Those of you who went a little crazy yesterday pigging out in anticipation of the Rapture are probably feeling a little bloated right now. I know the feeling. Every now and then I just give in to my cravings and eat whatever I want (except for wheat of course). I do this maybe once a month. And I usually feel just awful afterwards….sort of like how a beached whale must feel. My pants fit a little tighter and I feel sluggish.
I was a compulsive eater as a child. My mom, to this day, is always happy to tell everyone she meets how when I was a little girl, she had to have a snack waiting for me on the table when I got home from school. I even think my mom was a little afraid of me and proceeded with caution, the way someone would around a starving animal. I would get very cranky and have outbursts if she didn’t feed me right away. In addition to being hungry all the time, I could also put away enormous amounts of food in one sitting. Looking back I estimate that I would eat, on average, over 5,000 calories a day. But I had a fast metabolism (or a hollow leg perhaps) and I was always very thin. Then when I turned 18 the party was over. I started to gain weight and inches primarily in my hips and thighs and I became obsessed with dieting. The more I dieted the more weight I seemed to gain and the more depressed I became.
The phrase “you can never be too rich, or too thin” stuck with me. I knew I would never be too rich, but I thought I could at least have control over how thin I was. I tried every diet on the market and made up a few of my own (like the 3 Snickers a day diet which still makes me cringe). My weight still would not budge even though I was eating under 1,000 calories a day and exercising daily. I stayed the same weight until I started to educate myself about how simple carbs can make you fat. I switched from a diet of mostly simple carbohydrates to protein and complex carbs and the weight started coming off almost immediately.
Remember SnackWells cookies? They were low fat and low calorie and women thought they had died and gone to heaven. Finally, they could gorge themselves on cookies and lose weight. Perhaps due to the fact that they thought they could gorge themselves or the fact that the cookies were mostly sugar, no one seemed to be losing any weight. Back then fat was a dirty word and they took out almost all the fat and replaced it with sugar and thought they were doing us a favor when they were actually making us fatter.
I hope to impress upon you that it’s important for you to eat enough calories each day so that you nourish your body. And fat is not a dirty word. We need to eat healthy fats. If you eat only junk your body will constantly be sending you the message that it is hungry until you feed it real food. That’s why you are hungry an hour after having that donut and coffee for breakfast. Your body is saying “dude, feed me some real food and I’ll stop the hunger pangs!”
Even though I eat mostly organic and make good food choices I still feel hungry often throughout the day. Whatever it is that made me a ravenous little girl has not dissipated. So I had to experiment with what I ate and how often I ate so that I could keep my weight in a range that feels good to me. And for me that means eating 4-5 small meals a day and 4 snacks. My small meals average 2-300 calories and my snacks average about 100 calories. I try to consume no more than 2000 calories a day. I find that this keeps my blood sugar at a consistent level and I don’t get tired or cranky during the day. Nor do I ever experience that “too full” feeling where you wish you owned a stomach pump. And I always try to fit at least 15 minutes of exercise into my day.
Everyone is different and you will need to experiment with the size and number of meals you eat each day to see what works best for you. On the right hand side of my blog I have copied a link to a site that contains an interactive tool for estimating the appropriate number of calories you should eat per day.