Why is it that on some days hunger can make me feel focused, while on other days it can make me feel stressed and out of control?
I think it has to do with whether hunger is part of my “plan” for the day. On days when I purposefully want to eat light, I tend to focus on something I’m looking forward to. Yesterday I wanted to hold myself to 1,200 calories, culminating in a big bag of Buffalo cheese-flavored Combos. That’s nearly 800 crappy calories in one sitting, but the idea of “earning” such a decadent dinner – after yet another set of running hills in the afternoon heat – kept me focused all day.
Not eating on a day like that, where I’ve got a plan (even if it’s a bad one) makes me feel light, lean and unencumbered by distractions.
The problem is the days when I don’t have an eating plan. Once upon a time I preferred it that way. I liked the flexibility of being able to eat whatever sounded good in the moment, so long as I was recording my Weight Watchers points and cutting myself off when I got to my limit.
But now such free-form eating tends to stress me out. If I don’t have a plan — if I have to consider every plate of cookies somebody brings into the office, every food opportunity that presents itself, and decide whether or not to partake — then I tend to feel “hungry” all the time, even when I’m not.