On Satiety

It’s truly fascinating watching an infant eat. Babies know when they’re hungry … but more importantly, they know when they’re full. This makes me even more convinced that satiety is, indeed, an innate concept … yet something many of us lose over time.

If Maya is hungry, she’ll cry, start noshing on her hands, squirm …  and if she has had enough, she’ll purse her lips or put her hands in front of her face or, if she’s nursing, fall asleep at the breast or pull away from me for a break.

Some days she’s hungrier than others … and while she always eats, some days I worry she isn’t getting enough … and then other days she eats more and/or has more than her usual eight feedings.

Me, on the other hand … oy! I’d like to say I’m an intuitive eater, but the truth is, I’m more of an impulsive eater. Granted, it’s within reason, but let’s be honest … if calories and fat grams didn’t matter, I could probably eat and eat and eat with abandon and not stop til I was bored of the taste of whatever it was I was eating!

I like food, and always have. As my dad says, I was “born hungry.” In fact, against my pediatrician’s advice, my parents had to start giving me rice cereal at six weeks to keep up with my growing appetite; formula just wasn’t cutting it! I was a small baby … but a hungry one! And I’ve always had a pretty voracious appetite–for food and life.

So now I’m paying very close attention to Maya’s eating habits. Shea still needs to gain some more weight (though Monday she weighed in at 7 lbs 2 oz, an 11.5 oz gain from last week–hurrah!) — and it’s funny because in spite of her needing to gain, she very much eats what she wants when she wants it — and her body is doing what it’s supposed to do. Whereas I need my body to be losing weight, we need her little body to be gaining weight. It’s pretty fascinating (at least to me).

I have read lots about training ourselves to become the intuitive eaters we were as babies and children, but on the whole, I have not succeeded. I hope to take some physical cues from my daughter as I navigate the next two months before I go back to work — ideally, I’d be at my pre-pregnancy weight then … and then tackle the remaining pounds to get back to my happy/comfortable weight (which is not low or unattainable at all — I just need to put in some effort).

Honestly, I think once I can get back to exercising (I see my OB 1/28), I’ll have more luck in that department … but for now, my goal is just to take each day one day at a time and fill it with Maya, my husband and Rocco. I’m not sure I’ll ever be sated from those three — I can’t get enough! — but I’ll try 😉

How about you? Are you an intuitive or impulsive eater? What have you learned watching small children or babies eat?

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