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Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Last Time You REALLY Felt Hungry?

Lately, in the popular and medical news, there has been a flutter about pinpointing the MAIN reason why people are consuming too many kilocalories -- that is -- IS IT too big of portions at meal times or is it TOO MUCH SNACKING? Apparently, a few studies have shown that PORTION SIZES AT MEALTIMES have actually only increased by 20, perhaps 30% and that it is an increase in snacking that is responsible for overeating.

My take on this is this -- OF COURSE, portions at mealtimes have not increased THAT much -- certainly not enough to fully account for the excessive kcals we're eating, but that's only because, people don't really NEED to increase portions THAT MUCH at MEALTIMES, because they are most likely ALREADY FULL from the INCESSANT EATING!

I can't even describe the other-than-mealtime-eating as SNACKING. It truly IS incessant, continuous eating. It MAY not be actual 'CHEWING EATING' all the time, but the fancy-schmancy coffees and smoothies and frappes and other DRINKS now available are LOADED with enough kcals to account as WHOLE MEALS. And, THEN, there ARE the actual SNACKS == even snacks that are CONSIDERED HEALTHY and OK TO SNACK, let alone the usual chips, candy bars, cakes and cookies, ice cream cones, etc. Those granola bars, pots of yogurt (especially with the 'add-ins' like chocolate sprinkles, granola and muesli, crunchy carob and nut mix, for example), cups of fruit, 100 calorie bags of this or that -- ALL ADD UP to equal OVERCONSUMPTION FOR YOUR NEEDS!

People constantly feel they NEED to be eating! This is not normal. The body is not hard-wired to be in a CONSTANT STATE OF DIGESTION! I don't care how much it keeps your metabolic rate humming along at an increased pace -- it's NOT WORTH IT! The body needs TIME to rest and digest.

It's OK to FEEL HUNGRY!!! It's NORMAL to experience GENUINE HUNGER and to have 3, perhaps 5 hours lapse before you eat ANYTHING -- snack, high-kcalorie coffee concoction, and certainly your next meal.

You only need to drink water inbetween meals. If you MUST eat something, if you feel a 'dip' inbetween meals -- A PIECE OF FRUIT or A CARROT or A SCANT HANDFUL OF NUTS ought to suffice. IF you are eating healthy, wholesome, balanced foods at mealtimes -- you probably won't even experience the need to snack -- physiologically, that is.

The NEED to snack is socially and mentally mediated from environmental suggestions. Its not real, IF YOU ARE AT A HEALTHY WEIGHT and FITNESS LEVEL.

IF YOU ARE OBESE, then you DO have a NEED to eat much more than if your body was at it's ideal weight -- but this is at the expense of your body's health. This is what makes controlling your appetite so hard. This INCREASED NEED FOR FOOD is a result of a distorted state of your body. Somehow, you have to find a way to get your body closer to it's true and ideal muscle to fat ratio and body weight and then, the kilocalorie needs will be much easier to control. Of course, you first have to START with finding a way to, somehow, regulate your kcalorie intake so as to lose the fat tissue that is clogging your body's TRUE FUNCTION and NEEDS and STATE-of-BEING.

What I see happening in the environment today is the way it was for me during my whole childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood -- I grew up Italian. My environment was all about -- "manga, manga"
I don't blame my parents and grandparents and my upbringing. If anything, it has enabled me to truly understand what GOOD food is all about and has led me to the profession I have dedicated my life to -- dietetics. It has also given me a very strong EMPATHY for those people who struggle with obesity and has blessed me with the ability to effectively treat and help them.

What I HAVE had to do regarding my own struggle with obesity is basically, to just 'GROW UP'! Through my understanding of my OWN reality of life and my own body, I have had to really be mature about my situation and recognize that I live in a different world than they did and that I must cope with all these environmental food cues and DISCIPLINE myself to WALK AWAY and not feel the NEED to eat ALL THE TIME. How I was raised was as it was. They had NO IDEA that overfeeding me would prime me to struggle with my body weight my whole life. When I FINALLY established what I needed to do in order to RE-PRIME my body and DEAL with my food/eating past and issues, I've gotten better at controlling my body weight and fat, getting my body to FEEL, LOOK, and BEHAVE HEALTHY and FIT and flesh out a life and body that staves me off from staying/becoming obese. Of course, I am not perfect about always living this, especially during the times in my life when I have been vulnerable. But, I'm proud to say, for the most part -- I LIVE my understanding and true needs EVERY DAY. It's not easy for me, but I truly feel, by the grace of God, and by the prayers and strength of my ancestors that have come before me -- I succeed more than falter!

And, I must say -- it's WONDERFUL to actually FEEL HUNGRY!!!! I am SO lucky that I live in a country and environment where I CAN feel hungry and then have the assurance that I will be fed.

When was the last time you REALLY felt hungry? Embrace this feeling more often. Allow it.


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