Friday, November 6, 2009

Half a Dinner

On days when I can't eat dinner until after 10:00 pm due to work, I always have difficulties mapping out the day such that I don't eat too many snacks between lunch and dinner. Today, I was upset at myself for not waiting until dinner to eat, but really it's all about a failure to plan.

That being said, there is always the possibility of damage control. A few weeks ago, I skipped dinner altogether because I wasn't very hungry by the time it rolled around anyway. This evening, I'm going to eat half of what I planned to. Considering the fact that I don't eat big meals now anyway, that means dinner should have very few calories.

The strange thing is that the idea that I could eat half of what I'd planned to came more as a revelation than as a logical thought. I can't understand why such a notion came as such a novel notion rather than a reasonable consideration. I guess it is a reflection of rigidity about eating timing and meals which very likely has been playing into my overeating my entire life.

To be fair, it may also have to do with the fact that making dinner is a somewhat big production, and it feels strange to go through all of that trouble and end up eating about 3 bites of each food on the menu. That being said, I feel like this realization is going to be very helpful not only now but in the future. It means that I don't have to "save" a set amount of calories for dinner later in the day when I'm starving now. I can simply eat what I want, and eat a very tiny amount of dinner later. The important point is controlling the day's calories, not giving any particular meal an arbitrary chunk of the day's allotment.


dlamb said...

What I really appreciate about the thoughtful, analytical manner in which you've gone through this process is that you consider all the angles and you tailor your program (meaning whatever it is that you are doing), to your individual needs, while respecting and considering your strengths and weaknesses, your vulnerabilities.
I was relatively fine with my weight until I decided to listen to the "experts". For one thing, I used to pretty much eat only at the end of the day. I never counted calories, worried about what I ingested or thought much about it. That was my schedule and my life. NOBODY had TOLD me that I was doing it wrong. I pretty much ate what my system required and all was fine with the world. I binged occasionally but that was not a frequent occurrence and had nothing to do with the food itself, except for the fact that I used it to quell emotional stress.
In my late 20s-early 30s, we were told that it was just horrible not to eat breakfast and to replace our balanced (up until then) diets (I mean, by this the food we consumed), with low or no fat and simple carbs. Remember "stop the insanity", which suggested that instead of putting some olive oil on your salad you COULD and maybe should eat 2 huge bowls of pasta? Anyway, my entire life was turned upside down and a horrible chain of events affected my weight, the way I ate and started my obsession with food, ALL DAY LONG. In addition, I was ravenous all the time.
After almost 30 years of starvation/binging losses and gains, I appealed to a wise group of women, well mostly women at 3fc for help, insight and suggestions. When I presented them with my main problem areas, they suggested EXACTLY what I had been doing before I started all that craziness. It seems that eating once a day, at night, for a set number of hours brought me back to my old self. According to a "fringe" group, this was the way to do it for the compulsive overeaters. I stopped obsessing about food (because insulin release was no longer an issue throughout the day). Once a day my stomach could BULGE with food (yes, I LIKED feeling stuffed and I slept better for obvious biological reasons; i.e. carb coma) and I started to lose weight because ultimately I was probably eating less than 1300-1400 calories a day. The myth about when one should consume calories and in what order, when to stop eating is just that, generally speaking, a set of myths.
I felt like my life had been saved, like somebody had given me the greatest gift. ALL I had done was to return to my previously "wrong" way of eating, which had never created any problems for me, which kept me from obsessing about food and feeling like I was starving ALL THE TIME.
After that came the lucky break I got re. my binge behavior but you already know that :).
My point to anyone who wonders what is the "right thing to do" is: DO WHAT WORKS for you. As long as somebody does NOT do anything to actively damage the body (i.e. purging, which also leads to weight loss), people should follow their own experience with success and allow others to follow theirs.
Yes, some ways of eating may lead to better health overall, but the lifestyle nazis, the well meaning, the ones who believe that anyone who does not do it their way should be harassed and berated until they "get it" and do it "the right way", don't seem to realize that they may be doing more damage than they help. For goodness sakes, some even object to the words "program" and "diet", forgetting that the definitions of these two words/terms are not limited to "Jenny Craig @al" and "the process of losing weight".

screaming fatgirl said...

It is important to do what works for you, and in the Asian country I used to live in, a lot of people would eat one huge meal a day or they would eat a lot one day and eat virtually nothing the next. I think that, if you don't tamper with your natural response, you're likely going to be fine as your body knows what is best for you. Too much information has turned out to be better than no information in terms of how and when people eat. It's why I stopped listening to all of the conflicting information about nutrition.