100 lb. Club - Are we afraid to be hungry?




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kiramira
08-09-2009, 11:26 AM
Hi all!
There was an interesting thread on the board earlier which made me do some self-reflection. The thread involved hunger and our monthly cycle. And it got me thinking...

Are we AFRAID to feel hungry? And has this contributed to our weight issues?

I know that for my normal-weighted DH, there are times that he feels hungry and says "dinner is in a couple of hours, so I'll hold off". Whereas my Dear SIL-God Love Her, will immediately eat if she feels a pang of hunger. It is almost as though she is AFRAID to feel hunger, and interprets every pang of hunger as an emergency. She also has a weight issue. I know I USED to feed every pang of hunger in the past, but now I am trying to think like a normal-weighted person and IF I feel hungry, I'll hold off until the next meal. I'm also working under the theory that it is possible to retrain my body and mind to recognize mild hunger and ignore it as not EVERY hunger pang needs to be fed. I guess it is like exercise and discomfort vs pain -- not every exercise-related discomfort needs medication and rest, but significant pain needs to be addressed. But you have to be able to distinguish between the two. I think the same goes for hunger.

So I was wondering -- do we REALLY know what true hunger is? Are we afraid of feeling hungry? And maybe more importantly, can we accustom ourselves to the feeling and by doing so, be able to distinguish between hunger discomfort and true hunger that needs to be addressed?

Thoughts?

Kira


fjcinzion
08-09-2009, 11:43 AM
Thank you for posting this. It is something that I need to deal with myself.

I'm working on drinking more water now. I once read that food has a high percentage of water in it. Maybe sometimes our bodies want water instead of food.

waquilter
08-09-2009, 11:44 AM
I'm not sure I know what true hunger is. There's the "stomach growling" type and the "it's lunch time so let's eat" type but as for true hunger, I guess I've never experienced it. I do know at times if I haven't planned a snack I get REALLY crabby if my blood sugar gets out of whack. I guess I tend to also want to feed every pang of hunger but I never thought about fear.

Thanks for giving me something to think about today


quiffy
08-09-2009, 12:24 PM
hmm. I don't think I'm "afraid" to feel hungry. Until I was on welbutrin, I frequently (4+ days a week) would have this unsettling feeling of gurgling through my stomach. This was not hunger and I knew it was not hunger but I felt compelled to eat to try to make it stop. Since being on the welbutrin, I have rarely 1-2xmonth have I had this feeling. I have not changed my diet so I don't think it is an allergy or food sensitivity response. I really feel that it is a biochemical inbalance - I have many other symptoms of an endocrine problem.

Going hand in hand with the gurgling, somedays I have the hand to mouth syndrome going on. Not really hungry but the complusion to put something in my mouth is very strong. Now days, I have found that cucumbers help significantly with this syndrome. No, doesn't taste as good as the chips or what not, but I get to continue to put food in my mouth and address that need. I also use gum alot more than I did.

Other times when not having the gurgling, I can and could just say no to the hunger feeling - meal x was right around the corner.

Rosinante
08-09-2009, 12:32 PM
Not me. I sometimes wish hunger was an issue for me but alas, my over eating has never been made worse by being hungry.

I don't deliberately go hungry but sometimes, when dieting, I enjoy the sensation (mildly) of being able to wait until the food's ready, rather than squishing the hunger down now.

It seems to me that if I only ate because I was hungry, I could find foods or bulk to control that. I (over) eat because I do, and that feels more complex than hunger eating. However, I do know that the other man's problems always look greener!

caryesings
08-09-2009, 12:43 PM
I'd say my experience is opposite of Kira. I tended to put off eating until I was very hungry and then would eat too much. I now eat @ every 2-3 hours so I never get a chance to get hungry.

dragonwoman64
08-09-2009, 12:51 PM
Are we AFRAID to feel hungry? And has this contributed to our weight issues?
.....
I guess it is like exercise and discomfort vs pain -- not every exercise-related discomfort needs medication and rest, but significant pain needs to be addressed. But you have to be able to distinguish between the two. I think the same goes for hunger.
Kira

just to throw it out there, just because a person is normal weight doesn't necessarily mean he/she doesn't have issues with eating (and/or his/her weight). the only reason I say this is because if you compare your eating habits to someone who's thin, you may be comparing yourself to someone who may have her own load of laundry to wash. (I'll add that my bf's family, all thin to extra thin, have so many issues around eating and food that I find it a little excruciating to eat with them.)

great q. it's like having lots of words for different types of snow.

I've gone through times when yes, I think I was actually scared to be hungry, and would eat as soon as I didn't feel completely full. That, to me, seems like a very emotional response.

I read a thread by a woman who posted that after losing some large amount of weight she became hypoglycemic, which I wasn't aware could happen. If I don't eat lunch early, I get that shaky low blood sugar feeling (doesn't happen with any other meal). That's another kind of hunger in a way.

then there's the "I'm not really hungry hungry, but I could nosh" hunger. that probably describes the husband eating apple before dinner scenario (or maybe that's more along the lines of low blood sugar). It describes me at night in front of the tv.

then there's the "yen for whatever" hunger, which is more of an urge than real hunger. that can be powerful, which is why those dang fast food commercials they play constantly at night can be so insidious. they put the image and thought in your brain, as a craving, an urge. someone was writing about those dessert/chocolate commercials with the women eating some dessert and moaning in absolute ecstasy (that puts the urge in your head, or at least in mine, which may just be proof of my over manipulability, heh heh)

I eat 3 meals and 3 snacks a day, which keeps my blood sugar level, usually, at a pretty even level. I do get hungrier sometimes. it's pretty rare I get ravishingly hungry (because of the small snacks -- apple and V8; banana; yogurt; glass of milk, etc.). Having eaten this way for quite a while, it also has redefined what it means for me to feel full. Being full, seems to me, to be the other important part of the q.

on diets I have had that feeling of I just can't feel full eating this, which is like saying "I feel deprived." I think there's a couple of layers to that idea, one which can be emotional (which it was for me), the other just wanting the physical feeling that I was used to thinking of as being full -- which in reality was being OVER full.

I've heard too, that people may be thirsty and confuse it with being hungry. I'm always drinking water, got into that habit from a young age when I joined WW as a teen.

another way to possibly think of hunger, when you're truly hungry, and you eat, it can be a real pleasure and make the food taste even better. I've had plenty of times in my life when food felt like the enemy. I have to eat, and I have to eat on a regular basis, and will have to eat on a regular basis for the rest of my life. I'm better off figuring out how to do that in the most positive way I can.

kaplods
08-09-2009, 12:52 PM
I doubt that there is a one-size-fits all answer. I know that I'm not at all afraid of hunger, and never have been. It's an enemy I'm not afraid to fight, but anything I can do to decrease the size and power of that enemy is to my benefit.

For more than three decades, I only engaged the enemy with a front-on assault. I endured torturous hunger in order to lose weight. Not only food obsessions, but stomach rumbling, light headedness, feeling weak in the knees, mood swings. It took every ounce of willpower to choose to ignore hunger, to the point that I had to neglect almost every other aspect of my life, in order to lose weight. I could have a life or I could lose weight, and sometimes I chose having a life.

Finding the hormonal connection was a godsend, as was finding lower carb eating. If I restrict carbs enough, I have no physical desire to eat (sometimes at all). I can "forget" to eat, and the first recognizable hunger signal seems to be feeling weak and irritable rather than feeling any desire to eat. Food isn't the only thing on my mind, and in fact doesn't even rate the top ten. On a very high carb diet, I feel like a starved, caged animal, sometimes still feeling starved even after my stomach is obviously "full."

I never thought to fight hunger and cravings with anything BUT whiteknuckled willpower. Except with prescription appetite suppressant drugs, I never knew there was any other way to fight. Getting rid of hunger didn't seem to be an option, so I only fought it by trying to arm wrestle hunger/cravings. I was not afraid to feel hungry, but feeling starved 24/7 even after eating, eventually gets very old.

Finally, I've found ways to fight the enemy, not only head-on, but by weakening the enemy to make the fight easier. If lower carb eating and stacking bc weakens the enemy to the point that the battle is easier to win, I'm not ashamed to use that tool. All's fair in love and war, and this is war.

I'm not afraid of the enemy. Hunger and cravings have been so ever-present in my life that they've been the rule, not the exception. If I gave in to every pang I'd have weighed 500 lbs before adulthood. Since age 5, when I was put on my first diet, I've known hunger intimately, very often fighting with myself to stay in bed rather than give in. By age 8 I was a calorie-counting and diet book veteran (and first time Weight Watcher member).

I think that many people (even those who should know better, because they've experienced them) have many prejudices and stereotypes about overweight people that they firmly cling to, even when there's a great deal of evidence to the contrary. One of them is that fat people have no impulse control whatsoever.

There are no one-size-fits-all answers. If an inability to fight hunger is your problem, you have two choices making yourself stronger, or making your opponent weaker. You'll probably need to find ways to do both.

TJFitnessDiva
08-09-2009, 12:54 PM
I have always been a grazer but I don't think it was because I am/was afraid. It's mainly a habit that I have had since I was a kid.

Being unsure of my hunger signals was the reason I wound up going to counting points and not being on core. At first I was able to tell my hunger signals but the longer I was on it I really wasn't sure if I was hungry or not.

Judy Lynn
08-09-2009, 01:04 PM
I think I am a little afraid of that hungry feeling. As soon as I start to feel it I need to eat something. I mean even the slightest twinge. I don't know if it is fear of going out of control if I am hungry or what.

I remember being on a road trip with DH and our kids once and I asked him when we were going to stop for dinner and he said when we stopped for the night - hours from then. I said "But I am starting to get hungry now." He said "Well so what, you're not going to die from it." Not in a mean way, just that he couldn't understand the problem. In his world you get hungry, you eat at the next meal or when it is convenient. You don't have to stop everything and eat just because you are hungry.

I think, with me, it has a lot to do with the fact that I have over-eaten (and been over-weight) since childhood. For many, many years I never felt hunger. Never. Even now I sometimes eat dinner before DH gets home because I am starting to get hungry. I carry a protein bar in my purse for "emergencies". That is how I actually think of it.

In the Beck Diet Solution one of the exercises is to go most of the day (I don't remember exactly) without eating and evaluating your hunger and your response to it every hour. I never did it, but it might be a good thing to read again and try.

kiramira
08-09-2009, 01:05 PM
just to throw it out there, just because a person is normal weight doesn't necessarily mean he/she doesn't have issues with eating (and/or his/her weight).

OK just to clarify -- of COURSE there are many normal-weighted people who have food issues and EDs and food taboos and food rituals and so on and I'm not suggesting anyone emulate a disordered eating behaviour REGARDLESS of his/her weight.

My general intent was to suggest that IF you act in the same way that an average individual with a normal weight who has no eating disorders, then you may in time find that you can redefine yourself in those terms. Rather than hanging on to the concept that "I was fat therefore I will constantly have to fight my biology and fat-enabling thinking patterns". I personally am thinking outside the box and outside of my long-held personal definition by suggesting that if I emulate the habits that I see in my DH (normal weight, hasn't changed pant size since he graduated University in 1987, no food taboos, no food issues), I may actually conquor this weight issue of mine in the long term. If I want to be of a normal weight, I should act and think like a normal weighted person (who has no EDs nor food taboos nor food rituals blah blah blah). I want to redefine myself!

Which is where this question stemmed from -- if I accept hunger as a normal part of my life from time to time, will it allow me to distinguish between transient hunger and hunger that must be fed? Just a question that has a deeply personal answer. I was just looking for what y'alls experiences were.

:hug:

Kira

dragonwoman64
08-09-2009, 01:19 PM
I didn't mean for that to sound like anything against what you were saying, sorry if it did, I'm coming from a place where so many of the thin people around me have such weird problems around food. I feel like I have a hard time thinking of anyone I know whom I feel approaches eating and weight in a "non-disordered" way (and I put that in quotes bec I'm not necessarily saying they have disorders, sometimes just mild to severe hang ups). And since I'm trying to figure out all these things about my own eating and weight, it makes it difficult for me to deal with sometimes.

I mentioned the hypoglycemia, but reading your post, kaplod, I can see where physical issues, and what you're eating can throw the whole hunger/full dynamic out of whack.

lottie63
08-09-2009, 01:30 PM
I didn't read all through here so sorry if I repeat something already said...

but I can relate to the OP point in a big way. I didn't used to freak out about being hungry, but then I got kind of eating disordered, and I wouldnl't eat at all for a week at a time. Then my heart would start to beat funny, and I could feel it flip flopping in my chest, it was terrifying, so I would eat out of a fear that i was killing myself or something.

Fast forward to now. I eat at 12, 4, 7, 9 and 11. I eat breakfast at 12, which is big enough to tide me over till 4, then I exercise, then I have a snack at 7, exercise some more, have a snack at 9, and then eat dinner at 11 (bf works late, so my schedule is kind of wonky) Anyhow, I think that a fear of hunger due to the bad things I've done to my body in the past could be to blame for my NEVER wanting to be hungry.

I rarely am, and if I allow myself to get VERY hungry, I get evil, crabby, cranky, I will bite your head off, maybe it's low blood sugar I don't know, bf is the same way. You do NOT want to be around us if we're REALLY truly hungry!

kiramira
08-09-2009, 01:31 PM
I hear you, Ms Dragon...my mom is very thin (5 ft nothing and 110 lbs) and has the most bizarre and disordered approach to food and weight. My mom lost a huge amount of weight by eating three eggs a day. Thats it, thats all. She did that for months. And then the standard of thinness that we were subjected to was visual -- if we couldn't count our ribs or see our pelvic bones jutting out, we were FAT in her opinion. I think I gained alot of weight because I was AFRAID I was emulating her! I have a friend with a really nice figure who has the wackiest approach to eating -- she's a vegetarian (which isn't wacky at all) BUT is a junk food addict and eats it without making sure the junk food is vegetarian-friendly! She'll eat 3 chocolate bars a day and that's IT! The next day, a bag of chips, two cans of soda, and a stir fry. The next day, a bag of gummy worms, a bag of twizzlers, a can of soda, and a salad....NOT so good, IMHO!

So I get where you are coming from, cause it is scary to see these types of eating behaviours around us!

:hug:

Kira

Aclai4067
08-09-2009, 01:31 PM
I'd say my experience is opposite of Kira. I tended to put off eating until I was very hungry and then would eat too much. I now eat @ every 2-3 hours so I never get a chance to get hungry.

^ I've experienced this issue as well ^

As far as the mistaking thirst for hunger thing. That's never happened to me. I've tried many time to just drink water when I'm hungry. I'll drink and drink until I have that gross water-belly feeling and my stomach hurts, but I'm still hungry.

SuchAPrettyFace
08-09-2009, 01:54 PM
I'd say my experience is opposite of Kira. I tended to put off eating until I was very hungry and then would eat too much. I now eat @ every 2-3 hours so I never get a chance to get hungry.
This describes me as well. I get so into a project, book, game, activity, that I don't realize I didn't eat until it's way later than it should be.

I have been on the other end of the stick too though. I recently was offered help with my food choices from a friend who is a nurse. A serving of almonds is 3? 3???!?!?!?!?!. It's hard to know what to eat, how much, etc. Prevention magazine says you have to eat x amount of the almonds to get a nutritional benefit from them, but the nurse says 3. Frustrating! I followed her plan for 2-3 weeks & lost 15 pounds, but went to bed hungry a few times.

I think for me it's going to have to be give & take & a LOT of planning to not be hungry. Mandalinn82 is a great inspiration for this. She decided she wanted to lose weight but not be hungry, so she researched good recipes that are healthful. She's still my inspiration.

LotusMama
08-09-2009, 02:04 PM
great post, Kiramira.

Cheers,

J

Windchime
08-09-2009, 02:05 PM
I asked this question a few months ago and felt like I got kind of slapped down for it, as if I was suggesting that people should be willing to be hungry all the time to lose weight, or that people should endure symptoms of low blood sugar and wait hours to eat. I must have worded it wrong because you're getting lots of good responses, Kira!

When I started that thread (months ago, I think), my question was really more related to the thought that, for many (most?) of us, it probably wouldn't hurt us to learn to live with that slight feeling of hunger once in awhile, to learn that we don't have to drop everything and find food as soon as the first twinge hits us, as another poster suggested. It's interesting, because in the past that's exactly what I did--I would stop what I was doing and make sure to eat (and eat and eat) at the first sign of hunger. It was as if I was somehow afraid to experience that sensation. And now that I'm more accustomed to feeling it occasionally, it's kind of comforting to realize that yes, I can be a little hungry and the world will not stop turning. A few almonds (more than three!!!!!) will tide me over, so I keep a small can in my desk and in the cupboard here at home. But if I don't have them, I am learning to just distract myself, because snacktime/mealtime will be here soon. It actually makes me feel more in control over my food. But fear not, there is no danger of me becoming anorexic! I still like my chow, for sure. I just don't have to have it IMMEDIATELY at the first pang of hunger anymore.

It's nice having several snacks planned throughout the day!

SuchAPrettyFace
08-09-2009, 02:14 PM
It's nice having several snacks planned throughout the day!This is what I'm learning! Apples & peanut butter are booooooooring, so I added no sugar added applesauce & lowfat string cheese. If I wait too long, it's disaster.

But yes, a few nights of going to bed hungry did not kill me. Mostly I am too tired after the gym to eat much of anything anyway, so having milk usually is a nice compromise.

ubergirl
08-09-2009, 02:14 PM
I'm definitely afraid of being hungry. I think it stems from constantly dieting when I was a growing teen athlete.

I remember I used to feel actually panicky that I would not get to eat enough-- I used to go to school, and then do sports for hours after school. My mom would give me one orange for a snack and tell me that was all I "needed".

Maybe I've pretty much outgrown it now-- at age 48-- but for years the idea of restricting food made me severely panicky.

Alana in Canada
08-09-2009, 02:30 PM
I got hungry reading this! But then, it was breakfast time. The only time I get really hungry--uncomfortable and hungry is sometimes when it is time to prepare supper. I can't have a snack to assauge it--so, I usually have a diet Coke. I've tried water--but for me, when I'm ravenous, there has to be a certain "mouth-feel" to it--and coffee and diet Coke are the only things that have it. (And I won't drink coffee before dinner. I have too much of it as it is.)

I believe I read somewhere that individuals who are overweight do not tolerate pain or discomfort as well as, say, an olympic athlete. Obviously, if this is true, there are exceptions, some of you posted above! But I often wonder about that. I am not pain tolerant at all. At our dentists office, they have a gizmo which you can control yourself to "lessen the pain" of having your teeth cleaned. The Hygenist there has remarked that I am one of those few who crank those pain meds way up--higher than most.

And funnily enough, it was realising that my weight was contributing to the almost permanent pain I was in which finally motivated me to do something about it.

But is hunger a form of pain?

For some, more than others, I'd think judging from the responses.

nelie
08-09-2009, 02:32 PM
I would say that when I overeat, hunger has nothing to do with it and that is what I'd attribute for weight gains/stalls.

Ufi
08-09-2009, 02:34 PM
I've had this in my mind for a long time and sometimes still have to remind myself that hunger does not equal death. I'm sure I got that notion growing up poor, afraid money would disappear and we would starve. I've also developed some negative associations with hunger, the "starving model," which reflects social ideas I don't want to support. They are such strong associations that I have to consciously work to break them, wasn't really even aware of what I was thinking until I started pondering it.

kaplods
08-09-2009, 02:41 PM
I think what sometimes makes people bristle at the suggestion to "endure" hunger to a greater degree, is that it requires the assumption that one isn't already doing so. "The reason you're fat is because you eat whenever you're hungry!" No, I can truly say that is not true for me. The bigger problem was ignoring hunger until I was so ravenous that good judgement would go out the window.

When I was little (after age 5), if I said I was hungry, they'd say "good, that means you're losing weight." But it really meant that they didn't listen to me and were teaching me not to listen to myself as well. The message that really was sent was "don't eat for as long as you possibly can stand it," so that's what I did.

In high school I lost 70 lbs over the course of 2 to 3 years. I did so with a combination of amphetemine diet pills, and eatig disordered behavior. Basically, I'd eat only on weekends - and my parents mostly supported me in the behavior, because I think they felt that an overweight person couldn't have an eating disorder. If I had a salad with little or no dressing for dinner, they were ok with that (even though 150 calories MAX, isn't enough fuel to exist upon).

Learning to control hunger has been much more helpful to me than learning to ignore or endure it.

kiramira
08-09-2009, 02:55 PM
I don't think anyone is making a VALUE judgement on the issue, Ms Kaplods. And I don't see anyone 'bristling" at the suggestion. NO ONE is suggesting that anyone endure anything! And I'm so sorry that you had such a tough time as a child.

But the underlying questions are still these: do we fear hunger? Do we view hunger as an enemy that has to be wrestled into submission? And does this perception or definition of hunger ultimately prove to be somewhat self-destructive? That is, are we spending huge amounts of energy out of fear? When we could be spending this energy more productively IF we can accurately assess our hunger and put it into perspective?

Perhaps hunger ISN'T an enemy -- perhaps the distinction between "normal" hunger and hunger that should be dealt with is actually a TOOL that we can incorporate in our quest for health.

And for each of us, the answer will be different -- as you recall, my original post asked for thoughts to the matter, not a definition that would suit everyone...it is simply a springboard for self-reflection.

Kira

kaplods
08-09-2009, 03:18 PM
I don't think anyone is making a VALUE judgement on the issue, Ms Kaplods. And I don't see anyone 'bristling" at the suggestion.

I never said anyone here was, I was responding to Windchime's post that she felt "slapped down," for a similar question.


As for my childhood, it wasn't "tough," at least not more so than anyone else's. Just like anyone else's my experiences not only in childhood, but throughout my life have shaped who I am. That's it.

As to the question "are we afraid to be hungry?" I was only answering for myself.

And for me the answer is NO.

When I eat too many carbs, I do spend large amounts of energy dealing with hunger, but fear has nothing to do with it. Insulin-response has everything to do with it. It's a physiological response, not a mental one. And when the problem is physiological, the best solution will also be.

kiramira
08-09-2009, 03:35 PM
I guess the reason I came to my conclusion is due to the following:

I think what sometimes makes people bristle at the suggestion to "endure" hunger to a greater degree, is that it requires the assumption that one isn't already doing so. "The reason you're fat is because you eat whenever you're hungry!"

The last sentence, in particular, really led me to understand from your post that you believe a value judgement is implicitly placed on overweight people specifically with respect to the issue of hunger and hunger satisfaction. And you gotta admit that the way you've phrased this can lead to this interpretation, no? I was simply stating that no one has put this value judgement out there during this thread. And I don't understand how your post is in response to Ms. Windchime's experience, but that's just me...

No offense meant. I must have pushed a button, here...

My question was just meant as a tool for self-reflection, that's all and not a judgement that "the reason [overweight people] are fat is because [they] eat whenever [they're] hungry".

But it still begs the question -- How DO we evaluate and deal with hunger? And is it possible that the issue of hunger and discomfort and what is acceptable to an individual has to be considered along this path at some time? And perhaps our own conception of hunger and our perceived need to address it might need some examination? The question is just a springboard for conversation and hopefully, greater self-understanding.

Kira

harrismm
08-09-2009, 03:38 PM
As always Kira...interesting question.
I was actually watching CSPAN this am.David Kessler, author of The End of Overeating was discussing this.He talks about the obesity epidemic and that being afraid of hunger is a huge factor in its development.He states that years ago people rarely ate between meals.Now people graze all day.He also says this behavior is hardwired in out brains before 5 years old.And often we (parents) are constantly offering our children food and dont have set meal times.I have actually read his book and would highly reccomend it.Very profound information.He also says that in order to change your weight and lifestyle, you have to want something more.And yes...he says you do have to sometimes whitenuckle it.
You Rock My Girl Kira!!

Lori Bell
08-09-2009, 03:46 PM
The thing with hunger is this. It's a natural response that was created in humans to signal that we need to replenish. It may be out of whack for some as Kaplods has shared on various occasions, and I would assume that the hunger response is probably out of whack for some of the super skinny people of the world too. I personally don't "like" to be hungry. It hurts, it makes me feel weird, but I do endure it when necessary because I am sick and tired of being fat, and I don't want to be any more!!!!!

I will "suffer for a few hours" if it means that I am in a healthy weight range and nourishing my body with proper nutrients. But, I have found ways to combat the hunger beast that allows me to eat a LARGE amount of food, and still lose weight. No drugs, no willpower, and no white-knuckle behaviour is required when you develop recipes that are full of fiber, low in calories, and packed with vitamins. I definalty can fix 1200-1500 calories worth of delicious and filling food for a day that would put a competitive eater to shame.

rockinrobin
08-09-2009, 03:52 PM
I'm sorry, I didn't read all the responses.

For me, having lost the weight and all through the process - I was/still am TERRIFIED of being hungry. I used such a strong word, because that's just how strongly I feel about it.

I get light headed and woozy and feel as if I'm going to pass out. I do my absolute best to avoid that feeling at all costs. That's why I eat so frequently, ALWAYS plan in advance and that's why where my calories come from are SO important to me. That's why I can't do those 100 calorie packs and sugar/carb laden foods. They don't stick with me. They don't satisfy me. Which is why I need/require SUCH nutrient rich foods. I despise, despise, despise being hungry. When devising my plan, that' was one of the major things I needed to address - how to avoid hunger. And I'm thrilled to say that it is NEVER an issue for me. Anytime I overspend my calories, it's got nothing to do with me being hungry.

Now back in the day, the 287 lb day that is, I don't think my fear of hunger was quite as strong. Of course being the all day eater that I was, it rarely came up. And if I was even a little tiny bit hungry - I ate. And since I wasn't all that particular, it didn't matter what it was. If it wasn't satiating food - I just would eat more. That's not to say that I ate ONLY when I was hungry, because nothing could be further from the truth. I ate whatever I wanted, when I wanted, hunger had nothing to do with it.

Kira, I think you've posed another thought provoking topic here. I think I'll glance over some of the responses now. But not until I go make myself a little something to eat. I'm just beginning to feel a tiny bit - maybe hunger. And I've got to nip it in the bud before it turns into an all out hunger. Can't let that happen. ;)

toastedsmoke
08-09-2009, 04:28 PM
I have a question: what should hunger feel like? Is it in the stomach? Or is it a desire to taste something? Or is it a woozy feeling.

I don't think I know what hunger feels like but I also don't think my food problems necessarily stem from hunger. My personal preference used to be (and still is if I'm not making a special effort like I am now) 1-2 (large) meals per day. Not for dieting reasons but more because I'm the sort of person who likes food but is too lazy to prepare it/put something together more than 1ce or 2ce a day (If I have pre-prepared food, I'll binge on it whether I'm hungry or not just because it's there). I can go from morning till evening (and possibly a whole 24 hrs) without feeling/recognizing the pangs of hunger and even then my desire to eat is usually not related to any feeling in my stomach but more to a desire/craving for the taste of salt or sugar or to the pleasure/comfort my favourite foods give me when i chew or swallow or even sometimes just to the feeling that I should eat something because it's unhealthy to do otherwise.

Trazey34
08-09-2009, 04:33 PM
No, I've not been afraid to feel hungry - it's not like there's not an easy cure for it LOL Actually, since i've stopped snacking at night, I'm some nights a teeeeny bit hungry when i go to bed, whereas before i'd have some toast & PB, or a bowl of cereal, I just don't now - and i like to that little bit of hunger makes me lose weight LOL probably not the case, but i like it! and it makes me look forward to breakfast now, whereas before i never ate it!

being hungry is good, makes you appreciate your food more yes?

rockinrobin
08-09-2009, 04:36 PM
being hungry is good, makes you appreciate your food more yes?

Being hungry is really not good *for me*. Any way that I look at it. What has really, REALLY made me appreciate my food more - counting my calories.

No, I've not been afraid to feel hungry - it's not like there's not an easy cure for it

Good point! I really should work on this irrational fear of mine........

toastedsmoke
08-09-2009, 04:44 PM
Being hungry is really not good *for me*. Any way that I look at it. What has really, REALLY made me appreciate my food more - counting my calories.


Good point! The calorie counting is like a life-saver for me because its helping me with portion control, food selection and meal planning. It's kind of my template of what to eat whether or not I recognize that I'm hungry.

I'm still trying to figure out what the hungry feeling is (because when I haven't eaten for a long long while I get a sick feeling in my stomach that doesn't really inspire me to want to eat, but I don't usually notice the "hunger" feeling before that).

Aclai4067
08-09-2009, 04:45 PM
I have a question: what should hunger feel like? Is it in the stomach? Or is it a desire to taste something? Or is it a woozy feeling.


You feel hunger in the stomach. The woozy feeling could be low blood sugar? The desire to taste something would be a craving.

toastedsmoke
08-09-2009, 04:48 PM
You feel hunger in the stomach. The woozy feeling could be low blood sugar? The desire to taste something would be a craving.

Ok then in the past I think I've gotten cravings when I don't eat all day, and then bypass hunger, then by the following morning get that sick feeling like an acid stomach.

salsa chip
08-09-2009, 04:49 PM
Right now I'm dealing with lots of stress, so my appetite has dried up anyway (apparently that's how I deal with stress these days; I remember a time when I'd deal with stress by pigging out at the sweets drawer in my mother's kitchen).

But when I am hungry these days, I find I can just hold on til it's properly a meal time. Maybe I'm training myself to not snack inbetween meals? Somehow knowing I'm hungry and that I won't eat until a proper mealtime is a confidence booster for me.

Else I glug water :)

Trazey34
08-09-2009, 05:55 PM
I'm a calorie counter too -- what I mean was, if I sit down to a meal that I've slaved over preparing, I'm glad I'm a bit hungry for it, it tastes soooo much better LOL BUT as a calorie counter, it's pre-portioned and on the plate (one plate! ha) to savour.

mandalinn82
08-09-2009, 06:21 PM
For me, if I get OVERLY hungry (ravenous, not "I guess I could eat"), I make poor eating choices, so I try to avoid it.

That's not fear based, though. On the contrary! It's knowledge-based. The knowledge that when I am more hungry than usual, I tend to eat more than usual, and that isn't conducive to me staying on plan.

I don't think there's anything wrong with knowing yourself and your limits, and acting to prevent the things that make it harder for you to stick with your goals. It's sort of like the "pantry cleanout" most people do at the beginning of a weight loss plan...it's a strategy to make it easier to make good choices and harder to make bad ones. Not letting myself get too hungry is one strategy that I employ to encourage good choices in my eating and exercise (just like keeping high-calorie foods outside of my home and keeping exercise equipment in my home and easily accessible...another way to make it easier to make the good choices and harder to make the less-good).

rockinrobin
08-09-2009, 06:28 PM
I'm a calorie counter too -- what I mean was, if I sit down to a meal that I've slaved over preparing, I'm glad I'm a bit hungry for it, it tastes soooo much better LOL BUT as a calorie counter, it's pre-portioned and on the plate (one plate! ha) to savour.

I pretty much knew what you were getting at Trazey. That ASIDE, I was just mentioning that calorie counting, really made me appreciate what I eat now.

Just like the kid, the spoiled kid who has sooo many toys, none of them have much meaning and he enjoys none of them. That was me. I ate everything - truly enjoyed - nothing. Now I that I"ve got a budget, now that I am MUCH more particular, it's not an open-ended all day eating fest - I really, really appreciate and ENJOY, thoroughly ENJOY everything that I eat. :)

kaplods
08-09-2009, 06:52 PM
I think there's alot more variation in hunger signals than is often assumed. I don't think stomach hunger is always present or the most reliable. Even when I was eating only on weekends, I didn't always feel hunger in the stomach.

My youngest sister (thin all her life) also doesn't get stomach hunger, she says her first signal that she's hungry is that she starts thinking about food, and if she ignores the craving, she'll get a dull headache.

When I'm eating very low carb, I often don't notice hunger signals until it reaches a woozy stage. My husband notices before I do (apparantly irritiation and a hot temper preceed woozy).

Wikipedia has an interesting definition/description of hunger
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunger

I think it makes the point that there are several sources of hunger, and included cravings as a type of hunger. As is appetitie. Actual hunger pangs (which as wikipedia points out) don't occur generally occur until 12 to 24 hours without food, and some people may not experience them at all. I used to think that cravings were 100% mental (especially when I would feel them only a short time after eating, when my stomach was still full, sometimes obviously full), but when I found that on very low carb eating, cravings and all other desire for food is so diminished that when they do pop into my head, I can quickly change the mental "channel." That doesn't work when I'm eating high carb, every "channel" in my thoughts and on the tv become a food channel. When I'm eating low carb, even watching the food channel and recipe shows do not inspire a strong desire for eating.

I don't think everyone experiences hunger in the same way, and yes even that some of us may have been born with defective, or have destroyed through crash dieting, the natural hunger signals and the natural response to hunger.

I also think that the modern diet does not lend itself to a natural response to food. One can't rely on hunger when eating foods that are so removed from nature (and when our activity level is also so removed from the natural state as well - couch potatoes don't survive in the wild). Even fruits and vegetables are higher in sugar and starches than any of their wild ancestors from which we cultivated. Even zoos are finding that they have to change their formulas every few years for feeding the animals because a 2009 apple is so much sweeter (and more caloric) than an apple from only a few years ago. Animals were getting fat, and zoo staff didn't initially know why (I believe the trend was first noticed in the late 70's or early 80's).

I think that caloric monitoring is a much more reliable method of calorie restriction than decreasing one's sensitivity to hunger for many people. "Mindful eating," doesn't work very well for everyone (whether you mean responding to hunger at the first sign or at some delayed point of your choosing).

I think hunger works very well when you have to work to get your food. A craving and actual hunger are more easily distinguished, because "how badly do I want to work for it," comes into the equation. In the natural world, calories are fairly hard-won. The more calories in a food, the rarer or more work it requires to obtain. Non-grain plant foods are relatively easy to harvest and eat, and they're relatively low calorie (the sweetest are only available for a short time and there's lots of competition for them). Protein foods, particularly animal proteins require a lot more work to obtain.

If you can lose weight by choosing to eat at a different point in the hunger spectrum, more power to you. I think that caloric restriction is the more reliable path for most people, and that some have to go further and change what or how they eat to transform their hunger. If you can shrink physical and mental hunger, that makes caloric restriction that much more manageable, but bottom-line it's mostly the calorie restriction.

I do seem to lose weight more rapidly on the same number of low-carb calories than high-carb calories, which to me doesn't say that calories don't matter. Rather, only that the source of the calories may somehow affect the equation, but it still boils down, not to hunger, but to calories burned and calories consumed. That I find (for myself) that lower carb eating reduces cravings, appetite and all aspects of hunger, and may increase metabolism or reduce water-retention is just "bonus."

If you can use hunger as a tool, then do so, but if it doesn't work so well for you, there are plenty of other tools at your desposal.

dragonwoman64
08-09-2009, 06:52 PM
for me food tastes better when I'm hungry for it, the working up an appetite. funny, I've used the word starving, but from a real definition of that word I can safely say I never truly have been starving!!

I've never forgotten to eat, and doubt I ever will.

and for me, there's some psychological satisfaction that effects hunger when the food is more tasty. when I eat something that I don't really like, or is a disappointment, or gross, it's so unsatisfying. (I love my mother, but she was an awful cook and hated doing it; we'd eat so much of it too, so the experience was eating a large volume of food that tasted pretty bleck.)

I think for me it's going to have to be give & take & a LOT of planning to not be hungry. Mandalinn82 is a great inspiration for this. She decided she wanted to lose weight but not be hungry, so she researched good recipes that are healthful. She's still my inspiration. suchaprettyface

I've been having this same thought, I love how she's embraced making her calories be such an enjoyable experience. I want to do this more, and I think it would help me with the extra eating that I struggle with.

I really, really appreciate and ENJOY, thoroughly ENJOY everything that I eat. --rr
just read this: one of my goals, and I think it's important for me

the above is less to the point of Kira's original Q, which I really like. but I'm so chatty I couldn't resist putting it in

one last thing for anyone who was hearty enough to make it through this tome of a post, when I first went on WW as a teen, it felt like torture going to bed after not eating once I'd finished dinner. I was HUNGRY. This was going on a 1200 calorie diet after having a regular diet of I wouldn't even be able to guess how many calories (think big number). that had to shape how I looked at hunger (probably for decades to come). hunger was deprivation, physical discomfort, and beyond discomfort, it had moments when it felt seriously distressing, since food had become something that mentally made me feel better.

some of us struggle with things that bounce off of other people.

well, as rr and other very smart ladies here have said, you work through whatever it is, and find a solution.

Onederchic
08-09-2009, 06:54 PM
I was first gonna post that I probably have never felt real hunger but then I remembered this -

Scott picked me up in Tennessee on a sunday. I didn't eat anything from the moment he picked me up until tuesday night when we got to his house in New York and I had a single serve veggie tray from a grocery store. I was rather hungry, I believe. Did it scare me? To an extent because I was afraid I would shove my head in a vat of grease filled yummies and never been seen again :rofl:. But that didn't happen :D

dragonwoman64
08-09-2009, 07:09 PM
I don't think everyone experiences hunger in the same way, and yes even that some of us may have been born with defective, or have destroyed through crash dieting, the natural hunger signals and the natural response to hunger.
.....
I think that caloric monitoring is a much more reliable method of calorie restriction than decreasing one's sensitivity to hunger for many people. "Mindful eating," doesn't work very well for everyone (whether you mean responding to hunger at the first sign or at some delayed point of your choosing).

yes, I think all my binge/overeating and dieting totally threw out of whack the hunger/full dynamic. I can mindfully eat, so to speak, and pay attention to the hunger/full, but I still have to calorie monitor. part of that is all the urges, cravings stuff, part is I think I just would "naturally" eat more, and more foods of higher calories that are less physically filling (ie goodies).

plus, calorie restriction means eating fewer calories than my body "requires" because I'm trying to lose lbs. there's a certain amount of constant "hunger" I feel like I have to deal with because of that.

CJZee
08-09-2009, 07:57 PM
I eat more frequently now. I used to easily go all day without eating and be ravenous around 4 p.m., willing to eat ANYTHING to make the shakiness go away. I think it was low blood sugar.

I am not diabetic, but I read somewhere if a diabetic's blood sugar dips too low to eat a small pack of raisins as the sugar goes pretty directly into the blood stream. Now when I get that really shaky, jittery feeling I have a small pack of raisins (which I keep in my purse) and "poof" it goes away. It is like magic.

I am not at all afraid of being hungry. Hunger is not my trigger to eat. Food is my trigger to eat.

kisskisskill
08-09-2009, 08:14 PM
I don't think I am afraid to be hungry. I have starved myself in the past to lose weight(dummy, I know). My problem is mindless eating...not even thinking about if I am hungry or not. I stuff food in my face simply because it is there.

Ufi
08-10-2009, 12:38 AM
I did an exercise on hunger that is supposed to put you more in touch with your body, have you feel what hunger really is. It was interesting. It's easier to tell the difference between "I want some fries" and "my body needs something." I can forget to eat sometimes, if I get really wrapped up in what I'm doing. If I go too long, then it does make it harder to make good choices because I want fast and high-cal.

dcapulet
08-10-2009, 12:48 AM
i know that i am afraid of being hungry. I have been for years. When i was a child, we were DIRT poor. We often didn't have enough food, so when there was food, i needed to make sure i got some. My parents would eat what we had with little regard for me or my siblings, so i would eat more out of fear it would be gone later. it took me many years to realize that things are no longet like that for me, and that i have the money to go to the store and buy cookies or fruit or anything i wanted. (which is another problem for me). but that mentality hurt me for a long time; being hungry is a lousy experience, and i never want to feel it again in a negative, long term way.

i've learned how to stop when i'm full, although i am far from an expert at it. and being hungry for this meal doesn't mean i will be hungry forever (i'm working on that one too)

Rosinante
08-10-2009, 03:16 AM
dcapulet, kudos on learning what 'full enough' feels like!
Your story is why I can never say I know what 'real hunger' feels like, because real hunger, in my mind, goes with the kind of fear and powerlessness you're talking about.

My food issues are childhood related - I was (for the times) a little under weight at birth and, apparently, not a good eater, so mother frantically stuffed me with anything she could get me to eat. I suppose feeling stuffed became normal.

Then my brother was born, and the story is told that I was very good with the new baby, unphased until I saw him being fed with what I took to be MY bottle. Apparently I cried - and was rewarded with food.

So the imprint in my consciousness, which I try very hard to erase but it never quite goes away, is of not being good enough or just enough somehow, so being replaced by someone I'm supposed to be nice to, and the consequent feelings to be dealt with through food. To this day, if I'm queueing for something and people mill around behind me, I get panic-stricken that they might push in past me, because I know I'm programmed not to object to being supplanted. (I'm OK once they join the queue.)

TraceyElaine
08-10-2009, 03:37 AM
I am blessed with nausia as my hunger pain. I hate to feel like that. I know some people just feel the rumbley tummy. I feel like I will throw up. Has always been that way. So I try never to get too hungry. Wish it were different.

rockinrobin
08-10-2009, 07:25 AM
I am blessed with nausia as my hunger pain. I hate to feel like that. I know some people just feel the rumbley tummy. I feel like I will throw up. Has always been that way. So I try never to get too hungry. Wish it were different.

I am the same way, or at least similar. I get horribly shaky, headache-y, woozy, etc.. There are ways around it. One CAN lose weight and keep it off and STILL not be hungry. I eat very frequently and very nutritious, satiating and voluminous foods. You have to know yourself and do what's right for you. Certainly I'd prefer to not feel this way when hungry, but there's no use fighting it. You've got to work with what you've got - and what you haven't. :smug:

Phenomenal Woman
08-10-2009, 08:15 AM
Ya know, I don't know whether or not I'd say I'm afraid of hunger. Hunger for me has always been kind of a burden more than anything else. Just like Kaplods, from the time I was about 6 or so, whenever I'd say I was hungry, my father would immediately answer, "Good! That means you're losing weight!" So, since then, whenever I've felt hunger pains it has always been a depressing sort of "oh no, here we go again" kind of feeling.

My dad hated that I was a chubby kid. He put me on an extremely low calorie diet. This didn't start til I was around 8, but from that point til I was about 16 I was only given very small portions of food, like two soy sausage links for breakfast, and half a sandwich and 6 potato chips for lunch, that kinda "small".

Anything else I ate was food that I sneaked when I was not being watched, which was where the "burden" part comes in. I was a really honest kid, and I hated lying or sneaking around or disobeying my dad. So, whenever I was hungry, I would get irritated because I felt like I had to do something dishonest and "bad" and that I'd have to jump through hoops to be sure that nobody saw me do it and that nobody would find out I was (ch)eating. (Which was never easy when eating lunch in the same cafeteria with two step sisters who were dying to catch me doing something wrong so they could tell on me!:lol: )

So even now, this kind of thought persists with me. I don't fear being hungry, but it really irritates me when my body bothers me for food. lol

Thank you very much for asking this question Kira, it succeeded with it's goal as a springboard for self reflection because until just now, I've never EVER thought about this pattern of mine consciously before. I never noticed that I get irritated by the thought of having to eat until I started writing this post, nor had I any clue why I would feel that way. lol! It's amazing the things you learn about yourself when you aren't expecting it!

This gives me a much better perspective on what I need to work on.

Thanks!! ... And thanks to all you beautiful women who have been responding to this thread too! It makes me feel so much better to know that I'm not the only one who was raised to have a "disorder" manner of thinking toward food!