Living Maintenance - Do you actually get less hungry when you're smaller?




surfergirl2
02-09-2012, 05:56 PM
I know that the body's calorie needs (to maintain) are higher if you're 150 pounds versus 125 pounds. My question is, for those of you who've lost weight...do you actually feel less hungry now that you're smaller?

Right now, i can lose weight eating 2000 calories a day, but eventually i'll probably have to go down to 1700. I can't even imagine going lower than that on a regular basis. But i wonder if I will feel different when i weigh 140?


Glory87
02-09-2012, 06:00 PM
No, I get starving to death hungry, all the time.

singing
02-09-2012, 06:57 PM
I wouldn't say I feel less hungry because I was never truly hungry when I was 40lbs heavier.However I now eat more nutritious foods and I need less to feel satisfied.I rely on a constant supply of 0% Fage greek yogurt, fruit,cut-up veggies and lots of water/green tea for my "I could eat the world" moments.


lin43
02-09-2012, 07:29 PM
Unfortunately, I've been even hungrier since I lost weight. Oddly enough, when I was averaging 1400 calories per day while intentionally losing (from 6/2011 - 10/2011), I was rarely hungry. Now that I can eat 2100-2200 calories a day to maintain, I often feel as if I'm starving. I'm really glad that my maintenance calories are so high!

In all seriousness, though, I've found that my hunger level often has more to do with how satisfying my meal is rather than the specific number of calories it is. When I eat something that I truly want and that is really good, I don't go looking for anything else. For instance, the other night, I had some delicious organic chicken, broiled w/ peppers, onions, etc. I made my own fajitas. They were so delicious that I wasn't hungry for the rest of the night---even though those fajitas were not nearly as many calories as I often eat for dinner.

Don't worry too much about this now, though. One method I've heard of and like is to just choose a reasonable calorie level you can live with (e.g., 1700, 1800, etc.) and eat that that level to see where it takes you, weight-wise. When I initially chose my goal weight, it was partially based on the fact that I knew I would not be able to eat less than 1800 calories a day and still be satisfied.

saef
02-09-2012, 08:14 PM
No, I still get really hungry, and more often now for good reason, either after a bout of intense exercise or because I'm not snacking all day long.

I do plan around my hunger better and I have a clearer awareness of my hunger. When I'm hungry, I'm very aware that I'm in a vulnerable state, and that I need to take care of myself, or I will make not-so-good choices and eat things that I otherwise wouldn't.

I've become so used to this that I've noticed how different my mother is. She doesn't plan ahead, just gets hungry, then goes rummaging, and may eat several random consecutive things. I never, ever, EVER do that anymore.

ValRock
02-09-2012, 08:21 PM
I find that I'm MUCH less hungry. I don't attribute it to my size I attribute it to habits I've picked up and maintained for so long. Being physically hungry doesn't bother me like it used to. I just kind of roll with it. I have learned that it's OK to not feel stuffed to the gills all. the. time. and being a little hungry sometimes is not going to kill me.

I was worried in the beginning too but I've found it to be a nonissue. Maybe it's because I do IF? I don't know... I'm rarely hungry unless TOM is about to rear her ugly head and that's not 'real' hunger it's emotional hunger.

Please Do Not
02-09-2012, 08:37 PM
^^^^
What she's saying. I have changed my habits of eating a lot for the past 2 years. I recently took on more protein in my diet and it completely kills my appetite for a while. I end up eating less in the day and I STRUGGLE to eat more when I know I need to!
Also, there was a moment in time when I was basically starving myself and got to 124 pounds. It was a low point of my life, but it taught me that a little hunger is actually okay (versus when I HATED being hungry and went for all the bad things to quiet it). I'm not condoning starving yourself, I'm just saying what I learned, lol. :)

surfergirl2
02-09-2012, 08:41 PM
Ok, so what i'm hearing is that the answer is no, your appetite does not decrease when you're smaller in size, but you get used to the hunger and can manage it. I guess i can deal with that...and as one of you said, worry about it when i get there.

It seems kinda unfair though! I guess physical hunger doesn't correlate to the body's calorie needs then?????

ValRock
02-09-2012, 08:43 PM
I happen to think that what most of us identify with the feeling of hunger is not hunger at all...

freelancemomma
02-09-2012, 08:47 PM
<<It seems kinda unfair though! I guess physical hunger doesn't correlate to the body's calorie needs then?????>>

Yeah, I've also wondered about this. Perhaps we actually ARE physically less hungry when we weigh/need less, but our neural circuits have been conditioned to want more food.

F.

freelancemomma
02-09-2012, 08:50 PM
<<One method I've heard of and like is to just choose a reasonable calorie level you can live with (e.g., 1700, 1800, etc.) and eat that that level to see where it takes you, weight-wise. >>

I like this idea, though it's a bit scary. Right now I find I can live quite comfortably (i.e., without undue hunger) on about 2,000 calories a day, so I'm thinking of seeing where this takes me. I suspect I'll be able to either maintain my current weight (145 lbs) or a slightly higher weight on this amount, as long as I keep exercising fairly regularly.

Freelance

surfergirl2
02-09-2012, 08:50 PM
<<It seems kinda unfair though! I guess physical hunger doesn't correlate to the body's calorie needs then?????>>

Yeah, I've also wondered about this. Perhaps we actually ARE physically less hungry when we weigh/need less, but our neural circuits have been conditioned to want more food.

F.

Yeah, that's what i kinda think. I think for me, all the overeating has caused my body and brain to have no idea what true hunger is...or to just be messed up in that regard.

lin43
02-09-2012, 10:11 PM
I happen to think that what most of us identify with the feeling of hunger is not hunger at all...

I agree. I know that oftentimes when I say, "I'm hungry," what I actually mean is "I'm bored," "That food looks really good," "That tasted great---I want more!" etc.

I teach at a college, and I find that on the days when I have a full class schedule, I can effortlessly eat fewer calories without even thinking about it. For example, last night I sort of went on a food bender (stress related), and I consumed about 1600 calories (counting dinner). Since I start my day's calorie counting with dinner, I knew I only had about 500-600 calories left for the next day's breakfast and dinner. I actually ended up skipping breakfast because I had morning classes and I was full from the night before. Yet if I had been home, I would probably had eaten breakfast anyway (although late) because I had nothing better to do rather than because I was actually hungry.

lin43
02-09-2012, 10:18 PM
<<One method I've heard of and like is to just choose a reasonable calorie level you can live with (e.g., 1700, 1800, etc.) and eat that that level to see where it takes you, weight-wise. >>

I like this idea, though it's a bit scary. Right now I find I can live quite comfortably (i.e., without undue hunger) on about 2,000 calories a day, so I'm thinking of seeing where this takes me. I suspect I'll be able to either maintain my current weight (145 lbs) or a slightly higher weight on this amount, as long as I keep exercising fairly regularly.

Freelance

I believe it's definitely possible. Even though I would have denied it in the past, I think I'm able to eat so many calories because of my activity level. I'm short (5 ft 3), 43 years old, and 134 according to my weigh-in last Tuesday, so I would never have guessed I could eat even 2000 calories much less 2100-2200, but I can. I do one hour of intentional exercise 6 days a week, but I also move a lot---chores, errands, etc.

If you (and the OP) are interested, there's a book that someone here recommended to me entitled Calorie Queens. It's written by a mother and daughter who lost about 100 lbs. each. They started the process by figuring out how many maintenance calories were needed for their goal weight and then just started eating at that calorie level. This is a different approach than most people have taken---i.e., start at a lower calorie level and increase calories at maintenance. Their approach makes sense, though, because it really helps you keep in mind from the start that the habits you're adopting are for life.

runningfromfat
02-10-2012, 07:29 AM
I actually have to disagree... I feel WAY less hungry than I did before. I think a big part of that for me, though, is that I cut out sugar/artificial sweeteners and white flour while adding in more fruits/veggies/meat. I think sugar was driving up my hunger levels to insane levels and clearing that out of my system has done me a world of good.

I've also worked on timing my meals (regular times with snacks in between) and that seems to help too. Throughout my weight loss journey if I felt hungry something was wrong and I changed things. Now, granted, I'm still losing so I'm not sure if that's part of the difference or not (I've heard that sometimes after you start maintenance you feel hungrier?) but I've also always lost very slowly so my calorie deficit can't be too far away from my maintenance levels.

I really don't know what it is. I could be the sugar/white flour thing, it could be the slow weight loss, it could be the timed snacks, it could be the increase of protein/veggies or my chosen type of exercise too (weight lifting and swimming). Most likely it's some sort of combination of all of them. I'm not someone who deals remotely well with hungry (I get headaches, dizzy etc) so I know it's not remotely realistic to be on a plan that leaves me hungry. Now, it could be a difference in definition of hunger like others said up thread. Even at my highest I didn't regularly stuff myself completely (with the exception of with chocolate). I think my issue was more that I was eating so many sweets and they are so high calorie (and increased my hunger levels) that that was a bigger reason for my being obese then overeating on other foods. I think what I'm trying to say is that even at my highest my definition of "full" was different than someone who had problems with portion sizes in general, and not with one specific food type (sugar).

Lori Bell
02-10-2012, 08:09 AM
When I first started maintaince, (first year or so), I felt pretty normal in regards to how satisfied I felt after eating and how hungry I felt. It just didn't seem to be a big issue. I also could maintain on around 1800-2000 calories a day. HOWEVER...this last year of maintaince has been pure H*LL. I am hungry ALL of the time, I've had to cut my calories down to around 1500 to maintain, and I feel as though I am physically starving all of the time.

I excercise the same as I did 2 years ago, I eat the same as I did 2 years ago...but darn it, I'm 2 years older, so maybe that has something to do with it. Maintenance is harder now than ever, but I will continue to fight until I take my last breath, because no matter how hard it is, being morbidly obese was much harder.

joyful retiree
02-10-2012, 08:15 AM
I went through a period of being hungrier than maintenace would allow for, so, after googling Leptin & weight loss maintainence, I did a Modified Leptin Reset breakfast each day (30 gms protein & 17- 20NC). After 6 weeks, I went back to how I'd been eating & maintaining, & I have not had to deal with being hungry since then. That was about a year ago. It worked for me.

lin43
02-10-2012, 09:00 AM
When I first started maintaince, (first year or so), I felt pretty normal in regards to how satisfied I felt after eating and how hungry I felt. It just didn't seem to be a big issue. I also could maintain on around 1800-2000 calories a day. HOWEVER...this last year of maintaince has been pure H*LL. I am hungry ALL of the time, I've had to cut my calories down to around 1500 to maintain, and I feel as though I am physically starving all of the time.

This scares the crap out of me. I don't want to regain a lot of weight, but I'm so weak that I think I would rather weigh ten pounds more than I do now than eat any lower than 1800 per day.


I went through a period of being hungrier than maintenace would allow for, so, after googling Leptin & weight loss maintainence, I did a Modified Leptin Reset breakfast each day (30 gms protein & 17- 20NC). After 6 weeks, I went back to how I'd been eating & maintaining, & I have not had to deal with being hungry since then. That was about a year ago. It worked for me.

I've never heard of "Leptin Reset." Is there a particular source you would recommend for information about this?

runningfromfat
02-10-2012, 09:14 AM
I've never heard of "Leptin Reset." Is there a particular source you would recommend for information about this?

I'm interested in this as well... also, what do you mean by 17- 20NC?

sontaikle
02-10-2012, 09:21 AM
I find that most of the time I'm not hungry and have trouble getting the calories I need. Every so often I'm just super hungry so I'll have a higher calorie day here and there.

I find that when I eat too much fruit I get hungry. I think I really need to limit myself to one piece a day (and I say this as I had a protein shake with a banana and a planned apple snack later on :lol:)

caryesings
02-10-2012, 09:36 AM
For me, I had decided I'd let my body pick my final weight based on calorie level (in and out) that I could live with rest of my life. Which ended up to be @ 1800-2000 calories daily in with @5 hours exercise per week. If I want to get my weight any lower, I do have to cut calories further to the point of annoying hunger which I've found triggers binges so for now I appear to be "stuck" in 165 range. While I'm happy to be 100 lbs less than I was and intellectually happy that I'm not fighting myself to get a better number, I do have to admit that I'd REALLY like to get that last 20 lbs gone.

pageta
02-10-2012, 09:51 AM
I lost weight with the previous WW plan, and as I lost weight, my daily point allowance decreased. I did not find that a problem. My hunger levels were the same. So I think 2000 at the beginning of your weight loss journey and 1700 at the end will probably feel about the same.

With that said, now that I've been in maintenance for over a year, I've learned that different types of foods keep hunger at bay much better. With WW, you can eat anything you want. The down side of that is that you have to figure out for yourself what foods are most filling and keep hunger at bay. That has taken me over a year of experimentation, but I think I've about got it figured out. WW has its Simply Filling plan - I have to do that WITH whole fat dairy rather than without (I need more fat in my diet), basically.

Essentially I eat whole foods without ingredients I cannot stock in my kitchen. Most of the food I eat is made at home. The little prepared food I buy is usually from Trader Joes, where all the ingredients are stuff I could buy. I eat butter on my bread, and I eat whole milk yogurt, cheese, etc. Then I'm fine. If I waste my calories on junk food, I am very hungry and need a lot more food. I do not use sugar substitutes, nor do I buy anything that is low-fat or diet.

So 1) yes, you can get by on less food, and 2) it's easier to do that when you learn what types of food work best for you, which can require wholesale change to your diet. That's my experience, for what it's worth.

freelancemomma
02-10-2012, 10:26 AM
<<I've had to cut my calories down to around 1500 to maintain [from 1,800-2000]... I'm 2 years older, so maybe that has something to do with it.>>

Hmmm, two extra years of age shouldn't make THAT much difference. I just input my variables into a calorie calculator. If I make myself two years older, it tells me I can have 15 fewer calories per day; four years older, 30 fewer calories per day, and so on. I know these calculators aren't infallible, but the change in your maintenance requirements seems pretty drastic. I have to wonder if anything else has changed in your life/routine. Have you tried upping your calories just a little and seeing what happens?

Freelance

paperclippy
02-10-2012, 03:09 PM
Like everything else in weight loss/maintenance, this is really different from person to person.

I find that my hunger level is more directly related to how much food I ate over the past few days than anything else. If I eat huge meals for a few days, then I feel like my stomach has stretched out and it takes more food for it to feel full. If I eat less, then it takes less to fill me up like my stomach was shrinking. This is why for me at least if I need to lose a few pounds, the first two weeks are the hardest as I adjust to the lower calorie level. Once I've adjusted, I'm not any hungrier than I was before.

That's within limits of course. If I ate 1000 cals I would be hungry, regardless. It also depends where the calories are coming from -- I need fiber and fat to stay full so if I don't eat any I'll be hungry anyway.

Lori Bell
02-10-2012, 07:02 PM
<<I've had to cut my calories down to around 1500 to maintain [from 1,800-2000]... I'm 2 years older, so maybe that has something to do with it.>>

Hmmm, two extra years of age shouldn't make THAT much difference. I just input my variables into a calorie calculator. If I make myself two years older, it tells me I can have 15 fewer calories per day; four years older, 30 fewer calories per day, and so on. I know these calculators aren't infallible, but the change in your maintenance requirements seems pretty drastic. I have to wonder if anything else has changed in your life/routine. Have you tried upping your calories just a little and seeing what happens?

Freelance

I continue to eat whole foods and very minimal sugar. I continue to make healthy choices and eat an abundance of lean meats, good fats, veggies and fruit. In the last 2 years I have gone from a stay at home mom to working approx 36 hours a week at a very labor intensive job. I am basically on my feet, moving quickly, lifting, stooping, etc. for 7 hours a day with one 20 minute lunch break. When I get home, I work my butt off doing all the things I can't get done in the morning. I spend very little time on leasure anymore.

I finally land around 10:00PM and fall asleep pretty quickly. The only thing I can think of is that it is very stressful at times, and I need to be up at 4:30AM to get everything done at home before I start work at 7:00AM. I have gone from 8 hours of sleep to about 6.5 hours of sleep, every night. Maybe stress/lack of sleep has something to do with it. But trust me, I'm not eating 1500 calories worth of garbage every day, I eat very nutrient rich foods.:)

surfergirl2
02-10-2012, 07:17 PM
I continue to eat whole foods and very minimal sugar. I continue to make healthy choices and eat an abundance of lean meats, good fats, veggies and fruit. In the last 2 years I have gone from a stay at home mom to working approx 36 hours a week at a very labor intensive job. I am basically on my feet, moving quickly, lifting, stooping, etc. for 7 hours a day with one 20 minute lunch break. When I get home, I work my butt off doing all the things I can't get done in the morning. I spend very little time on leasure anymore.

I finally land around 10:00PM and fall asleep pretty quickly. The only thing I can think of is that it is very stressful at times, and I need to be up at 4:30AM to get everything done at home before I start work at 7:00AM. I have gone from 8 hours of sleep to about 6.5 hours of sleep, every night. Maybe stress/lack of sleep has something to do with it. But trust me, I'm not eating 1500 calories worth of garbage every day, I eat very nutrient rich foods.:)

It's GOTTA be the sleep thing. I find that sleep has a HUGE effect on my weight. I can't get by on less than 7 hours a night; 8 is ideal.

lin43
02-11-2012, 08:43 AM
I continue to eat whole foods and very minimal sugar. I continue to make healthy choices and eat an abundance of lean meats, good fats, veggies and fruit. In the last 2 years I have gone from a stay at home mom to working approx 36 hours a week at a very labor intensive job. I am basically on my feet, moving quickly, lifting, stooping, etc. for 7 hours a day with one 20 minute lunch break. When I get home, I work my butt off doing all the things I can't get done in the morning. I spend very little time on leasure anymore.

I finally land around 10:00PM and fall asleep pretty quickly. The only thing I can think of is that it is very stressful at times, and I need to be up at 4:30AM to get everything done at home before I start work at 7:00AM. I have gone from 8 hours of sleep to about 6.5 hours of sleep, every night. Maybe stress/lack of sleep has something to do with it. But trust me, I'm not eating 1500 calories worth of garbage every day, I eat very nutrient rich foods.:)


I'm wondering if it is the additional stress. I've heard that stress can raise cortisol levels, which can lead to the body holding onto weight. The lack of sleep could also contribute to this. If that's the problem, I don't know what the solution would be other than to engage in some stress-reducing activities (e.g., light stretching, relaxing baths, etc).

The other thing ---and I hesitate to suggest this since it's almost a cliche----perhaps you actually need more calories. Maybe your activity level has gone up to the point where your body is crying out for more food and when it's not getting it, it is hanging onto every oz. of fat. So, the notorious "starvation mode" at work? I know, I know: I have my doubts about the validity of it. However, I must say that when I increased my calories back in October, all of a sudden, I noticed that I seemed to drop a lot of weight (I wasn't weighing myself, but clothes I had just bought a month before became loose). I think initially when anyone increases calories, the scale shows a gain simply because there is physically more food in the body. However, if one is actually eating the appropriate number of calories, that should level out over a couple of weeks.

I don't know if any of those suggestions will help, and I am certainly not an expert, but I'm just throwing out ideas (In fact, I feel like a student giving a teacher advice since you've been at maintenance for two years and I've just started).

joyful retiree
02-11-2012, 08:46 AM
Regarding Leptin Reset:

I don't remember the exact sites, except one low carb bulletin board, which I don't think I can mention here. I googled both "leptin" & "leptin reset" & found articles about how leptin levels effect appetite, especially after reaching a normal weight. Evidently, leptin is a hormone in the gut that gets all out of whack when you are overweight & then needs to be "reset" when you reach goal, or leptin's ability to increase hunger can 'do you in' while trying to maintain. I think there is also a Leptin Reset book, but I don't remember the author. I modified the recommendations I read about, because the advised 50 gms of protein at breakfast was just too much for me. My trial with the 30 gms worked for me, so it may be one of those YMMV situations. I am just very grateful that it worked for me & plan to use the strategy again if I find my appetite getting out of control in the future. Good luck to you all.

Lori Bell
02-11-2012, 11:44 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/27/health/biological-changes-thwart-weight-loss-efforts-study-finds.html

Found this interesting link when doing a search on leptin. Seems that studies are showing that indeed, my personal strggles are not all that uncommon in previously obese people.

JayEll
02-11-2012, 02:58 PM
Yeah, but did you see how low they had those poor people in the study eating? 500 to 550 calories per day! That would throw anyone's hormones and metabolism out of whack.

Jay

Lori Bell
02-11-2012, 03:22 PM
Yeah, but did you see how low they had those poor people in the study eating? 500 to 550 calories per day! That would throw anyone's hormones and metabolism out of whack.

Jay

True, that would be enough to send anyone over the edge!

sept15lija
02-14-2012, 04:15 PM
I'm 6 months into maintenance, and so far so good. I eat around 2000 calories per day (I'm very happy I can eat at that level, too - I thought it might be much less!) and I'm rarely hungry. Hunger for me is mostly boredom. If I am busy, I can go hours and hours without eating, with no trouble. Really, I don't think I actually ever really get truly hungry in the tummy rumbling sense very often, I just start to get really cranky and then I know I need to eat something. I hope it stays like this! It's a scary thought that it could get harder and harder, however I guess the only thing we can do is wait and see and deal with what comes.

lynnien
02-16-2012, 01:57 PM
I find that I'm MUCH less hungry. I don't attribute it to my size I attribute it to habits I've picked up and maintained for so long. Being physically hungry doesn't bother me like it used to. I just kind of roll with it. I have learned that it's OK to not feel stuffed to the gills all. the. time. and being a little hungry sometimes is not going to kill me.

I was worried in the beginning too but I've found it to be a nonissue. Maybe it's because I do IF? I don't know... I'm rarely hungry unless TOM is about to rear her ugly head and that's not 'real' hunger it's emotional hunger.

Having maintained my goal weight for a little over a half year, I also have found that I've become much better at tolerating hunger. It's not as uncomfortable as it used to be. I have taught myself to more intensely dislike feeling overstuffed. :cool:

lynnien
02-16-2012, 02:01 PM
learned from sister who's a med. doctor that although the stomache itself does not shrink when losing weight, metabolism does change for the better. Somehow (no clue about the medical details here) this relates to more quickly feeling full, that is, finding it more uncomfortable to eat more. That's a helpful thing.

ValRock
02-16-2012, 02:40 PM
You know... I've often wondered if a small metabolism decrease wasn't a good thing?! We're always hearing that this and that slows your metabolism bla bla bla... but to a certain extent don't we WANT that? A super fast metabolism makes you hungry enough to eat a horse and I'm sure many of us eat way too much to overcompensate for that and GAIN weight. I'll take a midrange metabolism and a low hunger level, over that, any day!

surfergirl2
02-16-2012, 04:30 PM
You know... I've often wondered if a small metabolism decrease wasn't a good thing?! We're always hearing that this and that slows your metabolism bla bla bla... but to a certain extent don't we WANT that? A super fast metabolism makes you hungry enough to eat a horse and I'm sure many of us eat way too much to overcompensate for that and GAIN weight. I'll take a midrange metabolism and a low hunger level, over that, any day!

That's how i feel too. I think i have a pretty high metabolism and i am just a few pounds overweight because i eat so damn much...i'm always hungry. I decided that overexercising wasn't helping...so i have decided to not overexercise anymore. now i do about 30-45 minutes twice a day...sometimes it's just walking, other times more intense.

fitmom
02-21-2012, 11:26 AM
I find it depends on my activity level. If it's a training day, I'm really hungry. If it's a maintenance day, not so much. I've also trained myself to recognize the signs of real hunger vs. say, dehydration. I'll drink a glass of water first. If I'm still experiencing hunger pangs ten minutes later then I'll eat something. Whereas before, I just ate out of boredom or when I was stressed out. It's a totally different mindset now for me.