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Eating for pleasure vs. eating for fuel

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Old 11-05-2009, 11:09 AM   #1
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Default Eating for pleasure vs. eating for fuel

Hey, guys-

I started doing the low-carb thing on Sunday. Not following any specific plan - just cut out sugar, bread, pasta, rice, oatmeal, cereal, fruit, juice - you get the idea. Eating turkey, chicken, vegetables, low-fat cheese, nuts, fish, eggs, soy milk..that's probably about it. I had never planned to do this since I eat very little meat and love whole grains, but I've gained 30 lbs. in the last 2 years and cutting calories and going to the gym 5-6X/week wasn't doing anything. I'm 41, so that could be part of it.

Anyway, I'm aiming for the 1200 calories/day I was eating before, but letting myself have up to 1500 if I'm hungry. The thing is, I haven't been that hungry. I'm starting to wonder if a lot of what I thought was hunger before was really cravings. I mean, if I were letting myself have sugar or bread I would have eaten at night, and I had calories left over. But was I hungry for a big salad or fish? Not so much.

Have you all noticed this? I feel like I really miss eating for pleasure. I'm OK with all the foods I'm eating, but I would never OD on any of them. I don't plan to eat this way forever - maybe 2-4 weeks until I can get past these plateaus. And it's working great - I've lost 4.5 lbs. just this week. I know I'll have to be very careful about adding carbs back in slowly, and I know I'll have to count calories my whole life.
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:19 PM   #2
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It is common to lose cravings and not be hungry on a lowcarb diet. I had to start counting calories to make sure I was eating enough. Eating carbs always caused cravings for me, I would be "hungry" all the time. After I started cutting them out and my blood sugar and insulin levels became more even, the cravings where gone. But I really enjoyed the foods I was eating and that's why I was able to stick with it for over a year (and lose 50lbs)before I got pregnant.
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:39 PM   #3
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Same here. No cravings since switching to a low carb diet. Before I couldn't get enough and now sometimes I have to make myself eat. I have never felt that way before.
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:50 PM   #4
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I actually like the new feelings of not really craving things after being LC for about a month. Sure, the wife and I have a planned cheat day once a week, but we never stray very far. Ususally just for one meal out. We probably aren't losing as fast as some, but we then don't feel as though were are limiting ourselves too much either. As long as we are still losing wieght, it is a process that works for us.
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:33 PM   #5
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I've been reading a lot about low-carb diets, and diets for some of the health issues I have, such as IBS, autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia, low thyroid, insulin resisteance, osteo (and possibly rheumatoid) arthrits, as well as gluten and grain free diets (there's a lot of overlap in all of these subjects - so much so that I'm wondering if they're not all interconnected issues).

At any rate, I'm learning that a low-carb (and completely wheat-free) diet is the one I feel best on. I have the fewest symptoms of most of my health issues. I'm in less pain and feel less hungry, and have more energy.

I need to cut out carbs much more than I do. Even when I control calories, I lose less if I don't also limit carbs. When I'm eating a lot of carbs, I find it very difficult to control my calories too, because I'm always hungry.

It sometimes seems that limiting carbs is so difficult that a low-carb diet must be "unrealistic." I think what's really unrealistic is my not learning to live with the diet I feel healthiest and happiest on.

I've suspected for a long time, and recently proved to myself without a doubt that I am allergic to wheat. The longer I go without it, the more severe the symptoms even when I have a small amount of wheat (like a tablespoon of bread stuffing at Thanksgiving - and then had an itchy, red rash by that evening).

I STILL crave bread and other wheat foods. When hubby makes a piece of toast for himself, I want a bite so badly it's torture. But it's stupidity for me to eat it.

I don't think it's just a matter of point-of-view though. High carb foods aren't just tasty and pleasureable - they also create biochemical reactions that make it harder to resist. It's not just a mental craving, it's a physiological one as well. So, it's not as simple as just "deciding" that you will only eat for fuel, because carbs can create insulin spikes and blood sugar drops that sure feel like REAL hunger.

Also, there are some pretty pleasureable low-carb foods, so it's not just a gratification thing. Even the most decadent of low-carb treats, I don't feel like eating until my tummy hurts - like I do with some carb-rich foods.
Maybe most carb-foods are that to me. More a poison than a food. I have to remember to ask myself would I really be willing to drink poison for pleasure's sake. Is the food really that good, that it's worth hurting myself to eat.

While I'm eating it, I would say yes - but then when I face the consequences I know the answer is no.

For now, I really have to keep focused on the foods that make me feel the best physically. My tongue isn't the boss of me (though I so often let it be).
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:54 AM   #6
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Like the others, I find I feel best eating low carb. I tried it because the rationale seemed intriguing and worth a shot. I love fruits & veggies and never would have thought I could learn to live with limiting them, but the lack of hunger and control of appetite is such a huge difference for me, it's been a great positive feedback cycle.

I've also found several foods that are indulgences & pleasures to me from the low carb foods --- not completely replacements for the carbs but more things that I avoided because of the calories before. I have real cream in my coffee or tea and that I adore. I put butter on veggies, I make sauce for meat (no flour or cornstarch, however). I eat cheese. All of these things I controlled in the past - now I can eat pretty freely. For fruit, I whirl up strawberries & other berries with cream & mascarpone & freeze in small containers -- very low carb fruit-flavored treats.
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