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Old 08-24-2012, 12:19 PM   #1
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Default Is it reasonable to never be hungry?

Ok so I've been mulling over this for a while - is it really possible to NEVER feel hungry during the lifestyle change process we're going through to lose weight and get healthy?

This is how I see it: most people who come here come from habits of eating high-fat, high- processed carb diets for years, often 1000s of calories more than what they should have been eating. We make the commitments to change our ways, cut out unhealthy food or at least greatly limit it, and add exercise into our lives. We reduce our calorie intake by 500-1000 a day in order to lose 1-2 lbs a week....

How can we NOT be hungry? I understand that a lot of it is not "real" hunger, it's emotional or habitual eating that we need to break. But is it -truly- unreasonable to be hungry at the end of the day? When we have had less fat/sugar intake than our body is accustomed to that day?

Is it WRONG or BAD that we're hungry while changing our diets? Isn't it something that we might have to bear before our body becomes accustomed to our new way of life? It seems a lot of posts about diet include the notion that "you should never feel hungry, you're doing something wrong if you are". Really? Because I'm telling you I eat enough and am getting enough healthy fat/fiber/protein and I'm still hungry sometimes. Really hungry, not just craving. And considering that to gain my 50lbs in 8 months that I did last year I had to be eating roughly 2500 calories a day, and now I'm down to 1500, I don't see how I'm doing something wrong just because I feel hungry.

Maybe hunger is something we sometimes will just have to wrestle with, at least until we get healthier.


My January Daily Weigh In!

Goal 1: 210lbs (20lbs lost) (Sept 21st 2012)
Goal 2: 199lbs (onederland!)
Goal 3: 196lbs (no longer obese!)
Goal 4: 180lbs (weight I was when I met my fiance)
Goal 5: 164lbs (normal BMI)
Goal 6: 150lbs (final goal weight)
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:31 PM   #2
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I still get hungry. Especially on days that I move around more for one reason or another (like if I'm walking around running errands when I normally I'm at work sitting down).

And it depends on when hunger hits, what I do -- if it's during the day, I can change a meal and eat it earlier or have a snack when I wouldn't have otherwise done it.

If it's later at night and I've already had dinner, for example, I'll tell myself, "No worries, you'll get breakfast tomorrow, and that hunger is just a sign that you're losing weight for tomorrow."

I make sure I'm eating enough calories (I range around 1500 net) and if I did move around more one day than normal, it just means that I'm burning more calories that day which means my body will simply consuming my fat storage. Which is great if it does!
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:33 PM   #3
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P.S. I will add, that the hunger I feel is real hunger.

I have IR and when I am eating a lot of carbs, I'm "hungry" but it's different. That hungry is really HANGRY. It's my blood sugar crashing all over the place. It's carbs digesting too quickly in my body and it's a different feeling.

With real hunger, I can tell it go to home and I'll feed it later. When it's IR HANGRY, then I can't..........I need something to even out my blood sugar, even if it puts me over calories that day....

So, I have to watch my carbs, so I don't get HANGRY.
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:41 PM   #4
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Hunger is something we need to learn to wrestle with - forever.

Learning to recognize and respond to hunger cues appropriately is essential. I thought my responses were OK before; I didn't have an irrational fear of feeling any sensation of hunger. But I did over-respond to hunger cues. "Hungry? ... Still? Well, okay, I'll eat more then." Wrong. I mean, sometimes wrong. Sometimes your body really is asking for more fuel. But some days are just naturally hungrier than others - especially when you throw hormonal cycles into the mix. Hunger doesn't always *need* an immediate response. Learning when to listen and when to move on has been a big deal for me this time around.

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Old 08-24-2012, 12:59 PM   #5
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I don't even understand the question.

Of course you're going to be hungry? How the heck would we survive as a species if we didn't experience hunger?

It doens't matter what your macro nutrient ratios are or how many veggies you try to stuff your belly with ... you're going to be hungry sometimes.

This is why I intermittent fast so at least I'm not hungry all the time which when I was eating 5-6 small meals a day I was always hungry and fixated on food.

Now I eat 2x a day and don't think about food ... much.
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Old 08-24-2012, 01:08 PM   #6
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I'm hungry at various time throughout the day, sure. But I'm not hungry when I finish eating, and not hungry constantly, either. I don't think that is normal or healthy, and should be avoided with adjusting food types and quantities until you are reasonably satiated but not stuffed and the hunger you do feel is manageable and doesn't prompt a binge.

Sometimes I have hungry days and those can be tough - hormones or being on the verge of a big weigh drop can do that to me. For those brief times, when I know I am on plan and the hunger is distracting, I will add a little more food to make myself comfortable. But again, this is rare and the food choices are controlled. You just have to decide what your body is doing and how best to respond. Sometimes telling ourselves no, even with genuine hunger, isn't a bad idea
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Old 08-24-2012, 01:34 PM   #7
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Yep, I think feeling a bit more hungry is part of the equation with weight loss, especially in the beginning but I have found enough of a balance with my eating and food choices that it's not something I "suffer" with throughout the day. I'm usually famished after an intense workout and depending on how much time I work at that pace (particularly intense cardio), I might find myself having more frequent hunger bouts during the day. I do find that staying well hydrated and having more protein and fats makes a significant difference in how satiated I feel during the day. I stay hungry if I just eat fruits and veggies or very low fat high carb options even if it's above my normal calorie intake.
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Old 08-24-2012, 01:55 PM   #8
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When I'm losing, I'm always hungry. I have no idea why but it's pretty much constant. I even try IF which works pretty well but then I'm still hungry most of the day. I do what keeps me from being hungry at night because if I'm hungry at night, I can't sleep. I already have sleep issues so going to bed hungry is just not going to work for me. I seem to tend to eat more than other people my size, so I don't think it's an issue of needing more food.
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:50 PM   #9
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Yep. You'll still wrestle with hunger once you're at goal. This is a natural signal, and there are many, many factors involved. Like the temperature outside dropping by a few degrees in a matter of a few hours, and bam, all of a sudden your body needs just a little more fuel (food) to be able to maintain its normal, constant temperature. It's not just a matter of "eat enough veggies and meat and you'll never feel hungry at all".

What matters is to learn to recognize the right cues, the right signals, and interprete them the right way. This is the most delicate part IMHO, the one that so many people fail to recognize, the one that is so hard to master (or to master again, because for some, we 'knew' it instinctively when we were toddlers). The one that makes it so hard for us, coupled with how feeding ourselves has changed over the past 200-300 years (compared to 300,000 years of evolution, I mean). The one where we should be able to tell whether we genuinely need fuel, or if it's just PMSing and we think we "need" that extra donut.

What you mentioned about IR is part of it, I think: a matter of recognizing different types of "hunger", some of which are genuine, some of which are subtly different. Being "hungry" is OK, being "hangry" means you have eaten something your body can't process normally (high glycemic index foods, from what you mentioned).

Uhm, and I hope I'm making sense, cause it's late here and I'm tired. ^^;
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Old 08-24-2012, 06:17 PM   #10
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I have lost more than 100 pounds over a long period of time and kept it more or less off and I'm ALWAYS hungry now, trying to get a few measly regains off.

Totally it is, in my opinion, okay to be hungry. It is not okay to have dangerously low blood sugar if you are a diabetic or hypoglycemic but regular hunger is inevitable.

I also experiment with IF (really intermittent, I haven't nailed what works best yet, none of the plans people are using work for me, but I fast at intervals that aren't very well defined). I think it helps me a lot to deal with hunger, blood sugar and my crazy moods.

My hunger is real lol. I am trying to lower calories that my mind and body think I should need because for such a long time they got that many calories and also because I listened to a lot of experts tell me never to get hungry.

Lol, I think it is normal to be hungry.
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:59 PM   #11
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Default re:

Strangely enough, I find I feel more hungry when I am off plan. For example, 7 days of being on plan leaves me relatively fine - I start to get hungry around my normal meal time, eat something, then I'm fine. This week, I had one carb extravaganza day that was way over on calories and have been hungry every since - so much so that I scarfed down 6 pieces of pizza for dinner tonight. (go me.)

I think WHAT you're eating along with how much plays a large role in hunger. So many people here talk about the relationship between carbs/sugar and hunger that I figure it really must have a basis in truth.

John's right in that we should expect hunger as it's a trigger for our body, but I also fully believe in what Arctic Mama is saying in "should be avoided with adjusting food types and quantities until you are reasonably satiated but not stuffed and the hunger you do feel is manageable and doesn't prompt a binge"

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Old 08-24-2012, 10:24 PM   #12
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The term hunger is used to describe way too many sensations to be able to answer this question in a meaningful way... It depends on how you define hunger, and what sensations exactly you're meaning.

Some people don't even call it or register a feeling of hunger until they feel light headed and just about ready to pass out from low-blood sugar.

Other people (like me) feel hungry 24/7, regardless of how much or when we've last eaten. In fact, I find that the more carbs I eat, the hungrier I get, so I feel hungrier on 6000 calories of high-carb than I do on 1000 calories of low-carb, and I feel hungrier on 6000 calories of high-carb than on 2000 calories of high-carb, because the more I eat the more I want.

And just because the hunger is registering in my brain and not my stomach, doesn't mean it's not "real" hunger. I never realized that, until a doctor explained the role of insulin in hunger. An insulin spike can cause hunger (insulin is a hormone and it causes hunger, even if the stomach is painfully full). Although we tend to label this "false hunger" it's as real an experience as stomach-growling hunger (in my case, I can live with stomach-growling hunger and even almost-passing-out hunger, what I cannot live with is the food OCD that insulin spikes cause).

That's what I find so crazy. On a very low-carb diet (which I don't think is healthy, so I try not to go "that low") uncomfortable hunger disappears for the most part. The first unpleasant symptom occurs when I'm almost ready to pass out (and I think "OMG, I haven't eaten for seven hours, no wonder I feel dizzy and have a headache). Usually hubby recognizes my hunger before I do (because I become grumpy and irritable and start saying mean stuff to him... So if I ever say anything unkind to him, his first response is "how long has it been since you've eaten?")

Now waiting until I'm dizzy and feeling faint, isn't the best strategy (which is why I tend to eat a little higher carb, so that I can get trustier hunger signals). However, it's actually less unpleasant for me than eating several thousand calories of high-carb and being constantly hungry 24/7).

For me, controlling the obsessive hunger is extremely important, because otherwise I feel like an animal desperate enough to chew off it's own foot to get out of the trap. Even as a child I remember being on a diet (was on my first in kindergarten) and crying myself to sleep because I was so hungry, and sneaking in the kitchen in the middle of the night to try to satisfy the hunger with food that wouldn't be missed so I wouldn't get in trouble, and then feeling like a piece of worthless filth because I hadn't been able to successfully overpower the cravings).

I've found that on low-carb, I can eat about 300 calories more (to lose the same amount of weight), can eat MUCH more volume, and can feel almost no "rabid hunger" (the crazy out-of-control cravings I now associate with hormonal TOM hunger and high-carb diets), it would have been a completely life-altering experience. I would have gotten my weight under control before middleschool (let alone high school, college, graduate school, young adulthood, middle age....)

Of course I still get hungry sometimes, but I try not to let the "rabid hunger" get me. I still fail at that sometimes (such as today when hubby and I visited hubby's grandmother and I allowed her to persuade me to eat a couple shortbread cookies). It's kind of sad that I let those cookies in, considering how well I did at lunch (we went to a chinese buffet and I chose VERY low-carb choices. Mostly stir-fried green beans and the seafood choices).

Did great, until those cookies. Then I had a handful of chips.

Calorie wise, I've done pretty well today, despite the carb intake, but I'm suffering through intense cravings and hunger this evening. I have to "bite the bullet," because I wasn't smarter.

When I have to battle craving hunger, I try to quell it by stepping on the scale every time I'm tempted to go get a snack from the kitchen. I remind myself that snacks are going to add weight to the scale. For me, this usually works (it's when I decide that I don't want to know what the scale is going to tell me that I end up in dangerous behavior... feeling that since I "blew it" I might as well keep eating).

How you manage your hunger is entirely an individual matter, but it kind of depends on what kind of hunger you're experiencing. Is it "I can't think or do anything useful, because I can't get food off my mind" hunger, or is it "man I wish I could be eating, but I can find something to get the food off my mind" kind of hunger, or is it "I can barely walk a few steps without my head spinning" kind of hunger.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer (though the dizziness, headache, nausea, or rage kind of hungers are probably pretty good reasons to eat something).
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Old 08-25-2012, 02:49 AM   #13
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It is perfectly okay to feel hungry! If you have just had a major change in the way you eat, you are bound to feel a it out of sorts and be hungry at weird times.

My school was weird interval & lunchbreaks, so I've found that my appetite has been really messed up, on the weekends I don't feel hungry; but at school I am ravenous. If I am really hungry, I find an apple and chugging a decent amount of water gets rid of the feeling.

Sometimes we also mistake hunger, for thirst, so I hope no one feels guilty for being hungry
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:30 AM   #14
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When we're in weight loss mode, we're bound to feel hungry because our biology is telling us to eat more. As has been said many times before, hunger is not an emergency. Hunger pangs come and go, and I think we can train ourselves to tolerate and ignore mild hunger. If the hunger becomes acute, I think we should attend to it to avoid the temptation to binge.

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Last edited by freelancemomma; 08-25-2012 at 05:39 AM.
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Old 08-25-2012, 06:56 AM   #15
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I think it is kind of nice to actually feel genuine hunger sometimes because I remind myself that this means I have not been just stuffing myself with "whatever" all day and just wanting food when I am not honestly physically hungry.

I will have to add, though, that with the natural supplement I am taking -- Tonic Alchemy -- I simply do not have cravings for junk and eating a lot between meals. In fact sometimes at work I will forget to eat my healthful snack. I know this is because my nutritional needs are being met and also I am off of most processed foods, which are loaded with chemicals, fake sugar, etc. Based on my own experience and backed up by studies I have done I am totally convinced many of these substances are addictive and just cause you to want to eat more and more of them.

There is nothing wrong with feeling hungry. When I do, I also realize that does not mean I have to eat! Instant gratification is such a desire in our modern culture; that does not mean we have to give in to it.

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