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Does Eating Really Satisfy You?

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Grumble Mouthed Fat GuyI remember when I was in grade school, my 6th grade teacher asked the open-ended question “what did we like most about school?”  The answer blurted out by the ever loud-mouthed guy sitting in the back of the class was “lunch!” That was probably more of a truthful answer than I think the teacher-dude had considered.

But, now I wonder whether the answer has really changed that much that I am older and supposedly smarter.  Up to a few months ago, I had adopted some daily habits that had high calorie meals, snacks and drinks built-in. It is often difficult to find out how these habits snuck into a formerly healthy eating habit.

Weight loss means fat loss. Runaway male eating habits are most likely where I had fallen off the wagon. When I was eating on auto-pilot is where I was packing on the fat on my belly, love handles and under my chin. Yuch! The dumbest part of this whole thing is that I was not really enjoying what I was eating either. An extra slice of cheese, another beer, a handful of cookies were just fleeting pleasures that were not that enjoyable.

When I recognized that this fat is heavily linked to heart attack, diabetes and hypertension makes this situation even more scary. Eating myself into dis-health is just plain stupid. I realized that this had to stop, because I saw this weight gain as sort of permanent. Even after 30 years of healthy living, I had lost control of my weight. I had to make a change.

The medical facts are that obesity is not linked to either eating too much fat or carbohydrates (see “Food preferences and body weight control” France Bellisle – 1995). It is not linked to food choices. Obesity has been shown to be more prevalent among lower socio-economic strata, yet look around at your well-educated friends and you will see many fat guys and gals.

Here is What To Do

Here are a few simple things to do to make sure that you are getting satisfaction out of what you eat. Think about your level of satisfaction of your food. I’ll bet it is more about habit than satisfaction. Addiction is sort of an emotional attachment to a habit. See if these things are true for you:

1. Do you see your typical day as consisting of a few “high satisfaction” moments or peaks of eating? If you do, it is addiction or at least heavy habits. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good meal, snack or drink. But there is a lot of life going on between those peaks to be enjoyed. Food is just part of it.

2. Have you given up on losing weight? The question is have you given up on paying attention to what you eat, because you think you are a lost cause or not worthy of taking care of yourself. Or are you so attached to eating that your body is ballooning out of control? In this case, my guess is that you are not enjoying food enough. Sounds crazy, but fat guys are not the people that enjoy the food too much, but rather are hooked on the taste rather than savoring it.

3. Do you secretly fear going into a gym because you are terrified of someone seeing a pathetic fat guy? This is a real fear. Most likely the other people are way too involved with themselves and aren’t really paying attention to you. When you get home from this emotional ordeal, either food is a reward or a refuge. Don’t let exercise become an ordeal that you need to recover from. Food as a reward is also not a winning deal.

Here is a healthy definition of food that should help you decide whether you are running off the rails:

Food -  fuel that has been made tasty by nature.

Don’t stockpile fuel!