Originally Posted by missunshine
is this phyisical hunger or emotional hunger? do you feel growling in your stomach or just strong cravings? i'm asking because i have no idea what normal hunger is or should be
I used to assume that cravings and food obsessions and the inability to stop eating even when my stomach hurt from overeating were all signs of emotional hunger, not "real" hunger. Then I started reading some of the newer obesity and diet research, and I'm convinced that it's ALL physiological hunger for many of us.
For example at least one study found that obese subjects have less of the hormone that triggers eating for thinner subjects, but less of the hormone that signals satiety.
This is consistent with my experience as (when I was young and foolish) found it easier to eat nothing for three or four dsys than to stop once I started.
Other studies found that a growling stomach is only one kind of hunger, and not everyone, thin or obese experiences hunger as a feeling in the stomach at all.
If I waited to eat until my stomach growled, I often would pass out from hunger first.
The researchers found that for some people a headache was their only symptom of hunger, for others irritability or cravings might be their only hunger cue.
I used to think cravings, food thoughts, and an inability to stop eating were all "emotional" or "false" hunger, but if that's true, why do all three disappear if I eat very low carb?
On high carb, I might feel a little light headed if I go without eating, but only if I haven't eaten in ten or twelve hours. On high-carb, I cannot concentrate on anything because of food obsession. I want to eat, but there are no other symptoms, and the more carbs I eat, the more I want and the harder it is to think of anything but food and eating.
On very low carb, I CAN forget to eat. My first sign of hunger is that my husband suddenly becomes a jerk. Seriously though the first symptom is irritability and hubby is the first to notice it because I suddenly start treating him like a jerk. He'll ask me when I last ate to show me that I'm hungry.
If I don't eat, the second stage of hunger is a piercing headache. If I don't realize it's a hunger headache, the third stage is light-headedness and nausea. If I don't eat within seconds of stage 3, stage four is passing out.
Normall, I try to eat moderate carb. Not so high carb that I'm food obsessed, but not so low carb that I risk passing out.
That I can prevent cravings and food obsessions by what I eat, to me proves that the hunger wasn't false or emotional, it was physiological.
I can withstand the discomfort of stomach growling (on the rare occasion that I experience it). I can endure irritability, headaches, nausea, vertigo (everything up to the 90 seconds before passing out).
Pain hunger is easy for me to ignore. The intense, compulsive, cravings are what takes too much white-knuckle willpower for me to ignore for long.
I'll take irritability any day.
Not everyone gets to choose their hunger, but I can by choosing diffetent food strategies.
Even purely emotional eating is largely physiological. Comfort foods are almost always concentrated carbohydrates, which act as a sedative and pain killer. When we're sick or sad, we crave them in order to self-medicate because it works. Carbs act as mood elevator, sedative, and pain reliever.
I've struggled with a recent weight gain that can be partially attributed to carbs being used by both myself and my hubby to medicate my pain. We did it without even realizing it.
I believe it was either David Kessler (the author of The End of Overeating) or Gart Taubes in Good Caloried, Bad Caloried who wrote something to the effect that "all hunger is physiological hunger," and while I didn't fully believe that when I read it, I am starting to.