I do think I have somewhat of a drive to eat more...its part of my reason for feeling like I HAVE to control emotional eating. If I have a HUNGER to eat more than my body needs to maintain a healthy weight, then I sure cant afford to spend extra eating for self-sabotage, boredom and stress.
I've never known what it feels like to be satisfied on very very little food.
I am better than I used to be. IF I stick to a low glycemic (but not low carb) diet with reasonably higher fat then I can eat LESS and feel satisfied. But by LESS I mean closer to 1700-1800 (when not nursing or marathon training)
But before I dicovered that I have been on 2000 cal/day diets and been absolutely ravenous.
A whole lot of setbacks. Starting over.
Then everything changed overnight. The anit-psychotic that was targeting the receptors in my brain that caused the halucinations also produced a primal hunger that I never experienced before. I couldn't stop eating and I craved sweets and carbs like crazy (pardon my personal pun!)
For the first time, I experienced never ending, gut renching hunger. I knew I was gaining 10 pounds a year and that I was the one responsible for putting the food in my mouth, but I didn't care.
Carolyn - I totally relate. I have been on a steroid for the past ten years because of a cancer that I had. I had never had a weight problem – well, I gained 35 pounds the first year and up to 100 pounds in the past ten. In a discussion with my oncologist I asked about the weight gain and he told me it was purely the effect of the steroid on my brain not my metabolism that was causing the weight gain. He then asked if I was eating anything I normally wouldn't. Yes, doughnuts, potato chips, etc. He told me that is because my brain was telling me I am seriously in starvation mode.
About 3 months ago I went and told him I couldn’t live like this anymore and I needed to either stop or reduce the amount of steroid I was taking even if it meant a greater chance of the cancer returning ( quality of life). He agreed to support me on taking half. I have lost 12 pounds in the last 6 weeks!
Yes. I believe our brain chemistry has a lot of power.
Meg, I could just take your post and paste it here and call it my own. That is my experience of hunger as well. For me, hunger is the same as the need to breathe, an autonomic drive we can't control or stop. And unfortunately, my hunger is larger than most other people's hungers.
I firmly believe that the only reason I've been successful at losing and keeping the weight off for these past three years is that I low-carb. It wasn't until I started Atkins and cut out most of the non-vegetable carbs from my diet that I ever experienced what hunger must be like for normal people. I must be insulin resistant or have a stronger reaction to blood sugar & insulin than most people because as soon as I started eating in a way to keep my blood sugar stable, I stopped being ravenously hungry 24/7. I could eat and forget about food for a few hours. It was a revelation.
I still eat pretty low-carb today, lots of vegetables and some whole grains, very, very few starchy vegetables and only the occasional refined carb & sugar as a treat. And if I string two or more treats too close together, I immediately start to crave all the old foods again, muffins, breads, cookies, etc, etc, and my hunger is constant and gnawing. It's white knuckle willpower to go back to eating my lean protein & vegetables until my blood sugar calms down again and I get back to normal.
For me the drive to eat is definitely biological. Not to say there isn't an environmental element, there obviously is. I think that's what I see most from these discussions and this book, we seem to have hit a *special* time in history, where our food supply, at least in the wealthier nations of the world, has become so refined and processed that it's almost impossible not to get fat on it. It's not that genetics have changed or we are any more predisposed to obesity than we have been in other times, it's just that we live in an environment that is just perfect for triggering that obesity.
My hunger off switch just doesn't work if I eat Twinkies & McDonalds, but if I have a stir fry of chicken and non-starchy vegetables in a non-sugary sauce, it works just fine.
This is such an interesting discussion.
I'm currently trying to maintain. I started my journey almost 3 years ago and hit a low of 140 and am right now at around 144. I think it's because I haven't been exercising. I want to nip it in the bud, but can't seem to get my butt in gear. Anyway, this weight is comfortable for me, but 4 pounds can turn into 10 which can turn into 15....
Back to the topic...I notice I have times of the day when I am constantly hungry...usually morning to afternoon, then my appetite dips a little bit. I have a number of calories in my head that I've figured out maintains my weight around where it is, and that's 1800. (Maybe I should reevaluate, because if I'm not exercising, then maybe I should lower it about 100-200 calories). My issue is not the amount of calories I eat really, but the feeling of not enough control over the food. What I mean is that while I feel I can keep within a certain limit, there are times when I'm not really hungry enough to reach that limit and I eat anyway just because I've "allowed" myself that amount. Does that make sense? What I mean is that while I'm not eating enough to put so much weight back on, I'm finding I'm eating just to reach that quota, when I'd be fine on some days eating less. I just feel compelled to reach the quota and stuff my face because I feel like it even when not hungry. How do I get a handle on that one? I need to find a way to switch something in my head and get a new perspective. It's SO complicated and different for all of us!
I havent read the book and after reading these post have no desire too. I firmly believe the reason I am fat is because I CHOOSE to eat the way I do. Just a bit of background, I am one of those people that lost 30lbs and had no idea about maintaining. I thought I would just stay skinny even if I went back to the old way I ate.
I also believe as ValerieL does that at this point in history our food has never been this full of additives, preservatives, chemicals and genetic engineering. Granted that 100 years ago we didnt have TV, remote controls, dishwashers, washing machines, computers, cars, etc and we moved allllll the time. Then you throw in the ability to get food of any kind, any where 24 hours a day. Add a shake of people with more time on their hands than any time in history and a workforce that the marjority sit on their butts all day at computers.
Put a dash of emotional issues from all that extra time of not having to work in the fields to grown our own food, and you have a bunch of over weight people, including myself. We went from just surviving to living a relatively palacial lifestyle of relaxation.
There is no other choice but to watch every single thing that goes in our mouths and count calories. Because the things that are put in our food are made for us to eat more of it. Go to McDonalds and see if you arent craving that crap 3 hours later. Our food supply is the reason that little girls are getting their periods and breasts at 7,8,9 years old when it used to be 12/13 and that is because of the steriods and antibotics in the meat and milk supply.
So I have come to the conclusion that if I want the weight gone and gone forever, that the only way to do it is count calories, try to eat whole foods as much as possible and do it for the rest of my life. It is possible to be a healthy weight and not gain it back. everyone of the maintainers is example of that. Thank you ladies. Sorry for the rant.
I seldom overeat out of actual hunger. I do get hungry around 11:30 (lunch time for me) and again at around 3:30 - 4 p.m. (snack time). I eat the same healthy lunch in my car every day and I used to eat a pastry and tea at snack time.
I was satisfied after lunch and ridiculously hungry about 1 hour after snack time. The sugar/fat caffeine combo just turned my appetite ON! Now I have a hard-boiled egg and a handful of carrots or grape tomatoes and I'm fine til dinner.
My hunger seems directly related to the type of food I eat.
I did do an experiment from the Beck diet book and went without food for 8 hours, to prove that I could be hungry and not go on a binge. I still do this sometimes on the weekends when my energy levels don't have to remain up.
My DH says he is always hungry. He sometimes doesn't eat all day and then he just goes for it! He eats dinner and doesn't stop until bedtime about 4-5 hours later. Usually, when I'm making three meals and get him to eat them he's much less likely to eat out of hunger in the evening. He does have to have a snack before bed or he wakes up in the middle of the night and has to eat.
The two of us have very different hunger drives and different saiety factors.
I think each person has these and they have to devise their own controls after some experimentation. That's what dieting and weight control are about yes? Experimenting until you get the right combinations of food/exercise to lose or maintain for your very individual body and appetite.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying "I will try again tomorrow" - Mary Ann Radmacher
Some of you are going to call me crazy. Some of you are going to call me a liar. I have been on the verge of posting my story several times, and have always canceled it at the last minute. I assure you, I am neither crazy, nor a liar. So, here goes. I have always had a hearty appetite. I have always been able to eat much more than most people around me. I was always, for the most part, in relatively good shape. Such was the case when I met my ex husband. He was charming, attentive, loving, adventurous, everything I wanted in a man. We spent several years together in absolute bliss. Then, one day, after a very long story that I won't go into here, I found myself trapped by him. I mean completely under his thumb, with no positive means of escape. He began to regularly commit serious acts of emotional violence against me. I began to get fat. Nothing else in my life had changed. I ate the same, exercised the same, there was nothing at all I could point to that was different, except for the fact that my knight in shining armor had turned into my biggest nightmare. I spent eight years like this. Occasionally I would try to diet or exercise more, but it was really to no avail. Nothing would change. A little over a year ago, the one thing that was really keeping me trapped changed, and was no more. There were other barriers to me getting out immediately, but I did begin to see the light at the end of my tunnel, I knew I was almost done with this sorry -expletives deleted- excuse of a man. And my weight began to drop. With no changes and no effort on my part. I didn't lose water weight, I didn't just have hormonal fluctuations (those are things that other people have said to me when I related this story) I dropped from a size 26 to an 18 and the only thing that changed was getting rid of all that emotional baggage. (My mother always jokes: You got rid of the 200 pounds of ugly fat and he took another 75 or so with him!) It has just been in the past few months that I have actually started really consciously trying to take off weight. (I quit smoking too, so I'm really not losing weight right now) Do I believe that weight loss is simple mathematics and an equation of calories in vs. calories out? NOPE. I'm living proof of that. I don't know if there is some definable physiological relationship between stress and excess weight, but I do know that stress made me fat, and losing that stress is getting me thin again. As far as a set point? I don't know, but it does make sense as some people can eat like horses and be remarkably thin whereas others eat like birds and can't lose a pound. Personally, I'm hoping my set point is around 140!