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Old 12-15-2010, 09:59 PM   #1  
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Default Hunger vs Fatigue

I'm having a trying month, and I know that I'm struggling with hunger vs fatigue. They both feel the same to me, and in my head I know I shouldn't be hungry because I've eaten a reasonable amount of food which usually satisfies me, but I am still weak and tired, which is how I feel when I'm hungry. Yes, I know I need to get more rest and get through these next few days. But in the mean time, I don't want to gain ten pounds.

Usually my tendency when I get in this loop is to eat more carbs. I don't do caffeine so that's not an option. I'll eat a bran muffin (or two) instead of a bowl of oatmeal. I'll have chai tea (w/milk and sugar) rather than herbal tea. I'll eat a half a dozen cookies (which does make me feel not so weak and tired, but it doesn't last) and four or five graham cracker squares. Normally I have more self control than this; at the same time, this is way more control than I ever had in the past during these times.

But I'm pretty sure the problem is fatigue, not hunger. Other than stepping back and getting rest as soon as I can, what can I do to boost energy levels and get through this? Like I said, I don't want to gain ten pounds. While carbs do give me more energy, they don't work long term, and they're so full of calories.

I know this isn't the last time I will face this issue, and I want to figure out how to get a handle on it. What do you do to boost your energy when you're really worn down without overdoing it on carbs?
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:12 PM   #2  
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I eat more protein. 2% cottage cheese, water-packed tuna, lowfat yogurt, lowfat string cheese, hard-boiled eggs.

And I take naps, or I get to bed earlier.

If your problem is fatigue, then you have to rest. Some of the many things you "have" to do will have to be set aside. Exercise, by the way, is not one of the things to set aside. Just make it simpler and easier. A 20-minute walk can do wonders.

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Old 12-15-2010, 10:55 PM   #3  
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this might only work for me but...

having a set time that I go to bed and wake up (even on the weekends) sort of cues my body to get sleep and definitely improves my tiredness. I have to wake up early for work and I usually go to bed between 10:30 and 11pm and I wake up at 5:30am.

exercise also has a way of de-stressing me and getting me tired enough to go to bed at a reasonable time. If I'm not feeling tired by 10:30, I'll start reading a book for a half hour or so and that also helps.
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:48 AM   #4  
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drinking fruit juice (i have no idea if this works for everyone, and if you have a juicer that is best, but if you eat a pretty clean diet, juice will give you a rush, yes it's probably from sugar, but i for one don't care)
a small cup of coffee
decaf coffee (not perfect, but sometimes the taste alone makes me feel peppy even w/o the caffeine)
not decaf tea
plenty of water
a power nap (yes, i know it sounds silly, but i feel better after a 10-15 minute nap than a long nap, at school, at a rest stop, i use this one often lol!)
Most of all, get some good sleep, but i am sure you knew that already and you will as soon as you can. Best of luck!!

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Old 12-16-2010, 01:04 AM   #5  
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Oh I just had this problem. I added a little bit a protein, (like JayEll) hard boiled egg, a small piece of chicken, cottage cheese. After about a week, I felt better. I think I may have been shorting myself a little protein. As for the sleep, the only thing I can say it, take a nap, go to bed earlier or sleep later. For me, sleep is sleep and if I don't get enough I'm tired, crabby and not in the mood to exercise . . .

I hope some of these ideas help and you feel better soon

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Old 12-16-2010, 01:09 AM   #6  
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I have a "witching hour" I am a night owl, but, I find that after 1am, I have a harder time leaving the carbs alone. To fix that, I have been trying to get to bed earlier, and I am a 100% advocate of the power nap. Twenty minutes does wonders. I have even carried an alarm clock in my car to take a nap during lunch.

You have mentioned that you eat a reasonable amount of food, but you still feel tired and weak. Have you analyzed what you are eating reasonably?
There are definitely higher and lower energy foods. It may take some research, but adding some different components to your "reasonable food" may help.
Things like nuts, some vegetables, and proteins can help with more sustained energy. The carbs you are eating are simple sugars... good for a quick rush, but also good for a sugar crash not long after.
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:47 AM   #7  
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How is your iron? Just something to think about as low iron can produce those symptoms.
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:21 AM   #8  
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When I get tired during the day, or feel fatigued, I also wander over to food as a means to end it.... but then that never works.

What has been working for me is saying out loud "I am tired right now, not hungry", and then lay my head down - even if its on a desk- and close my eyes. What also makes me feel better is a vitamin.

Sometimes I feel fatigued when I have eaten too much (maybe I have, for some reason, had 1000 calories and it is only 3pm). That leads to fatigue.

Also, what are the activities you are doing when you feel fatigued?
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:24 AM   #9  
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Pageta, I think it is really, really great that you are seeing a correlation between fatigue and hunger. Understanding what's going on is usually the first step in finding a solution.

I consider myself a poster child for fatigue vs. hunger. I worked night shift for several years, and the last 2 of them, I gained about 70 lbs. I was so tired all the time, and even though I knew I was tired, for some reason I wasn't reallly putting it together that that's why I would come home from work after being up all night, getting something out of the kitchen, settling into my recliner in front of the TV, eating what I got, then while still eating that, thinking of what I was going to eat next. I would do this for an hour or 2 after every 12 hour night shift. Even when I wasn't working I was exhausted, so any chance I got I pretty much would pound carbs like they were going out of style. Occasionally I would give a half-a$$ed effort to stop, but being so tired and my resistance being low, I would just throw in the towel almost immediately.

When I switched back to day shift and wasn't feeling much better, I saw a doctor and was diagnosed with very severe sleep apnea (I'm sure gaining so much weight so quickly is a huge contributor). Once I started getting treatment and getting a really great 7 hours per night of sleep (and on a pretty consistent schedule), I can't even explain how much my food cravings have changed/settled down. For the first time in forever, losing significant weight is POSSIBLE. I owe every single pound I have lost to sleeping well.

I am hearing that this over-tired thing has an end coming up. THANK GOODNESS! I do think people can lose weight when they are sleep deprived (though I never could), but for me at least, it's about 1,000,000 times harder because of those hunger hormones that go all out of whack without enough rest. Till your schedule evens out, I think the best thing to get revived without the calories and crash of a carb rush, is definitely exercise. Even in the throes of night shift and sleep apnea, the only time I really felt human that whole time was a short stint when I was exercising consistently.

Good luck to you, and again, congrats on seeing the correlation between sleep and hunger. IMHO, it's HUGE!!
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:03 PM   #10  
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I agree.


You may have low Iron and protien. Since you are trying to lose weight, you may be carrying a defict in MINERALS as well as calories. Think about it, less food is not just less calories but less nutrients as well. Try to get a multivitamin b12 and iron supplement into your daily consumption regimen. See what happens.

Also I tend to eat more when I am cold or tired too. I have found that the two may be connected, but don't always have to remain that way. You can divorce them by making sure to follow the non food directive FIRST. If you tired then sleep, nap, or close your eyes and meditate at your desk for 10 minutes. If that relieves the "hunger sensation", then you were not hungry at all. Your body may be looking to substitute with the next best thing in your case and I know the next best thing to warm and rest for me is food
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:17 PM   #11  
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I was thinking about this post today.

So, I eat a normal breakfast (300 cal.), then shower, etc., and walk into the city to study at the university library. I decide to do a detour and get a regular small coffee from Starbucks. I drink my coffee and study in the library, reading an intense text, for 4 hours straight!

Normally, mid-way through, a fatigue would have set in and I would have felt a bit of hunger, then I would have to talk myself out of buying any food, and I finally would have laid my head down on the desk and closed my eyes.

But normal starbucks coffee (the cheapest thing you can order) has like SUPER powers to cure fatigue. It is SO funny, no other coffee helps my fatigue at all.... but starbucks has some sort of magical, energetic potion that they brew their coffee with.

I know you don't do caffeine.... but I just needed to comment on starbucks fatigue lifting beverages.

Last edited by bonnnie; 12-16-2010 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:59 PM   #12  
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Pageta, I'm so glad you posted this!

I've done a month on 1200 calories and was fine for 28/30 days but then yesterday and today, I've felt really weak/fatigued.
Felt physically hungry a couple of times.
Felt mentally 100% - I'm eating 40+% carbs, and my mood is good. I've had virtually no Head Hunger.
Felt physically light (not light-headed), and quite enjoy that sensation.
Felt physically very fit indeed.
Then suddenly yesterday, the walk back up from town (about 20 minutes) felt like 100 miles in lead boots. Today a little better but still a bit meh.

I think I do need more sleep: I'm tending to get a second wind around 11pm for a couple of hours, so I'm ending up with 4-5 hours only. I'll try for an early night tonight.
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:14 PM   #13  
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Old 07-23-2021, 11:36 AM   #14  
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Oh, I've just had this issue. I added a tiny amount of protein, such as a hard boiled egg, a small piece of chicken, and cottage cheese (as JayEll suggested). I felt much better after approximately a week. I believe I was depriving myself of some protein. When it comes to sleep, all I have to say is take a nap, go to bed sooner, or sleep later. Sleep is sleep for me, and if I don't get enough, I'm exhausted, cranky, and not in the mood.
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