Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

Hunger

It's the simplest principles that are the most important, sometimes. I need to remind myself of that.

I have a fairly basic problem: I've gotten fat. I dress well enough to obscure it to some degree, but it needs to be admitted. When I entered college, I weighed about 125 pounds; now, at the same height, I'm running nigh 180. That's not "a bit overweight" any more -- that's fat.

For several years, I lied to myself that I could knock off the pounds mainly with exercise, and I've managed to keep that up sometimes. I'll go six months at a shot of reasonably solid regular exercise (30-45 minutes of real workout, near-daily) between bouts of just not being able to drag myself out of bed early enough. But even when I'm being reliable about that, it hasn't budged my weight significantly: I get much healthier, but not much lighter.

So it's time to readdress the problem seriously, and recognize its root: my eating habits suck. It's at most partially a matter of what I eat: while I'm not exactly a spokesman for healthy eating, I'm not a McDonald's poster-child either. I eat plenty of healthy food -- the problem is, I eat a lot of food, both healthy and otherwise. Having dried fruit for one's afternoon snack doesn't really help much when it follows a large lunch three hours earlier.

The essence of the problem is twofold, but both parts are really pretty simple. First, I've lost all sense of portion control -- my habits have ever-so-slowly swung from "eat until not hungry" to "eat until full". Second, somewhere along the line I've become a compulsive muncher. Whenever I get hungry, I eat, generally a bit too much. And that munching tends to become habitual: I notice that I've been tending to munch at the times I might get hungry, instead of only after it has happened.

I'm not going to go trying to start a diet: I know myself, and I know that's doomed. The only thing I can really do is change my day-to-day habits. So, time to make that happen. Specifically, three things need to change:

1) I need to stop eating my fill, at least as a normal matter. There's a considerable gulf between "no longer hungry" and "full"; I have to stop on the near edge of that, rather than the far. Closely related to that, when I am ordering a meal, I need to pare back how much I order, because I almost always finish what's in front of me.

2) I need to stop noshing routinely. Having a small, decently healthy munch is fine if and only if I'm actually hungry. If I'm not hungry, it had damned well better be something special enough to be worth it. Eating has to stop being a mere habit.

3) I have to reacquaint myself with the savage satisfaction of a little hunger. This isn't easy, but it's certainly within my abilities. It's not as if this is the first time I've faced this issue: I was 170 pounds by the sophomore year of high school, before I dropped about fifty over the next two years. Key to that was accepting modest hunger as a common fact of life.

Oh, don't worry -- I'm in no danger of starving myself. But I've never tended towards hypoglycemia, so a little hunger does me little damage. Indeed, properly focused it can sharpen me. And knowing that it's towards a useful purpose makes it quite satisfying (far moreso than overeating, actually).

I'm not going to talk in terms of goal weights or other such rubbish: frankly, that's a recipe for disappointment and backsliding. The point is to change my habits for their own sake. If I can manage that, with any luck, that should have the desired effect of gradually whittling my weight down to a reasonable level, over the course of time. If I can get my exercise habits back on track (and thereby keep my cardiovascular system in decent shape), that should do...
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