Demand Feeding in Real Life

My last post, which contained many references to Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies, actually created a craving for them. So on the way home from work Friday, I stopped at the grocery store and got sushi (supermarket sushi isn’t the best sushi ever, obviously, but it’s fresh and tasty and convenient), along with a quart of sherbet and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Vermonty Python (it’s been in the mid-90s here all week, and ice cream just sounded SO good), and 2 boxes of Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies.

It’s Sunday afternoon, and the oatmeal cream pies are GONE. Both boxes. All 24 pies. And…I feel a little sick (physically, that is; as in nauseated). And annoyed with myself — NOT because I ate them all, but because it takes eating enough to make myself nauseated to get it through my brain that maybe, just *maybe*, snarfing them all down isn’t what I want. I don’t *like* feeling nauseated and sort of sugar-hungover.

My inner 10-year-old wanted to know she could have all the oatmeal cream pies. So she did. Unfortunately, my physical 36-year-old is paying the consequences.

It’s like I have to *prove* to my inner 10-year-old, or my stomach, or something, that (1) there’s always more food, (2) I can have whatever I want, and as much of it as I want, and (3) nothing bad will happen if I *do* have 2 boxes of oatmeal cream pies (other than the nausea).

But then again — and it’s an extreme way to learn, I grant you that — if it takes making myself nauseated to realize that I can have snacky cakes whenever I want, and I don’t have to eat them all just in case they get taken away, then I can live with the nausea.

The 2 cartons of ice cream? Untouched. (By my lips, that is; the boyfriend dug into the Ben & Jerry’s with true glee. One of the many reasons I love him so.)

And today I’m eating scrambled eggs over cooked bulgur, and it tastes fantastic. I don’t even want anything sugary.

I’d like to hit a balance in my eating and in what I’m hungry for, although I know it takes time. Possibly a lot of time. And I’m okay with that. I just hope it happens before I cause the stock prices of Little Debbie Inc. to shoot through the roof.

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6 Responses to Demand Feeding in Real Life

  1. secretly says:

    For what it’s worth – possibly nothing :) – I think you’re pretty badass for having the guts to do this. I’m sorry you made yourself sick on the Little Debbies and I hate that experimenting with demand feeding ended up feeling a bit like punishment ’cause that kinda sucks, but I think it was a good start. I admire it.

    That said, I can’t believe you didn’t eat the Vermonty Python. I can’t eat gluten, but I still totally read Ben and Jerry’s ice cream descriptions and… wow. Guess I’ll stick to water ice. :)

  2. Teppy says:

    I hate that experimenting with demand feeding ended up feeling a bit like punishment

    Actually, it didn’t feel like punishment; it felt like a big indulgent treat. The nausea afterward (which, fortunately, subsided pretty quickly) didn’t feel like a punishment, either; it felt more like enlightenment. No, seriously. Not in a zen/Buddhist/Siddhartha way, but garden-variety enlightenment, like, “Oh, *right* — that’s why snarfing down large quantities of snacky cakes is generally not recommended. I get it!”

    An odd form of enlightenment, I admit, but enlightenment nonetheless.

    And trust me — I’ll get around to the Vermonty Python, because it’s supposed to stay in the mid-90s all this week, too!

  3. KateHarding says:

    I think this is exactly the kind of experience you need to have on the way to a healthy relationship with food. And I think, like you said, it takes time. That might be the hardest part — realizing that, just as dieting toward a goal weight takes ages, learning how to eat without nausea or guilt is a looooong process beyond the point where you decide to start trying.

    I went out for dinner at a pub with my bf and a friend on Saturday night, and we decided to split a bunch of appetizers as our meal. There was a lot of hemming and hawing about which ones to pick, until I said, “Look, let’s order everything that sounds good. We don’t have to finish it, and no one will go to hell.”

    We got 4 appetizers for the 3 of us. One of those was a plate of fries. The thing we didn’t know was, two others came with fries. (Since when do appetizers have side dishes?) This was after my blog post in response to yours, where I mentioned trying to eat every fry in the world, so we were all pretty amused.

    We all ate our fill of fries, and there were a ton left over. And I could really see the psychological difference between having a limited portion of fries and feeling like I needed to eat them ALL, and having every fry in the world available, so I only needed to eat until I was full. When I looked at the mountain of fries left over, I had no interest in it, because I was full. But if there had been, say 10 fries left over? I would have devoured them. And been sick. Because… OMG, THERE ARE STILL SOME FRIES!

    It’s a long process. But I definitely think it’s the right one.

  4. Teppy says:

    We got 4 appetizers for the 3 of us. One of those was a plate of fries. The thing we didn’t know was, two others came with fries.

    ::snerk:: It’s like the universe read your post about eating all the fries in the world, and decided to bestow them upon you. (Plus, yeah — I’ve never heard of appetizers having side dishes. But I like the idea….)

    But if there had been, say 10 fries left over? I would have devoured them. And been sick. Because… OMG, THERE ARE STILL SOME FRIES!

    One of my college roommates frequently would get a candy bar and then eat ONLY HALF — not because she was trying to diet or because she was trying to exercise self-restraint, but because she truly didn’t want the rest of the Snickers at that time.

    I still can’t quite grasp that mindset. I mean — it’s chocolate! Whether or not you WANT it doesn’t matter; you eat it anyway! Like the 10 fries.

    It’s a long process. But I definitely think it’s the right one.

    I do, too. I’m too damned old to let food make me crazy any more, and that’s all that weight-loss-focused diets do. Like, “Holy crap, I just ate a plate of fries — now I can only eat lettuce and water for the rest of the day!” Or, “I want fries — how many am I ‘allowed’ to eat and still stay within the plan?”

    It’s crazy-making. (Yeah, I know I’m preaching to the choir, but it still feels good to say it after so many years of agreeing that self-denial was the One True Way.)

  5. Meowser says:

    I think most people who try the “demand feeding” approach after having been restrained eaters before wind up going through something like what you did, Teppy. The only reason that didn’t happen to me is because my digestive system is tetchy enough that I had already learned to evaluate what I was going to eat for how well my stomach would be able to handle it without giving it back. That’s not because I’m some kind of paragon of virtue, it’s because I hate throwing up worse than anything. So at worst, I ate enough to give myself some pretty serious gas, which was unpleasant enough.

    I get annoyed by the binge-sized portions in restaurants, too. That’s because I hate wasting money almost as much as I hate throwing up. Would it kill them to offer different sizes of the same item, so that people who want a little can have a little and people who want a lot can have a lot?

  6. goodwithcheese says:

    I think that’s it exactly, Teppy, you *do* have to prove to yourself that you can have every single oatmeal creme pie in the world. Make sure you go buy more. Sure, you may not want to even touch another one for 6 months, but bringing them home again, even after eating 2 boxes in one weekend, underscores the message. You *can* eat whatever you want and there’s no guilt or restricting or shame that has to follow it.
    I’m glad you feel good about the whole experience–it’s scary as heck, but completely worth it. Keep it up!

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