DAY 319: Protein shake-up

I’ve noticed something strange this week:  I’m hungry.

Ever since I got myself to within a limited daily range of calories, I have not felt hungry except when it’s time to eat.  My body is accustomed to the 7-7:30 breakfast, 10-10:30 AM snack, 1-1:30 lunch, 4-4:30 PM snack, and 7-7:30 dinner schedule I’ve been on since late March, and it’s been a dream.  I’m programmed now, both mentally and physically, to expect food at these 3-hour intervals, so I don’t fall for trick cravings or get hungry at unusual times.  I know when the food is coming, I get hungry for it right before my meals, and I feel satisfied afterwards.

Annoyingly, this week has been different.  I’m voracious when I wake up, which is really strange.  Mornings are typically the time when I’m hungriest, but this week, I’ve been waking up with the appetite of someone who hasn’t eaten in days.  I feel OK after breakfast until AM snack, but then the intervening time up until lunch is a real slog.  Normally, I’m impervious to the smells of other people’s lunches in my office if they eat earlier than I do (which is most of them), but I’m painfully aware this week of how jealous I am that they’re eating and I’m not as soon as I pick up the scent of someone else’s food.  I finally eat lunch, and I’m not satisfied with it, so it’s misery until PM snack, which is also not satisfying.  I leave the office, internally whine my way through a workout at the gym, and go home all crabby because I’m hungry, sweaty, and tired, with no expectation of being satiated by the dinner I’m about to consume.  That prophecy fulfills itself and I end up eating another snack, which also fails to make me feel full, so then I’m mad at myself for taking in extra calories that did nothing for me in the end.  It pretty much sucks.

Last night, with my mind and stomach both churning as I was lying in bed hoping to fall asleep, it hit me:  I didn’t allot for enough protein in my meal planning this week.

Wow.  Rookie mistake.

I think I got a little too cocky with my planning game ever since I stopped using My Fitness Pal religiously to calculate my food for the week.  In my defense, it’s been working, but things have changed a bit since I’ve been on my souping kick.  Until this week, I was getting enough fish or chicken from my lunches to account for what is often an absence of meat in my soupy dinners in terms of my protein intake, but this week, I missed the mark.  My lunches are a VERY small portion of beef and broccoli (in which the ratio of broccoli to beef is very much higher on the broccoli side) with whole grain rice, and my dinners are a smaller-than-usual portion of puréed bean and parsnip soup with a side of Brussels sprouts (surprise, surprise).  My cooking this week yielded enough for maybe 4 real servings, but I portioned out 6 to last me through the week.  It isn’t enough in that respect alone, not to mention the very limited amount of protein I’m getting from it because of my poor macro planning.  Result:  hunger.

Soooooo, I’ve already concocted a much more robust meal plan for next week, which WILL give me the appropriate amount of protein and will hopefully get my hunger back in check.  I’m looking forward to my honey-curried chicken salads and turkey meatball soup with farro and kale.

This weight-loss scene, man.  So much to learn.

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