No Wellness Wankery

83: Are you eating TOO MUCH or NOT ENOUGH? You might be surprised by the results.

October 17, 2023 Lyndi Cohen
No Wellness Wankery
83: Are you eating TOO MUCH or NOT ENOUGH? You might be surprised by the results.
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

You often hear dieters say "I really don't eat that much. I have no idea why I can't lose weight".  As a past dieter, I know how much I was very religiously sticking to my very few calories that I was allowing myself to have, eating very lightly and not getting anywhere. I would see these diets and meal plans and think 'how do people eat this much?!'

But the truth is diet culture BS has made it SO hard to even know how much you should be eating. Are you eating too much or not enough? 

You know it – and I know it – you can’t live your fullest life on an empty stomach. You’re meant for great things but you can’t reach your potential or live your best life when all you think about is food.

Constantly worrying about how much you ate or whether you’re eating the ‘right’ things distracts you from all the important shit you were put on this earth to do! And we can’t have that, because the world needs what you’ve got to share.

Lucky for us, our body has delightful inbuilt systems that can give us all the answers. We just need to learn how to listen. 

Want help with binge or emotional eating? I think you'll get a lot of value from my FREE 5-day course, in which I teach you strategies that helped me to skip the cravings and feel in control around food. The course will be delivered via email straight into your inbox.

Unsure if you are accidentally dieting? Get my checklist to find out if you're on a diet in disguise

Looking for more support to feel in control around food? I'd love to support you in my Binge Free Academy

If you don't already - come follow me on the gram at @nude_nutritionist (no nude pics, sorry).

Want to share some feedback or have an idea for an episode, I'd LOVE to hear from you - hit me up at hello@lyndicohen.com

Jenna:

Hello, this is the no Wellness Wankery podcast. My name is Jenna D'Apice and I'm joined by the lovely Lyndi. Hello, lindy, hello, hello, hi everyone. I had a question which has sparked the topic of this conversation between you and me. So I was thinking. I always had thought, like when I would start a new diet, or when I hear anyone start a new diet or a meal plan, they'd always be like oh, there's so much food on this, I couldn't possibly eat all this food. I remember when, like I did I don't know Jenny Craig or Weight Watcher or something I was like I can't possibly get through all of this food, and then it made me think why is that? Was I already not eating enough? And then this new amount is what I was supposed to be eating? Or is it the opposite way? Or why is this?

Lyndi:

You often hear this from diet is. They might say something like I really don't eat that much. I have no idea why I can't lose weight. If you looked at what I ate, I definitely don't eat as much as these diets or these people whose day on a plate that I look at and I think some people go oh, they must be lying. No, no, no. As a past diet, I know how much I was very religiously sticking to my very few calories that I was allowing myself to have, eating very lightly and not getting anywhere. And then I see these diets and I go oh my goodness, how do people eat this much? If I ate this much, I would balloon.

Jenna:

Yes, that's the thing. I could never eat like that. People say things like if I even breezed near that, I would put on weight, Exactly.

Lyndi:

If I smelled that, I'd gain weight. Okay. So, fundamentally, dieting has taught us to under eat, and this messes with our metabolism. We've been told this. We've been told that it's very easy to stimulate starvation response. I don't think we realize just how easy it is to stimulate a starvation response. Now, when I say starvation response, what I'm talking about is your body going into a bit of a fight or flight mode where it does not believe that food is readily available. Because you're under eating so far below what it needs for basic survival, because you're trying to lose weight, it goes.

Lyndi:

I feel quite threatened right now by this huge cut to my calories. As a result, I will slow metabolism. And it has a whole gamut of tricks up its sleeve in order to slow metabolism and does just that in myriad of ways. In addition, it boosts ghrelin levels, that hunger hormone that we generally call it hunger hormone that makes you feel hungrier. Leptin levels go down, leptin being your satiety hormone that makes you feel like, okay, we've had enough food.

Lyndi:

As a result, you are hungrier, you need more food to feel satisfied and your metabolism slows down. Now, even if you do not eat anymore, you continue to fight the hunger pangs and you continue eating your squirrel diet, your body will still slow metabolism, to the point that I would also go to my dietitians appointments and I would gain weight from a week of like eating early. Your body's ability to modulate your metabolism is incredible, because it's in your body's interest to keep you safe and alive. Now I think the biggest mistake people do when they go on these weight loss pursuits is this huge undercutting of calories. Firstly, we get muscle wasting, which is incredibly bad for metabolism not a good thing to be doing anyway. At the same time, you get these metabolic changes plus you get irrational about food.

Lyndi:

So, many people I speak to who have a history with dieting will tell me They'll actually tell me that sometimes that they eat too much sometimes, but that generally they don't eat that much. And I think that's a very interesting relationship to talk about, because they might come to me sometimes and say, oh, I eat too much. So we get two sides of the coin. So the question is do you not eat enough or do you eat too much?

Jenna:

And you're most likely to be doing this. If you are on like a calorie controlled, or counting macros or counting points, you're probably not eating enough and what your body needs.

Lyndi:

Indeed, and even if you're not currently subscribing to that philosophy, if you have once stuck to a calorie restrictive diet or controlled your macros or portion sizes, it's incredibly hard to get out of that headspace and that framework. Because I don't know about you, but, coming from Weight Watchers, it's very hard to detangle a food from the points that it contains or not. Do mental arithmetic when you lie in bed at night calculating what you're eating that day. It does stick in your brain. And even if you haven't done all those things, then portion control is this thing that is drummed into us all the time.

Lyndi:

There is an acceptable amount to eat, and that is typically being told is it's less food than your partner eats. It is less food than probably it takes for you to feel satisfied. So typically, anytime you're eating a meal, too satisfaction, you probably feel like you've overeaten, and I think it's just an interesting thing to point out. But yes, that history of dieting and those kind of controls makes you more susceptible to this point when you're either under eating or overeating and that flip flop that happens between these two states.

Jenna:

So when you say that, trying to get your brain out of the calorie counting or the macros or something, so that sign that your brain is always thinking about food and preoccupied by food is probably a sign that you're under eating.

Lyndi:

Yeah, exactly, and you're kind of in this negative cycle of thinking that you need to eat less than you actually do to survive. I think that is the point as well, with the perspective of whether or not you are eating like a squirrel or not. If you think that's how much you should be eating, it can also trigger you to feel like your body doesn't trust there is enough food. I'm going to talk about it in more detail in a little bit, but fundamentally, what you're saying is spot on.

Lyndi:

A sign that you might not be eating enough is constantly thinking about food. So a food obsession, calculating, planning meals when you go to a restaurant's website to try and work out what you're allowed to eat, even meal prep to some degree. If it feels quite controlled and this is different from meal planning We've got a few ideas, but you're very flexible. But if you feel quite rigid in your thinking, this could be a sign that you have you're definitely not listening to your body and you might be not eating enough. So your body is constantly thinking about food in an attempt to try and get more of it.

Jenna:

What you mentioned before about the under eating and over eating. So if you feel like you're in the mindset, oh, I don't really eat that much, but only sometimes I eat too much, is that a sign that you are going too far on the pendulum swing Indeed?

Lyndi:

The pattern we so often see. Someone wakes up in the morning after eating more than they planned to the night of the day before, so now they're dedicated to eating less, eating lightly eating according to their meal plan, eating according to their calories or controlling portions, whatever it is, they want to be good in quotation marks, and so, generally, people finding quite easy to have a quote unquote healthy breakfast, however they define it, which is often code for just like low calorie, unfulfilling breakfast, and they walk away going tick I've succeeded so far. Then they get to lunch and they are probably able to still be ticking those diet boxes, you know. So they're going okay.

Lyndi:

It gets a little bit harder in the afternoon, though, and often this is when things start unraveling. So you might find that you can't stop eating, like once you get home from work you go oh my goodness, it's so much, but I ate so well today and now I've gotten ruined it. And I guess what I want you to know is if you're noticing there's huge contrast between this daytime eating and your nighttime eating, or even during your week eating and then your weekend eating, or any time is there if there's any high contrast between quantities that you eat or ways that you eat. This is a sign that maybe there's under eating and overeating, this, you're not eating enough or you're eating too much, that something is happening here. We need to create more balance. It's also something very interesting to consider is are the foods that you eat on a regular basis, that you give yourself permission to, vastly different from the foods that you go crazy on?

Jenna:

right, I was going to ask that it's like sometimes if you think you have this perfect healthy diet or week, and then it's the weekend, so you allow yourself to have all these foods that you don't really allow yourself to have, and then you just go wild on them Exactly.

Lyndi:

We don't want to be seeing huge changes in how you're eating. Of course, there are times you eat slightly healthier, times you eat slightly less healthy. That is totally within realm of normal, but people end up putting unhealthy or less healthy food on a pedestal and, as a result, they finally eat it. They eat it to quantities that they can't even like, imagine, and then it's we're gonna. We're gonna talk about all of that, because this is what people do, and if this sounds familiar, we're about to talk about this these two principles that I think are fundamental to help you get more balance throughout your week or your day. So we are doing this under each overeat situation and a good way for you to work at. Am I actually eating enough or am I eating too much? We're going to look into it. The two things I want you to really be thinking about is physical satisfaction, and let's start there. So I always talk about intuitive eating. We're talking about listening to our hunger. So using the hunger scale a scale of zero to 10 if you're new here is a very important way for you to work out how physically hungry am I. So that might be the if you're low on energy, you're, you might be like a three out of 10 on the hunger scale. Ideally, we're not waiting until we're a zero or one on the hunger scale. We want to punch someone in the face. You're too hungry, my friend. You will eat everything and anything because you're physically ravenous and so we want to eat when we get about three and then we want to finish eating. We're about seven or an eight. This physical hunger you might notice that a sensation of gnawing, just an emptiness in your stomach. It might just be a general low energy, poor concentration, irritability and, honestly, what I'm saying? These are quite extreme version symptoms of hunger. These are very subtle. Sometimes it's just a general feeling of, oh, I could eat now and that's how hunger feels like for you. If you've been dieting for years, it's very hard to know what hunger can feel like.

Lyndi:

So using the hunger scale and even just doing an experiment to try and work out what hunger feels like is useful. What do I mean by that? You might wait for the weekend, when you don't have any work commitments and you know you're free. Wake up in the morning and just wait. When you wake up in the morning, rate yourself your hunger on the scale of zero to 10. Where are you? That's going to be just curious to know. If you go, oh, I'm not feeling hungry, You're going to wait an extra hour. After an hour now, where do you rate yourself on the hunger scale? Do you notice any difference, any subtle differences in your body? If not, wait another hour Now. We're not going to do this experiment perpetually. If, by 12 o'clock, or at least five hours after you've woken up, you still haven't eaten, I would like you to eat that point.

Lyndi:

But the point of this experiment is allowing ourselves to get some degree of hunger so we can reacquaint ourselves with what those feelings are. So often, if you've been dieting, we get so scared of actually feeling hungry. We never allow ourselves to get to that point, and it can just be a very useful exercise. You go oh, okay, I know that slight emptiness in my stomach is hunger. So you start to reassociate. That is, that's what hunger means for my body.

Lyndi:

But let's talk about physical satisfaction. This is an important thing. When we eat a meal, when you finish a meal, you need to feel physically like hunger does not exist anymore. It is not there. It is seven out of 10 on the hunger scale. You have no sensations of hunger. There is a what am I? Fullness is through the right word, but there is a general fullness distention in your stomach and you do not feel like you need to eat anymore food. That should be a very distinct feeling.

Lyndi:

Dieting, diet portion sizes often do not leave us with this feeling. So you might finish a salad and, by the way, many people end up finishing salads and they go. I don't feel full, that did not make me feel good. Or, an hour later I was still hungry. And, my friend, you need to make better salads or buy better salads that have carbohydrates and, like you know, I use something like very into black rice. It could be a pasta salad, I don't care, but it has to have things that are physically going to satisfy you. So this is an important component of a healthy diet. Now if you say to me I'm having a healthy diet, I'm having a salad for lunch, but an hour later you're getting hungry, I don't consider that salad a healthy lunch for you. It's not physically satisfying you. We need to be hitting that milestone. That very important thing is physical satisfaction.

Jenna:

So like when you finish a meal, you shouldn't instantly be thinking about the next one or other food you could eat.

Lyndi:

Exactly so. Physical satisfaction is a big component of that and physical hunger is what's going to help us work that out. But the other thing to consider is emotional satisfaction. So there is always a degree of emotional satisfaction that we need to consider. So if you have lunch and what you really wanted was a sandwich, but you went for a salad and it wasn't physically satisfying, and an hour later you're thinking, oh, I'm hungry. But not only are you thinking I'm hungry, but you're thinking I just really wanted something else.

Lyndi:

I do not feel emotionally filled. This did not feel like it satiated me on a deep level, and I think it's very important that we start to fulfill our emotional satisfaction as much as our physical satisfaction. Because what happens when we do not achieve emotional satisfaction and we just do physical satisfaction? You might go through the day going I'm ticking my boxes from nutrient perspective and like calorie perspective and all the things I think I'm meant to be doing, but I'm still going to come home at four or five PM and demolish the kitchen because I do not feel emotionally satisfied with the foods I'm eating and for people who have dieted, as I said, especially if you have a huge difference between foods you allow yourself to have. You know, in the example, you know morning and lunch, versus what you end up overeating, for lack of a better word then that is such a sign that what we need to do is start integrating some of those special foods, the foods you do not allow yourself to have. We need to integrate them into your everyday routine. As a result, you have a more satisfying, you know day of eating and you don't feel like you lose control at the end of the day. The benefit of this is so much more stability, so much less out of control eating.

Lyndi:

And you might go, but if I just integrated those foods into my diet, I would be so unhealthy I would eat them all the time I would be. I don't eat those foods because they are bad for me. You have all these rules and the irony behind this is all these things you're telling yourself about these foods. These judgments are the very thing that's leading you to feel totally crazy around them, leading to this out of control eating with them, and so giving yourself permission to eat them a little more actually helps you eat them a lot less. So we are doing a bit of a little sacrifice.

Lyndi:

Sacrifice a few calories now, if I can speak to your diet or brain. You sacrifice a bit now so you eat less over in the long term, and this isn't a weight loss strategy. What I'm talking about is just general satisfaction. People might lose weight by doing this. They might gain weight whatever. It is just what it is. But what you will find is by giving yourself emotional satisfaction, you won't go crazy on these foods. In fact, the exact opposite happens. The more you take out emotional satisfaction from the meals that you eat, the more you can't stop thinking about food. We talked about that food obsession, we talked about that yo-going. So it's very important that both of these things are always achieved when eating.

Jenna:

And I would say like from my 20 years of dieting, I didn't even ever allow myself to crave a food or want to specific food. So when I first started getting into this, it took me a little while to even realize what I wanted to eat, because that was never an option to me. It's like always these were my things that were allowed. So when it came to everyone's like, what do you feel like, I was always like, oh, I don't know, I'll just have to whatever is the lowest calorie on the menu, Like I don't know. So it took me a little while to even know what I felt like.

Lyndi:

I'm laughing because this is so familiar and this is a that's a very common experience to be have, because emotional hunger is not something that you're ever considering is purely. I'm ticking boxes right here. The other thing I'll hear dieters say that I don't hear my unicorn non-dieters say is they'll say something like that wasn't worth it. Or you know, if you order something, you get really disappointed if it arrives and it's not what you are hoping for, because in your mind you only have an a lot of number of calories that day. They really have to count and if they don't, it's devastating.

Jenna:

Now I've seen people spit out food because they don't like the taste and it's not worth the calories.

Lyndi:

to read quotes Right, I'm incredibly disordered and sad, but I have been in a place just like that, so I very much understand. And if that is you and you're listening and you feel like you've done those behaviors, know that that is not. You deserve to enjoy your food and sometimes you deserve all the time you deserve to eat a meal and even if it's not satisfying for it, not to ruin your day. That is a really basic thing that you were entitled to.

Jenna:

But when we attach so much meaning on the food and it needs to satisfy- and it's only that small little amount you're allowed to have, and then, when it's gone, you're like I have nothing left.

Lyndi:

Yeah, now this is kind of this contrary idea that we're talking about right now, because I'm talking about you have to be emotionally satisfied by food, but I'm also at the same time going well, not every meal is going to light you up like a glow stick, and that is just okay. But when we're not as attached to food, it doesn't have to. So we can, we can hold both of these concepts and go listen, I generally, when I eat, I choose foods that are emotionally and physically satisfying for me, and I think the other thing to recognize about all of this is people go, if I start eating this food, I'm going to go crazy around it. If I eat the foods that are emotionally satisfying, I will go psycho. That is not the case. That is not what ends up happening with time as you learn that these foods are allowed.

Lyndi:

Yes, sugary foods do release dopamine in our brain. Hyph that foods do the same thing. This is a protective survival response. This is baseline. What you have done by dieting and restricting these foods is totally boosted the dopamine response to these foods when you do eat them. So when you do have that sugary food, it is so much above the baseline response that you normally have. So all we want to get to by allowing yourself to eat these foods again is we're lowering that dopamine response so that it becomes within the normal realms again, because you shouldn't feel so obsessed about things like chocolate yes, it's delicious and nice and it's satisfying, but once we don't have that super crazy high dopamine response to it, you might find I can have a few squares and I don't finish the whole block because it satisfied me and it filled me up.

Lyndi:

This is why we need to uncouple our judgments with food. This isn't just a nice thing to do. It truly does help us eat healthier, help us take better care of our body. Because if this mechanism of trying to eat less and diet our way and under eat was helping you lose weight, if it was helping you manage your weight, you would have reached that goal by now. You wouldn't be listening to a podcast like this. You wouldn't have spent the last few years, decades, obsessing over your body and your weight. So I know this idea sounds scary the idea of eating more to ultimately end up having a much more stable relationship with food. But from a metabolic perspective it makes sense. Your body won't be clean to fat. Your body will not be craving as much food and you're going to find that actually maybe it's a whole lot less of a struggle with your weight when you aren't doing this under eating, overeating thing.

Jenna:

So it's all about getting your under eating, overeating, to meet in the middle and you know that you are just eating enough all of the time and that food is always going to be available. So you don't need to eat all that now, because you can eat it again tomorrow.

Lyndi:

Say it, sister that is exactly what I'm saying. If you're listening to this and you're going, hmm, okay, this sounds like something I could benefit from doing, but you're feeling a little bit scared to give it a go, this is exactly what I help people do. In fact, I've got a free five day course, so I love my free course. I would love for you to be able to do it. If you want to get the free five day course, all you have to do is hop onto Instagram and you can DM me the words free course or just simply write it as a comment on any photo or video that I've posted the words free course, and I will send you my free course for free. I would love for you to do it. It's got lots of those tips in there, and we're going to talk more about all these kinds of key topics, because I think it can be really, really helpful.

Jenna:

It does change your life when you know you can eat what you want to eat and decide what you want to eat and feel really good after you've eaten it. It's a whole new world.

Lyndi:

It is. I'd love for you to join us Everyone. Thank you for listening to today's episode. Of course, you may have noticed that in no One Less Wanker. We also have other episodes which are real chats, real talks with people just like yourself who are maybe still in the murky waters of dieting, or maybe they've traversed over into a chute of eating, and it's me and them having a one-on-one chat, talking about the things they're working on and strategies to help them move into that next step. If you would like to listen in, I feel like there's a lot for you to learn. I'd love to help you tune into those episodes and if you want to be one of the people who get a free consult with me, if you're happy for it to be recorded, then I'd love for you to reach out.

Jenna:

If you just go on to Lindy's Instagram and you can send her a message saying share story, we would love to hear from you. You'll get a form with all the details, we can get some of your incredible story and we'll reach out to you.

Lyndi:

Thank you to just share story. Write, share story to me and I would love to hear from you. Of course, everything we're talking about, all these links and things to say if you wanted to, things are going to be in the show notes. Just check that out. I will finish by saying if you found this podcast episode useful, I would really appreciate if you subscribe. That way, more people can leave diet culture behind where it belongs and embrace intuitive eating with us.

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