Feb 2, 2011

Enjoyment of food

Flattering photograph, right?
One thing I've been thinking about a lot lately is the assumption I used to have that the problem with me isn't so much the foods I choose, but rather the quantities. To a large extent that's true. It's interesting to compare myself to what thin people, especially thin runners. They often choose the very same foods that I do. Then I go and eat twice as much as them.

For example, let's say a few of us go out for pizza. I often will outeat my friends 2 or even 3 to one. Literally, I'll sometimes have three slices of pizza for every one slice my thin fast runner friend has. And it is easy to rationalize, too - hey I'm 300lbs, this friend of mine is 150 soaking wet, I should be eating twice as much. It may not make sense, but it's a rationalization.

Portion size is a very difficult thing to get under control, and my experience suggests that the solution for me seems to be militantly strict rules. I feel like these rules take all the pleasure out of eating, but the pleasure I enjoy from eating is exactly the problem. A smoker contemplating quitting must accept the reality that they'll never enjoy a cigarette again. I likewise am dealing with is a profoundly depressing realization that I must never enjoy food again. Because, like the smoker who'll spiral after enjoying "just one cigarette" after a particularly stressful day, I know from experience that the minute I cheat on a diet, regardless of the occasion, I've lost the battle for the next few months.

It's clearly an addiction, like smoking, and the subtlety of the addiction is that the line between normal eating and overeating isn't as clear as the line between having a cigarette and not having one. Additionally, it's rare to see a person smoking who's not addicted, yet people who are not addicted to food commonly eat pizza and cheeseburgers. So when I'm rationalizing having three slices when a friend has one, I'm usually kicking myself on the quantities, not what I eat.

Unfortunately, I enjoy food too much to be able to just blindly eat whatever I want, regardless of portion size. If I ever want to be thin, I must to cut certain foods from my lifestyle, drastically and permanently.

What I'm talking about is never having pizza again. Or red meat. Or any fried food. Or pasta/noodles.

I don't want to be dramatic, but I've been contemplating this for a few days now, causing considerable anguish in my private thoughts. This is an extremely difficult topic. Swearing off certain foods for the next twelve weeks- I can comprehend that. But what happens afterward? Do I really need to keep this up forever? I don't know if I'm ready to make that decision.

Related: A clarification to this post


  1. cutting out food might work in the short term, but like you said, it isn't something that most people want to do long term. that can mean that when you go back to eating those foods you'll probably put the weight back on.

    You already know what your problem is. You eat too much. One approach you could try would be to buy a scale. Weight the amount of food you normally eat. Let's say it's 500g. Now, take off 100g. just put it back in the pizza box, or back in the pot, or wherever. do that for a few days or a week. then cut back some more. you have to do it slowly, or your just punishing yourself and making yourself miserable. if you do a little bit at a time, it might take longer, but you won't notice it as much either.

    You'd be surprised how little a serving of food is. I still eat two servings of cereal for breakfast. but the difference is that I know I do that. And I know the # of calories.

    Buying a scale and being aware of a portion size is probably the best thing you can do for yourself.

  2. Life is too short to deny yourself certain pleasures. You're a very healthy individual so I say eat as much pizza as you want. Life is one, long disappointment to begin with, so take advantage of the good crumbs it drops on the floor for you.
    I have lost a lot of weight in the last year, but it's because I need to save money. You hear that? Food is a luxury I can no longer afford. What do I miss most of all? Enjoying the food.
    This could be your life.

  3. Steve, if you like to read, try a few books.

    The Raw Food Detox Diet, by Natalia Rose
    The 80/10/10 Diet, by Dr. Douglas Graham.

    Neither one of them is perfect (I enjoy the odd slice of real pizza, myself), but together they have changed my life. I lost a lot of weight after reading these books, and more importantly, have kept it off since then.

    They explain a lot about the important role of digestion...it's not what you eat, it's when you eat it, and how it interacts with other foods in your body. Give them a try.