If there really were such a club, I would be the president.
While in so many ways I feel like a completely different person since losing 90+ pounds, when it comes to sitting down at a table with a full plate of food before me, it’s painfully clear that I still struggle with a long list of issues regarding my eating habits…not the least of which is the ability to put down my fork and push away a plate before it has been licked clean.
I remember going to restaurants and tearing through several courses – soup/salad, appetizers, dinner, and sometimes dessert – so as not to “waste” the $30+ I was spending on my meal. If I didn’t finish every last bite, I rationalized to myself that it was like throwing away money. Dining out at a restaurant is a luxury, and I should enjoy the experience. Right?
The trouble is that not only are the prices of restaurant meals inflated, but so are their portions. And when my go-to meal of choice used to be pasta drowning in an Alfredo or other cream-based sauce, having the strength to leave even a few bites behind could very well have saved me hundreds of calories.
Another one of my justifications for devouring an entire plate of food is that, if I don’t, I might be hungry later (heaven forbid). And then what will I do? I’ll raid the kitchen in search of snacks that could easily add up to the calories I could have just taken in from dinner. It’s for this reason that even while dining at home on a healthy meal that has been pre-portioned to exactly 8 to 10 POINTS, I will proceed to scrape the entire plate into my mouth.
While there’s nothing wrong with consuming all of a POINT-friendly meal that I know will help me reach my daily POINTS target, more often than not I find myself experiencing signs of fullness three quarters of the way through…but I keep eating anyway. There’s no reason to stuff myself, and it’s not as though I’d be under-eating if I didn’t polish everything off (I dip into my activity or weekly POINTS allotment daily), so continuing to eat even after I’m full just isn’t necessary. There’s nothing worse than going to bed hungry, and I suppose I’m afraid of what might happen come 9pm if I eat just enough to satisfy my hunger at a 6:30pm dinnertime. I know this could be the reason why I struggle so much with weight loss plateaus and vacillating numbers on the scale.
It frustrates me that I still can’t stop myself until there’s literally nothing left for me to munch on, whether it’s an everyday turkey sandwich or a delectable once-in-awhile treat. Certainly I’ve had to learn to exercise some self-control in order to lose this weight – opting for sorbet instead of ice cream, or sipping rum and diet coke instead of fruity cocktails – but I can’t quite muster the strength to just. stop. eating.
I’m still baffled to watch normal-weight people take just three bites of a delicious dessert, or eat only half of their meal and declare that they’re full – something that still feels quite foreign to me. Will I ever reach a point where I can order my favorite whole wheat pancakes and sugar-free syrup at IHOP and stop before I’ve eaten every last morsel?
The worst part is that I have finely tuned the ability to listen to my body’s signals – I can pinpoint to the exact mouthful when I’ve had enough. So why do I still choose to ignore them?
At the end of the day, I still love food. It’s incredibly depressing (and embarrassing) to admit this, but I’m not sure there’s anything in the world I love more than food. The experience of eating – particularly something that I find truly delicious – is still so satisfying to me on so many levels that I have a hard time relinquishing that fork even when I am genuinely full.
Physically my stomach is signaling that it has had enough, and yet like the Energizer bunny I make the choice to just keep going…and going…and going. More often than not I feel sick and sluggish after a meal instead of satisfied and energized because I’ve exceeded the amount of food my body truly needed to quench my hunger.
And that’s how I know I still have a long way to go in dealing with my emotional need to eat. And eat. And eat.