When I was in my twenties, I was a big fan of ‘cheat days’. Every Sunday my roommate and I would order twin large ‘meat lovers’ pizzas, and eat them while watching hockey.
We’d follow this up with ice cream and those amazing Homestyle two-bite brownies that come in that brown paper package, all while drinking two chocolate Myoplex protein shakes.
At first, eating this amount of food was VERY difficult, but after a couple of months we became used to it, and eventually we added in a foot long subway sandwich with extra meat as our ‘premeal’.
Truthfully, this was a lot of food for me to eat in one day. I know there are true big eaters out there who probably scoff at the fact that we SPLIT Twin large pizzas, (since they could probably eat both on their own) but that’s the point I’m getting at…
I am NOT a big eater – not by any means. But I learned to eat more. I did this on purpose, following the foolish belief that it would help me build muscle (it didn’t), but even though I didn’t gain 50 pounds of rock solid muscle, the lesson I learned was probably even more valuable – the amount of food you are comfortable eating is something that is learned.
Back in those days there is no way I would have ever entertained the idea of fasting for 24 hours. I could only imagine how hungry and miserable and ‘hangry’ I would be. Heck, I used bring a protein bar to the movies to eat with my M&Ms because I couldn’t possibly go more than 3 hours without protein.
But just as you can learn to be comfortable eating MORE food, you can learn to be comfortable eating LESS – and that’s exactly what I did.
Portion sizes are out of control in North America, and if you simply go along with the ever-growing food sizes you will become accustomed to those new sizes and new calorie intakes without ever really noticing the change.
Any when you get used to eating more ALL of you gets used to eating more. Your metabolism, your hormones, your gut bacteria, even your taste receptors. Everything changes to a new normal to accommodate the fact that you are now eating more food.
…And this ‘new normal’ is making the world obese, so I suggest you fight it.
The bottom line is a large part of keeping your food intake at an appropriate level is to learn to eat a little less, and to stick with it until a ‘little less’ becomes your new normal.
Fasting can help with this, as little as 24 hours can help break the habit of overeating and allow a bit of a reset as you start to break the habit of eating too much.
And remember, nothing in life is permanent – if you go on vacation for a week and eat a lot during your vacation it will be very difficult to get back into the habit of eating less… difficult, but not impossible.
…You CAN do it, it takes will power and discipline at the beginning, but then it becomes a habit, and once it’s a habit, eating a little less becomes a lot easier.