Have you ever felt this way? I'm not saying I felt this way 100% of the time, but over the years there are definite periods of time when this feeling was all consuming. Even over the past year and a half during my successful weight loss, I have felt this way on and off. The feeling never really disappearing, but sometimes being pushed to the back of my mind when I was focusing on other things. But in the darker days, when stress creeps up on you as it always does, when something trips one of your triggers, the feeling can be so overwhelming I am reduced to tears wondering what is wrong with me and why I can't conquer this one foe. Why food has sunk its talons into me and I can't get free. Always thinking about food, always planning for my next meal, and always obsessing over those people who can eat whatever they want, eat huge amounts of food, eat all the time, and never gain weight. And no amount of food could ever satisfy the monster within.
Such was my state of being. I think many can relate to this feeling. I say this because I have talked to many people trying to lose weight and this is something that the conversation inevitably comes around to "I have such and such friend and they just eat all the time and never gain an ounce!" I have come to realize that the reason why they can eat this way is because they are listening to their hunger signals, these people probably have faster metabolisms that require more fuel, true. But guess what, we are not around these people all the time. What do we see them really eat? Lunch? A few snacks? We don't know if these people love to go run 10 miles every day therefore their fuel requirements are much higher, we don't know if they eat a lot at one meal and then eat small amounts of food for their other meals. All we see is what we perceive to be them scarfing large amounts of food, because when restricting our own food, suddenly food becomes the most important thing in the world. It's our body's natural response to starvation, needing to find more food, when will we get food next.
The only way out of it is to change your mindset. Once I told myself I could eat if I was hungry no matter what my calories were for that day, a remarkable thing happened. After a few days, when my body decided I wasn't just trying to pull the wool over my own eyes, I stopped caring so much. If I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was satisfied, who cares how much food everyone else is eating? I was getting all the food I wanted, all the food I needed and the next time I got hungry it was okay to eat again. So if I was feeling satisfied, not feeling hungry, not feeling ridiculously full, why should I care how much my husband eats. Why should I care how much my friends eat? My food isn't going anywhere. They are not going to swoop down and steal my food away by eating what their bodies require of them. After a few more days, something even more amazing happened. I stopped eating everything on my plate. Before I would clutch onto my food and you would have to pry it from my cold dead fingers if you wanted to take it away from me. I was eating it all because that was all I could have. I didn't matter if I wasn't hungry, it was time to eat and that is what I could eat and so I ate it. All of it. I thought leaving food behind was going to be incredibly difficult. And it was at first. The idea was so unfathomable to me that I didn't even bother with it for the first several days. But after a while, and really believing that I could make this work, and really wanting to make it work, I realized I didn't need to finish everything on my plate. If there was enough left over I could just do what I do with the kids: put it in the fridge for later. If there was only a bite or two, well I guess my food waste will either go up or I will have to learn to take smaller portions. I never in a million years thought that I would willingly let go of food. But it turns out that when you stop forcing yourself to go hungry, food just doesn't seem as important anymore, and I can finally stop obsessing over who is eating more than me because finally it really doesn't matter. Honestly, who cares? I am getting what I need, so I stop noticing what others need.