Weight Loss Support - Struggling With Perpetual Nagging Hunger

02-05-2009, 07:49 PM
This is my downfall. I'm trying to eat healthily, but I just crave food all the time, and if I go just a few hours without food, I get this horrible groaning hunger in my stomach.

Today - I had scrambled eggs on toast (yum!) for breakfast at 9, was starving by 11! So I had soup and a roll, and some fruit for lunch at half 12, was starving by 2.30! So I had a brownie when I got in at 4, and some pasta for dinner at 5. I haven't eaten since then and it's twenty past 11 now, and my stomach is growling! I have some peanut butter cups right beside me, and I'm so tempted to have them, but I'm going to bed in the next couple of hours, so it feels like a waste (I LOVE peanut butter cups, but I see them as a total luxury, so I tend to hold onto them like you wouldn't believe!)

How can I stop myself from feeling so hungry? I know I don't drink as much water as I need to, but I've been taking a big water bottle around with me today, and I've probably drunk more water today than I have for the past 2 or 3 weeks!

Additionally, why am I so afraid of the feeling of hunger? Can I programme myself so that I find it a pleasurable feeling? How am I going to lose weight if I continue with this constant hunger?

ETA: It's much worse at night. I'm a night eater, and just want to search the cupboards for food at night. If I go out at night, I want to get food before I go home, and I live in a capital city - there are plenty of late-night restaurants, cafes and shops.

02-05-2009, 08:00 PM
Looks to me like too little protein and too many refined carbs. (I'm assuming the toast, roll, brownie, and pasta were not whole-grain and were made with sugar and so on.) Changing the composition of your diet toward whole foods, including more protein, with elimination of white refined carbs, will work wonders for your hunger.

02-05-2009, 08:04 PM
Thanks for the suggestion WarMaiden! The toast and the pasta were wholemeal but the roll and brownie weren't. However, pasta is an unusual dish for me to have for dinner, as I tend to stick to grilled salmon or roast chicken with vegetables, so it was odd to have so few proteins today.

I definitely think sugar is a problem though. I'm definitely absolutely addicted to sugar, and I don't know how to stop having it.

02-05-2009, 08:15 PM
Well my question is... where are the veggies?

02-05-2009, 08:18 PM
I definitely think sugar is a problem though. I'm definitely absolutely addicted to sugar, and I don't know how to stop having it.

The way to stop is to stop :)

You might check out the South Beach Diet, Atkins, or the Insulin Resistance diet for eating plans that are sugar-free. Getting free of sugar could be one of the best things you ever do for yourself. (I've been off of it this time for 9 months now.)

02-05-2009, 08:25 PM
Well my question is... where are the veggies?

The soup I had at lunch was a vegetable soup.
I had onions and carrots with dinner.

And like I said, dinner was unusual. I tend to have a good number of veggies at dinner when I have salmon or chicken, which is what I usually have.

02-05-2009, 08:29 PM
First of all, where are your snacks? Some people find that 3 meals and 3 snacks work better than just 3 meals.

Second of all, there just isn't enough food. I totalled up what you ate, and I get something like 900 calories. :eek: The general rule is not to eat under 1200 for an extended period. No wonder you're hungry! What's more, you're 200 pounds. That means you need a lot more calories just to get through the world. I'd say you should be starting at more like twice what you're eating. Yes, I said twice. See this link:


Third, you need a better balance of nutrients. You didn't eat much protein except for the eggs... and as nelie said, not much in the way of vegetables. A girl can't live on bread and pasta alone! ;)

Finally, about the sugar. One strategy is to use sugar substitutes for awhile, in small amounts, to begin to get yourself away from sugar. As time goes on, you'll find that you don't like foods as sweet any more.

Mostly, though, I'd suggest you do some further reading about healthy weight loss approaches. I'm afraid what you're trying is kind of extreme and won't give you the results you want.


02-05-2009, 08:30 PM
How much water are you drinking through the day?

I find I have a "hunger" trigger which is actually just me being thirsty.

Whenever I find myself hungry I always have a glass of water (or tea) and 9 times out of 10 the hunger goes away.

If it doesn't, I will have a small snack i.e. low-fat yoghurt, piece of fruit, slice of wholegrain bread with avocado, beans etc.

02-05-2009, 08:38 PM
I agree---it doesn't look like you are eating enough. I would be chewing my arm off if that is what I ate all day. :lol:

I eat 6 times a day, cause I hate being hungry. Fiber (fruits & veggies), lean proteins, and healthy fats will satiate you longer than simple carbs. Look around at some of the accountability threads for ways to get the most bang for your nutrition and calorie bucks.

02-05-2009, 08:39 PM
First of all, where are your snacks? Some people find that 3 meals and 3 snacks work better than just 3 meals.

I second this. I could never make it through from breakfast at 6:30 am to lunch at 12:30 or 1 without a snack, usually around 10 am. Ditto on the time between lunch and dinner, esp as I usually workout right after work, so dinner isn't til 7ish.

The key is planning. Write down what you're going to eat the next day (or some folks do it a week at a time) then when you've gone 3 or so hours and you're hungry, you say "oh, time to eat that snack I planned and brought with me." This also helps you say "no" to the candy and brownies. :) My favorite snacks include a protein: cottage cheese with fruit; apple and cheese; apple and pb; turkey and cold veg (use a little cream cheese, or Laughing Cow light and roll the turkey around the veg). Yogurt and fruit works well too.

02-05-2009, 08:48 PM
I am the exact same way. My time is about 3 hours before I start getting hungry. So I eat every 3 hours. No biggie. I"m not talking about full meals, I just usually eat 3 main meals and 3 snacks. For example:

wake up 7 am: flax granola with no-fat plain yogurt and a few strawberries

8:30 am: soy latte

10:45 am: two pieces of Squirrelly bread (high fiber) with pb and honey

1 pm: flax seed tortilla wrap with turkey breast, low-fat mozza (jalepenos/sauce/olives)

3 pm: Coffee

5 pm: a few crackers and hummus

7:30 pm: dinner like chicken breast/greens/quinoa (grain)

10 pm: maybe a few more crackers or some cheerios/rice milk if I'm hungry

so you see, I'm actually eating every 2-3 hours too. don't be afraid of it!! I HATE being hungry and low blood sugary. Hate it and will do anything to prevent it :-)


02-05-2009, 08:53 PM
Wow. Y'know something - it really never occurred to me that I wasn't eating enough, but you might just be right.

I've always eaten like this though! How can I be eating 900 calories a day, working out an hour a day, and still be 200lbs?!

The scrambled eggs on toast seemed like a good plan, seeing as it gets me protein early on in the day, and the milk I add gives me some calcium (I really don't consume much calcium, and with several years' eating disorders behind me, I really should be having more calcium), so I'll have that again tomorrow.

I'm going to have grilled salmon and vegetables for lunch tomorrow, and have fruit through the afternoon, and then I'm at a ball tomorrow so dinner's included. Does this sound ok, or is it still not enough/not the right stuff?

02-05-2009, 09:18 PM
I definitely think sugar is a problem though. I'm definitely absolutely addicted to sugar, and I don't know how to stop having it.

You might have a look at The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program. It's very easy and well balanced, and won't make you go cold turkey.

I definitely agree with what JayEll said too.

02-05-2009, 09:58 PM
I'm also a pretty hungry person, I plan on eating every 2-3 hours. I totally hear what you're saying about the sugar thing, I went cold turkey, it was the only thing that worked for me.

Here's a typical weight loss day for me (yesterday):

9:00 breakfast - Trader Joe's fat free Greek yogurt with honey mixed with about 3/4 cup wild blueberries (Trader Joe's frozen blueberries since fresh are so pricey right now, I defrosted them a little). about 200 calories total

12:00 lunch - big salad, tons of leafy greens, a few pumpkin seeds (2 tbs maybe?), pomegranate seeds (bought them from Trader Joe's), shredded carrot, shredded red cabbage, red onion, grilled chicken (frozen from Trader Joe's, I nuke it in the microwave and add it warm to my salad), a little fat free Balsalmic Vinaigrette - About 350 calories, total

1:30 snack - no sugar added cocoa (50 calories)

3:00 snack - tangelo (100 calories)

5:00 snack - string cheese, little container of mini dill pickles (80 calories total)

I get home and take my chewable vitamin C calories and a Vitamin D chew and fish oil capsule

7:30 dinner - small steak (250 calories), steamed brussel sprouts (100 calories), good-sized sweet potato (200 calories)

I'm pretty satisfied all day. Healthy whole foods, no sugar - 1350 calories (a little low for the day, I was aiming for 1400-1500, but I guess there's a few calories in my supplements). If I had been hungry after dinner, I would have had a baked apple (100 calories). I'm not much of an after dinner snacker, so I didn't.

I can honestly say that eating sugary things/white flour/empty carby things (like pretzels, chips, packaged cookies, bagels) can make me ravenous, just set off binges and triggers.

02-05-2009, 10:09 PM
I think it would be very beneficial to you to start tracking your calories on a website like fitday.com or thedailyplate.com It'll show you what you're eating, how many carbs/protein/fats you're getting and you can make sure you're eating enough.

02-05-2009, 10:29 PM
I've always eaten like this though! How can I be eating 900 calories a day, working out an hour a day, and still be 200lbs?!

Because your body is so starved it is not going to give anything up! Your metabolism may have slowed down to conserve what you've got.

The only way out of this is to give your body more fuel and still keep up the hour a day exercise. I think you'll be surprised. You may find you have more energy, feel less hungry, AND lose weight. The weight loss may take awhile to get started, so if you raise your calories and your weight goes up the next day, don't panic--just stay with it for at least a week, maybe two.

But you really do need to track your food for this to work. Guessing or estimating won't do it--too easy to go the wrong way either direction.

Good luck! Other folks have given you some good ideas!


02-06-2009, 07:26 AM
Yep, on 900 calories a day, your body will hoard what little it gets. Be wary, when you start eating more, you may very well actually gain on weight at first: don't fret out. Make sure to go on eating enough, do some exercise if you can (I'm sorry, I've just caught on this thread and I don't know if you have health problems etc. that'd prevent you from doing that), and also try to vary your daily caloric intake--for instance one day at 1400, one day at 1600, etc. This is to 'trick' your body into 'thinking' it won't always get the same amount every day, and so it can't 'plan' for hoarding fat. (Yeah, it sounds dumb, I don't know how to word that in purely scientific terms.) After a while, things should normally start balancing themselves out again.

Also, another thing is to acknowledge how your body works. It will probably take a lot of trial and error, but that's the way to go for all of us, I think. Some people can do very well with 3 meals a day. I, for instance, can't: I have to eat little, but regularly, every 2-3 hours. It's not gluttony or whatever, it's just the way my body works, so now that I've acknowledged it, it's become way easier to plan around. Maybe it's just the same way for you as well?

02-06-2009, 09:05 AM
How can I be eating 900 calories a day, working out an hour a day, and still be 200lbs?!

Your weight might be stalling because you're eating 900 calories and workout out for an hour each day. Your body has entered starvation mode--where it says "So little food! There must be a famine! Must slow metabolism to hang on to every last bit of fat for survival!" Very useful for humans 1000 years ago when things like winter would happen, but very annoying now. Plus, when you're undernourished, your muscles don't have the building blocks to recover from all that exercise.

Fill up the gap in calories with lean/alternative proteins and vegetables, and you should start to see the scale move again.