Eat When Hungry. Stop When Full. OR Do Whatever You Want Because You’re An Adult

A bipolar, body-positive bread enthusiast with a fucked-up ankle and a history of disordered eating chronicles health, weight-loss, and gardening. No diets allowed. 

CN: Dieting, calories

Costco sells a six-pack of muffins for $6.99. They are buy-one-get-one-free so that’s actually $6.99 for a dozen muffins, which, if you’ve seen Costco muffins, you know is a really good deal. A Costco muffin is basically four muffins, so math means 48 muffins for $7.

The problem with one muffin that is the size of four muffins is, when it’s in ONE muffin paper, it is ONE muffin, regardless of the actual muffin mass.

So, in this case, “Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full,” is lost in the middle of one very delicious apple crumb muffin — that is actually four muffins, that is actually just a big hunk of cake. I like to cut the muffin into four pieces and walk away with a quarter. This gives me full control of my muffin-eating practice and the option of stopping with the quarter, going back for another quarter (or two), or as is usually the case, eating the entire muffin, just in four parts.

I decided that I’d look up the nutritional value of a Costco apple crumb muffin. I haven’t looked up the “nutritional value” (um, calories) of anything in a long time (at least three months, which is a long time for someone in eating disorder recovery), because one Google session leads to another and another and before you know it, I know the “nutritional value” (um, calories) of everything in the house.

But I looked this one up because since my Zoloft was increased and I was in therapy every week, and then every two weeks, for like a year, I don’t obsess so much over the number thing anymore. Calories don’t own me.

There is basically nothing of nutritional “value” in a Costco apple crumb muffin.

Here it is:

I wasn’t going to share this because numbers are a big trigger for folks, but I think it’s important to face our demons, and also facts.

The fact, in this case, is that one Costco apple crumb muffin is 690 calories. Of those calories, 342 are derived from fat, which makes this particular muffin 49% fat. So, half. There are three grams of fiber, which might as well be zero as far as fiber goes, 48 grams of sugar (which explains a lot), and literally zero vitamins.

All in all, from a nutritional standpoint, eating this muffin is akin to eating four tablespoons of butter (salted) and a half cup of sugar. So, not very good in the sense of what it provides your body.

Regardless, I ate two of them yesterday, and one today.

Two things happened:

1. I loved every minute of the eating part.

2. When the eating part was over, I felt like complete garbage.

I didn’t feel like garbage because I ate 2070 calories of apple crumb muffin. I felt like garbage because I ate 2070 calories of sugar and carbs. The fat part probably didn’t make me feel like garbage because your body doesn’t freak out when you put fat in it like it freaks out when you put sugar in it. Which is to say, when you dump 48 grams of sugar into your bloodstream, your body tries really hard to get your body back into homeostasis (i.e., not skyrocketing blood sugar) by dumping insulin to try to manage all of that sugar. Then boom, crash because the insulin fixes your sugar overdose but now you don't have enough sugar. And then you're starving which sends you back for a muffin which you may or may not eat. And what happens to you? You feel like shit.

But dammit that was a good muffin.

I could have opted to eat the quarter, I could have eaten none, I could have not even put the muffins in the cart, but what I did was eat three of them. I have a headache. I fell asleep sitting up. I’m in a terrible mood all around and this is probably substandard writing.

But those muffins are really good.

That’s what my mouth said. What my brain said was another story.

It’s not about what you’re putting in your body in terms of fat and calories. We’re all hung up on “Oh, I can’t eat that because _____ will happen.” Where _______ usually means weight gain. That’s not acknowledging what the food DOES for us. It just criminalizes the muffin, which only makes us want it more.

The muffin isn’t your enemy, you are.

Had I sought out this information about the muffin before I ate it, I would have recognized the first sugar crash and post-consumption garbage feeling. But I didn’t. And I didn’t after the second muffin either. It was only after the third muffin when I sat down to write an article about why you should go ahead and eat the muffin, that I realized that the muffin made me FEEL LIKE SHIT.


I mean I feel like absolute trash. And in truth I have found that most of what makes me feel like trash is the stuff I would have eaten in excess. Ten Oreos do not feel good. In your mouth? Yes. In your pancreas? Not so much.

Food is social and delicious, and many of our traditions and celebrations are around food. But food is really mostly fuel. It's the gas that keeps your body doing all the body things that need to be done everyday, like walking and breathing. And if you eat food that is shitty fuel, you’ll feel shitty.

I’ve gotten pretty good at intuitive eating. Listening to hunger cues. Honoring my body’s wish for things like chocolate or pie and then listening for a signal that my body was satisfied with however much chocolate or pie I ate. But that all went out the window when I opened this package of muffins.

It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten anything comparable to a volleyball-muffin, so I must have forgotten how shitty a pound of sugar and carbs makes me feel.

The answer is: like garbage. 

All of that aside, this is about the only really positive thing about adulthood, you can do what you want. And yes, you can eat what you want. You don’t owe any person any explanation about why you’re eating a Costco head-sized muffin or a thousand baby carrots. You only owe that to yourself. But if you listen, you might find that the muffin holds a lot less power than you thought. 

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Drink your water, boos.


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