Weight Loss Support - what should true hunger feel like




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ringmaster
08-17-2012, 09:00 PM
I was curious if simply having the feeling of an empty stomach means you are hungry and what exactly being truly hungry should feel like. I found this site: http://www.chuckrowtaichi.com/ch.html and found it interesting the low blood sugar and stomach acid/empty stomach feeling people often think to be true hunger but here it says hunger should not hurt or feel uncomfortable.

what's the best way to deal with those issues then? what should being truly hungry feel like then?


devnet
08-17-2012, 10:12 PM
I'd take his assertions with a grain of salt (contrary to his opinions on salt, lol), personally. I've been reading through his other articles. The copyright for all this is 1997. He doesn't cite many of his sources, and much of what he does cite is written decades before he even wrote this. Nutrition is a very new science - we are making new discoveries in it every year that prove many previous beliefs completely false. Using sources from the 60's and 70's is quite the gamble.

He also makes outrageous claims in several articles and contradicts his own recommendations at times.

Now, he may or may not be right about the hunger pangs thing. I'm not saying it's false. I'm just saying if you are really interested in finding out if it's true or not, do more research. Never trust just one source, especially one whose methods are spotty.

TiffNeedsChange
08-17-2012, 10:14 PM
Try google scholar for peer review empirical studies


Kery
08-18-2012, 04:28 AM
Hmm... My usual cue about true hunger is when my stomach starts growling. Otherwise, I know that if I'm hungry, any food will seem appealing to me; whereas 'mind hunger' will translate only by things like "I want THAT specific food, and nothing else". But those are my cues. I don't know if they're necessarily the same for other people.

kaplods
08-18-2012, 06:07 AM
I always thought I was some kind of idiot for not being able to tell "true hunger" from "false hunger" (because they all just felt like hunger to me) most of the time, and that I often found it harder to resist "false hunger" (or head hunger) than I did "true" hunger. As a result, I thought I was pretty messed up (even considering the possibility of mental illness... I went into the field of psychology getting a B.A. and M.A. in part to learn to understand and fix my broken self).

Even when I was full to bursting, I would still feel half-starved and compelled to eat. I didn't just feel like I wanted to eat, I felt as if I HAD to eat. I assumed such hunger at least had to be "false hunger." I also knew that feeling not only a growling stomach but a lightheaded feeling was obviously "true hunger" but I only could identify the extreme examples of each. Most of my hunger experience fell in the middle of those extremes and I couldn't tell true from false hunger, head hunger from stomach hunger.

Then I heard a bariatric surgeon lecture, and he argued that there was no difference. That there are many factors that go into the experience of hunger, and that they're all "real," and that distinguishing between "true" and "false" hunger probably is (for many folks) an entirely unproductive and futile endeavor, because "brain hunger" is "true hunger," and in fact can be MORE powerful than body hunger.

He gave the example of insulin release in response to a high-glycemic meal especially for insulin resistant folks (which really hit home to me, because it explained the uncontrollable urge to continue eating even when my stomach was full to bursting): He said that after a high-carb meal or snack, insulin is released and that insulin is a "growth hormone" and it's often called the "hunger hormone," because an insulin spike (especially in insulin resistant folks) causes hunger, and that hunger can be triggered even while a person's stomach is uncomfortably full.

He argued that even though this hunger does originate in the brain, it's actually regulated by a more primitive part of the brain (and when it comes to human behavior, the primitive parts of the brain are often the strongest). He gave the example of breathing. You can't choose to stop breathing for more than a couple minutes. You can try, but the primitive parts of your brain will kick in as soon as you lose consciousness (consciousness itself being a product of the less ancient parts of our brain).

Now you won't usually eat while unconscious (though sleep eating is a real phenomenon), but the strength of hormonal hunger can be much stronger (especially in some folks) than the hunger we're more aware of.

He also argued (which also resonated with me because it's been my experience as well) that it can be almost impossible to tell one "type" of hunger from another, and that all types of hunger are real to the people experiencing them. Dismissing brain-hunger as "false hunger" can leave people with the impression that there's something wrong with them for "not being able to tell the difference," when at least some research has found that it's very difficult (if not impossible) for people to learn to distinguish between the different "types" of hunger.

He also cited research that found that not only did different people associate different symptoms with hunger, there were few if any qualitative differences between how thin people and fat people experienced hunger (Some listed for example a headache and irritability as their primary symptom of hunger, but this was true for both fat and thin subjects). Overweight folks did experience more hunger, but no differences were found in the actual experience of hunger (the symptoms of hunger described).

Now there's probably conflicting research (and the best place to find it would probably be in any of the books written based on the mindful eating philosophy. And for folks, for home mindful eating works, that's fabulous. However, my attempts at mindful eating have failed miserably because I can't differentiate between true and false hunger (though I'm getting better at recognizing the extremes). Even though I'm less hungry on low-carb, I've even stalled on Atkins induction and South Beach Phase I. I NEED a portion-control element because I can't trust my hunger (especially my PMS/TOM hunger).

I'm dealing with PMS/TOM hunger right now (and it's why I've been sitting here reading and typing in the wee hours for the past two hours (since 3:00 am). I'm so hungry I feel like an animal willing to chew it's own foot off to escape the trap.

Luckily, I don't have any easily-digested carbs in the house (my PMS/TOM cravings are always for carbs and red meat). The red meat I can indulge in safely (as long as I account for it with my exchange plan), but I have to be super careful with the carbs, because eating the high-glycemic carbs especially triggers such out-of-control hunger that it's almost impossible for me to stick to my exchange plan (and the more carbs I eat, the hungrier I get and can feel as though I'm literally starving even when my stomach is full to bursting. Not eating almost causes a panic-attack, I feel this overwhelming sense of urgency almost as if something terrible will happen if I don't keep eating... it feels like I'm going crazy, even though I now know that hormone hunger is brain hunger, but it's also physiological hunger. It is in my brain, but not my imagination. It is physiological hunger and it's every bit as real as my stomach growling or the light-headed feeling of low-blood sugar.





Gosh I wish I could remember the doctor's name, to see if he's on youtube, because he was a fabulous speaker. I believe he was a bariatric surgeon who was also wls patient... but not the famous one who had the reality show with his son... I think that doctor also had wls.

freelancemomma
08-18-2012, 12:47 PM
Very interesting stuff, Kaplods. (As usual.)

F.

Beach Patrol
08-19-2012, 09:01 AM
Now there's probably conflicting research (and the best place to find it would probably be in any of the books written based on the mindful eating philosophy. And for folks, for home mindful eating works, that's fabulous. However, my attempts at mindful eating have failed miserably because I can't differentiate between true and false hunger (though I'm getting better at recognizing the extremes). Even though I'm less hungry on low-carb, I've even stalled on Atkins induction and South Beach Phase I. I NEED a portion-control element because I can't trust my hunger (especially my PMS/TOM hunger).


while everything you said resonates with me, this was particularly bell-ringing.


It's been my life-long norm to note my hunger like Kery says if I'm hungry, any food will seem appealing to me; whereas 'mind hunger' will translate only by things like "I want THAT specific food, and nothing else".Cause yeah, when I'm REALLY hungry, I can find something to eat. If I'm not REALLY hungry, I want something very specific and usually it's not on my "list of approved dieting foods". Or else, I say "I'm really hungry, but I just don't know what I want to eat." If I'm PAYING ATTENTION, I can avoid crazy binges when those times hit me. But it seems they hit me when I'm in not-paying-attention mode.

So even tho that is my "norm", still sometimes, I just go off the binge-eating deep end. Even when I'm full & I know I'm full, there's "something" that pushes me to continue to eat. Not all the time. Not even most of the time. But SOMETIMES. And I have eaten that way all my life. I'm 49 years old, and still fighting with myself about "I know I shouldn't eat that, but just a little won't hurt me" and I can do that for months on end, then suddenly (it seems) "just a little" is never, never enough.

I believe the brain is more responsible for fatness & obesity than the stomach could ever imagine.

HungryHungryHippo
08-19-2012, 12:01 PM
There was some interesting stuff in that book "The End of Overeating." One was that rules can help you overcome hunger. Like this: Smokers on a plane had a lower urge to smoke, because it just wasn't an option. When you create rules for yourself, like I DON'T eat dessert, or I DON'T eat between meals, and just completely take something off the table, it loses some of its power over you. I realized this was true, because I gave up meat 20 some years ago, and even though the smell of BBQ is wonderful, it doesn't begin to make me hungry--any more than rocks do.