The thing that nobody ever believes when I talk about low-carb high-fat eating is that my appetite really is controlled when I’m eating this way. Sure, I talk a lot about food when I’m blogging, but the blog isn’t everything that I do. Most of the day, I don’t think about food at all. When I do, it’s usually because something in my schedule has triggered the memory that it’s time to eat, not because I’m actually hungry.
It gets interesting when I’m out at a business lunch with a colleague. The other day I had to go to a restaurant for a lunch meeting. I ordered a salad as usual, since often at lunchtime I find myself in restaurants where there’s nothing on the menu low-carb and high-fat other then a salad with the appropriate dressing and fixings. And we started talking. About 45 minutes later, my colleague had to ask me whether I was planning to finish what I had ordered. I looked over and realized that his plate was empty and probably had been for a while. I was sitting there delicately picking at my salad, not even noticing that time had flown by. I had no appetite at all.
It’s not that the salad wasn’t appealing either. It was a delicious spring green salad with chicken, bacon, and ranch. I even had them add a bit of cheese on top, just to improve the protein and fat ratio. I was enjoying it, but I didn’t feel compelled to eat it, even though it was lunch time and I hadn’t eaten much for breakfast. Ultimately, I decided not to finish, and just took the rest back to the office.
Funny thing about salads. Once they have dressing on them, you really can’t keep them overnight. The lettuce wilts and turns into something mushy. I always try this, and it never works. So I’m having to learn to order smaller portions. It’s a bit of a challenge, because I’ve spent my entire life expecting larger portions to be more satisfying. Now, every time I sit down at the table with a huge portion, it looks more like a challenge than a reward.
Eating out in the United States usually means getting a larger portion that I want. I’ve heard people suggest asking the waiter to prepackage half of your meal to go, so that what you are served is an amount that you can eat. That always seems a little bit too orchestrated to me. But it is getting to the point that ordering in restaurants makes me feel uneasy. I know that I’m going to be served more than I can comfortably eat. Fortunately I wasn’t one of those people brought up to eat everything on the plate. But I don’t like wasting food, and old habits die hard.
I do still occasionally find myself craving specific foods, but when I do I recognize that it’s usually an environmental trigger rather than actual hunger. I’m starting to be able to tell the difference now. It doesn’t make the cravings any less compelling, but it does remind me that I need to Focus on what I’m thinking at those times, and not let myself indulge. Lack of actual hunger does make it easier.
I’m curious how other people adjust when stress and other environmental factors trigger their food cravings. I know that if you’re following this low-carb high-fat diet the way I am, you’ve noticed that hunger is no longer the trigger, so how do you handle your emotional appetite?