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The line between hunger and craving?

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Old 02-10-2013, 07:30 PM   #1
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Default The line between hunger and craving?

So I'm sitting here at work. I ate a pretty hefty breakfast at about noon and it's currently 3:30 pm.

My breakfast was easily 900 calories, as I pumped it up with some coconut oil to add some fat to it, as well as greek yogurt, macadamia nuts and some shredded coconut. It was delicious and full of good stuff, albeit pretty high calorie. I brought, for lunch, a bowl full of chicken that I pulled off of a whole chicken that I baked last night. It was baked in olive oil and is delicious.

Now for the past hour I've been thinking about that chicken. It's a little early, after such a high fat high calorie breakfast, to be truly hungry. So I decided to wait. A few minutes ago I almost opened up the tupperware and just went for it but I stopped myself. My stomach isn't telling my I'm hungry. It's a different feeling. The same type of feeling I get when I'm about to start plowing cake into my mouth or pop open a can of pringles. It's not hunger, it's a craving for the taste of that chicken.

Obviously that chicken is a healthy meal to eat. I'm not drooling over a hot pocket or candy bar, I'm just looking forward to the meal I know is going to be very tasty.

But, healthy or not, I want to wait until my stomach is actually telling me I'm hungry. Is there really a difference between giving in to the craving for a sugary treat and giving in to the craving for the tasty chicken you prepared? It's going to mean I'm eating my food before I'm hungry, leaving me without anything to eat for about 5 hours which will probably result in some for-real hunger, sending me to the vending machine probably ready to make a not-so-good choice.

I started this primal blueprint in hopes of really getting in touch with my hunger signals. I just didn't realize that my hunger signals were so warped.

What do you guys think about learning to listen to your body? For so long I've given in to the cravings. Sure, I've been hungry and I know what it feels like, but so often I mistake a craving for hunger, especially with it's a craving for a healthy meal. I figure 'why the **** not eat my healthy meal if I'm hungry'? But the thing is...I'm not hungry. So I shouldn't eat yet, even if it's healthy.

I feel like this has been an epiphany.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:41 PM   #2
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I am on a physician's weight loss plan and was offered prescription appetite suppressants. I didn't take them. It's all part of what we need to learn. I ask myself many times a day, "are you REALLY hungry?" And over half the time, I'm just looking to medicate my energy. Happy, stressed...I have always used food to ground myself. I also will pick at food while cooking as if I just CAN'T wait to get the food on the plate. Goodness knows how many calories I've eaten just standing in the kitchen. I'm getting better at it. I imagine the appetite suppressants would have been easier, but it's not a long term solution.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:12 PM   #3
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It's really inspiring that you've decided to go it without the appetite suppressants!

You're completely right about learning what is real hunger and what isn't. I feel freed with the idea that I don't need to set my meal times. I need to eat only when I'm hungry. I keep catching myself eyeballing the clock, because in about 20 minutes is the time I'd semi-conciously decided I could eat lunch, based on the fact that it's 4 hours off from the time I'd be near another meal.

But I don't even believe we need meals every 3-4 hours! I believe we need meals as we're hungry! I'm not hungry! So if in 20 minutes I'm still not feeling that rumbling in my stomach and I eat, I'm still eating to satisfy a craving, regardless of the fact that I planned that meal and it's going to be eaten anyways. I need to eat when I feel that rumbling, and not sooner!(Except maybe in certain circumstances like before a string of classes or something, where I wouldn't be able to eat as soon as feeling hunger.)

I'm feeling pretty good about this new realization. Maybe it's silly, but I didn't really notice how often I was eating just because it was 'time' or because I could.
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:15 AM   #4
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Oh who knows. I am always hungry, or I always want to eat. All I know is that hunger is supposed to come from the stomach, cravings/appetite comes from the mind. They say that if you're really hungry eat an apple. If you don't want to eat an apple then you're not really hungry.

shrug, hunger is the pits.

OT - if breakfast is at noon, what time is lunch and dinner?
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth

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Old 02-11-2013, 11:27 AM   #5
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Do you know what's causing the craving (aside from the fact that you know the chicken will taste really good?). You mentioned you are at work. Are you bored? Are you in a job where there's no one around to talk to? Do you hate your job? Is it high stress? These were all triggers for me when I was still working that would drive me to that vending machine so conveniently packed with everything that I shouldn't be eating but wanted. Right then.

You're right to try to figure out if it's hunger or a craving. And since you mentioned the high calorie breakfast, it's probably a craving. Once you figure out that it's a craving, then I TRY (the key word being try) to figure out what's making me crave eating -- boredom, loneliness, and stress seem to be my triggers. I've tried to develop coping techniques for the three of them, and I've gotten to the point where I'm about 75% able to stave off a craving now. But it's hard and it's like your mind gets stuck on thinking about that and nothing else.
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:39 PM   #6
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Well Betsy, I really think my cravings come from nowhere. Not always, but for the most part they happen when I'm happy, sad, bored, not bored(less frequently than bored but it still happens), when I'm stressed or not stressed...

I think so long as I can tell it's a craving and not hunger I don't really care too much where the craving is coming from. It's easier to ignore it if I know my body doesn't it need, it's just my mind that wants it. Then I can just watch it float away.

I'm also in the process of kicking sugar and grains. I think a lot of my cravings happen because of how often I consumed those things.

To Wannabeskinny, I eat breakfast between 10 and 12, lunch between 2-4 and dinner between 8-10. My schedule is crazy because I work full-time and am taking two college courses.

I hope to be a full-time student next semester. But since going primal I've thrown the notion that I need to eat 3-6 small meals a day every 3-4 hours. It's bs as far as I'm concerned now. I'm eating when I'm hungry and stopping when I'm full. In fact, it's lunchtime right now and I'm not ravenous, because I waited until I was hungry to eat breakfast. I'll probably eat my lunch much closer to the time I get off work, which is closer to dinner and will hopefully leave me eating much less for dinner.

So getting to know a real hunger signal and a craving is pretty important right now for me. I just don't want to eat until I'm hungry, but with so many years of either eating all day or eating at planned times I've found it's a little more difficult than expected. But I think I'm getting the hang of it.
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