I think one of the realities of intuitive eating is understanding that some days you are hungrier than others. Some days I hardly think about food at all. I go for hours and hours not feeling particularly hungry and eat a little bit and that is that. But some days are what my dear husband calls “hollow leg days”. These are days where you feel like you must have a hollow leg because it seems like you’ve eaten plenty to fill your stomach but still feel hungry. My husband says, “It must have gone somewhere. Maybe I have a hollow leg.”
I’m not talking about stress eating here or eating because you are bored. Although these are both potential pitfalls of intuitive eating. I’m talking about genuine, tummy grumbling, there’s gotta be a few more crackers in this box hunger. Sometimes it seems a tame thing that is kept at bay. And sometimes I find myself like Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors demanding, “Feed me Seymour!”
This intuitive eating thing can be really challenging. It’s easy to eat intuitively when you are craving spinach. It’s a little more challenging to eat intuitively when you are craving spumoni or sausage. It can be a struggle to quiet the guilt and keep the old diet thoughts at bay. Luckily, I get to observe a real, native, free range, lifelong intuitive eater in my own house. My husband has always been naturally thin, so people have encouraged him throughout his life to eat exactly what he wants. So he’s an intuitive eater. He always has been. And I’ve seen “hollow leg days” happen to him. (It’s his terminology after all.)
Since dieting was such a disaster and the HAES (R) approach has been such a force for happiness in my life, I plan to stay the course. Part of intuitive eating is pushing away from the table when I’m full. Part of intuitive eating is looking for something to eat again 2 hours after lunch because I am still hungry or I feel hungry again. These are two sides of the same coin. Part of pushing away when full, eating just one cookie or eating two bites of pie is the implicit understanding that I can have another cookie or another bite of pie or another 1/2 hamburger whenever I am truly hungry for them. Even if logic seems to dictate I “shouldn’t be”.
So when I’m having a hollow leg day, I’ll shout (or sing), “Feed me Seymour! Feed me all night long!”
As you can see, my awesome husband and I went down and used the church kitchen and made a few cookies yesterday. And by a few, I mean about 60 dozen. Every year, we make cookies to give away as Christmas gifts. It’s a holiday tradition. Another holiday tradition is to start out having a really great time making cookies and end up really annoyed at one another. Best I can figure, the main problem is that we end up getting tired and cranky. And despite my best efforts to end our baking session sooner this year, and to be the one to say “enough is enough.” I still didn’t say “enough is enough” quite soon enough. Hence we had some very cranky Christmas elves in the holiday baking tree.
We can look at our kids and figure out that they just need to go down for a nap. We understand that no appeal to logic or pleading for better behavior will work. That kid just needs to go night-night for half an hour or it’s GAME OVER. Why is it that we can’t figure this out for ourselves? I know my hubby and I get cranky when we are both hungry. That’s why we instituted the sandwich rule. But we haven’t figured out a “nap” rule or a “time out” rule for ourselves. I have some friends that have asked me point blank to please be the adult in their lives to tell them, as it says in the book, to go the f#@k to sleep! I haven’t agreed to do that yet, because I can’t even figure it out for my ownself.
I want nap time back, like in kindergarten. I want to eat a cookie and drink a chocolate milk and then lie on a mat in a darkened room and have 30 minutes of quiet time while my teacher contemplates her impending nervous breakdown or next career move (to an easier job like CIA agent). I want to lie there in a quiet room and just listen to myself breathe. Can we have nap time again?
I know I can actually do this myself. I know that I can sit quietly in a chair and meditate. I know that I can take a few minutes to do a progressive relaxation. But honestly, who the heck remembers to do that? Not me! What about you readers out there–do you have any advice? Or can you meet me every day about 2:00 PM with a carton of chocolate milk, a cookie and a blankie and tell me to lie down on my mat for an hour? Please? Thanks!