There are two questions I've been asked a lot lately, three if you include "what's for supper?"
Are you (were you) hungry? (or similar questions like "do you feel deprived?" or even in the form of a questioning statement: "I could never give up _______________.")
The honest answer is yes, there have been times I was so hungry I could have eaten my hand. But then again, even when I'm eating a non-restrictive diet I had those days. If you go too long without eating or the foods you are eating aren't providing the nutrients you need, you'll be hungry. But overall if I ate on schedule, hunger wasn't a big issue. At first I struggled mentally with a smaller list of food to chose from. For my program I was basically incorporating protein, veggies, fruit, small doses of starches, and dairy in set quantities and with just a few options in each, especially the starches. That has meant 4 months with no pizza, candy, pasta, processed foods, ice cream, subway, or regular chocolate (there are some protein bar/drink options with chocolate, so I've survived). If you would have told me at the start I would have been giving up those foods for at least four months I probably wouldn't have started. But seeing success and realizing, wow, I really can survive without pizza has been pretty empowering. The best word to describe my hunger/deprivation state the past four months is "satisfied." I eat enough to be satisfied, but not overstuffed. The hunger I usually feel is actually craving or emotionally related, or if I go too long without eating (last week I was starving all morning and couldn't figure out why...then I found my egg sandwich in the microwave that night: I'd forgotten to take it out and eat it). My cravings are much less. Now, if you set a pizza or bag of Dove dark chocolate in front of me, I will want to devour the whole thing. But I won't. I've made up my mind that I'm not eating those things right now. But soon I'll be reincorporating some of those foods, which brings me to question number 2:
Are you going to be able to keep it off?
I've asked myself this several times, daily. At times with much anxiety, especially now that I am nearing a weight that I feel is both healthy and (hopefully) sustainable. The thought of being able to enjoy a little pizza is both comforting and unnerving at the same time. I knew I didn't want to lose only to gain it back. So from the beginning I've been working on that idea. Even before I started my goal was to reach a healthy weight that I could sustain with eating healthy most of the time while still enjoying some goodies along with a sustainable exercise program. With that end in mind, I knew the program I chose had to have some plan for maintenance. I've also been reading blogs and research on people who successfully lose weight and keep it off, and maybe more importantly, those who have not been able to keep it off. If 95% of people who lose weight gain it back, how can I be in the 5% that stays stable? I'll share later in the months the specific things I think will help me maintain my loss. I'm not so vain as to think that regain can't happen to me, but I'm hoping with educating myself and really using what I've learned about nutrition and behavior modification that I won't yo-yo. And letting everyone who wants to read into my personal struggle with food may be extra motivation not to go overboard at a church potluck.
And the third question that often comes up (excluding the supper question): What was different this time? What made it click? And for that answer, check back on Wednesday.