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Old 06-21-2009, 11:15 PM   #1
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Hello!

I would like some opinions on the cues that you use to eat, both healthful and unhealthy. I am familiar with "H.A.L.T. Don't eat when you are hungry, angry, lonely, tired". But I want a way to determine what is hunger, what is fatigue, what is tiredness, and what is sleepiness. I find myself trying to eat in response to low energy and am starting to realize I am not putting the right fuel in my body at the right time.

For example, at night, I often reach for ice cream when I am actually thirsty and ice water satisfies me fine.

So, do you each eat when you have a growling stomach; when you feel "faint" from low blood sugar; when it is meal time, regardless of hunger? Is fatigue/low energy/tiredness an appropriate cue to eat? I know that at the end of the day it is a cue to sleep. But what about the afternoon slump, when even a walk across campus hasn't helped to energize you?

Thank you.
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Old 06-22-2009, 12:02 AM   #2
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I have a problem with skipping meals if I'm not feeling hungry, which isn't a good thing, so I do strive to eat 3 meals a day. Sometimes I'm hungry for them, sometimes I'm not, but I know if I don't I'm setting myself up for failure later in the day.

I do try to listen to cues like a grumbly stomach and my grouchiness (I get irritable when I'm hungry - I don't know if that's because of dropping blood sugar but I knows it's a sure sign it's time for me to grab something). Aside from a small snack in the afternoon and the occasional after dinner treat, I try not to eat outside of that.
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Old 06-22-2009, 12:04 AM   #3
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First, Welcome!

Hmmm. No particular food at any particular time is necessarily going to help, I don't think. It's best if you plan to eat with prevention in mind!

For feelings of fullness try food with lots of volume and few calories.

If you want to feel satisfied for a long time after your meal try 1) eating protein and/or including a healthy fat with your meal. (like frying an egg in a monounsaturated fat like olive or canola oil)

Carbs with a low GI also keep you feeling full longer.

Combine all of the above and you get a breakfast of oatmeal (steel cut, not instant!) with a few nuts and 1 cup of strawberries.

For lunch, a flax wrap with humous (fat healthy spread) 2oz of turkey or chicken and lots of veggies. (I like spinach as one cup = a ridculously low number of calories and is very filling)

And so on and so forth.

If you start eating for reasons of fatigue then you're simply not getting enough rest--and if you don't get enough sleep, you will gain weight.

And I use water for everything. If I'm really hungry--often a water will help. If it's late afternoon, sometimes I'll have a diet coke to get me through dinner prep. (Some people don't like diet soft drinks though--it's a personal thing).

Oh and I eat all day long, it seems. No more than 3 hours go by without me eating something. (I'm at home during the day, so it's easy to do this and make wise choices.) I even save something for bed-time.

Excellent question.
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:47 AM   #4
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You know what? I lack those cues. I also lack the judgement to make good choices in those times.

So I eat 5 times a day. Breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. I leave no more than three hours between meals and I eat whether I feel famished or not. I NEVER feel hungry. If I did... it would spell bad times for me.
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:19 AM   #5
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I'm another one who lacks those cues. Just reading about them is making me very uncomfortable. I don't allow myself to get hungry or unenergized.

For me calorie counting is what keeps me on track. Having a set limit for the day, spread out over the course of the day. I AVOID getting hungry - at all costs - it's a feeling that I DESPISE and sets me up for failure - as I would make poor choices.

I rely on the built in portion control, set limits and accountability of calorie counting. Coupled with eating VERY nutritious, satiating, voluminous (& delicious) foods which I eat every 2 hours or so according to a pretty much set "schedule".
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:04 AM   #6
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When I first started, I wouldn't eat when I wasn't hungry. However, I soon realized with my exercise routine, I simply could not do that and be successful. Like other's have mentioned, I started eating on a schedule five times a day, which translates to every three hours. So I eat per schedule, every three hours, every day. Now, my body is used to eating smaller, more frequent meals and expects that fuel every three hours and I'm obliged to give it the right fuel, in the most effective combinations and for me it works flawlessly. I'm never hungry and have plenty of the right fuels to keep up with my energy expenditures throughout the days.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:41 AM   #7
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I just wanted to add that H.A.L.T. isn't about "don't eat." It makes no sense not to eat when you are hungry.

H.A.L.T. is a way of assessing your emotional state, and it's for those who sometimes mistake hungry-angry-lonely-tired for other things. Are you really miserable with your bodyfriend, or are you just tired and hungry? Do you really have to eat or drink or smoke something right this minute, or are you just lonely and need to call a friend?

In response to the OP's question, after years of doing this I can tell the difference between feeling hungry and feeling bored, agitated, or just munchie. I usually drink water first to see if that's it--because I'm someone who doesn't feel thirsty. I have to have a schedule for water!

Mostly I eat on a schedule. I eat something every 2 to 3 hours. I have three meals and two or three snacks. Often if I am hungry (truly hungry) it's because I'm not eating enough, so I have to make sure I'm not trying to restrict too much.

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Old 06-22-2009, 08:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayEll View Post

H.A.L.T. is a way of assessing your emotional state, and it's for those who sometimes mistake hungry-angry-lonely-tired for other things. Are you really miserable with your bodyfriend, or are you just tired and hungry? Do you really have to eat or drink or smoke something right this minute, or are you just lonely and need to call a friend?
You see, for me, in the past, assessing my emotional state wouldn't have made much of a difference - make that - no difference at all. I knew all along that I wasn't HUNGRY. I knew darn well that I was bored, lonely, frustrated, angry, annoyed, peeved, excited, emotional or what have you. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it - and I ate nevertheless. Knowing that I wasn't truly hungry was not enough to put the brakes on my overeating. It wasn't until I set up some boundaries for myself, some strict rules and food laws that I could abide to, that I was able to stop eating due to these non-hunger issues. I guess what I'm trying to say, very poorly, is that ASSESSING the reasons for my overeating, KNOWING why I overeating, was not enough to make me STOP overeating. Sometimes, it still isn't. That's where my food laws, boundaries, yada, yada, yada comes into play. Which have become my new good eating habits that are now automatic and second nature to me.
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfmama View Post
You know what? I lack those cues. I also lack the judgement to make good choices in those times.

So I eat 5 times a day. Breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. I leave no more than three hours between meals and I eat whether I feel famished or not. I NEVER feel hungry. If I did... it would spell bad times for me.

If I go too long without food and start getting hungry I start to get the shakes and get very very grouchy. And at that point I don't care what it is, I'll just shove it in my mouth. It most often happens when I am OUT somewhere, because if I were at home I could find something reasonable.

Another tip, for when you are eating a meal to tell if you are full -- when you've been eating your meal and then sorta "pause" and sigh. It's at that point I need to quit eating.
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:48 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by FutureFitChick View Post
Hello!

For example, at night, I often reach for ice cream when I am actually thirsty and ice water satisfies me fine.
I am the queen of notes to me, so could you write yourself a little not on the ice cream container, something like "Ice water first." If that satisfies you, great. If not then you can see if it fits in your calories for the day, etc.
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:53 AM   #11
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I eat with prevention in mind as well. Wake up - eat. Lunch break at work - eat. Home, do a few chores, start dinner...about 7:30 - eat. If I need something in between I'll have an apple or a handful of plain almonds (those are one nut that i don't overindulge in). I like to eat dinner late so that I have time to make something nice, and by the time i'm done it's not a hardship to NOT snack at night. Sometimes I'm not super hungry, but I eat because I don't want to be starving later. The BEST thing is when I'm not hungry at lunch, so I only eat 1/2 of it, but then I'm hungry late afternoon and I can finish it -- feels like cheating! hehhehe
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:05 AM   #12
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Hmm I know in AA HALT is that you never let yourself get too hungry etc. So I would say that it's not a matter of not eating when you're hungry but not putting off eating until you're starving.
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FutureFitChick View Post
Hello!

I would like some opinions on the cues that you use to eat, both healthful and unhealthy. I am familiar with "H.A.L.T. Don't eat when you are hungry, angry, lonely, tired". But I want a way to determine what is hunger, what is fatigue, what is tiredness, and what is sleepiness. I find myself trying to eat in response to low energy and am starting to realize I am not putting the right fuel in my body at the right time.

For example, at night, I often reach for ice cream when I am actually thirsty and ice water satisfies me fine.

So, do you each eat when you have a growling stomach; when you feel "faint" from low blood sugar; when it is meal time, regardless of hunger? Is fatigue/low energy/tiredness an appropriate cue to eat? I know that at the end of the day it is a cue to sleep. But what about the afternoon slump, when even a walk across campus hasn't helped to energize you?

Thank you.
In theory, I eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full. I don't wait until I'm starving, but I don't mind some actual hunger. Stopping when I'm full requires eating slowly and mindfully and well (good food) - otherwise the signals are messed up.

I've never personally found any great correlation with hunger and feeling faint or tired, or with reversing (or preventing) those feelings by eating.

In reality, I'm still learning. That can take a while. I don't think there's any way to explain it black-and-white for someone else, because we all feel things differently, and we all have different baggage.

In reality, I sometimes eat before I'm very hungry, or eat a little more (or less) than I need, because of circumstances. I mean, life is like that. I can't wrap my employer or everyone else in my life around my tummy signals. But I avoid extremes.

But I find it very rewarding to develop this mindful relationship with food and my body and its signals, and being able to work with it instead of feeling like I have to regulate and control it. But this requires, as a foundation, eating very healthy food. I don't think it would work at all (at least for me) with the Standard American Diet. It's not at all about eating whatever you want. It's actually quite challenging, more really (for me) than calorie counting. But also more rewarding.

But if it's not working for you, do what works.
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Old 06-23-2009, 03:33 AM   #14
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I don't have cues either, so stick to calorie counting and 3 meals plus 1-2 snacks a day. Not only does it keep me losing, it is gradually helping me to learn a bit about cues but it also has taken the 'treat' element out of food. I don't mean I don't enjoy my food, boy, I certainly do!, but food mostly has its proper place for me now, i.e. fuel, not antidote to life.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:08 AM   #15
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I don't have cues either, so stick to calorie counting and 3 meals plus 1-2 snacks a day. Not only does it keep me losing, it is gradually helping me to learn a bit about cues but it also has taken the 'treat' element out of food. I don't mean I don't enjoy my food, boy, I certainly do!, but food mostly has its proper place for me now, i.e. fuel, not antidote to life.
Thank you to everyone for the input. I was surprised how many of you said that you don't rely on hunger to tell you when to eat. It seems counterintuitive. But, your success is evidence that preventative, healthy eating is important. I also really appreciated what Ailidh said regarding taking the "'treat' element out of food". This is a really big issue for me and I never really thought of eating preventatively to handle this. I just need to keep in mind that when I am feeling in need of self-care or deserving of a reward that I do deserve it, but food won't serve it!

Thanks!
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