I have identified a problem with my current weight loss program. I’m not sure how to solve it yet, but I figure that having realized what’s going wrong is half the battle.
I have difficulty being done for the day.
My appetite usually starts out small and grows stronger in the afternoon and toward dinner time. I can easily eat a small breakfast, around 200 calories is fine. I have a snack of fruit in the late morning and push lunch late, around 1PM. Lunch is usually around 500 calories, which also doesn’t bother me. I then have either another piece of fruit or a savory 100 calorie snack at some point in the afternoon.
Then dinner comes around and everything goes to pieces. I have dinner, and then I want seconds. I don’t need seconds, my sense of feeling full works and kicks in appropriately when around 500 or 600 calories have been consumed. I just like eating and I want to continue to eat. More often than not, before I can stop I’ve consumed nearly twice the number of calories I needed.
The incredible growing appetite phenomenon is a common problem. I believe it’s because our brains reset our resolve as we sleep, and as the day goes on it gets slowly used up. If you spend a lot of your day saying, “no” to that morning doughnut in the lunchroom and, “no” to the fast food place at lunch and, “no” to the cake that shows up in the afternoon, then each subsequent, “no” is going to be harder than the one before. This is because you’re suffering ego depletion every time you turn down food for rational health reasons that your animal survival instinct wants. This is why I practice behaviors like avoiding situations that will put me near foods (or smells) that I have difficulty resisting and making sure I never get too hungry.
That’s part of it. The other reason why lunch is so much easier than dinner is that I know at lunchtime I still have dinner ahead of me, so it’s easier to stop. I realize how pathetic that sounds, but it’s the truth – at lunch, I’m thinking about dinner. At breakfast I’m usually thinking about lunch. Behold the sad reality of a food addict.
After dinnertime there’s nothing to look forward to other than going to bed in a few hours with an empty, growling stomach. Since I (ideally) do not consume enough calories during the day to support my current body weight, my body’s complaints over the matter are kind of inevitable, and I experience a weird sort of animalistic fear of hunger late in the day. I guess it’s not dissimilar from a dog growling over her food bowl while wolfing down all contents.
In the wintertime I’ve been able to halt the charge for seconds by having a hot cup of tea. The hot liquid soothes my stomach and nerves and helps put an end point on eating. Hot beverage = done, and I’m okay. It works about half the time, if I can find the resolve to go and heat up my tea instead of grabbing another serving. Unfortunately its summer right now and I don’t want hot tea in the evenings.
Since the issue I’m dealing with is a disordered eating problem, I know the solution likely lies in employing more behavior modification techniques and somehow convincing my illogical lizard-brain that it’s okay and safe to end the day not stuffed full of food. I just haven’t got it figured out yet.