I have been working my ass of for the last 3 weeks doing Shaun T's Insanity Max:30. It's a fantastic HIIT workout and is producing some amazing results (call me, I'll hook you up). But this go 'round, I decided to also work through the eating plan. As an athelete who has largely eaten whatever I wanted, it has caused me to pause and reflect on being hungry.
This is a fairly simple eating plan. You get 4 portions of vegetables (green), 3 of fruit (purple), 4 of protein (red), 3 of carbs (yellow), 1 healthy fat (blue), 1 seed or nuts (orange), 4 teaspoons of oils or nut butters and of course as much water as you can consume. The trick comes with size of the portions. Each food group (or colour) comes with a container that allows you to quickly measure a portion. It's about as easy as you could hope for, in terms of figuring out how much to eat.
I've learned a few things about my eating habits through this process. First, I don't eat fruit. I have a serving of frozen fruit in my smoothy every morning, but beyond that it is a struggle to get the next 2 in. Second, I eat A LOT of vegetables. The vegetable portion size is about a cup. 4 cups of veggies for me in a day feels like a SERIOUS restriction, but I've acclimatized. Four protein portions is usually plenty...turns out I'm not a huge protein eater. 3 carbs is loads, unless I go out. Eating out without eating a redonculous amount of carbs or fats is a serious challenge. Guess that's why I don't do it very often. Getting sufficient healthy oils can also be a challenge. I find myself adding coconut oil to everything. Oddly, even though I'm theoretically on a "restricted" diet, more often than not, I have food left over in my daily alottment.
What has been the most interesting though, is that I find as I plan my day, the size of the meals is constrained. Rather than 3 big meals, I'm forced to eat smaller meals and have snacks. The consequence of this is that as I reach the next eating period (elevensies anyone) I find I'm hungry. I never used to get particularly hungry. Instead of sitting down to dinner only kinda-hungry, but eating a full meal anyway, every time I go to eat I'm hungry. This is both frustrating and revealing. We probably shouldn't eat unless we're hungry, but we do out of habit. I've upped my output (damn you Shaun T), and re-balanced my input...and overall, I feel I'm healthier for it.
The next time you sit down to eat, ask yourself if you're hungry. If not, think about not eating. I know, radical.