Failure isn’t fatal

by Elizabeth on March 28, 2012

and sometimes, failure isn’t even really failure.

Hi Fitties! How’s tricks? Thursday! WOOT WOOT! Date night for meeeeeeeee!

So my intuitve eating entree continues, which means that’s what I’m writing about. Just be glad I’m not suddenly into like… colonics or something.  ;)

One of the biggest obstacles I’ve faced when trying intuitive eating in the past (besides the fear to try it in spite of potential weight gain) is the thought that if I don’t do it perfectly, I’m a failure and I should give up and go back to counting before I balloon up and have to buy all new pants.

But there really is no perfect in intuitive eating. Intuitive eating doesn’t just mean “eat when you’re hungry stop when you’re full.” Intuitive eaters sometimes eat for reasons other than hunger (ie, a bride and groom may have wedding cake at their wedding even if they’re not that hungry). They may eat more or less than they really want, depending on the circumstances. Sometimes they clean their plates out of a sense of obligation, but often they are able to leave food on their plates.

I am totally a clean plate eater. When you live your life on a diet and all you get are measly little portions every 3 hours, of course you are a clean plate eater. You are always HUNGRY. You would be foolish to leave food on your plate. The Food Gestapo will not let you eat again for a few hours, and even that meal will be measly. So eat up, eat fast… eat before it’s taken away from you.

Some small victories that I’ve experienced this week are as follows:

I made brownies during the afternoon on Monday. I allowed them to cool (usually I would eat them hot because I JUST COULDN’T LET THE CHOCOLATE SIT THERE) and had 2. There were leftovers for the AntiRat when we came home (normally they’d be ALL GONE). I had a few brownies after dinner and there were some leftovers the next day (again, brownies lasting more than a few hours is unheard of, let along lasting more than 24 hours).

Previously, I would think, “I shouldn’t want brownies, because those aren’t good fuel. So the fact that I wanted brownies proves my body can’t be trusted. I ate the brownies and will get fat if I keep trying to eat this way. I can’t do it. I should find another diet.”

And then I would diet until, God help me I need a brownie so bad, then I’d eat the entire pan.

See the difference? It’s funny. It’s subtle.

I’ve had a few experiences when I was able to pause in my eating, instead of gulping down my food. In one case, I left a piece of toast on my plate for awhile before I realized I hadn’t finished it. I got a little panicky about the symbolism of the unfinished toast (it’s presence proves I can eat intuitively! Oh shit, don’t eat it now that will prove you CAN’T eat intuitively! But it’s toast, you love toast! But you don’t even want the toast!) In the end, I ate the toast after pausing and deciding that while I didn’t need the toast or even want it that much, I felt like finishing it. Next time, who knows, maybe I can through the remains away. This wasn’t failure, this was progress.

This brings me to this article which sort of demonstrates how we just don’t GET it when it comes to food:

Healthy people who exercise and also eat chocolate regularly tend to have a lower body mass index than those who eat the rich sweets less often, a study suggested on Monday.

The survey of a population of more than 1,000 adults, published as a research letter in the Archives of Internal Medicine, reinforces the notion that chocolate packs heart healthy benefits, despite its high calorie and sugar content.

People in the study, whose ages ranged from 20 to 85, reported eating chocolate an average of twice a week and exercising an average of 3.6 times a week.

The Wall Street Journal had more to say:

The participants who ate chocolate more often didn’t consume fewer calories overall, or exercise more, than their non-chocoholic counterparts. In fact, the more frequent chocolate eaters consumed more total calories. (emphasis mine)

So rather than question our entire model of restriction, calorie counting, self-discipline and meal planning, the secret must be that there is some magical fat burning elixr in the chocolate and THAT is the key to the fact that people who indulge in moderation weigh less than other — even though the calories of the slimmer chocolate eaters are HIGHER than the non-chocolate eaters.

First, we don’t know how long this study went on. The calories of the abstainers may have been lower during the study, but we don’t see whether there were binges before or after the study. We don’t know if people underestimated how much they ate (were they measuring every morsel and writing it all down? Or were they fed a controlled diet by the researchers?)

But here’s something that’s interesting: Now researchers are going to try to figure out in what doses we need to “take” chocolate so that we can unlock the magical mystical fat burning qualities of the treat. But the slim people who ate chocolate didn’t have such research available to them. No one told them 1 ounce 3 times a week will help burn fat but 2 ounces 5 times a week will put fat ON. They just… ate. Interesting, yes?

 

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