Letting Myself Talk and Making Myself Listen

Through trying to get fit and learn some things about how to be healthy, I am not only learning things about health, but……me. Duh, right? I feel like I knew that might happen but didn’t want to get my hopes up that I’d learn much beyond “Oh..I still can’t touch my toes? I assumed that would happen at some point after I stopped checking in 8th grade?? What B.S.” The other day I was on my hands and knees actually scrubbing my bathroom floor (my bathroom thankfully doesn’t have a window but if it did I’m sure I would have been distracted by all the pigs flying right outside of it and not finished) and I realized I was hungry. I still had a little bit more floor to clean so I kept going but I began thinking about me being hungry.

Looking back especially over my college years, I don’t know how often I actually felt hungry. When I was lounging in bed watching Million Dollar Listing LA marathons I’d grab Goldfish by the handful out of those gigantic cartons because it felt natural. I’d do this for hours and those cartons were endless. I don’t know if I was ever really hungry, but it was just what I always did: Lounge in bed watching Bravo while eating. It all went together. When my roommate left for class I’d go get the box of cookies and eat an entire sleeve because I was alone and I could, because nobody was there to see or judge. Was I hungry? I don’t know. Maybe eventually I trained myself to equate being alone with feeling hungry. I ate because I could and because I just wanted to eat mindlessly without thinking about it or anybody knowing.

Now that I live in a house with my own room with my own TV, whenever I would buy the junk food I would just bring it straight up to my room concealed where if I ran into a roommate that they wouldn’t see what it is. I kept the junk food in my room because I definitely did not want to run into my roommates in the kitchen or on my way back up the stairs as I’m lugging the gigantic carton of Goldfish up to my room and feel ashamed.

The first thing I did to address this was to, for the most part, stop buying junk food. And if I did, I wouldn’t allow myself to keep it in my room. So it’s not as mindless and easy to just reach for the bag of doritos from my floor. I have to be mindful and pay attention to my body and the signs that I’m hungry then actually go downstairs to grab a snack. Before, my body never really had the chance to ever communicate with me and let me know it was hungry (on second thought: or even really get hungry a lot of the time), I was just shoving food down it regardless and overstuffing myself because I could.

Now before I go to snack I pause and make myself think about if I am actually hungry,  if I’m just bored or doing it out of habit. This has been instrumental. If I think “well, yes I am actually hungry” I drink at least half a glass of water first just to make sure I’m not mistaking my thirst for hunger. If I’m still hungry then, then I will snack. But for a while, I’d feel annoyed that I was hungry, because as I alluded to a few posts back in a frustrated post that was a long time coming, healthy eating and I are still figuring each other out and I just want to crave healthy things dammit.

So, now I am working on that. Allowing myself to get hungry so I can start to learn and recognize the signs of hunger (being even more irritable than my usual self is one of them, hehe) then not getting annoyed at being hungry. I went grocery shopping last Friday (along with everyone else preparing for Memorial Day, ugh that was dumb and a miserable experience) and this weekend found how much I LOVE celery with hummus. I got a few healthy snack ideas from blogs- especially a string cheese quesadilla from Julie that I had for the first time a week-ish ago and love, so simple but I probably would have never thought of it, sadly. Finding snacks I love -like the bananas and the new PB I think is healthy also from my most recent  WIAW post– takes time and lots of trial/error but when I find winners it feels almost close to Christmas.

It’s only been a week, but I’m heartened by the fact that I especially ate so well over a long holiday weekend and last weekend. Weekends are usually when my eating habits are the worst. So much spare time. Nothing at all to do. When I have found myself hungry over last few days, I haven’t been annoyed. I’ve been proud to feel and recognize the signs. I’m pretty good about eating healthy at work since I usually have to plan it out.

Snacking and I are also starting to come to terms that a snack can be more than a granola bar and that I don’t have to be ashamed to have a snack. It’s natural! You’re supposed to eat more than breakfast, lunch and dinner. I  am also now realizing after my few wonderful good eats days that I could maybe string together a whole lot of good eats days. My good eats days are GREAT (I think) as long as my refrigerator is stocked. Once the produce goes bad or I’m out of things to eat, it takes me a while to go to grocery store because I hate going and the crowds overwhelm me (if only Trader Joes opened at 7 instead of 9). So that is when I fall into terrible eating habits. Really terrible eating habits. I also don’t like to go grocery shopping because I buy a lot, I have three roommates who buy a lot and I hate rearranging the fridge and freezer to fit everything (translation: I’m not good at it and get SO FRUSTRATED). What a sad tale, right? Moral of story is if I’m not so lazy, I could possibly be healthy ALL THE TIME. So shocking. Not.

While I’m not yet booking any parades, it feels good to finally feel like I’m starting to right the ship and figure it all out. I formerly had a snarky line written right here that was like “but of course you could check this blog next week and find i fell off my newly established perch in the wagon right back into my own bag of spicy sweet chili doritos” but no! No negativity! And if I do find myself in a bag of spicy sweet doritos, there’s no need to beat myself up over it. I can easily get back on track since I’m starting to come to terms with snacking and  finding healthy snacks I really like. Finally realizing that it is not the end of the world everytime I have a cookie someone brings to a meeting (it’s rude to say no!! heh) and that I can easily get back on track is a pretty cool feeling.

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11 thoughts on “Letting Myself Talk and Making Myself Listen

  1. That’s awesome – go you! It sounds like we are very similar when it comes to snacking. I usually do it out of boredom or because I feel like I “need” to eat, when, like you said, I usually don’t. Recently I’ve begun to experiment with actual hunger too, just to see when my body actually needs food, and it really is a great, enlightening feeling. It sounds like you’re taking a very healthy approach to this whole thing!

  2. Good for you! I love your last paragraph. It’s so easy to almost sabotage ourselves just by thinking those thoughts that we’re probably going to fail. That’s awesome you’re cognizant of it and refusing to do it! And besides, a bag of doritos isnt a fail, it’s delicious 🙂

  3. I love reading these posts from you because they are two things:
    1. Incredibly witty, funny and entertaining and,
    2. Very genuine.
    Seriously – you get better and better with time (are you a wine or a cheese?). I love LOVE today’s post. 🙂 I’m so pleased to read about positive progress and that you took the time to think about whether you’re really hungry or not. I remember chilling in my dorm room finishing off a huge bag of potato chips by myself once and I felt awful. I think it was like day 2 of college and therefore, freedom from parents meant freedom to binge. Wrong. Thrilled about you seeing how you are and making conscious changes. It will take tons of time but in the end, you will be what you want to be – a healthy healthy eater and exercise-er. 🙂 Have a wonderful day!

  4. Preach Sister! I was the same way in college! Although senior year I shared a loft with a nursing major, so she and i shared lots of delicious but sin-less cooking ideas. Keep up the good work (both on healthy living and blogging)!

  5. Awesome post! I totally can relate – throughout college I would always hide junk food in my room because I didn’t want my roommates to think less of me for splurging. The only thing this did was encourage binge eating and unhealthy habits. I try not to by as much junk food anymore and, it’s taken over a year, but I’ve stopped (or tried to stop) associating guilt with eating.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience – it’s always great to hear about someone else’s authentic story and know that I’m not alone with these feelings out here!

  6. I am so glad you intuitive eating is starting to come to fruition!! I too can relate to the snacking just because you can and because the snacks are there. I try to keep lots of junk out of my house because otherwise I know I will eat it!

  7. I think you are on the right track! And I hear you, I’ve done the “eating nonstop even tho you’re not even hungry”… I may have done it last night with some pirate’s booty. Oops. It’s a process and eventually I hope to be where you are. 🙂

  8. Way to go, Caitlyn. It’s awesome that you’re finding snacks that work for you. Those Costco sized goldfish containers and I have had our ways together as well. I totally feel you on the mindless TV snacking. I am getting really into plating my snacks. That way I can only pull out two handfuls, put the rest away, and still be satisfied.

  9. I have a lot of trouble learning when I’m “actually” hungry. It’s something that, like you, I’ve been trying to pay more attention to. And recently, I’ve decided that I need to lose the weight that I’ve gained through and after college (sound familiar?). I moved away from my family/boyfriend/friends too (from Rhode Island to Seattle), and it’s really hard for me to stop eating when I’m bored. The hardest thing for me is trying to figure out if I should eat meals even when I’m not hungry. Like today, it’s 9am and I’m not hungry.. but I’m eating breakfast because it’s “time” for breakfast. Should I have postponed till later to eat? Ugh, I can never tell. I wish my body would just send clear signals.

    And yes, in the past week I did go all the way back and read all of your posts… I have no life outside of the internet… it’s sad (stop judging).

  10. Good for you, Caitlyn! That’s a HUGE step in the right direction. As you know, it takes time to form a habit so keep on with your bad self. 😉 You are def doing all the right things and have a great mindset about your changing lifestyle.

  11. Pingback: Friday Favorites- Granola and Yogurt Edition and BONUSES! | Tiny n Fit

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