I Heart Intuitive Eating

Stopping measuring everything was the best thing I’ve done for myself in months.

Beginning 2 days ago, I only measure the basics upon rising – fasting blood sugar, temp/pulse, and weight – and then no more measuring for the rest of the day.  The purpose is for me to start making decisions about what and how much to eat based upon how I feel, not based on how many grams of protein I need to get in or how many calories I have left before I feel really bad about myself.  Since I stopped measuring everything my ability to interpret body’s signals is becoming very clear.

For example, I can now recognize two distinct kinds of hunger – hunger for sugar and hunger for a meal.  The hunger for sugar feels like a slight twinge of irritability or fatigue along with a need to eat something which I feel most in my mouth or head.  Hunger for a meal is a deeper feeling, kind of hard to explain, but it makes me feel hollow – like I really need to fill myself up.  I’m still learning to tell the difference in the moment, but when in doubt I have a few ounces of orange juice and if I’m still hungry 10 minutes later I eat something more substantial.

Also what’s great is I am learning how to control my energy levels.  If I eat too much meat I feel tired.  I now know that’s because eating protein out of proportion with sugar raises cortisol and lowers thyroid function.  Also, there’s lots of phosphorous and tryptophan in meat – a precursor to serotonin, which increases my nemesis, estrogen.  A few days ago I ate like 8 or 9 ounces of meat at once (I was worried about it spoiling and didn’t want to waste it.  Sometimes I’m such a tight wad) and within an hour I needed a nap.  When I woke up I felt all estrogen-y – sore breasts, irritable.  It’s clear to me why eating all that meat on paleo/low-carb gave me such a flat affect and made me tired.  Since then I’m becoming vigilant about having fruit or orange juice first – before protein – and only having 2-3oz of meat at a time.  If I do this my energy is high and my mood is good.  Dairy and gelatin are sources of protein that don’t make me tired.  And by the way, dairy no longer gives me asthma.  That’s over.

I’m going to continue on this way for a while – I know I probably won’t lose much weight eating whatever I want and when I want without counting calories, but right now my objective is to learn what my body needs.  Maybe after a couple weeks I’ll count something again.

T3 and Cravings

Well I’ve been experimenting with taking T3 (thyroid hormone) as I learn more about energy metabolism and thyroid health.  One thing I learned (as I sit writing this at 4AM) is that you shouldn’t take T3 in the evening.  It will fuck with your sleep.  Good to know!

In general I feel fine and actually better in the 3 days since I started taking T3. I’ve been splitting the little 25mcg tablet into 4 or 5 doses and experimenting with how far apart to take them.  I’ve had no hyper symptoms (except not being able to sleep, but lesson learned regarding the timing).  Day 1 I took only 1/6 of a tablet – about 4mcg.  I felt fine, no overt effect.  Day 2 I took two doses of about 6mcg each, felt fine.  Day 3 (yesterday) I took the entire pill spread out across the day in 4 doses. Felt good.  I’ve been forgetting to take my usual caffeine pill, so apparently there’s a little boost in energy.  I think I’ll continue along taking the equivalent of one 25mcg pill split up into small doses every 3 hours or so.  I’m also going to start taking my temperature throughout the day.  Temperature and heart rate can apparently be used to gauge dips in metabolism efficiency.

A few weeks ago I was at my parents’ house.  My mom (the forever-dieter) confessed to me that she had eaten an entire jar of peanut butter than we left over at her place.  I said to her, “Well Mom, maybe your body needed it.”  Most of her adult life she’s repeatedly (without success) pursued low-cal, low-fat dieting as the key to health and happiness.  Similarly, I finally got her to give up her trans-fat laden margarine for a margarine that doesn’t contain trans fats (butter would not even be considered…it’s a dietary evil in that house).  A couple weeks later she said she had to go back to the original margarine because the other one tasted so good she just kept eating too much of it.

Again, Mom…maybe your body needed it.

It was easy for me to see this when we were talking about her, but when it’s my behavior I’m analyzing all of my judgments get in the way about what I should/shouldn’t be doing or eating.  It’s an interesting idea though…maybe if you just give in to every craving your body will work through it and come out better on the other end.

Yesterday I was craving cheese melted on bread. We have gluten-free bread in the house, but I’ve been considering bread (starch, carbs) the devil for so long that I don’t even consider it as an option.  So I ate the cheese.  10 minutes later…still thinking about cheese and bread.  Ate more cheese.  Finally after about 4 different snacks, all trying to substitute for what I really wanted, I just had the damn cheese and bread.  Seriously.  These kind of mind games make one obsessed with food, eating, dieting, and the self-flagellation that comes from creating dietary rules that then must be followed.

I’m considering just following every instinct, completely independent of dogma and diet guidelines, and just listening to my body for a few weeks.  While I’m at it maybe I’ll put the scale in the garage.