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Why I Eat When I’m Full, Sydney’s Story

Kim: [00:00:04] Welcome back to the Fitness Simplified Podcast. I’m your host, Kim Schlag. On today’s episode, I speak with a woman by the name of Sydney. Sydney reached out to me on Instagram and she said she wanted to chat about whether intermittent fasting was a good fit for her, specifically so that she could feel full more often. And so that’s what we hopped on the call to talk about and that’s not where we completely ended up. In the end, the conversation was about why she eats when she’s already full. 
Maybe you’ll relate. Let’s go.
Hi, Sydney. 
Sydney: [00:00:52] Hi! How are you? 
Kim: [00:00:54] Good. So glad we could make this call happen. 
Sydney: [00:00:59] Yeah, me too. I listen to your podcast a lot while I’m working, so I’m super excited to be on it. 
Kim: [00:01:04] Oh, well fantastic. So glad you like it. So where do you work Sydney? What kind of work do you do? 
Sydney: [00:01:10] So right now I just do part-time pizza delivery.
I just finished my bachelor’s degree in education, so I’ll start teaching in August. 
Kim: [00:01:20] Nice. That’s exciting! What will you teach? 
Sydney: [00:01:24] Fourth grade. 
Kim: [00:01:25] Such a good year. I love that. So where are you from, Sydney? 
Sydney: [00:01:30] I live in Nevada, in the Reno area. 
Kim: [00:01:34] In Nevada. Okay, got it. And how are you guys doing with the Corona situation? Are you guys totally off of lockdown? Were you ever on it?
Sydney: [00:01:44] We’re kind of in the middle right now. They’re starting to open up restaurants, which is making me a little nervous, but we’re kind of starting to open up, but we’re not quite all the way open up.
Kim: [00:01:56] Got it. Will this affect your teaching next year at all?
Sydney: [00:02:02] I’m not sure. Not so far, but I’m definitely keeping an eye out to see if they make any updates. But so far, the next year is going to be just like normal. 
Kim: [00:02:13] Okay. Were in schools in Nevada cyber-schooling this year? 
Sydney: [00:02:17] Yes, yeah. 
Kim: [00:02:19] Got it. We just got a letter from our superintendent, an email from him yesterday saying that next year they are planning to make the cyber-school option available to whoever wants it.
Sydney: [00:02:32] Oh, that’s interesting. 
Kim: [00:02:33] Yeah. So, they’re planning for the schools to reopen, if possible, but when they do reopen, they’re not going to require anybody to come. So, if they still, for whatever reason, need to, or feel nervous about coming, they can keep cyber-schooling. So that’s interesting. 
Sydney: [00:02:47] That’s super interesting.
Yeah. It makes me wonder what they’ll end up doing here. 
Kim: [00:02:50] Yeah, that really surprised me.
So, Sydney, tell us what your question is. You reached out to me in DMs, we’ve been chatting back and forth a little bit, but this is our first time actually talking. And I know we had talked and I said, I think a lot of people would relate to the things you had said. So, whatever you want to talk about today, the call is yours. 
Sydney: [00:03:13] Okay. So, a tiny bit of backstory that I think a lot of people can relate to. I’m 22 and I started comfort eating when I was about 8 or 9 when I went through something kinda rough. And I’ve basically been comfort eating ever since then — for the past 12 or 13 years. 
And I feel like even now that I’m trying to achieve fat loss, I’m still seeking that overly-full feeling that I have been getting from eating food ever since the age of 8 or 9. And I’m kind of wondering– ’cause I’ve heard a lot about intermittent fasting, and I’m kind of wondering if it would be more beneficial for me to just, accept that that overly-full feeling isn’t compatible with having a healthy weight or if maybe I should try to move around my lifestyle and try out intermittent fasting to try to have that overly-full feeling that I’m always trying to catch, if that makes sense.
Kim: [00:04:15] So tell me more. When you say you’re seeking after this overly-full feeling, kind of describe what that’s like. What does it feel like? 
Sydney: [00:04:23] So the kind of emotional eating I usually do is boredom eating. So, eating while watching TV and stuff like that. And I kind of just like eating until I really can’t anymore.
It’s not a sick feeling at all. I don’t eat until I’m sick, but it’s more of just like I eat until the food doesn’t sound good anymore. 
Kim: [00:04:46] Okay, and when
you’re doing that, how are you feeling? Like, besides physically in your stomach, starting to get sick, but how do you feel, what are you thinking about? How else does that make you feel? 

Sydney: [00:05:01] Honestly, I would say it’s pretty mind-numbing. I don’t think too much because it’s usually while I’m watching a show or scrolling my phone or something like that. 
Kim: [00:05:12] Got it. And do you feel like you’re actually seeking after that mind-numbing? 
Sydney: [00:05:19] Yes, I could see that.
Kim: [00:05:20] Okay. Got it. And how often do you do this? Is this often?
Sydney: [00:05:28] Yeah, it’s pretty often. It’s pretty much on a daily basis. And then even when I am trying to eat at a calorie deficit, it’s almost like I have an impulse to keep eating and it’s like I’m fighting it off every meal, every day.
Kim: [00:05:45] Got it, got it. 
Tell me about your eating the rest of the day. When you eat dinner or breakfast do you eat then until that overly-full feeling as well? 
Sydney: [00:05:57] So lately, now that we’re in quarantine, it’s pretty much been every meal. Usually when I have more of a routine, it’s more of like, I’ll bring a Greek yogurt to work with me and eat it during like the, my first class when I was student teaching. It’s more routine-based, so I don’t have that opportunity and I’ll have different routines with different meals. But now that we’re in quarantine and I live alone, so it’s just kind of, yeah, every meal is kind of wanting that overly fulfilling.
Kim: [00:06:27] Got it. 
And when you say like, the example you gave — you’re at work, you take along your yogurt, you eat it, and you move on. Are you okay with that? Are you kind of like wishing you could keep eating? Do you just not think about it? 
Sydney: [00:06:44] Yeah, when I’m distracted, I’m satisfied with it. But it’s when I think about it, it just keeps like gnawing at me.
Kim: [00:06:51] Got it. 
So, one thing I’ve noticed that I find interesting is that you’ve described it as an overly-full feeling and that you get almost sick. That doesn’t sound pleasurable. 
Sydney: [00:07:05] Yeah. Yeah. It’s definitely habit-based. 
Kim: [00:07:13] And so even though it doesn’t feel super good– look, ’cause we’ve all eaten a little too much and gotten that overly-full feeling, it’s not a great feeling.
And so, the fact that you actually seek after it and you’re like, “I kind of want to figure out how I can keep doing this in my life,” is interesting. 
Any insight on when you were like, “okay, wait, that doesn’t actually feel so good. Why do I want that?” 
Sydney: [00:07:35] Huh. That’s a good point. You know, I think it just gives me something to do when I’m feeling bored or lonely, I guess.
Kim: [00:07:46] Okay. Got it. 
So, tell me, when you’re not studying and you’re not working delivering pizza, what else do you do? What else do you like to do? 
Sydney: [00:08:00] I’ll hang out with friends and that’s pretty much it. I feel like my life has been very consumed with school the past few years, so I’ve kind of dropped a lot of the hobbies that I used to really enjoy.
Kim: [00:08:13] Okay. Got it. What kind of stuff did you use to do? 
Sydney: [00:08:16] I used to really like reading for fun, I used to really like playing soccer, I used to do scrapbooking quite a bit. A few things like that. 
Kim: [00:08:27] And when you were doing those kinds of things, would you find yourself– say like you’re scrapbooking in the evening you’re scrapbooking, would you stop and do the eating until you got overly full?
Sydney: [00:08:41] I don’t think so. No, I don’t remember ever stopping to specifically go and eat or snack or anything like that. 
Kim: [00:08:48] Okay. Interesting. Interesting. 
Because it’s an interesting feeling that you would be seeking for something that doesn’t feel good.
That’s not typically what we do, right? As humans, we’re usually seeking something that feels pretty good, even if we know the thing isn’t good for us, right? 
You know, people who smoke, they know it’s not good for them, but they still like that feeling. So, they do it. Typically, we don’t seek after something that’s kinda like, “eh, this doesn’t make me feel so good, but I want to keep doing that.”
So, something about it must be fulfilling to you. Something about it, you must like it. And one of the things you mentioned is this “mind numbing,” it sounds like you don’t really want to be thinking about things and you don’t have other things going on, and so maybe this helps with that.
Sydney: [00:09:29] Yeah. Yeah, that’s interesting that. That gets me thinking about a lot. That’s very interesting. 
Kim: [00:09:37] So let’s say right now you had something to do in the evening with friends and your friends came over, do you eat this way when they’re there? 
Sydney: [00:09:49] Definitely not to the extreme that I do when I’m alone. We might get junk food or order a pizza or something like that, but it’s for sure different when I’m around friends versus being alone.
Kim: [00:10:08] Okay. Got it. 
And so, the reason it sounds like you brought this up is because you also have a weight loss goal, and you’re trying to decide whether you can meld these two things. One, can you continue to seek after this overly-full feeling? Is that something you want to do? And if so, can you do it in harmony with weight loss?
Is that kind of your question? 
Sydney: [00:10:29] Yeah, it was, but I’m starting to think differently after you phrase things certain ways. It’s just making me think about my habits and stuff like that. 
Kim: [00:10:40] Tell me about that.
Sydney: [00:10:42] After you brought up that it sounds like you don’t actually like that feeling, you kind of like the different effects of eating like that.
Just kind of thinking in my head, why do I do that? And I kind of think it’s just — I really just do it as a time-filler, something to do when friends and boyfriend are busy. I’m maybe procrastinating homework or different types of work or I use it as more of like a time-filler and it’s just been a default for so long. Like I said, since I was 8 or 9, it’s just kind of been a default and maybe if I can replace that default with something else– even if it’s just something like reading, because when I used to read a lot of fiction books for fun, I never used to snack or eat while I would read.
So even if it’s just something simple like that, I feel like that would be better for my health and mind. 
Kim: [00:11:48] Thank you so much for sharing that. This is personal stuff to share, so I so appreciate you being willing to be so open about this and have this conversation, because I got to tell you, nothing you’re saying is surprising me.
This is not out of the ordinary. I talked to people who deal with similar things regularly. You’re definitely not odd woman out with this. 
So, I love what you just said about maybe you could find something else to do instead of doing this. Is TV typically a part of what you’re doing while you’re doing the eating or surfing on your phone?
Sydney: [00:12:23] Yeah. 
Kim: [00:12:24] Gotcha, gotcha. Well I like your suggestion of doing something else instead of using this food and getting full to fill your time. You used the word procrastinating — that sometimes you eat to procrastinate. That has been a huge thing that I historically have done. When I have some muddling in my brain of like, “I really have this project, but I don’t really want to start it and where should I even start?” 
I often, and I’ve noticed this pattern in myself, I will think to myself, “you know, I need a snack” and I’ve had to start catching myself. I’m like, “okay, you don’t need to snack. You need to get organized and push past this friction of, ‘I don’t want to start the dang project.'” It’s a really real thing.
And then the other thing you talked about was the boredom eating. I think those two are very common. 
There’s an author, she’s a nutritionist by the name of Georgie Fear, and she has named both of those things “procrastin-eating” and “eater-tainment.”
They’re so common she named these and they’re really common hurdles. 
So, I love your idea of substituting the eating with the reading. I think that’s a really reasonable one. And it sounds like you really enjoy reading. 
Sydney: [00:13:37] Yeah. Yeah. And for some reason, when I was in the trenches of schoolwork, for some reason in my mind — this is going to make no sense, but if I am procrastinating schoolwork, it didn’t make sense to me to read for some reason, but it would make sense for me to eat and watch a show and procrastinate. 
I don’t know how that works, but it ended up really pulling me away from something that I once loved, which was reading. I can’t even remember the last time I read a book for fun, so now that I’m done with school, I think it would be really nice to get back to that.
Kim: [00:14:17] Absolutely. And you know what? It’s a really good observation you just made, and I think it comes down to the fact that eating feels like a valid thing to do instead of work we know we need to be doing, right? It feels like, “well, I have to eat, like, I’m hungry.” And so, it almost feels like a valid reason when in reality we could just give ourselves permission to be like, “Hey, you know what’s also valid? The fact that I enjoy reading and I could totally give myself 20 minutes to read this book for fun, even if it’s not for my school.” 
Sydney: [00:14:46] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. 
Kim: [00:14:48] But we don’t necessarily go there. Like you said, you hadn’t thought about doing that. And so actually actively giving yourself permission to say like, “you know what, before I do that, I’m going to take this break,” or “after I do an hour of that work, I’m going to take a break and I’m going to read my book for 20 to 30 minutes.” 
And having that sense of pleasure and that break, that mental break can be really useful instead of having to excuse the break you need by filling that 30 minutes with food.
Sydney: [00:15:22] Yeah. I like that. 
I’m definitely going to start doing that today. I like that

Kim: [00:15:29] And it’s something that’s going to feel a little bit strange at first, but talking yourself through it out loud and reminding yourself why you’re doing it can really help. Actually saying like, “I’m going to give myself permission to read right now.”
And the other thing is noticing, are you actually physically hungry and are you not? And when you are, there’s no reason you can’t have food, right? It’s not like you have to stay away from eating. But if you’re not physically hungry, food is not going to fill the hole of “I’m bored and I need something interesting.”
Because food’s just not that interesting. 
Right? Which is why we can keep doing it and doing it until we get sick, because it’s just not really hitting the spot. 
Sydney: [00:16:13] Yeah. I agree. 
Kim: [00:16:18] So talk to me more about your weight loss goal. How has that been going outside of this piece of it?
Sydney: [00:16:26] So I’ve gotten back in a good groove. The quarantine was really bad timing. I was on vacation in the middle of March and I had put on a little bit of vacation weight, which I wasn’t worried about at all because I knew that it would come right back off when I got back into a routine, but they actually shut down my whole state the day before I was supposed to come back. And so, I came back to no routine, no job or anything. So, I had lost 40 pounds and I had put back on 15 from the loss of routine, but I feel like I’ve gotten myself back on routine. 
I make myself get up at 8:00 AM every morning, even though I have nothing to do. I just force myself to do it and it feels much better. And I’m way back on track, back on my healthy habits that I had before the quarantine, so that’s good news. 
Kim: [00:17:24] Well that’s fantastic. I think that sense of, “I still have to get up and actually get ready and moving in my day” can really help.
That’s fantastic that you did that. 
The one other piece you had brought up, and I definitely want to cover it if it’s something you’re interested in, is about the intermittent fasting. Tell me more about your interest in that. 
Sydney: [00:17:48] So I’ve tried it before and didn’t love it, but I was kind of considering it again, just for that overly-full feeling that we had been talking about.
But after this conversation, I think I’m pretty set on not trying it again. I wasn’t a huge fan when I tried it in the first place, but when I sent that question, I was thinking of that overly-full feeling. 
Yeah, I don’t think it’s something that I’d be interested in trying again.
Kim: [00:18:19] Got it. Got it. Because you were thinking maybe that would be a way that you could save up calories, get overly-full in the evening, and still be able to lose weight. Is that kind of what you were thinking? 
Sydney: [00:18:31] Yes, exactly.
Kim: [00:18:32] Got it. But when you did it last time, you didn’t even really enjoy that process.
Sydney: [00:18:37] Yeah. I was just grouchy and hungry in the morning and then even when I did eat at night, I had it in my mind that it was going to be such a huge meal, but it’s still didn’t end up being a whole lot, because at the end of the day I’m still in a calorie deficit. So, it just wasn’t satisfying to me at all.
Kim: [00:18:56] Gotcha. Gotcha. 
Okay. 
I love how you thought through that right here. That was fantastic. 
You know what? Look, there’s nothing wrong with intermittent fasting. It is a tactic that works for some people, that fits in their lifestyle, and some people wake up and they just don’t want to eat. You’re clearly not that person. I’m not that person either. I also like to eat breakfast and so it’s like fitting a square peg in a round hole, right? 
And so, there’s no reason to do it because, as you said, it just comes down to a calorie deficit. And in the end of the day, you’re still gonna be in one if you’re losing weight, whether you’re intermittent fasting or not.
Well we’ll throw that idea right out the window. It doesn’t sound like a good fit for you. 
So, is there anything else I can help you with while we’re here on this call that is on your mind? 
Sydney: [00:19:47] Not that I can think of. 
Kim: [00:19:49] Okay, so Sydney, I would love it if you touch back in with me in a few weeks and let me know how it goes with you spending time in the evenings giving yourself permission to read and enjoy your book and to not just fill your time with food.
Sydney: [00:20:06] Okay. Yeah, that would be awesome. Thank you so much! 
Kim: [00:20:09] You’re welcome. It was so good talking with you. Thanks so much for coming on. 
Sydney: [00:20:13] Thanks! All right, bye. 
Kim: [00:20:15] Bye. Bye.
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