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How do you define HUNGER?

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Old 07-03-2008, 11:55 AM   #1
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Question How do you define HUNGER?

I'm sitting here at work knowing I have a GREAT salad for lunch and that 11:53 is an appropriate time in MY OFFICE for lunch. I'm trying to hold off.

I ate my egg and v8 and I ate my oatmeal milk and banana this morning. I've had coffee and herb tea...

i'm not really sure I'm hungry yet... ya know a SLIGHT empty feeling in the tummy... but not the gnawing growlies...

I'm working very very hard on figuring out when I'm hungry...


so my question to all of you that do not eat based on the clock...

WHAT body signs do YOU use to define hunger?


thanks for your replies.
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:02 PM   #2
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I try to eat when I get that empty feeling, before that "Oh my god I'm going to eat my own arm off if I have to" phase really sets in - that way I won't over-eat.

But it worries me that maybe I'm just eating to be comfortable instead of when my body is telling me to - so great thread, Nessa. Let's see what replies we get!
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:03 PM   #3
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Hunger is two things for me. One, the actual feeling of emptiness in my stomach. Two, the feeling of blood sugar dipping low. I don't worry too much about the empty-stomach feeling, but I do watch the low-blood-sugar feeling (light-headedness, dizziness, crankiness)...because it's low blood sugar that turns me insane about food.

I wouldn't say I eat by the clock just for the sake of eating, but I do schedule my food and try to keep to the schedule because it's important to keep my blood sugar stable. Usually I have to eat before the empty-stomach feeling comes along in order to effectively manage the blood sugar.
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:05 PM   #4
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well i know i don't want to wait for the crankies... the light-headedness, the "OMG I FORGOT TO EAT" feeling...

but i want to WAIT till I'm HUNGRY...

after we figure out HUNGRY we can figure out when to stop when i'm SATISFIED vs. FULL (another very hard concept for me)
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:16 PM   #5
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I feel like hunger needs to be on a scale, rather than a yes/no question. "Are you hungry" has very little meaning to me. I find it easier to answer "On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being "haven't eaten in days" ravenously hungry and 10 being Thanksgiving-full, where are you?".

I try to eat when I hit 3, and stop when I hit 6 or 7. I find that if I go below 3, I make bad choices, and when I go above 7, I am WAAAY to full.
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:19 PM   #6
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I actually do eat kind of by a clock, but also when I'm hungry. For instance. Usually in the am, I am not hungry for breakfest by the time I leave for work, but I will eat anyway, cause otherwise I will skip b-fest all together and be eating lunch at 10:45, causing me to be really hungry again by 3:30 or so. Then eating again, causing me not to be hungry at dinner and being hungry at 9pm.
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:19 PM   #7
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I eat on a defined schedule so my body knows when to expect food every day. I eat at 8am, 10:30 am, 12pm., 2pm, 5pm and 6:30pm. Then at some point through out the night I grab a 35 calorie fudge bar
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:20 PM   #8
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The problem is, in my experience, that it takes longer for the stomach to empty (and therefore produce the empty-stomach feeling) than it takes for blood sugar to dip back into the low range. I'm looking around to try to find figures...here's an extract http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3896910 of a paper that says that gastric emptying takes about 4 hours in normal patients. And here's an extract http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10511299 that seems to say that diabetic patients (obviously, folks with blood sugar control issues) have gastric emptying at only half the speed of normal folks. I have to say that those jibe with my personal experience; in order to avoid a low-blood-sugar crash, I -must- eat before I feel like my stomach is empty.

So "hungry" is probably going to be different for different people. The question really is, what does "hungry" look like for you?
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:24 PM   #9
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well, I'm still just starting out, so the biggest thing for me is cutting it short before I get a craving that I can't control.

Hungry for me right now is when I start getting that "oooh, that sounds good" feeling.

Better not to wait too long- willpower is great, but not needing it is better!
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:27 PM   #10
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What Manda said. For me, about the time I hit 4 or 3, I have an empty feeling in my stomach. Not a big gnawing hole .. just empty and sorta hollow.

I dunno - it's really hard to describe, isn't it?

And then full ... I really have to concentrate on full. I still sometimes have to measure out a serving of something, eat it, and then wait. I'm still not good at recognizing full while I'm eating.

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Old 07-03-2008, 12:49 PM   #11
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If I'm not sure if I'm really hungry or not, I drink a glass of water and see how I feel in a few minutes. If I still feel hungry after ten or fifteen minutes, I'll grab a small snack. Sometimes, though, the water makes me feel fine and I can continue until my next scheduled meal.
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:55 PM   #12
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I try to never get too hungry because if I let myself get very hungry and I'm not around any healthy stuff, I'll fill up on bad stuff. So I think I have been eating by the clock rather than by hunger since I've started losing weight. But anyway, for me, hungry is when my stomach growls, I feel shaky and my legs feel weak.
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Old 07-03-2008, 03:18 PM   #13
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I, too, agree with Mandalinn.

I have different levels of "hungry."

There's the "I could eat" level, which means basically that I'm not physically hungry yet, but probably will be soon. At this stage I can hold off eating for quite a while, until I do actually feel hungry.

This would be "0" on the scale. Or maybe .5

And on the other side of the scale there's "I feel sick. If I don't eat, my stomach is going to eat itself. FEED ME NOW!!!" This is when there is actual tummy pain, a headache, and/or a sick feeling that won't go away until I eat. This is also a dangerous level to be at, since it means I will eat anything that is around just to relieve the feeling. I no longer care about eating healthy, I just need to eat something. Anything.

This would be "10" on the scale.


I try to eat when I get to about a 4, or at most a 5 on the scale. To me, this means I can feel that my tummy is empty, I feel my body needing food (instead of just wanting it) and I feel like I wouldn't be able to hold off eating for much longer than about an hour before I jump to level "10." Anything above about a 6 on the scale means I get into that dangerous territory of being very tempted to eat just anything laying around.
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Old 07-03-2008, 03:23 PM   #14
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ah i get the SCALE idea... 0-10.... makes sense

now to work on that....
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:58 PM   #15
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Hunger is a difficult concept for me to get, because I stubbornly refuse to see a reason I have to respond to it, since it goes away if I don't, at least for a while. If I'm busy or interested in something I just won't eat because I don't feel like it right then. On the other hand, when I get that shaky, weak feeling because it's 3 pm and I accidentally-on-purpose forgot to eat, it tends to be too late to do any good. So pretty much I eat on a schedule, so that I can plan out how much I'll eat and when and hopefully avoid any serious gaps between refuelings. It works pretty well for me- if I don't do that I have a "eat whatever's there" policy that wreaks havoc with weight loss.
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