Whether it is low carb or paleo or any choice in between, the amount of food our body needs varies from person to person. As it applies in so many areas, ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL. A twenty year old can eat a lot more than an 80 year old. So for those of us in-between those ages, we have to adjust our portions accordingly.
Whereas calories "don't count", there IS a threshold for the amount of food the body actually needs. There is a difference between head hunger and true physiological hunger. We are kidding ourselves if we do not listen to what our body actually requires.
I cannot eat like a man at a feast,
I cannot eat like an untamed beast.
I cannot load up the entire plate,
I cannot keep up with my 6-foot mate.
I am a little woman - only 5 ft tall. It is confusing to hear the mixed messages about "you can eat unlimited ..." or "eat all you want ..." or "eat until full..." Some people know what that means. For those of us with eating disorders that have never known those terms, they do not apply to us. They are a lie.
I want a pound of bacon every morning. I do not need a pound of bacon.
I want a 4 pound fatty steak every evening. I do not need a 4 pound fatty steak.
I am not saying that I can't binge on protein - heck of a lot better than what I used to binge on when I owned a bakery. What I am saying is that I MUST exercise a little restraint and portion control in order to lose the weight I want to lose. I HAVE to manually practice portion control, until I can relearn what it means to be hungry and to be full. I MUST portion my food - whether it is to weigh, measure, or eye-ball it. I have to "practice" some restraint, until I find that happy place where my body responds.
We often hear that it is good to practice moderation and restraint -- to find "balance" -- that practice must ALSO apply to my food intake. It is about listening (or even retraining) body cues. What does it mean to be full? What is "enough"? How much will satisfy? What does my body NEED (as opposed to what do I WANT)?
I pretty much have the "nutrition" part down. I know that protein is good, fat is good, & refined carbs are bad. I know the right food choices to make. I have notebooks and cookbooks FULL of great recipes. I also KNOW that starvation is not good. Deprivation is the opposite of saturation.
I KNOW THAT 'TOO MUCH' IS JUST AS BAD AS TOO LITTLE!
This brings up eating to fill a void.
There is still that empty space.
There is still that part that wants to be fed.
NOW I recognize this. NOW I see that over indulgence, even on "acceptable food", is just trying to comfort that empty spot. Emotional eating. Comfort. To feel the pleasure of taste, smell, & sight.
Solution? Acknowledgement. I acknowledge the fact that even when I finish my meal, my head may still call for more pleasure. My heart may still whine for more sensation indulgence. BUT the fuel needs have been satisfied. Food is fuel.
I KNOW that this empty space is why I over indulge. Therefore, restraint is necessary. (Filling that empty space with things that are NOT food is the subject of a different post.)
Good plate portions, and I choose a Salad Plate for these portions ... because I am not a lumberjack.