetite as always, so they didn’t need adjusting. After a week or two of those very small and easy adjustments, I enjoyed my food more and my muscle definitely got a little more muscly.
Am I done now? Noooo, because I’m mindful until I’m not. :-) A month from now, I may notice that I’ve been eating a bizarre amount of cheese, or that I need more carbs, or that I’m tired of guacamole. The mindset is always objective and curious. How can I feel even better? How can I enjoy my food even more? What is working for me? If I don’t like my food as much, or I’m not feeling like my fit self, what has changed? What could I do right away to better align my values and behaviors?
What I’m NOT thinking is, “Uh-oh, I’m eating too much. This is hopeless. I can’t be trusted. I’m getting fat. I’ll have to restrict again. No more bread.” Blah, blah, blah, lies... I see it as a fun puzzle or game, not a crisis. If I’m not happy with something, I’ll tweak a behavior or two and in a couple of weeks, I’ll notice the result. Note that it’s always WEEKS, plural, before I decide if something is working for me, not - do it for three days, get on scale, freak out.