On my recent trip to Europe, my new eating system was pushed to the limit, and during a few of the days there I cracked under the pressure of my distant Sicilian relatives shoving wonderful, evil, tasty carbs in my face. That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news:
1. I didn’t crave any bad foods while in Europe. Even when I saw fancy pastries in London, Rome, or Paris, my reaction was “Oh. That looks good,” instead of my usual, “OH MY GOD. LOOK AT THAT! MMMMMM! I NEED TO GET ONE OF THESE RIGHT NOW.”
This might not sound like a big difference to you, but it’s a huge one for me. My entire physiological reaction to shitty carbs has noticeably changed, literally for the first time in my life. I’m very happy about this.
I still would like to get to the point where I don’t even want food like this, and see a doughnut in front of me and just shrug and push it away. I’m not there yet, but I’m patient.
2. I didn’t binge, and didn’t really want to. I had some bread/sweets, enjoyed them, and that was it.
3. I didn’t gain any weight during the entire trip (other than water weight). I was gone almost three weeks, and I was a bad boy only 3-4 days during that time. When I got home I weighed a little more in scale weight, but within four days of going back to my normal eating plan, I was right back to the same weight as when I left. I know my body well enough to know that it takes me exactly four days of a perfect diet to shed all water weight, so that’s all I gained on the trip. (It would have been nice to have lost weight during the trip, but again, baby steps.)
4. This one I found the most interesting. During the final day or two of my trip, I was craving my healthy food. Yes. I was actually craving, and looking forward to, eating my tomato / onion / avocado salads again. WTF? I’ve never felt like this before. I’ve never desired healthy food. I have felt bloated after cheat days and things like that, and I have felt like I didn’t want more garbage or carbs after a big cheat day, but I’ve never looked forward to eating healthy food before. This is another clear, noticeable, and positive change I’m quite happy about.
Three Kinds of Hunger
Over the last two months, I’ve analyzed my own feelings of hunger as well as when other people feel hungry. I’m now convinced there are three distinct types. I’ve read articles about there being seven types, or even eight types, but I think they’re mostly bullshit. I think it all boils down to three.
The first type is physical hunger. This is when you haven’t eaten all day and your stomach is growling. It’s “real” hunger. Your body is telling you it needs fuel.
The second type is hormonal hunger. This is when you feel hungry even if you don’t feel any physical need or emptiness in your stomach. Craving your favorite piece of cake is one example. Another example, and one I’ve experienced often, is when you get hungry right after you eat. That’s right; often eating will make me hungry. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but if you think through your own past you’ve probably experienced this yourself. A good example is when you’re not hungry, but decided to eat some chips and dip for a snack. After eating some chips, suddenly now you’re actually hungry and start rummaging through your kitchen for more food.
The third type is addiction hunger. You could probably also call this societally programmed hunger. This is when you’re not hungry at all, but suddenly, out of the blue, someone shoves your all-time favorite dessert right in front of you and tells you it’s all yours. Two seconds ago you weren’t even thinking about food, and now suddenly you have to use all kinds of willpower to not eat. When feeling addiction hunger, the only thing that determines whether or not you eat that crap is your level of willpower and how strongly your fitness goals are.
Whenever I feel hungry, I’m at the point now where I can identify exactly which type of hunger it is. My goal is to completely eliminate both hormonal hunger and addiction hunger. I think I’m well on my way, since starting this new eating plan, hormonal hunger has almost vanished, and addiction hunger is still there but has been noticeably reduced. This has never happened with any other diet or eating system I have ever tried, and I’ve tried them all.
In terms of my specific eating plan that I discussed last time, I’m going to continue to stick with it until November 24th (which is Thanksgiving here in the US), and the great news is that I want to. (I’ve ever wanted to diet before! Cool!) However, this weekend I’m going to re-introduce meat and dairy products, in moderation, to my diet. This is going to only be more mild tasting meats and diary, such as chicken and egg whites. Over time I will slowly add more sharp tasting foods.
I’ll keep you updated, but so far I’m pleased with the progress.