Eating to stay full could be a challenge in the diet era that I grew up in. I well remember years of my life growing up in a home where I was constantly on a diet. My mother believed that 1000 calories per day was the magic number for weight loss, although I was 5’6″ tall in the 8th grade. I had the body of an adult with a little muscle to boot. There was no way that 1000 calories was enough food for me to be anything except miserable.
While my mother cooked all of our meals and they were healthy food, sometimes they were calorie dense. I typically had 250 calories for breakfast, 250 for lunch and 500 for supper. A typical meal in our home was meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green peas and cornbread or rolls. 500 calories did not get me a very full plate of that. By supper time I was ravenous due to low calorie intake during the day and 500 calories was just enough to tease me, especially when those 500 calories were made up of heavy Southern food. Between too few calories and the wrong food choices, my diets didn’t last long enough to make me skinny. Extreme hunger gave way to “cheating” on my diet and when my mom found out, she refused to help me any more. This cycle repeated itself until losing weight seemed like a torture chamber.
Signs of The Times
Have you ever noticed how the standard of beauty is continually changing? When I was under the age of about 10, curvaceous women were considered desirable. That seemed easy enough for young girls, as long as we managed to develop breasts, and most of us did. We had gotten to this very impressionable, critical time of our young lives thinking that was about all there was to being good-looking and then, everything changed. Eating to stay full was not a part of our lives.
Suddenly gaunt, bony, heroin-chic models were everywhere with their cheeks pulled in and their flat chests brazenly displayed in see-through, braless tops. Those of us who were approaching puberty with great anticipation of what was about to happen in our bodies, were suddenly taken aback as curves started showing up. As a generation, we starved ourselves and plunged into depression as sharp angles gave way to feminine softness. There was no way to avoid pain much less stay full. We were doomed to be fat. It became the norm to avoid eating altogether. We would never eat to stay full, only to ease the pain of the constant hunger that we all lived with every day. As soon as we felt like we could stand it another minute, we stopped eating. None of us learned how to eat healthy. We only learned that food was our sworn enemy.
After being mercilessly tortured by society for years and falling prey to every fad diet that came down the track, a new culture began to emerge. Skipping right over the self-lovely, fat-acceptance trend, a group of women emerged that wanted to be the best that we can be. We chose to conform neither to the ever-changing trends of media and fashion OR to the feminist/self-lovely trend of ignoring fitness. As we found our equilibrium and came into a state of balance, we discovered that we can be curvy and athletic without being fat, unhealthy or ashamed of wanting to look good. Eating to stay full became a necessity.
While different cultures do have different ideas about what is attractive, there is nothing wrong with wanting a fit, healthy body at a body fat percentage that is pleasing to the eye. You can be whoever you want to be but for a huge number of proactive women, we stand united in the thought that it’s not only okay to strive to control our weight, but that it’s a good thing. The new body image that has emerged is a fit woman with adequate muscle for strength and self-reliance and low enough body fat percentage to wear anything we want to wear, (or not!) with ultimate confidence.
It’s a common misconception that great bodies are made in the gym. While I am a fitness enthusiast, all of the strength training or cardio in the world will not give you a great shape if you eat too much. There is a skill to eating enough to stay full but keeping your calorie count low enough to have a good body fat percentage. It’s simply exactly what we teach, fill up on good, whole healthy foods and avoid added sugars and most processed foods most of the time. Learn to budget your calories like you budget money. Make them go as far as you can and you will stay satisfied and have the energy and stamina to get through your workouts.
Eating to Stay Full Is All In Your Choices
The top picture is about 330 calories of muscle building protein and a bit of complex carbs in the green beans while the THREE servings of French Toast with butter AND regular pancake syrup are about 800-900 calories and tons of simple carbohydrates from all that white bread. Do I really have to elaborate? As we always tell you, weight management is about calories in-calories out. That French Toast breakfast will also leave you ravenous in a short period of time as those simple carbs break down into sugar and demand an insulin dump. I didn’t even count the orange juice, That’s another 100 or so calories of fruit sugar. This meal will not help you to stay full.
The grilled chicken salad pictured above is approximately 300 calories of great, lean protein and complex carbs that will fuel a workout. The burger as big as your head, pictured here with the washtub of fries is every bit of 1000 calories. Add in the ever-present milkshake and you just ate your calories for the day. This is a no-brainer. There’s nothing wrong with a good, 4-6 ounce burger patty on a whole grain bun with condiments that are weighed and measured. As is usually the case at fast food joints, this one here is just over-the-top. If you want a burger, have it, at home where YOU control the weight of every single ingredient. Serve it up on a whole grain bun and enjoy. You can even have French fries IN MODERATION. Slice them about the size of a pencil, ONE medium potato per person and simmer them in about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil per person. Drain them well, measure your oil and count the calories of how much your fries absorbed. You DON’T NEED a quart of oil to make fries. A home-made burger meal like this is delicious and will help you stay full for hours.
The luscious steak dinner pictured above will cost you about 500 calories and supply large amounts of protein and trace minerals to build muscle and strength. Nothing helps you stay full like a steak dinner! If you eat at a buffet, the sky is the limit. While you may be able to be conservative at a buffet and make wise choices, the odds are against you. If you choose the buffet, you are intending to overeat. Order from the menu or go somewhere else altogether. Remember, YOU are in control of your life. Don’t leave these critical decisions to anyone else.
Your Most Important Body Part to Stay Full
We often refuse to use the tool that will make more difference in our lives than any other. We all have one. Agreeably, some are in better shape than others but if you’ve gotten this far in this article, yours is working pretty good. It’s your brain. THINK about what you are putting in your mouth. Download My Fitness Pal, or some other calorie counting app, and log your food. If you don’t want to do that then for God’s sake, write it down. We have a calorie/macronutrient chart that you can access here with the calories listed for many foods. You can also look up the calorie content of any food online simply by typing in “calories (name of food)”.
Becoming conscientious of what you eat will take practice but it’s the most important thing that you can do to manage your weight and get the body that you want. Start logging your food today and never quit. Let it be as much a part of eating as opening your mouth. In no time at all you will see a difference. I promise.