Thread: Feeling hungry
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Old 03-04-2007, 07:26 AM   #3
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Location: Wausau, WI
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I've been trying to learn to identify true hunger most of my life, but I've had a really hard time of it. Even though I've gone days with out eating (in high school), I'm not sure I can say that I've ever been able to distinguish appetite from hunger. Being obese virtually all of my life (at least after the age of 4), I think my hunger signals have always been crossed. Even though my family didn't have perfect eating habits, I was the only one OBSESSED with food. I was always hungry, often even after eating until my stomache hurt, I still felt like I was STARVING. Even as a young child I remember hiding food, and finding ways to eat without being noticed.

I remember in college, when we studies Prader Wili syndrome (a syndrome causing a host of symptoms including obesity, mental ******ation, and an insatiable appetite - most parents of Prader Wili children actually have to put a lock on the refrigerator and food cabinets) - I remember identifying with these children, and wondering if I too had some "brain defect" that warped my perception of hunger. Distinguishing between mind hunger and body hunger has always been nearly impossible for me.

I read an article recently (it might have been in Prevention, but I'm not sure) that many overweight people have difficulty recognizing hunger, and also are more likely to confuse appetite (desire for food) with true hunger. The article also pointed out that many people have different experiences of hunger. Some may never feel hunger pangs in the stomache, but might instead become irritable, get a headache, or become light-headed.

Even though I've gained some control over food obsessions, I still have difficulty identifying hunger. Often my husband will notice that I've waited too long to eat, before I will. I get very irritable and get a headache. He will notice me getting impatient and irritable, and will ask when I've eaten.

This thread really hit home for me, because I had an unmistakeabe true stomache hunger experience this morning. I've been sick for a couple weeks now (on Tuesday finding out, I have pneumonia), and I've had absolutely NO appetite mentally or physically, having no desire ot eat whatsoever (extremely rare for me, even when I'm sick). I've been on the antibiotic five days now, and late this morning, I was working on the computer, and noticed I was starting to feel kind of "sick." I had a headache, but I also felt sort of weak and nauseous. I was actually quite concerned at the sudden uncomfortable symptoms, and suddenly realized it was hunger.

Eating low glycemic index, lower carb, and whole foods, counting calories, drinking water, and eating several smaller meals, seem to help with cravings and the desire to eat huge amounts of food in one sitting, but
I don't know if I'll ever be able to identify true hunger well enough to eat "intuitively."
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