Weight loss support with a spiritual element. I will keep you posted on my journey in the hopes that you will join me in becoming the person God wants you to be. Don't worry about being religious. Come as you are.




Thursday, March 8, 2012

What Is Hunger?

This may sound like a stupid question but my "hopefully" post the other day got one comment from a gal who reported losing 150 lb. and keeping it off for four years without ever being hungry.

Two others reported that they really hadn't experienced hunger as they have been losing weight.

So when it's time for a meal you go ahead and eat because it's time to eat?

There are different degrees of hunger. I am hungry long before my stomach growls. That's what makes it so difficult to wait for the growl. Keeping busy is key here. I start out with hunger being a hollow, empty feeling - still haven't growled. It then goes to a soft bubbly sensation above the waist where the stomach is. It usually isn't too long before I growl. It's time to eat.

We must create a calorie deficit in order to lose weight. It has always seemed obvious to me that the stomach growled because of the hydrochloric acid that builds up and without food to act upon the stomach eventually growls. During this time fat is being mobilized and enters the bloodstream to be used as fuel.

How do you feel when you are hungry? Do you get hunger feelings? (I try not to call them hunger pains because of the negative tone). If you don't get hungry do you go by the clock? I know water helps dilute the hydrochloric acid which will help. I know fiber helps with the feeling of fullness.

I also know the HALT acronym - don't get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Waiting for a growl is pretty hungry at that point. It doesn't scare me anymore.

I can't speak for everyone but I get hungry. How about you? Losing weight without ever feeling hungry sounds great to me. It just isn't my reality.

10 comments:

  1. I don't think there are too many of us here in overfed America who have ever felt real hunger "pains" -- not to say there are not real issues with some populations here who really are starving, but of the (generally) female 30-65 year of age middle class blog writers/readers...I don't think there are many who've experienced more than a slightly growling belly, either while losing weight or not.

    I generally believe in the principle (both while losing and maintaining) that one should eat *something* every 3-ish hours. This keeps blood sugar levels steady and in theory, should prevent overeating (you know the saying about not going food shopping when you're hungry). However, I am not going to sit down and eat a full meal if I'm not feeling any hunger at all. The exception to this is first thing in the morning (I often wake up not hungry, but I know I'll be working out in a few hours and I do need to put some fuel in the tank for that) and post-workout (when protein is necessary within a short window after finishing exercise, to replenish the body and to rebuild torn muscle fiber). But if it's 4pm and by the clock "time" for me to eat something and I have no desire for food, I'll go a while and I don't feel it does any harm. There are those dieters who think the less they eat the better and that they burn fat on an empty stomach which is just physiologically untrue and which can lead to panicked overeating once they do "let" themselves eat. It is, as always, good to listen to your body and also work on training it...hope that makes sense!

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    1. It does make sense especially when one exercises like you do. We all have to find our method and use all the information available to us. I have always had trouble determining when to eat because I was eating for emotional reasons or out of boredom. That's why waiting for the growl works for me because there is no doubt that it is physical hunger. Those who have gotten past emotional eating and exercise to the extent that you do really do have to use the "food as fuel" approach. Thanks for the informative comment. Be well.

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    2. That's exactly right; I agree -- and I *do* still have to, sometimes, stop myself on my way to the refrig and ask myself if I am actually hungry or if I'm just bored, need a distraction, etc. MOST of the time it turns out to be the latter and it is still an effort to stop myself from unnecessary snacking when it's my brain looking for something rather than my belly! :) have a good day.

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  2. I am a smoker and I can say for a fact, just as I get cravings for a cigarette long before I get any physical symptoms of withdrawal like shaking or dizziness, so to do I get non-hunger related feelings of hunger. I can't think of a better way to put that. If I stop to think about it my belly isn't aching or demanding anything. It's just my mind that wants it, but it wants it so bad I get the same restless feeling as with true hunger, and I feel like I can't focus until I satisfy myself.
    I've read some bodybuilding blogs, and when they need to cut fat before a competition they normally eat a huge amount of very small meals all day. One girl said that the hardest part for her was that she was never hungry, but never full, and that was hard to get used to.
    Is that true, about the tummy growling being a result of acid waiting for food? Off to google.

    Oh, and in response to what Norma said about never feeling the pain of starvation. I'm in the army and on one ex the food they gave us was so bad that for a week I could eat nothing but the bread that we got about once a day, if that. There were a couple of days I went without and that coupled with the exertion of the exercise, gave me 'hunger pains' or whatever that have never been rivaled since. Ugh.. now my tummy is growling.

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    1. Hunger is such a basic survival instinct and look how we have messed it up and misinterpreted it. We have associated too many emotions to this most basic need. I have always been troubled by why it bothers me so much to get to the growl. Hopefully it will get easier as time passes. Take care.

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    2. Well, the Army is admittedly a lot different than the suburban life most weight loss bloggers are mired in. My dad was in the Navy (WW2) and he told me how glad they were to eat scrap meat and bread infested with bugs; that's a completely different reality than the one people at home, even in wartime, were living. I linked to an article today about how obese people are often the most malnourished, because they're eating large quantities of non-nutritious foods that not only do not satiate them, they cue the body to want more. You will be hard-pressed to find the average person in America who can honestly say they've had more than a grumbling belly ... we have no idea what true hunger is or feels like.

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    3. "never hungry, but never full" that's a really great description of how I feel on the 6 meals a day thing. I miss the overfull feeling.... which I know is stupid... and I know that if it happened again I would either love it or be very ill. Either way, I'm not eager to try it.

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    4. Some things we have to let go forever and stuffing ourselves is one of them. Assume you would be very ill and leave it alone :-) Take care.

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  3. This hunger thing seems to trigger so many personal issues for just about everyone. I'm not really surprised. For me my memories of true hunger stem from my mother yo-yoing up and down the same 100 plus pounds so many darn times and if she was on a 'fast' then there was just no food in the house. Period. My kindly neighbor often watched me scarf down 'after school' snacks she gave out to neighborhood kids. I pigged out at every birthday party. My sisters pics. from age 2-6 look a lot like a kid in Ethiopia- bulging belly, stick arms and legs and all. So sure feeling hunger is tough and sometimes scary because of bad memories, but I can also attest to the real fact that over-eating now makes me quite sick to my stomach. I am so grateful to be more 'normal' now than ever. I just try not to allow my mind to associate hunger feelings with panic and move on. I do plan ahead and pack 'survival' food and then just try to focus on other things. I think knowing that I really won't actually starve is what keeps me sane.

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    1. Those childhood memories create an automatic response in our brains don't they? Even when logically we know the answer emotionally it gets blocked somehow. It takes such resolve to overcome those things and create new pathways in our brains. Talking about it helps even if it's blogging. You are opening up about these things and that will be your key to overcoming your childhood as it relates to food. Keep working on it. I know you will. Take care.

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