Weight Loss Support - Is it ok to stay hungry?

View Full Version : Is it ok to stay hungry?

01-17-2012, 01:16 PM
I saw a thread similar to this one, but I wanted to ask it with a different twist.

So I've really been watching what I eat and I see a nutritionist. I'm currently on a low carb diet because of diabetes. I'm also working towards 1500 calories a day. My nutritionist has me on 3 meals a day with 2 snacks. Her theory is that if I'm eating enough then I should be pleasantly satisfied after I eat. If I'm starving it's not enough. If I'm stuffed then it's too much. And I'm starting to learn to recognize those feelings.

My question centers around when it's ok to feel hungry. I've reduced my daily caloric intake. That reduction should naturally cause feelings of hunger because I'm not eating what I used to. So it makes me think that I need to eat more. But if I eat too much I'm worried about going over my daily calories. So my question is, is it ok to just stay hungry? Shouldn't I stay hungry so that I stick to my daily calories? Isn't experiencing hunger part of this process? And if so, is it ever going to stop? :-) I'm hoping once my body settles into this then I won't be as hungry all the time. But for now I don't want to mess up this process by eating when I don't need to. Fight through the pain so to speak. Again, I don't intend on starving myself. I just want to make sure that I stick to the daily calories. How do you handle this?

01-17-2012, 01:24 PM
My first thought is no because if you're continually hungry you're going to eventually give up. Eat an apple, or some veg to get a full feeling. Also drink lots and lots of water to help feel more full.

01-17-2012, 01:32 PM
Like Susie says, you probably don't want to keep being hungry. It's better to add some low calorie bulk to your meals to make you feel more full. Green veggies would do that. Since you are diabetic, I assume you have to stay away from a number of fruits. Since you're seeing a dietician it would probably be a good idea to ask them what sort of low calorie stuff you can add that would be in line with your low carb diet.

01-17-2012, 01:35 PM
The answer to this is really individual. You'll probably find most people around here advocate not feeling hunger, and it's great that that works for them. For me, in order to lose I am generally hungry most of the time, even after I eat. No amount of veggies does it for me (and fruit just makes it worse) so I've learned to live with the feeling.

It makes it a lot harder to stick with it, yes. But that's how some people's bodies work. I don't know if it has to do with our height (you've got an inch on me) and needing less calories to lose or what, but that's been my experience.

01-17-2012, 01:43 PM
The answer to this is really individual. You'll probably find most people around here advocate not feeling hunger, and it's great that that works for them. For me, in order to lose I am generally hungry most of the time, even after I eat. No amount of veggies does it for me (and fruit just makes it worse) so I've learned to live with the feeling.

It makes it a lot harder to stick with it, yes. But that's how some people's bodies work. I don't know if it has to do with our height (you've got an inch on me) and needing less calories to lose or what, but that's been my experience.

I'd have to agree with this. Seems like many on this forum are able to not be hungry and still lose. I can maintain without hunger, but can't seem to lose without fighting hunger.

That said, I think my hunger mechanism is pretty much broken and I just make sure I eat small amounts every 2 hours so I don't get so hungry that I just give in.

01-17-2012, 01:49 PM
I think feeling a little hunger is sort of necessary - not all the time, and there is a difference between real hunger and bordom/psychological hunger. Being able to identify the difference is essential. For example: I know that I am not actually hungry after I have just had dinner - but I want to eat something. I instead have hot tea and wait a little while . . . and if I still want something after that I will decide on something small. But most of the time I don't.

Also - if you have just begun the limiting of calories your stomach probably has not shrunk yet. I notice that after a few weeks I am on average less hungry throughout the day because my stomach has adjusted to eating less food.

01-17-2012, 01:57 PM
How long have you been on the plan you're following now? For me the feelings of hunger went after about a month or so and I'm now fine following the same regime I was following when I constantly felt hungry in the first month. It is really an individual thing and one you should run through with your nutritionist when you see them but I would say if you're hungry to the point of pain or weakness to add a healthy something extra to your eating plan when necessary.

01-17-2012, 01:57 PM
I often get hunger pangs when I'm simply just thirsty. Don't know why the sensation overlaps, but when I feel it, I try drinking first. Sometimes it goes away without having to eat.

As far as hunger goes - I definitely had a two week period at the beginning of my journey, when I was adjusting to my new lifestyle, where I had constant hunger pangs. Not anymore. My body has definitely adjusted. I also found that I'm one of the few people who can't eat snacks between meals or it makes me much hungrier. It's backwards logic, but true for my metabolism for whatever reason. When I cut out the mid meal snacks, I was less hungry. I have PCOS with insulin resistance.

01-17-2012, 02:05 PM
are you sure its hunger you're feeling? many times persons on diets or on a new regime assume their body and food cravings as hunger. Usually I'd say fight through the "hunger" until the next meal but... I do agree with too much hunger pain you will be discouraged (if it is real hunger pain and not just cravings). If it is hunger you should eat something that will just fill you up such as lots of water and green vegetables (its about 15 calories for a bowl of salad leaves). If that is not satisfying then it is most definitely just cravings you are experiencing. I'm not expert but it's just my two cents ^.^

Beach Patrol
01-17-2012, 02:09 PM
I think it's OK to be hungry, being hungry isn't an emergency. But if you are "staying" hungry, then something isn't right with your diet - either intake of food portions or maybe beverages. Are you still hungry 20-30 minutes after you eat a regular meal or snack?

Also, being able to recognize the difference between head hunger & stomach hunger is not so easy for everyone. If you're still learning those differences, you may not truly be hungry. Often a glass or two of water can help figure it out, as sometimes our bodies are actually thirsty and we just "think" we're hungry.

I plow through these times by never letting myself get TOO hungry. If I get too hungry, I almost always overeat when I do eat.

01-17-2012, 02:17 PM
I have a hard time just eating until content, so I measure out the amount I'm supposed to have (ie 2oz pasta, 1/2 cup rice, 4oz protein, etc) and then make sure the other half of my meal is comprised of non-starchy vegetables. If I'm hungry after that, I just add more non-starchy vegetables. I don't trust my hunger cues either way, so I just measure/weigh and trust the numbers.

01-17-2012, 02:30 PM
I am actually the opposite of what most people say, I like letting myself feel hungry. I spent years stuffing my face at the first sign of being hungry that now when my stomach is growling a little its almost liberating to say "No, meal time is in XX hours, we are okay until then". It seems like you are not extremely far into your new eating habits yet, if I am wrong about that let me know. If that is the case then I think it would be completely normal to feel a little hungry while you and your body are getting used to your new calorie intake. I would give yourself 2-3 weeks sticking to your new plan to let you and your body get accustomed, if you are still feeling the hunger after that then talk to your nutritionist about eating a little more.

That being said, If you are really hungry then I would be inclined to eat something. You just have to learn the difference between being "hungry" and "really hungry". Also, like many people have said our brains cannot tell the difference between being dehydrated and hungry so it actually presents as feeling hungry. Try drinking a cup or two of water and waiting 15-20min, does the hunger feeling go away?

Good luck!

01-17-2012, 02:32 PM
For me it's definitely NOT okay to stay hungry. Hunger is a very uncomfortable (and sometimes painful) feeling for me (don't know if that's the universal experience or not). So, if I'm hungry all the time then it becomes my central focus, I end up miserable and the "diet" will end up being unsustainable for me long term.

When I'm hungry between meals I have a bit of a snack that's on plan. For me, since I'm doing LCHF, that could be a bit of hard cheese, a few slices of pepperoni or a hard boiled egg. For you that might be a bit of veg or a small bit of cheese or something similar. Personally I'd have a chat with the nutritionist and see what she suggests because I can't imagine living with that constant gnawing ache in your tummy!

01-17-2012, 02:47 PM
since you have diabetes you have to be careful with your blood sugar, maybe your hunger is blood sugar drops?

diabetes aside, I think to a degree you will get hungry in the beginning. Some of it is just cravings, some just your body getting used to less food. I know most here disagree, but if I went to eat every time I felt hungry then I would just keep gaining. It does get better.

01-17-2012, 03:06 PM
Yeah, for me, it takes A LOT of food (and I mean a lot) for me to feel full. If I'm putting the right amount of calories in for weight loss, I still feel hungry because my body is so used to a larger amount. It doesn't mean I'm under-eating, it just means an internal adjustment needs to happen (IMO). :)

01-17-2012, 03:27 PM
I remember at one of my doctor visits we were discussing my weight and my doctor made a suggestion and I said, "But then I'd get hungry and my blood sugar would crash." And he said, "So? Is it going to kill you?"

Wow. That was a wake up call.

Personally I think it's a bad idea to let yourself get starving, because I think that leads to binges, at least it does with me. But a little hungry? That's not a bad thing, I don't think. Heck, I'm a little hungry right now.

One thing I find that takes the edge off for not very many calories and satisfies for hours is a good low cal protein shake. I use one called "PlantFusion" which is a vegan formula and it works great for me. I also dump a scoop of vitamin powder into it (I use Reliv) and that combo usually will keep my blood sugar stable for a few hours.

01-17-2012, 03:37 PM
I hate STAYING hungry. I do go hungry if I feel it but like today I was on my way to a workout got a pang of hunger, ignored it worked out then ate lunch. If it doesn't go away after I have some water (cause sometimes it's water my body needs) then I have a light snack (celergy, nuts etc) just to feel satisfied and to take it away. I can't stay hungry, my hunger now is much different than before. Once after a workout I got severe hunger pains, like shooting pains cause I didn't eat enough that morning....it scared me! Honestly, now when I'm hungry IT's HUNGER, not a little pang of hunger, I can deal with those and put it off. I try not to get to that point of hunger so I am very much a snacker throughout the day. I like to eat! But for me a little hunger isn't going to kill me.

01-17-2012, 07:45 PM
Thanks everyone. Yeah, I am new to this process. Well actually this is the first time in a long time that I've taken this seriously. I'm only like 3 weeks into the new diet. After hearing this I am wondering if some of this is cravings. My stomach isn't growling. But it feels empty and I feel like its hunger. But maybe it is psychological. I guess I'll have to figure that out.

01-17-2012, 08:08 PM
I think feeling hungry at the beginning is normal. If you have hunger that starts to dominate your thoughts you need to eat. But otherwise, yes, I think it is ok to occasionally be hungry. Because I think so many of us THINK we are hungry when we are not really. But our body is conditioned to cross up the signals. Sometimes you have to play around with hunger in order to differentiate.

01-17-2012, 10:07 PM
I'm ok to be hungry. Hungry just means my body will need food sometime soon.

On the other hand, I cannot get hangry...aka, hungry-angry. This is when I'm snappy, ill-tempered and will eat whatever is put in front of me, no matter how much or how "bad".

I think you have to learn your hangry. Being not full is ok. Feeling a little hunrgy isn't bad either. Hangry....that normally isn't good for anyone.

01-17-2012, 10:37 PM
I agree that it's how we react to hunger. Most of us are hungry at some time. Realizing we won't starve if we don't eat immediately is the key. As others have said - it isn't an emergency. You can feel satisfied after a meal while on plan, though. there is no need to feel constant hunger.