Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thinking Thin

"Thinking thin" is a concept that is foreign to many of us obese folk. Lots of us were never thin in our lives, so we don't realize how different our thoughts are about food compared to the thoughts of thin people. This was brought glaringly to my attention recently by something an always-thin person said in a discussion about gaining weight, losing weight, and willpower:

"I've lost a few pounds, because my appetite has been less lately. I know that because I keep getting full before I'm done eating a regular portion, so I just throw away the rest. But I didn't DECIDE to eat less. My appetite did. No willpower involved."

What??? My jaw dropped open like I was about to consume a chocolate cheesecake. She gets full so she "just" throws away the rest? Like it's nothing? Like it's just a dirty Kleenex? That is so foreign to me! If I have served up a normal portion for myself, I EAT IT. Without fail. Unless it is something I don't like, the thought of throwing it away just doesn't cross my mind. This is an example of thin thinking. And look at what else she said: her APPETITE decided she would eat less. NO willpower involved!

So let me get this straight. People who do not struggle with weight actually listen to their inner signals of when they are satisfied, and, without an emotional inner battle, simply get up and toss out the rest of the food. They don't WANT it, they don't fight themselves not to eat it. Wow. Epiphany. What if we all thought like that? None of us would be... you guessed it... fat.

Another little example of thin thinking comes from a book I am reading, The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person. It mentions that we see a food, desire it, and think something like, "oh I really want that! I wish I could have that! It's not fair that thin people can eat that and I can't! I want to eat that!" Those thoughts run through our head, sometimes countered with thoughts of "No, I shouldn't eat that! I'll gain weight. I should stick to my eating plan. I can't have that!" Eventually, one side or the other wins, and we make a decision whether to eat it or not. But perhaps a better (and healthier) thought process would be this:

Instead of, "I want that! It looks so good!"
we think, "I am really glad I am not eating that!"

Wow. What a brilliant insight. I think I can practice that.

We really do have to change the way we think to win this battle against obesity. I am convinced that is why most people who lose weight gain it back: they didn't ever address the root of the problem. Our THINKING makes us fat. Because the THOUGHTS always precede the eating.

As for me, I am still using my light therapy box, and still sitting at 247 pounds. After just 2 sessions of light therapy, I started feeling better and had more energy. Then for the last 2 days I have had a bit less energy and a bit more cravings, and I wondered if it was really working. Then I looked at the calendar and realized it is PMS. My symptoms are not as bad as they used to be, so I will take that as a good sign. I am not moody, either. I am hopeful that the light box will see me through and next week I will see a drop in pounds. I feel good, and I know this time I am going to succeed.


Ruthie said...

Great post! Really hit home for me, because I seem to always give in to that side of me that says, "That looks good, I want that!".

Good luck to you on your journey to becoming a healthier "you"!!

Hanlie said...

So basically we need to reconnect with our bodies! I've been thinking that as an obese person, you have to be disconnected from your body, for your sanity. But maybe this disconnection is just a slippery slope that ensures that we get fatter year after year...

Great post! I'm glad your light box is working. I've always expounded the value of natural light in any healthy lifestyle, especially with regards to weight loss.

You are doing great!

Lidian said...

Oh, absolutely - for me it is like I have to manufacture those thoughts of letting my appetite decide, it is a conscious effort, whereas for my DH, not at all, it is natural...great post!

Heather said...

that is a really interesting post. especially since I was a thin person..but I didnt have those "thin" thoughts. that is probably why I ended up the way I did. I guess some people are born that way or learn how to eat that way, and others do not. i think retrainig our minds is definitely necessary though.

Dinah Soar said...

Good post. Yes, our way of thinking does lead to our way of behaving.

I've only realized this past year how important the head issues are when it comes to weight loss. Most "diets" skip that part or skim over it. I think not getting straight in our head is why we "stick" for a period of time, but eventually come to a halt.

When I took OTC meds for allergies, they killed my appetite. It was very easy for me to skip eating.

I no longer need those meds though, and working on undoing some of the head damage (wrong thinking) because I know I can't rely on my stomach/appetite to say "you're full, stop eating" I'm learning other ways.

As I've monitored my eating within a generous parameter I'm noticing patterns in my eating habits, and that there are cues that tell me when to stop...and because I am paying attention due to the monitoring process I'm noticing those cues. Whereas before I just gorged on past them.

Twix said...

Great post! I know this will sound silly to some. But I do listen to my inner it's enough voice, sometimes. Recently I have been finding I too eat less. Last night Snickers and I went to get a treat at DQ. I had a small blizzard. The whole time I sat there eating it I was like I so wish they had even smaller portion sizes because I really don't have the appetite to eat this much ice cream. SO yes, I ate half and threw the rest. Oy the guilt kicked in. OMG, you threw something away! But you know what I would have guilt too had I ate the whole darn thing. It would have been oy! you ate all of that!? If we can listen more to our inner appetite voices instead of I see a cheeseburger and must have it voice we all would be better off! Thanks for posting about this! Awesome post!! :D Thanks for being the voice of reaason!!

alice said...

ah yes, PMS, that dreaded calling card of aunt flo. mine is in full swing right now. and yes, it sucks.

"People who do not struggle with weight actually listen to their inner signals of when they are satisfied, and, without an emotional inner battle, simply get up and toss out the rest of the food" --> AHHHHH! I KNOOOWWW! especially the "without an inner emotional battle" part. i am surrounded by thin people, with my mom being the one whom i'm around the most since i just moved back in with her. she does the same thing. she can just stop eating because she "doesn't feel like" eating anymore and that's not. nothing else involved. i've known about this kind of "thin thinking" for a long time and have tried to adopt it but it's HARD. i don't think i ever can, having had so many issues with food for so long, but it's something to strive for, i guess.

Karen (aka Deadbudgee) said...

I finally got caught up on your blog, Lyn, and as always it was filled with wisdom. Although my parents are both still living, I can totally relate to your thoughts about food and memories!!! Great stuff, Lyn...thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Katschi said...

I have the Beck Diet Solution book and also the workbook. It looks as though both of these items work so much better when you actually READ THEM!! I only skimmed them when I bought them late last year as they were part of a huge Amazon order. They were so pink and pretty :)
I'm going to have to pick them up today and start doing the work. Your post was a reminder for me to do this.
I have a friend who's had 4 kids and is still slim. She eats exactly as described...when she's full, it doesn't matter if there's food left on her plate. It goes in the garbage.

Jean said...

Hi Lyn! Just discovered your blog from 3FC, and came across this entry. We've got a fabulous, active, supportive, wonderful group of folks on a Beck thread. A lot of our conversations seem resonant with what you've been discussing too. (Unless you're already on it, under a different name.)