What is feeling satisfied anyhow?
While my husband and I were out this weekend buying toilets, bar fridges, sconces, ceiling lights and sink vessels, we remembered to stop for a bite to eat. The mission: find something quick and easy. The only thing that we could both agree on was Mr. Sub. I straight away said I’d order a 6 inch sub and leave off one half of that half while enjoying all the green peppers, pickles, lettuce, olives and ‘maters that money could buy along with my protein of choice. I think my husband was deliberating whether or not to get a foot long or a six inch as well when he ultimately said, “get a foot long and we’ll share it”. Done!
As we munched away and sipped and slurped as renovations make me thirsty (this is my 3rd reno and I always say never again yet here I am), we talked about portion sizes and marketing and what we perceive as a normal serving. You know, normal husband and wife banter.
When we got in the car he raised the following, “Arlene, there is a huge feeling between eating until no longer hungry versus eating to a point of feeling slightly stuffed.” Good point my man, good point.
When I was a bariatric dietitian (for surgical weight loss patients), we were always telling them they would be learning to eat to the point of satisfaction vs. feeling full. And, that if they felt full, they actually ate too much.
But this alone could be very confusing for this group. Often, many people, former self included, equated being satisfied with being pleasantly stuffed. That if we were home on the sofa and not at Milestone’s, we’d maybe go ahead and undo the top button of our jeans kinda’ sensation. And that definition of satisfaction was norm. Further defined as feeling like we got our money’s worth or when we cannot fathom having one more bite.
Satisfaction is the goal, we tell people. Perhaps a better word…is satisfactory. The goal for my patients and the goal for anyone whom switches to eating clean 5-6 times per day is to eat to the point where we no longer feel hunger and that we could function for the next 2-3 hours where we will then eat again. In addition, you almost feel that ‘pit in your stomach’ empty feeling if you do let yourself go longer than 3.5 hours without eating.
But as my husband pointed out as we got back in the car to continue on our awesome spending frenzy, “it is easy to understand why eating this way feels uncomfortable or dare we say torturous for those that are used to eating to feel satisfied.”
“Because”, and this was him my friends not me, I was only nodding vigourously in agreement, “eating to satisfaction (regardless of the intention of that phrase), usually means we are eating to feel emotionally satisfied. That when things are crazy busy and we are running off a to-do list in our heads that never ends along with all the ‘shoulds’ we berate ourself for not doing, the ONE thing we can count on to make us feel zippety doo da, is our meal.”
Ok, you got me. I’m paraphrasing what he said, but it’s totally what he meant.
“But”, he continued, “if we just ate appropriate portion sizes as we just did at Mr. Sub, and then waited out 10 minutes, we would see that we are indeed fine. We are physically satisfied for the time being. It’s just that there could be some remaining discomfort or dis-ease there as we don’t quite know why, but that meal size just wasn’t so satisfying. Hmmmm. But you’re not hungry anymore.”.
Yes husband, you are correct.
It indeed takes time to learn to say to yourself: a) I am uncomfortable when I eat appropriate portion sizes.
What do I say to that? Verbalize it. Get it out there!!!! Acknowledge it. It’s fine!!! I still feel that way some times but I gotta say for the most part, after a couple of weeks it becomes your new …norm. So much so, that when you do go overboard and have slightly bigger portions, your body replies with a big fat, UGH.
Why? Groan. Let’s not do that again.
And my friends, you also start to feel very light. And fuelled. And geared up. And delighted in knowing you get to eat again in a few short hours, are losing weight and feeling dyno-mite.
Satisfied vs. Satisfactory.
Does this make you uncomfortable in any way?
Go ahead. I’ll say it again. Tell yourself. Write it down. It’s key to get it out of you. It’s ok to feel this way. If you find yourself saying, “But I shouldn’t feel this way”, stop right there. There it is again, another should or shouldn’t. And yet you do. And the only way to move from there is first acknowledge that you do feel this way. Be uncomfortable and take note of what the source of that discomfort is while it’s happening.
It’s not a fancy woo woo tactic. It certainly doesn’t promise you weight loss for the next season or wedding or party.
You know what? I don’ give a crap about that. I KNOW that this is the stuff that makes a bangin’ transformation happen from a place of joy and freedom. OH! Oh! And because you WANT to do it and not because you think you SHOULD.
It’s not sexy. Sexy diets with awesome promises don’t tell you what to do when you aren’t enjoying their plan anymore. But it’s also why you are always hoping the next diet with whatever food is taken away or added or separated or put back in moderation after 47 days is your answer.
How’s that working for you?
Or instead, might this be something you would like to see yourself committing to work on for a couple of weeks? That is, riding out the uncomfortable wave and seeing that you didn’t drown and have even made it to shore.
Who do you want to be 1, 5, 10, 15 years from now. Because it starts with what you do today.