Monday, November 1, 2010


My body has a new way of letting me know it is hungry.  For someone who lived the vast majority of her adult life as morbidly obese and all of her adult life as obese, please understand that eating because I'm hungry is a relatively new thing.  I used to eat because it was time or there was food around or I was feeling (insert emotion of choice - sad, excited, frustrated, like I earned a treat).  It is probably weird for most of you who eat normally to understand, but it was the reality of my life for a long time.

Over the last couple years, I have learned I exhibit some weird hunger signs.  I am getting better at recognizing them.  Now sometimes feels like I imagine "normal" people feel -- you want food and your stomach growls.  However, other times the signs of hunger are more subtle and/or bizzarre.  Sometimes I get headaches without feeling hunger that I realize they actually are hunger in disguise (sometimes, but rarely, dehydration -- I am pretty diligent about drinking lots of water).  Sometimes I have a craving -- usually for something unhealthy.  When I try to ride the craving out but it doesn't pass, I sometimes eat something healthy and then the craving passes.  I have come to realize that the cravings are often hunger mixed with something my body wants/needs (e.g., ice cream craving = eat something with calcium to feel better, and craving will pass).

My body's latest thing to let me know it is hungry is nausea.  Pleasant and very intuitive, right?  Actually no, but that is what my body is doing lately.  It is weird, much of this weekend I felt nauseated and just gross.  I went to a party Saturday even though I wasn't feeling amazing, and ate a little and still felt bad.  I figured I would just try to deal with not feeling great.  I didn't want the weekend to go to waste.  Sunday I felt gross but I wanted to get one last bike ride in before the week started.  I was out just before sunset on Sunday and as I biked past the burger place and smelled the greasy burger goodness, my stomachache/nausea went away immediately.  It was the weirdest thing.  When I went home and ate, I realized I was hungry.

Today, I was working hard and as lunch approached, I got nauseous.  I was like "Huh, wonder if I am hungry?"  As I ate, sure enough the nausea started to wane.

The good news is that I am kind of figuring out my body.  The bad news is that I feel so nasty when I get nauseous that I am now eating a bit extra to make sure this does not happen.  For example, I ate a couple (big, catering-type) cookies at lunch to make sure I didn't feel bad in the afternoon.  I need to find a way to hedge against this new (hopefully temporary) way for my body to display its hunger without ruining my momentum to live a healthy lifestyle.  I think the answer is to carry healthy snacks with fat (e.g. almonds), as fat tends to help me feel better -- eating something carby like fruit does not make a dent on the nausea.  It is odd.

This confirms my belief that I just need a lot of food, and food of certain types.  I am not sure if my body will eventually adjust or not to less food, but if my body needs food -- even if it is more than an online calculator or program like WW says that I "should" have -- I am going to eat it.  I am trying to honor my body and health.  I would like to be at a weight that is considered healthy for my health and body type, and am not going to shun the aesthetic benefits that would come with weight loss.  However, the longer I am on this quest to get healthy -- inside and out -- the more I am realizing it is NOT just about weight.  It is about honoring my body and providing it the fuel it needs to help me live a healthy and productive life....even if that means I am outside an arbitrarily calculated goal weight window for my height.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Sarah, I was thinking about you just today and noticed you hadn't posted in a while. Glad to see this.

    You're on to something I'd say. Everyone is going to exhibit signs of hunger differently and recognizing it it the most important thing. Then learning the appropriate way to satisfy that particular hunger need. You are right - I think we are hungry to different things at different times and have to satisfy that hunger with the right food or it doesn't go away. This is a hard, but very important lesson to learn.

    This is never easy, is it?? Just when you think you've made progress on one concept, something totally different pops up!


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