Weight Loss Support - Is it reasonable to never be hungry?

08-24-2012, 01:19 PM
Ok so I've been mulling over this for a while - is it really possible to NEVER feel hungry during the lifestyle change process we're going through to lose weight and get healthy?

This is how I see it: most people who come here come from habits of eating high-fat, high- processed carb diets for years, often 1000s of calories more than what they should have been eating. We make the commitments to change our ways, cut out unhealthy food or at least greatly limit it, and add exercise into our lives. We reduce our calorie intake by 500-1000 a day in order to lose 1-2 lbs a week....

How can we NOT be hungry? I understand that a lot of it is not "real" hunger, it's emotional or habitual eating that we need to break. But is it -truly- unreasonable to be hungry at the end of the day? When we have had less fat/sugar intake than our body is accustomed to that day?

Is it WRONG or BAD that we're hungry while changing our diets? Isn't it something that we might have to bear before our body becomes accustomed to our new way of life? It seems a lot of posts about diet include the notion that "you should never feel hungry, you're doing something wrong if you are". Really? Because I'm telling you I eat enough and am getting enough healthy fat/fiber/protein and I'm still hungry sometimes. Really hungry, not just craving. And considering that to gain my 50lbs in 8 months that I did last year I had to be eating roughly 2500 calories a day, and now I'm down to 1500, I don't see how I'm doing something wrong just because I feel hungry.

Maybe hunger is something we sometimes will just have to wrestle with, at least until we get healthier.


08-24-2012, 01:31 PM
I still get hungry. Especially on days that I move around more for one reason or another (like if I'm walking around running errands when I normally I'm at work sitting down).

And it depends on when hunger hits, what I do -- if it's during the day, I can change a meal and eat it earlier or have a snack when I wouldn't have otherwise done it.

If it's later at night and I've already had dinner, for example, I'll tell myself, "No worries, you'll get breakfast tomorrow, and that hunger is just a sign that you're losing weight for tomorrow."

I make sure I'm eating enough calories (I range around 1500 net) and if I did move around more one day than normal, it just means that I'm burning more calories that day which means my body will simply consuming my fat storage. Which is great if it does!

08-24-2012, 01:33 PM
P.S. I will add, that the hunger I feel is real hunger.

I have IR and when I am eating a lot of carbs, I'm "hungry" but it's different. That hungry is really HANGRY. It's my blood sugar crashing all over the place. It's carbs digesting too quickly in my body and it's a different feeling.

With real hunger, I can tell it go to home and I'll feed it later. When it's IR HANGRY, then I can't..........I need something to even out my blood sugar, even if it puts me over calories that day....

So, I have to watch my carbs, so I don't get HANGRY.

08-24-2012, 01:41 PM
Hunger is something we need to learn to wrestle with - forever.

Learning to recognize and respond to hunger cues appropriately is essential. I thought my responses were OK before; I didn't have an irrational fear of feeling any sensation of hunger. But I did over-respond to hunger cues. "Hungry? ... Still? Well, okay, I'll eat more then." Wrong. I mean, sometimes wrong. Sometimes your body really is asking for more fuel. But some days are just naturally hungrier than others - especially when you throw hormonal cycles into the mix. Hunger doesn't always *need* an immediate response. Learning when to listen and when to move on has been a big deal for me this time around.

08-24-2012, 01:59 PM
I don't even understand the question.

Of course you're going to be hungry? How the heck would we survive as a species if we didn't experience hunger?

It doens't matter what your macro nutrient ratios are or how many veggies you try to stuff your belly with ... you're going to be hungry sometimes.

This is why I intermittent fast so at least I'm not hungry all the time which when I was eating 5-6 small meals a day I was always hungry and fixated on food.

Now I eat 2x a day and don't think about food ... much. :D

Arctic Mama
08-24-2012, 02:08 PM
I'm hungry at various time throughout the day, sure. But I'm not hungry when I finish eating, and not hungry constantly, either. I don't think that is normal or healthy, and should be avoided with adjusting food types and quantities until you are reasonably satiated but not stuffed and the hunger you do feel is manageable and doesn't prompt a binge.

Sometimes I have hungry days and those can be tough - hormones or being on the verge of a big weigh drop can do that to me. For those brief times, when I know I am on plan and the hunger is distracting, I will add a little more food to make myself comfortable. But again, this is rare and the food choices are controlled. You just have to decide what your body is doing and how best to respond. Sometimes telling ourselves no, even with genuine hunger, isn't a bad idea ;)

08-24-2012, 02:34 PM
Yep, I think feeling a bit more hungry is part of the equation with weight loss, especially in the beginning but I have found enough of a balance with my eating and food choices that it's not something I "suffer" with throughout the day. I'm usually famished after an intense workout and depending on how much time I work at that pace (particularly intense cardio), I might find myself having more frequent hunger bouts during the day. I do find that staying well hydrated and having more protein and fats makes a significant difference in how satiated I feel during the day. I stay hungry if I just eat fruits and veggies or very low fat high carb options even if it's above my normal calorie intake.

08-24-2012, 02:55 PM
When I'm losing, I'm always hungry. I have no idea why but it's pretty much constant. I even try IF which works pretty well but then I'm still hungry most of the day. I do what keeps me from being hungry at night because if I'm hungry at night, I can't sleep. I already have sleep issues so going to bed hungry is just not going to work for me. I seem to tend to eat more than other people my size, so I don't think it's an issue of needing more food.

08-24-2012, 06:50 PM
Yep. You'll still wrestle with hunger once you're at goal. This is a natural signal, and there are many, many factors involved. Like the temperature outside dropping by a few degrees in a matter of a few hours, and bam, all of a sudden your body needs just a little more fuel (food) to be able to maintain its normal, constant temperature. It's not just a matter of "eat enough veggies and meat and you'll never feel hungry at all".

What matters is to learn to recognize the right cues, the right signals, and interprete them the right way. This is the most delicate part IMHO, the one that so many people fail to recognize, the one that is so hard to master (or to master again, because for some, we 'knew' it instinctively when we were toddlers). The one that makes it so hard for us, coupled with how feeding ourselves has changed over the past 200-300 years (compared to 300,000 years of evolution, I mean). The one where we should be able to tell whether we genuinely need fuel, or if it's just PMSing and we think we "need" that extra donut.

What you mentioned about IR is part of it, I think: a matter of recognizing different types of "hunger", some of which are genuine, some of which are subtly different. Being "hungry" is OK, being "hangry" means you have eaten something your body can't process normally (high glycemic index foods, from what you mentioned).

Uhm, and I hope I'm making sense, cause it's late here and I'm tired. ^^;

08-24-2012, 07:17 PM
I have lost more than 100 pounds over a long period of time and kept it more or less off and I'm ALWAYS hungry now, trying to get a few measly regains off.

Totally it is, in my opinion, okay to be hungry. It is not okay to have dangerously low blood sugar if you are a diabetic or hypoglycemic but regular hunger is inevitable.

I also experiment with IF (really intermittent, I haven't nailed what works best yet, none of the plans people are using work for me, but I fast at intervals that aren't very well defined). I think it helps me a lot to deal with hunger, blood sugar and my crazy moods.

My hunger is real lol. I am trying to lower calories that my mind and body think I should need because for such a long time they got that many calories and also because I listened to a lot of experts tell me never to get hungry.

Lol, I think it is normal to be hungry.

08-24-2012, 10:59 PM
Strangely enough, I find I feel more hungry when I am off plan. For example, 7 days of being on plan leaves me relatively fine - I start to get hungry around my normal meal time, eat something, then I'm fine. This week, I had one carb extravaganza day that was way over on calories and have been hungry every since - so much so that I scarfed down 6 pieces of pizza for dinner tonight. (go me.)

I think WHAT you're eating along with how much plays a large role in hunger. So many people here talk about the relationship between carbs/sugar and hunger that I figure it really must have a basis in truth.

John's right in that we should expect hunger as it's a trigger for our body, but I also fully believe in what Arctic Mama is saying in "should be avoided with adjusting food types and quantities until you are reasonably satiated but not stuffed and the hunger you do feel is manageable and doesn't prompt a binge"

08-24-2012, 11:24 PM
The term hunger is used to describe way too many sensations to be able to answer this question in a meaningful way... It depends on how you define hunger, and what sensations exactly you're meaning.

Some people don't even call it or register a feeling of hunger until they feel light headed and just about ready to pass out from low-blood sugar.

Other people (like me) feel hungry 24/7, regardless of how much or when we've last eaten. In fact, I find that the more carbs I eat, the hungrier I get, so I feel hungrier on 6000 calories of high-carb than I do on 1000 calories of low-carb, and I feel hungrier on 6000 calories of high-carb than on 2000 calories of high-carb, because the more I eat the more I want.

And just because the hunger is registering in my brain and not my stomach, doesn't mean it's not "real" hunger. I never realized that, until a doctor explained the role of insulin in hunger. An insulin spike can cause hunger (insulin is a hormone and it causes hunger, even if the stomach is painfully full). Although we tend to label this "false hunger" it's as real an experience as stomach-growling hunger (in my case, I can live with stomach-growling hunger and even almost-passing-out hunger, what I cannot live with is the food OCD that insulin spikes cause).

That's what I find so crazy. On a very low-carb diet (which I don't think is healthy, so I try not to go "that low") uncomfortable hunger disappears for the most part. The first unpleasant symptom occurs when I'm almost ready to pass out (and I think "OMG, I haven't eaten for seven hours, no wonder I feel dizzy and have a headache). Usually hubby recognizes my hunger before I do (because I become grumpy and irritable and start saying mean stuff to him... So if I ever say anything unkind to him, his first response is "how long has it been since you've eaten?")

Now waiting until I'm dizzy and feeling faint, isn't the best strategy (which is why I tend to eat a little higher carb, so that I can get trustier hunger signals). However, it's actually less unpleasant for me than eating several thousand calories of high-carb and being constantly hungry 24/7).

For me, controlling the obsessive hunger is extremely important, because otherwise I feel like an animal desperate enough to chew off it's own foot to get out of the trap. Even as a child I remember being on a diet (was on my first in kindergarten) and crying myself to sleep because I was so hungry, and sneaking in the kitchen in the middle of the night to try to satisfy the hunger with food that wouldn't be missed so I wouldn't get in trouble, and then feeling like a piece of worthless filth because I hadn't been able to successfully overpower the cravings).

I've found that on low-carb, I can eat about 300 calories more (to lose the same amount of weight), can eat MUCH more volume, and can feel almost no "rabid hunger" (the crazy out-of-control cravings I now associate with hormonal TOM hunger and high-carb diets), it would have been a completely life-altering experience. I would have gotten my weight under control before middleschool (let alone high school, college, graduate school, young adulthood, middle age....)

Of course I still get hungry sometimes, but I try not to let the "rabid hunger" get me. I still fail at that sometimes (such as today when hubby and I visited hubby's grandmother and I allowed her to persuade me to eat a couple shortbread cookies). It's kind of sad that I let those cookies in, considering how well I did at lunch (we went to a chinese buffet and I chose VERY low-carb choices. Mostly stir-fried green beans and the seafood choices).

Did great, until those cookies. Then I had a handful of chips.

Calorie wise, I've done pretty well today, despite the carb intake, but I'm suffering through intense cravings and hunger this evening. I have to "bite the bullet," because I wasn't smarter.

When I have to battle craving hunger, I try to quell it by stepping on the scale every time I'm tempted to go get a snack from the kitchen. I remind myself that snacks are going to add weight to the scale. For me, this usually works (it's when I decide that I don't want to know what the scale is going to tell me that I end up in dangerous behavior... feeling that since I "blew it" I might as well keep eating).

How you manage your hunger is entirely an individual matter, but it kind of depends on what kind of hunger you're experiencing. Is it "I can't think or do anything useful, because I can't get food off my mind" hunger, or is it "man I wish I could be eating, but I can find something to get the food off my mind" kind of hunger, or is it "I can barely walk a few steps without my head spinning" kind of hunger.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer (though the dizziness, headache, nausea, or rage kind of hungers are probably pretty good reasons to eat something).

08-25-2012, 03:49 AM
It is perfectly okay to feel hungry! If you have just had a major change in the way you eat, you are bound to feel a it out of sorts and be hungry at weird times.

My school was weird interval & lunchbreaks, so I've found that my appetite has been really messed up, on the weekends I don't feel hungry; but at school I am ravenous. If I am really hungry, I find an apple and chugging a decent amount of water gets rid of the feeling.

Sometimes we also mistake hunger, for thirst, so I hope no one feels guilty for being hungry :)

08-25-2012, 06:30 AM
When we're in weight loss mode, we're bound to feel hungry because our biology is telling us to eat more. As has been said many times before, hunger is not an emergency. Hunger pangs come and go, and I think we can train ourselves to tolerate and ignore mild hunger. If the hunger becomes acute, I think we should attend to it to avoid the temptation to binge.

JMHO Freelance

Misti in Seattle
08-25-2012, 07:56 AM
I think it is kind of nice to actually feel genuine hunger sometimes because I remind myself that this means I have not been just stuffing myself with "whatever" all day and just wanting food when I am not honestly physically hungry.

I will have to add, though, that with the natural supplement I am taking -- Tonic Alchemy -- I simply do not have cravings for junk and eating a lot between meals. In fact sometimes at work I will forget to eat my healthful snack. I know this is because my nutritional needs are being met and also I am off of most processed foods, which are loaded with chemicals, fake sugar, etc. Based on my own experience and backed up by studies I have done I am totally convinced many of these substances are addictive and just cause you to want to eat more and more of them.

There is nothing wrong with feeling hungry. When I do, I also realize that does not mean I have to eat! Instant gratification is such a desire in our modern culture; that does not mean we have to give in to it.

08-25-2012, 12:03 PM
There is nothing wrong with feeling hungry. When I do, I also realize that does not mean I have to eat! Instant gratification is such a desire in our modern culture; that does not mean we have to give in to it.

Lots of great advice and thoughts in this thread, but this spoke to me. I know so many people that will exit the interstate the moment a hunger pang hits (which could be thirst or could very well pass in 5 minutes) and load up at the fast food stop because THEY CAN. I'm usually hungry the last 20 minutes of an intense workout, but I don't stop and quit...I don't have blood sugar issues or anything medical wise that would mean "stop" so therefore it's in my head and I have control over that.

I feel really strongly our culture is set up to get what we want when we want it EVEN if it's not good for us. I also think people confuse food with comfort. It's fuel. Yes it can be good tasting fuel, but to give it so much power that it changes your schedule or something is something I choose not to do...even if it means I might be "hungry" for an hour.

Misti in Seattle
08-25-2012, 02:21 PM
Very well said, Serenity!!!!

08-26-2012, 03:33 AM
I know so many people that will exit the interstate the moment a hunger pang hits (which could be thirst or could very well pass in 5 minutes) and load up at the fast food stop because THEY CAN.
That, too. I drive a lot, due to visiting my family who live hundreds of km from where I am, and there are lots of fast-food joints along the roads I have to take. I've noticed that when I'm 'hungry' on those trips, I'll most often stop at McD's and such just for a drink, or for a pack of fruit at most, because I'm much more thirsty than hungry, actually—and these two are things lots of people may have a hard time differenciating?

Misti in Seattle
08-26-2012, 10:47 AM
Sadly, too, I found last fall when I drove cross country, there are VERY few places to eat near the freeways which offer other than fast, junk food. Many times I simply could not find a nice place to get a healthful meal without going quite a ways off the freeway down into the towns looking for places -- and often did that and still could not find places. Of course they are THERE in the small towns but unless you know which ones have them, it wastes a lot of time and gas looking. Fortunately I had a good supply of food with me but I would want a driving break and to get out and go inside somewhere.

And when traveling, I find that gas stations always have the best, cheap coffee!

08-26-2012, 10:54 AM
I dont know if you have to feel hungry. I eat ALL the time..my typical day looks like this:

630 am--protein shake-about 200 calories blended with water/ice until it makes about 32 ounces nice and frothy

730-low cal breakfast, either cereal or scrambled eggs with vegies

10am-low fat greek yogurt 80-100 cal

12 noon--vegies, low calorie lunch like a slice of wheat bread with turkey or chicken (no mayo)

3pm-whole wheat bread with 1tbsp pnut butter

530-healthy dinner (about 250 calories is target) with vegies

730-8pm snack on something like a 90 calorie bar or something similar to finish my day.

I average 1200-1300 calories per day and can say I have NOT had a signle hunger pain or feeling since I started doing this 3 weeks ago. I have never eaten this often in my life, but after trying it I like it. I eat at these scheduled times even though I am not hungry, just so I dont get that feeling.

08-26-2012, 12:43 PM
Kery and Misti I mean more along the lines of just someone commuting (we'll use DH LOL as my example). They have a 45 minute commute, it's 5 p.m., they know dinner will be there around 6-7 p.m. anyway, but they have to fill up because there is a Burger King sign and it'll be gone before they get home anyway. Not travel or long distance driving, I mean just wait another 10-15 minutes and the craving will be gone type of hunger. I hope that makes sense.

As far as fast food I hate having to grab it during travel and not be able to sit and eat. Yes you can go to say McDonald's get a salad and no dressing, great..but not if you are driving whilst eating. So won't happen for me, or maybe I'm a slob. I even decide what burger place based on how messy the burger is when I'm driving (I hate "nuggets" so when I'm stuck driving and having to eat and burgers are the only choice, I usually get a McDonald's McDouble without cheese as it's not too messy for me--I'm the lady you see that spills everytime).:dizzy:

08-26-2012, 03:08 PM
I think it is definitely normal to feel hungry all the time when losing weight. Your body is used to consuming calories ALL THE TIME. When you make the transition your body will feel like you are depriving it. I think the more you get into losing weight the less hungry you will feel. Even people at healthy weight feel hungry. However, its having the self control and ability to listen to your body that allows you to only eat when you need to. Thats just my opinion though.

08-26-2012, 05:30 PM
For decades it was generally assumed that obese people and thin people experienced the same amount and degree of hunger, obese people just were weaker and gave into the hunger more easily and/or ate when they weren't hungry.

More and more research has proven this untrue. In fact, obese folks often have stronger "willpower" and use it more often than thinner folks.

And yet the myth remains because we want to believe (as a culture) that obese people are lazy, crazy, stupid, selfish, greedy, weak and unmotivated.

Even (maybe especially) obese folks like to believe this (probably because if it's true, the cure is simply motivation... you just have to want it badly enough to stop being lazy, crazy...).

For most of my life I tried to lose weight by enduring intense hunger. I was miserable 24/7 (even dreaming about food and feeling intense guilt for eating even in my dreams).

I didn't realize that the "rabid hunger" I was experiencing isn't what most people (thin or fat) feel. I just thought I was "weak" for being unable to master that hunger.

Now I realize that I don't ever have to experience that kind of hunger ever again. I've found that eating a very low-carb diet, eliminates hunger... to the point that I'm less hungry on 1000 calories of low-carb than on 3,000 calories of high carb. Heck, I'm less hungry on 500 calories of low-carb than on 6,000 calories of high-carb.

I didn't realize that insulin spikes (and possibly other hormones since it is much worse during PMS/TOM) were responsible for the "rabid hunger," or that calories had absolutely nothing to do with this kind of hunger at all. In fact, eating could make the hunger worse if I chose the wrong foods.

Hunger isn't one symptom, it's dozens. And each provides it's own challenge. Discovering which ones you have to respond to (and how to respond) is gradual learning experience that only trial and error can provide.

08-26-2012, 08:21 PM
kaplods, is your experience true on a daily basis? What I mean is, there are days when I eat low carb/high protein and am still famished. And I mean real hunger, not thirst or emotional hunger, but real stomach growling hunger. But maybe that's because my usual food program is medium to high carb, so a low carb day isn't going to have much effect.

08-26-2012, 10:36 PM
kaplods, is your experience true on a daily basis? What I mean is, there are days when I eat low carb/high protein and am still famished. And I mean real hunger, not thirst or emotional hunger, but real stomach growling hunger. But maybe that's because my usual food program is medium to high carb, so a low carb day isn't going to have much effect.

I would agree that having a low carb day now and then while otherwise eating a high-carb diet, has very little lasting effects on my hunger levels.

I find that the diminishing effects of high-carb eating on my hunger do carry over into the next day (at least). If I eat high-carb today, I'm going to be hungry not only today, but much of tomorrow as well. And it can be two or three days before the irritating and difficult-to-ignore types of hunger disappear entirely (even the habit of eating carbs can leave a residual hunger that's more craving and habit than actual physiological hunger, but the longer I am able to eat low-carb, the more the mind-occupying types of hunger diminish.

On a steady diet of low-carb my hunger is usually very manageable. If I do experience hard-to-ignore hunger while consistently being on low-carb, nine times out of ten it's PMS/TOM week. Sometimes stress or sleep deprivation can make me unusually and distractingly hungry, but usually if it's not carbs, it's PMS/TOM.

Birth control helps control the PMS/TOM hunger and my other PMDD symptoms.

So for me, hormonal hunger seems to be the strongest, most difficult to ignore. I can keep my hunger under great control as long as I'm sticking to my low-carb eating, my birth control, and to getting getting 8 or more hours of sleep.

On high-hunger days (whether I can indentify the source of the hunger), I try to use Volumetrics principles to help (I add in even more low-calorie, high-fiber and high-water foods).

I suspect that different people may have very different hunger cues, so the only way to find ways to overcome and master your hunger is trial and error.

Some people may do best with a low-fat diet, others may do best on a low-carb diet, others still may do best with a Volumetrics style diet or a Low-GI or Paleo diet (most paleo diets are also low-to-moderate carb).

08-27-2012, 09:54 AM
It's amazing how for so many years of my life I never felt hunger because I was eating so much so now I appreciate a small amount of hunger it makes me feel alive or at least a reminder that hey look here I am HUNGRY which means I broke free from the old bad eating cycles.

I find that when I am eating a balanced breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner I am not hungry until maybe 8 or 9 but I it has gotten a lot easier to look after myself and not just eat the second some nagging feeling comes along.

But when I am in someone elses house or at a festival and eating a lot of carbs at sporadic times I get hungry and so out of touch with what I need it then turns into what I want.

I don't mind real hunger, I can deal with it now I only experience it maybe between meals if I'm busy or at night before bed but most importantly my mind isn't fixated on it anymore.

With the other types of hunger I think I view it like my bank balance, lets say I have a few thousand in the bank, there are plenty of things I really really want to buy and do but I can't afford it or that choice wouldn't be good for me in the future even though it might feel good at the time so I tell myself no, that would be nice but you can't have it.. like talking to a child.

So when the hunger comes its harder to do but think of my food like my bank balance, I could blow it but that wouldnt be a good choice for me, once I've used up whats in the budget I just have to put up and get on with things.

08-28-2012, 02:12 AM
I totally see where you are coming from in your post... I get it. It's so common to hear "and I'm not even hungry!" when people talk about their weight loss journey.
I think it's healthier to admit we all get hungry and that's ok! I sometimes need to remind myself that "hungry" isn't the end of the world. I will survive until my next scheduled meal or snack and it doesn't mean to go off plan or eat extra!

08-28-2012, 02:41 AM
I totally see where you are coming from in your post... I get it. It's so common to hear "and I'm not even hungry!" when people talk about their weight loss journey.
I think it's healthier to admit we all get hungry and that's ok!

Written this way, this makes it sound like you believe that the people saying "and I'm not even hungry!" are somehow lying (at least to themselves) about their experience, or that the people who "get hungry" while losing weight are somehow superiour to those that don't.

I don't think that hunger is a requirement for obesity, nor is it a requirement for weight loss. Some people experience a tremendous amount of hunger no matter what they eat (or don't) and some people experience very little in the way of hunger (again no matter what their actions) and many experience different kinds of hunger in different ways.

I know I thought all hunger was the same, until I found low-carb. When my parents would tell me that being hungry was "good" (I was put on my first doctor-supervised diet in kindergarten), and that everyone got hungry and I had to learn to endure it, I didn't understand how thin people did it. How did they fall asleep at night, when all they could think of was how hungry they were.

I didn't realize that my hunger was different than "normal" hunger. I didn't reallize that most people didn't think of food 24/7 or feel so hungry that they couldn't concentrate at school, or couldn't fall asleep at night.

Even when I started to realize that other people didn't feel hunger the way I did, I didn't know what I could do differently to get rid of the abnormal hunger and trade it for normal hunger.

When I tried to explain it to others, I was essentially told I was crazy, that any "difference" in my experience of hunger was all in my imagination.

I think I went into the field of psychology (earning a B.A. and M.A) more to figure myself out, than because I wanted to work in the field.

And in the end, I learned the key to experiencing a more normal experience of hunger was in WHAT I was eating, not how much.

Sure now I can say, "it's just hunger, no big deal," but that's because my hunger on a low-carb diet really is no big deal. I can even go to bed hungry without any disruption to my sleep.

On high-carb eating, I can't do that. Going to bed on high-carb hunger, is like chinese water torture. All I can think of is the drip, drip, drip, drip of the desire and thoughts of food. I can't get to sleep because I can't "turn off" the physical sensation of hunger nor the obsessive thoughts of food. If I do manage to fall asleep, it's a fitful, food-dream-filled sleep which wakes me several times and I can't get back to sleep unless I eat or take meds to knock me out (neither being very healthful in the long run).

There used to be a lap-band commercial in which a woman compares her pre-surgery hunger to a lion (you see a lion wandering her house with a "hunger" sign around it's neck) and after surgery you see her holding an orange tomcat wearing a smaller version of the same sign.

I related to that commercial so well, only my pre-birth control and pre-low-carb hunger wasn't as tame as the commercial lion. My hunger lion was rabid and very, very angry... a man-eater (that's almost but not quite a pun).

On bc and very low-carb, my hunger is a tiny baby kitten that hasn't opened it's eyes yet.

My preferred diet is a bit higher in carb.... giving me hunger that while not the tiny, helpless kitten doesn't ever become a lion (let alone the rabid, nasty, angry lion).

I always know though that the lion is just around the corner (and very easily angered) if I don't pay attention to diet (especially around TOM/PMS when the carb cravings do whisper in my ear, and if I give in to them, I'm inviting the lion to the party - and then poking it with a sharp stick).

For me, it's easier to keep the lion away than to keep it under control. I suppose you could say I still "get hungry" on low-carb, but only if you redefine hunger, because the hunger I experience on low-carb isn't at all the hunger I experience on high-carb. The difference really is like that between a helpless baby-kitten and the rabid, enraged lion.

I'll take the kitten any day, and choosing the kitten doesn't make me weaker or inferior to those who willingly take on the lion (or if it does, I'll gladly admit and be proud of my weakness and inferiority).

Misti in Seattle
08-28-2012, 07:52 AM
I totally see where you are coming from in your post... I get it. It's so common to hear "and I'm not even hungry!" when people talk about their weight loss journey.
I think it's healthier to admit we all get hungry and that's ok! I sometimes need to remind myself that "hungry" isn't the end of the world. I will survive until my next scheduled meal or snack and it doesn't mean to go off plan or eat extra!

As Kaplods said, it does sound like you think people are lying when they say they are not even hungry on their weight loss plans. It is not "unhealthy" to say we are not hungry when, in fact, we are not.

I have personally found that when I eliminate all (or most) of the chemicals and addictive substances found in so much of our processed foods... and take a *healthful* all natural supplement... I in fact do not get hungry except at the times when it is honestly time for a meal and I have not eaten. Even then, it is not the "famished" type of hunger so often considered a part of "dieting" (which I don't do).

There are times when I forget or just choose not to eat my snack because I am honestly not hungry and do not want it. This is because I am giving my body the *nutrition* it needs through healthful foods and a good, *natural* supplement. I am not stuffing myself with empty calories, processed and junk foods.

Some of us are telling the truth. :) It is not "unhealthy" to say we are not hungry when, in fact, we are not.

Excellent post, Kaplods!!! And good analogy!!!

08-28-2012, 08:04 AM
Overeating and hunger have very little to do with each other, for me. I overeat because eating is pleasurable, not because I'm hungry.

I agree with those who have said that learning to experience hunger, tolerate it for a while, and not make a crisis or emergency out of it, is part of the weight loss process. It has been for me.

But learning to control overeating (which I am still working on, after 3 years and 120 pounds loss) and learning to deal with hunger (which I now have pretty much under control) are not at really the same thing for me, or even related things.

Misti in Seattle
08-28-2012, 08:17 AM
FWIW I too agree that learning to tolerate hunger without giving in to instant gratification is good, and have in effect said that in the past. But that does not mean that those of us who say *while eating healthfully* that we are not hungry, are lying or deceiving ourselves. I eat three meals a day with sometimes a healthful snack in between, and it is VERY rare that I actually get hungry. And I am not going to lie and say I AM in order for others to think I am somehow more socially acceptable LOL

08-28-2012, 09:06 AM
I also think one of the reasons that many people feel so hungry all of the time, is that over the centuries we've drastically changed the volume of food we eat.... eating more and more calories in smaller, and smaller portions, and we're moving less and less.

Wild foods (what we would have eaten before agriculture was developed) are not calorie-dense. You have to eat a lot of food to meet your calorie needs for the day (and you have to burn a lot of calories in the process of acquiring those calories, whether by hunting or gathering).

When humans started growing our own food, we started breeding in more sugar and starch, and breeding out fiber. Which changed the calorie density of the food.

Since fiber is a carbohydrate that humans can't digest, we had to eat a large volume of wild foods to get enough calories to survive. Our bodies are still built for wild foods, but we're feeding ourselves with foods that aren't remotely like wild foods (even on a purely whole or paleo diet, we can't easily duplicate a truly paleo diet, because our modern fruits and veggies, and even meats are unlike those we would have eaten duirng early human history).

Part of the reason folks are so hungry on SAD (the standard American diet) is because we're not eating ENOUGH (in volume) and are eating TOO MUCH (in calories).

This may be urban legend, but it's said that the FDA decided on recommending 5 servings of fruits and veggies not because research indicated that was best (the research it said, found that eating 10 or more servings was ideal) but because most people weren't even eating 5, so they felt recommending 10 would be considered ridiculous.

If we ate more wholesome food, we would be eating a much higher volume of food. You can eat a truckload of greens for the calories of a few M&M's (or even a small handful of grapes), and yet we act like the person eating M&Ms shouldn't experience any more hunger than the person eating freggies (fresh fruits and veggies).

We wouldn't have to be so darned hungry, if we ate the foods we were designed to eat (and even that's an overgeneralization, because not everyone experiences more hunger on low-volume diets. Some people seem to have calorie-driven hunger and others volume-drive hunger, and still others carb-driven hunger. And then there's nutrient-driven hunger).

Researchers have even identified some of the genes associated with the different types of hunger.

Other research suggests that we're getting hungrier, because we're breeding the nutrients out of our food (in part, because of depleted soil because of the way we grow food and because we're not eating the most nutritious food available).

I don't think hunger is the most salient issue for most people. I don't even think that grazing (eating all day, whether or not strong hunger is present) is the problem.

On one hand our portions are getting bigger (because our appetites are getting bigger), but I think it's largely because there isn't as much food in our food as there used to be (even the "whole" foods aren't as nutritious as they were only 100 years ago), and because of the insulin response. For many people (some argue for most) the more calorie-dense foods one eats, the hungrier one gets (that's been my experience).

I think it's important to acknowledge that weight loss isn't the same for everyone. Some people will have to learn to endure hunger to lose weight. Others will have to learn to manipulate the hunger to lose weight, and for some people hunger isn't hte issue at all, it's what they're eating (or not eating) and the exercise/activity they're doing (or not doing).

Until we truly realize that obesity, overweight, and hunger aren't the same for everyone, researchers will continue to look for the "best" weight loss method instead of trying to identify the best weight loss method for the individual. We have to stop assuming that all weight loss is the same.

Not everyone is fat because of inappropriate response to hunger. Nor is the appropriate response to hunger universal. For some people tolerating the hunger may be necessary (especially if they're not willing to eat a less calorie-dense diet by eating MORE freggies), and for others the solution EATING MORE, but eating more wholesome calorie-dilute foods.

For most of our history we've bred foods to prevent starvation, creating more and more calorie-dense foods (without the pesky fiber that fills us up). We've done an excellent job of preventing starvation in our country (and the industrialized world), but we're not changing gears now that we're experiencing the reverse problem. We're not reverse-engineering our foods to prevent obesity.

We can reverse-engineer our diets though, and eat a grater volume of less calorie-dense foods.

There's no virtue in being hungry if the hunger could be prevented by eating more nutritious, less calorie-dense food.

08-28-2012, 12:14 PM
That's a great point, kaplods. Putting butter, cheese and oil on everything tacks on tons of calories but you don't necessarily feel any fuller than you would without it.

08-28-2012, 01:43 PM
Overeating and hunger have very little to do with each other, for me. I overeat because eating is pleasurable, not because I'm hungry.

I agree with those who have said that learning to experience hunger, tolerate it for a while, and not make a crisis or emergency out of it, is part of the weight loss process. It has been for me.

This is true for me as well. I haven't really had the experience kaplods has with overwhelming maybe-hormone related hunger, except on rare occasions that I can really quantify. I get hungry when its time to eat right now. I tolerate it for a while before I eat, because I like to eat my primary meals later in the day than most people. It is routine for me to eat dinner at 7 or 8 p.m., and this is ideal for me because late evening is a tough snack time for me. By eating later, I'm never hungry before I go to bed.

Am also doing the "eating a truckload of veggies" thing. I definitely feel more satisfied now, and am better able to tolerate hunger for a longer period. Obviously, everyone has a different NORMAL, but for me satiation is important when I am eating healthfully. I do not feel happy or satisfied if I am not satiated after a meal, and am much more likely to go off course if I don't get that feeling, so I manage that by adding veggies to both lunch and dinner, and eating dinner in courses - with plenty of veggies as the first 'course'.

So, no. I'm not wandering around hungry all the time, and I don't go to bed hungry. But I do get hungry and am okay with that, as long as I have a solid plan before I get ravenous.