The Nutrition Experiment: Learning

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I’m now a couple of months into my Precision Nutrition program. I am routinely checking my email first thing in the morning for my “nutrition lesson” and attempting to complete my assigned “habit” each day. I don’t think I have lost an ounce. At the same time, I don’t think I’ve gained an ounce either. That is progress.

I was already eating protein with each meal which is the current “habit” I’m working to adopt. Since I was already there, and I knew how much better I felt when I eat protein with each meal this one is easy.

I joyfully started eating slowly and used a mindful eating app to motivate me. I pretty quickly realized that I lose interest in the food when my body tells me I’m full. That was an eye-opener for me. I was also encouraged to only eat when I’m physically hungry. There were so many times when I would get food cravings only to realize that I wasn’t hungry. My body was wanting something else, and it wasn’t food.

The most difficult habit was eating until 80% full. The first day I texted Jessica about how ridiculous this was. A flash of anger and indignation was my first reaction. She reassured me that this habit would start surfacing some of my “stuff”. She wasn’t just whistling Dixie. I did not want to lose my comfortable feeling of being full. Apparently that feeling symbolizes love or security or some basic need. It jolted me to the core. The thought of it brought up a lot of panic.

The second day I decided to lean into it. If I’m paying for this dumb program, I should let the experiment happen. I felt panicked about not finishing a meal. I brought the leftovers to work and ate them when I did get hungry. That felt a little better. The third day it was easier, and I started to have some insights on when I actually get hungry and how much I needed to eat. A surprising number of times it was about half of what I had been eating before. After about two weeks I started feeling more comfortable about not finishing a meal.

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I’ve learned a few things during this experiment:

  • I have wasted so much food – and so much money – on overeating.
  • The quality of a lot of our restaurant food sucks. A couple of times I didn’t even want to waste my precious meal on the crap that was set before me. It was gross. If I can’t eat much, I want to eat delicious.
  • What I save on groceries will actually pay for my program.
  • When I pay attention to my hunger, I don’t even really want desserts. Desserts appear to be optional. Who knew? But when I do choose to eat dessert, it’s a fun social occasion. And I get to save half my meal for later because I made room for dessert!
  • A restaurant meal can make 2-3 meals for me.
  • The less I eat the less food I want to eat.
  • Boredom or stress feels different than being hungry. Eating does nothing for those feelings.
  • After I get close to being full, I lose interest in food. If I eat more I’m really just overriding my gut, and I end up feeling like I abused myself. It is not a good feeling. I can’t believe I ever thought it was comforting.
  • It is not worth it to eat junk. It doesn’t satisfy hunger, and it doesn’t make me feel good.
  • If I’m not eating quantity, I can afford to eat quality.

I’m also starting to realize how much my hunger is accelerated by caffeine. I find myself not wanting to drink it anymore. Today, I’ve had none. And I actually haven’t needed it at all. The afternoon crash is becoming irritating, and it also impacts my desire to exercise when I get home.

Right now I’m drinking a warm cup of Teeccino while I watch a late April snowstorm carpet my front lawn. I’ve eaten leftovers from lunch very slowly for dinner. I normally would have cleaned my plate on that meal at lunch, so being able to enjoy it twice is twice as fun.

I predict an early evening of reading. Tomorrow might be a good day for a spring hike. Ashok would love that.

2 Comments on “The Nutrition Experiment: Learning

  1. I think your insights are incredible! A truly life-changing experiment if you ask me. I agree with all your observations- when I eat less-quality food, I want more of it, because its nutritional content is so poor… we in the West are SO blessed with our access to food and clean water; I think the least we can do is not abuse our privilege. Keep it up! 😊 G

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