I had a new shift in consciousness about food and nutrition this week and learned some interesting things about my body. In trying to identify how particular foods acted in my system, I’ve been having small 6-bite meals every 8 hours. So far, so good, no adverse reactions. Since I’ve been doing that, I’ve naturally dropped 6 pounds, since I’m not taking in many calories. Since my focus was on discovering how individual foods behaved in my digestive system, I didn’t think of it as depriving myself of food. I have sufficient body reserves, so even though I’ve dropped to maybe 300 calories and 5 grams of fat a day, it’s way ok for me to do this. It’s been several years since I fasted, so perhaps this is a prelude to a fast.
What was my shift in consciousness? I learned that my mind and body can operate on far less fuel that I typically give it. I realize that most of my eating is emotional eating. Instead of addressing the underlying emotion (wanting to feel comforted and nourished by something outside myself) I simply changed the foods I ate. Instead of beef and pork 7 days a week, I now eat poultry or fish twice a week. Instead of fettuccine alfredo, I eat salads. Instead of sandwiches, I opt for soups and fruit plates. So, while I changed my eating habits for the better and made myself lose 50 pounds and get healthier, I wasn’t addressing the fact that I was still an emotional eater. On the road if I get tense, I’m at the produce stand buying romaine to wash and eat by the stalk in the car. It’s not a Hershey bar, but it’s still an emotional response.
This past week while I’ve been focused on my experiment, I look back in my food journal to see what I’ve eaten and realize it is not very much and not very often. In the evenings I’ve been drawing, which has kept my hands occupied, and I’ve been going to bed early. It’s a combination of factors. I was surprised most by the fact that I was ingesting very little but felt fine. I had no appetite and didn’t even think of food until it was next on the schedule to eat: I.e., at 8:00am eat four bites of cottage cheese and one bite of mulberry jam.
Any time in the past when I’ve fasted, I at least thought about food, even if I was no longer craving it. But the past week it’s barely been on my mind. I do feel an aversion to the thought of fresh tomatoes right now, though, so have not included them in the experiment.
It’s interesting that even though I am eating very little, I saw evidence on Friday of what I’d ingested Tuesday. I have no idea how long it takes for particular food items to move through the human digestive system, but I thought it was a 24 hour process. I’ll have to research that. Apparently this is a 3 day process for me. What I eat today will be moving through my system for the next 3 days. Interesting.
But the main thing I’ve learned this week, the big shift in consciousness is that the less I eat, the better I feel. That I can eat far less than I am used to, and have more energy because of it. That I don’t have to have entire meals at prescribed times. I can have a few bites here and there every few hours, and stop making meals and “eating” such a big production. Simplify it to basic fuel and add it as required to fuel my next activity.
I don’t have to diminish the pleasure of eating, but I am ready for some balance by detaching and seeing foods dispassionately for a change. And hey, I lost 6 pounds without trying!