Friday, April 1, 2016

Satisfaction vs. deprivation...

There are a lot of mindsets with food & weight loss that I have shifted through lately and have begun the process of unraveling, and I'll definitely be sharing more of those in the days ahead.  But I felt like I wanted to start out with one that I am still VERY much trying to wrap my head around.  One that drives me positively and utterly BATTY...
Why are there days where you feel satisfied and why are there days when you feel deprived?
Why can THE SAME MEAL on one day feel like enough & other days it feels like it takes EVERY ounce of mental effort NOT to polish off that whole plate of fries, follow it up with an ice cream sundae and then lick the plates clean when you're done?  

You're welcome for the visualJ

I don't know the answer, but I do know one thing FOR SURE:  it has absolutely NOTHING to do with your body ACTUALLY needing more food.  Ready to get into that mental game of weight loss??  Let's begin...

Backstory:  I've never really went about my weight loss journey as choosing to order "the salad" (or insert whatever equally dreaded thing you're 'supposed to order' here) with the side of steamed vegetables in place of that burger and fries that I knew I REALLY, REALLY wanted.  I guess before any of the brain chatter really set in, I learned early on that ordering that salad, when every cell in your body screamed 'burger', was the quickest way to set up for failure.  It leads to resentment and anger and I somehow, without even trying, I avoided that path from early on.  Instead, I chose to order the burger, but stick to half.  And most days, I never felt deprived and I never felt stuffed.  As perfect of a victory as I could have hoped for.  Im hindsight, I probably was able to live in this space contently while having my 1st big weight losses many years ago.


There are times when that 1/2 a burger just doesn't cut it.  And I don't mean physical hunger (unless it does, and in which case:  YES, eat more), but the reality of this circumstance is you've physically had enough food, you've had THE BURGER that you wanted and you didn't hate your life while angrily poking at the salad...but why are you staring at the second half as if it's screaming to you & ignoring it just makes it scream even louder?  Not having it makes you feel so deprived, as if you're never going to get to eat EVER EVER again except in that very moment.  You start to think how everyone else gets to have all the fun while you MENTALLY have to ninja with that burger in order for it to stop begging for your attention. It takes every ounce of effort not to flag down the waiter with flailing arms, just to have it GO AWAY.  

And then, gasp, what about when it happens again??  

Well now the mental game alone has become so EXHAUSTING that you've had enough with trying to be 'good.'  You are just SO TIRED of paying SO MUCH ATTENTION to every bite and all of this mental fighting.  This time you've had enough and you're not even gonna try.  Screw it!  "I'm just gonna eat this whole damn thing!"

Until you do, and then what happens?  You feel kinda gross, depressed & defeated and you vow to never, ever do that to yourself again.

We've all been there.  (I mean, right??) 

After typing up this post and letting it marinate for a few days, I think I stumbled on a thought that might be a key to part of unlocking this answer.  I think the difference in the two scenarios might be in telling yourself that you DON'T WANT/NEED more vs. telling yourself you SHOULDN'T have more.  Ya feel me?  I've always thought that the 'don't want vs. shouldn't' mindset is one that could always be applied to having a healthy lifestyle vs. being on a diet.  Being healthy means that you don't WANT to overindulge, but a diet tells you you CAN'T (in huge glaring, blinking, bright red letters) have what you truly desire.  But maybe the 'don't want/shouldn't' mindset can also be applied to tackling moderation here as well.  

Here's an example:  I always find that when I'm being 'good' and eating healthy, careful & clean (especially when you first get on that roll), that it is SO much easier to tell yourself how you don't WANT something.  You truly don't.  You feel satisfied & content and in the swing of your healthy lifestyle.  Then a week passes and you get to celebrate a victory on the scale and you feel happy & elated that you were able to eat that burger and STILL loose weight because you were IN CONTROL!  Rejoice!  And you're never, ever, ever gonna back to that 'bad' place again because you just feel SO GOOD!  Again, exactly where I squarely stayed during my inital loss.

BUT THEN... the weeks go on, the weight loss results begin to diminish just a little bit each week.  You begin to feel the twinges of disappointment, but you keep on.  

AND THEN the next week, the scale just doesn't produce the number you were hoping for in your head.  Your brain really sets off the panic signal now.  You feel confused, disappointed and PISSED OFF.  "But I only ate half the burger.  Why did I only eat half the burger if I was only going to loose .2 ounces??  Now I better make sure I eat SUPEREXTRAGOOD cause I DON'T want to gain any of that weight back."  See also:  paranoia & panic.  

And then, oh God, what if you've been SO GOOD AND EVEN ATE THAT QUIONA ON TUESDAY NIGHT WHEN YOU DIDN'T WANT IT, but that happens to be the week you gain and now you and the scale (and that mother f'in quinoa!) are now officially no longer friends??

"F this!  I'm just gonna eat whatever the hell I want because I just CANNOT. LOOSE. WEIGHT!"

Sound familiar?  It might if you know me, because I've probably uttered it a few zillion timesJ

And is that above statement even true?  Can you REALLY not loose weight?  Of course you can.  But all that THINKING, all of that ANXIETY has now added MANY layers of emotions, worries and panics to your psyche.  And what does emotions, worries and panic bring??  Well, if you're anything like me: it brings a one way ticket to the bottom of a gallon of ice cream, face first...because now I HATE the world for making me NEED to loose weight and I just don't give an F anymore!

It's exhausting just reading that, isn't it?  Yet we all live in it daily.  Breaking up with your scale is another post for another day and one relationship I am STILL trying to release, BUT as I've started shifting my thoughts & feelings on to how food makes me FEEL rather than what it's doing (or NOT doing) for me, it has been one of the mental shifts that has made that darn number on the scale matter less & less (on MOST days.  Let's be honest hereJ)  How do I FEEL when I can recognize that I don't need any more food in that moment, I've had enough to fill me and that I'm going to survive to see another day and another burger?  And that eating MORE than I know I should is going to make me feel kinda gross, so maybe if I just stay at 'satisfied' and focus on how good THAT feels, and then I'll just feel OK?  Could that help quiet all of that brain chatter & anxiety??

I will be the first to admit that shifting your focusing on how you feel is a minute-to-minute, meal-by-meal challenge.  It takes a lot of effort to PAY ATTENTION, BUT I'm starting to really see the effects of CALMLY having what you want, knowing when to stop and not letting yourself get to the "UGH" point. (more on that another day, as well)  A process I seemed to do with EASE back in the day, before all of the brain chatter/guilt/anxiety set in.  It's amazing how far off track we can get when even our full stomachs don't even send off enough of a signal to stop eating.  That's the surest sign I can think of to know that we are eating 'from our minds' and not from our stomachs.  Maybe if I can just rely on how I feel to tell me what I'm supposed to do, I won't feel like there's a devil on my shoulder telling me I just CAN'T have something and I'll focus on how, in reality, I just don't really WANT it??  For me, the thought of "don't want" feels so much peaceful rather than punishing "can't".  I don't think it's the ENTIRE answer to the 'satisfaction vs. deprivation' debate, but it might just put a dent in the question.

How bout you guys??  When do you find the most contentment in a meal vs. when you feel like you're being left out of all the 'food fun'?  I wanna hear!  Leave me a comment below OR Connect with me on Facebook, oInstagram or through Email.

Thanks for reading!  We're gonna figure out this ish togetherJ


Michelle said...

Love this! It's SO true! I hate the word diet - it instantly brings to mind all the things I can't have and makes me feel like I’m missing out. I'd also like to add how things become habit. Like telling myself I need a snack at night because that's what you do even though I'm not really hungry and there isn't anything I really really want. Its getting past "have to" and getting to the "want to"! Great Post!

Donna said...

Omg! Yes, Michelle! We're so gonna have to collaborate for a post on HABIT!😬😬

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