Dr Hope – 7th appointment

January 23, 2008

I saw Dr Hope again late last week.

I continue to be awed by the way the universe sometimes provides what you need when you need it. I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate Dr Hope a year ago, but right now she’s exactly what I need.

I have never, NEVER felt so peaceful and eaten so well while trying to actively lose weight.

Did you see that? I said I am “actively trying to lose weight” — BUT I AM NOT DIETING.

Oh no, dieting certainly not. I ate pasta carbonara for lunch yesterday. And I had 3 chocolate truffles too. In the past few days I’ve eaten waffles, french fries, fried eggs, bread and so much more. Not to mention that I use real sugar, real butter, full-fat milk on a near-daily basis.

And yet, I am losing weight – slowly, slowly – but surely.

I am starting to get the hang of some more of the Dr Hope guidelines.

I now pretty systematically evaluate my level of hunger before eating. I’ve even skipped a few meals in the past week because I wasn’t hungry, or eaten “too soon” because I was. I’m not at 100% on this yet, but it’s definitely in the majority zone.

The thing I am probably best at of all the Dr Hope tricks is evaluating my food for pleasure. Everything I eat, from a breadstick to an elaborately prepared gastronomic treat, I try to think about the taste, texture and how much I like (or dislike) it. What is that subtle spice? How do they make it both crispy and creamy? It’s a lot of thinking, but it makes the eating much more enjoyable. And, as I learned at my weeklong work meeting in early January, if it’s not good, I don’t eat much of it anymore. I would say I now evaluate my food for pleasure about 90% of the time.

And to respond to a few comments on the blog in the past few weeks – I RARELY thought about the pleasure from my food before November of last year. Only at Special Events where food was a featured item (fancy restaurants, someone making me dinner, etc).

The latest challenge Dr Hope added has been to leave something on my plate uneaten. This has been really hard for me, but finally this week I started to see some real progress. The idea of this one is to actually build up to being able to stop eating when you have had enough. If you are like I was, “enough” meant when the plate is empty. I still have a long ways to go for this to be routine for me, but I’m now more and more consistent, leaving something over more meals than not. Sometimes if something is particularly good I set the “leftover” bit aside early, and finish the rest, which isn’t quite the same thing, but it’s helping me to get over the “mine! all mine!” mentality, and work on giving up some of what is on my plate. In the past week I’ve had 2 times when I stopped much earlier than one bite uneaten – really able to sense my hunger and leave a good amount untouched. It feels really good, and I can see how in the future this will really help.

I’m much less stressed about food in general. Yesterday afternoon one of my employees wanted to stop at a local bakery because “they have the best chausson aux pommes (apple croissants) in Paris.” Mind you, this is AFTER we’d had pasta carbonara (loaded w cream, egg yolk, bacon and cheese) for lunch. Did I sweat it? No. I was glad to have an expert showing me something, glad to find a good address for this flaky treat. I was not hungry at the time so I took it home. Knowing that I’ll eat it when I’m hungry. And I know I’ll enjoy it, or I’ll stop eating it. I haven’t eaten enough chaussons aux pommes to know which is the best in Paris, but I’ll be able to tell if it’s really good or just ok. And I won’t eat it all, either.

My discussion w Dr Hope also centered around emotional eating. I’ve stated this before, but for the record I wouldn’t categorize myself as a binge eater or an emotional eater. I’m just an eater. I eat with or without emotion, but apparently a bit more with emotion.

The same day I saw Dr Hope I got a call about a job opportunity that is moving into the next phase. It’s flattering and a big move, and I’m very conflicted because while it’s a great job, it would also be a big change in lifestyle (lots more travel and pressure) and I really like my life right now. So after a few email and phone exchanges to set up the meetings, I found myself wandering around the house looking for stuff to eat. I wasn’t hungry. I was conscious that I wasn’t hungry. But still I was looking for stuff to eat. Specifically, I wanted Crunch. Apples. Popcorn. If I wasn’t actively trying to lose weight it would probably be something else. But I wanted, really wanted, to crunch my way through the stress. I didn’t. But knowing that this issue would keep bugging me for the next several days or weeks I discussed it w Dr Hope.

She said she found it interesting that I was looking to eat because of it, and a great sign that I was aware of the emotional pull and not giving in to it. She then told me to have a fun weekend and to spend Tuesday – Friday when I was back at home paying attention to think-as-you-eat principles. And to enjoy my weekend vacation.

A diet doctor who tells you to enjoy life…. not bad at all!

By the way, just identifying this stress-induced desire to eat was enough to keep it from coming to pass. I haven’t had the crunch-fest nor any other food-fest that I could easily justify from the stress.

Previous post:

Next post: