Hunger Cues: Can They Always Be Trusted? - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-17-2006, 01:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been trying to take an intuitive, common-sense approach to getting healthier (I have quite a bit of weight to lose): eating only when I'm actually *hungry* (as opposed to at an accustomed mealtime, or out of habit, stress, or frustration), and only until I'm no longer hungry (as opposed to feeling "full").

I eat whatever I'm craving, and as much as it takes to not feel hungry, whether that's a little or a lot.
I try to eat mindfully, and really pay attention to the sensory experience of eating.

So far, it's going really well.
I feel great, and my clothes are already getting loose.
(No clue about pounds lost, I don't do scales.)

With all of that said, I do notice that I am eating very little food, overall.
I tend not to be hungry until 11am or so, when I typically eat a very small lunch which generally satisfies me until supper, which tends to be on the smallish side, too. If I get hungry, I snack, but that rarely happens.

My question is this:
Can I trust my hunger cues (or lack thereof), or am I wrecking my metabolism, by suddenly, dramatically cutting my food intake?

I never let myself get truly hungry without eating, so I never feel deprived, but I don't want to do my body a disservice while I'm trying to get healthier, either!

Could my hunger cues have been thrown off-kilter by my bad eating habits over the last few years? (Before that, I was always a big eater, but thin- I didn't gain weight until post dc, when I started stress-eating.)

Please advise, Mamas!

TIA,
alsoSarah

I just happen to like apples, and I am not afraid of snakes. ~Ani d.
These dolls and toys confuse me so; Confound it all, I love it, though!~J. Skellington
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Old 11-17-2006, 02:44 AM
 
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I know my hunger cues are somewhat messed up because I have reflux. So I need to eat regularly anyway. Usually I will start with, e.g., a bit of breakfast, and then once it's in front of me I become aware of genuine hunger feelings. If I don't eat somewhat regularly, hunger cues or no, I get famished and then make perverse food choices. HTH.
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Old 11-17-2006, 11:30 AM
 
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I haven't done research, but I do not fully trust hunger cues. If I followed mine, I would be 200 pounds. I think eating processed foods and having unlimited food all the time throws us off.

If you aren't hungry, don't eat.
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Old 11-17-2006, 11:39 AM
 
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There is a difference between hunger and a craving.

Food cravings can be emotional or physical. There are physical reasons for cravings such as food allergies where we crave something that is actually toxic to us (for me chocolate) and there are issues like yeast imbalances that makes us crave sugar,

for instance.

I have those fears about cutting down food sometimes. I think it has to do with lack/abandonment issues in my childhood. I think the antidote is loving and pampering yourself.

Also when I exercise more I am more in balance about food even if it's just a nice short walk every day.

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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Old 11-17-2006, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for sharing your experiences, Mamas!

alsoSarah

I just happen to like apples, and I am not afraid of snakes. ~Ani d.
These dolls and toys confuse me so; Confound it all, I love it, though!~J. Skellington
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Old 11-17-2006, 03:52 PM
 
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I also fear eating less because then I might have to actually feel my feelings, kwim?


Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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Old 11-18-2006, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm feeling pretty balanced right now, I'm just afraid of accidentally shooting my metabolism in the foot!

alsoSarah

I just happen to like apples, and I am not afraid of snakes. ~Ani d.
These dolls and toys confuse me so; Confound it all, I love it, though!~J. Skellington
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Old 11-18-2006, 06:41 PM
 
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ITA that exercise helps A LOT with trusting hunger cues. It also helps me to crave healthy food instead of leftover Halloween candy.

I do think it sounds like you should be eating more. Every bit of nutrition advice that I have ever read or heard is "eat small, frequent meals thoughout the day" and of course, Eat Breakfast!

I do have to admit that a couple of months ago I had very little appetite and I went with it. I lost about 8 pounds.
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Old 11-19-2006, 01:15 AM
 
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Oh I love your name "alsoSarah" - lol!! I'm a Sarah too, and there were almost always a few others with that name in my classes when I was a kid. Argh, such a common name

Anyway - I think you're doing a good thing. When I have fasted in the past (just for a short duration, like a day) I've noticed that thoughts of food cross my mind way more often than I realized. I start to feel bored/sad/any unpleasant feeling and the FIRST thing that pops into my head is - go eat something! And I am not a binge eater or anything - I'm actually at the supposed perfect weight for my height/build. It's just that we humans use food for more than nourishment; we get hunger urges to smother emotional needs, too. So just to say that I would not automatically assume you're undernourished if you wait until you feel an legitimate hunger pang before fixing yourself a meal. Do you have enough energy to get through the day and feel good in general? That's a good indicator, imo.

ITA with the person who said exercise will help regulate your need to eat. Also make sure you are getting enough healthful fats, like raw virgin coconut oil. That will help regulate your blood sugar levels and minimize your cravings for junk food, also give you plenty of energy. Plus coconut oil is just amazingly good for you. There's lots of information about this online and in books like Nourishing Traditions.

Good luck with your new approach of being well attuned to your body cues!
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Mamas!

I'm considering trying to eat a small amount of lean protein at "breakfast time", whether I'm hungry or not.

I do hate to mess with the whole, "only hunger-driven eating" thing, though. I think I'll probably stay with it for a little while, assuming that my energy levels hold steady.

alsoSarah

I just happen to like apples, and I am not afraid of snakes. ~Ani d.
These dolls and toys confuse me so; Confound it all, I love it, though!~J. Skellington
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Old 11-24-2006, 06:09 AM
 
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I just wanted to thank you for this thread. I notice my dds eat like this, and I don't try to force them to eat if they're not hungry, but keep reasonably healthy food available. I'm not sure why I don't give myself the same courtesy, KWIM? I let them trust their hunger cues, why not let myself do the same? Hmm... Some good points made above about cravings, junk, allergies, abundance of food, etc as well. Something to think about...
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Old 11-29-2006, 11:37 PM
 
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I know I can't trust mine. I have a really hard time telling the difference between emotional reasons for wanting to eat vs. true hunger.

There is SO many thing that effect hunger or cues. Hormones, mood, stress, habbit, bordom etc.

It could go the other way too. There was a time in the last year (I started my HH (healthy habits) in Jan. 2006) that I did not have much of an appetite. I knew I needed food and I had to force myself to eat. It wasn't fun. Food just didn't sound good to me. I had a lot of soy protein shakes because they were easy to get down. It lasted about 4 weeks.

You need to track what you eat to make sure you are getting enough. Go to fitday or another sight and keep track for a few days to see.

Quote:
Could my hunger cues have been thrown off-kilter by my bad eating habits over the last few years?
The short answer is YES!

Also by cutting your calories so rapidly you could turn on your starvation hormone. You body will hold onto the fat thinking that it will be needed later on because it doesn't have enough food to burn. Some one told me only after I had started my HH and cut my calories over night, that you should only cut down a little at a time and work your way down to what you want to be eating.

If you are getting 1,200 calories or less then your body might get smaller (at the begining) but you are going to be loosing muscle. You need to make sure you get enough in you to keep that starvation hormone OFF.

There is one diet that has a phase one of eatting 1,200 calories. It talkes in leagnth about not continuing this for more than two weeks (or not over one week if you have less than 20 pounds to loose) Anything longer than that and your body will start to hold onto the fat.

There is SO MUCH more to loosing weight and getting healthy than burning off more calories than you take in.
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Old 11-30-2006, 02:34 PM
 
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I do listen to hunger clues and I do find that I am not really hungry until after 9.00 am. That last couple days it has been later.

I find the slower start when it comes to food helps with my food issues.

I do start my day shortly after I get out of bed with a pot of tea and a slice of toast due to medications that I take for arthritis. I just want a little bit in my tummy to buffer. Then I eat a real breakfast later in the day. Sometimes, it is actually at lunch. But the clue is: am I hungry?
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Old 12-07-2006, 01:51 AM
 
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I just responded to your post in my Intuitve Eating thread, but I didn't get to read your thread first.

I don't think the book addresses that. I'll take a look a little more closely and see. I kind of wondered the same thing, but if you are truely listening to your hunger and fullness cues, eating healthy foods, and exercising, I don't think that you can go wrong.

It might take some time to balance out, but you said that you feel pretty balanced anyway. So, I'd go with it ... if you are truely not hungery.

OTOH: If you estimate that you are eating 1,200 calories or less, I would suggest that you're not listening to your body. Or your body may be so used to the crazy eating that it doesn't know what it needs. In that case, yes, you might need some outside help. A few visits to a nutritionist might help you get started.

1,200 calories is considered a starvation diet, btw.
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Old 12-11-2006, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbridi View Post
If you estimate that you are eating 1,200 calories or less, I would suggest that you're not listening to your body. Or your body may be so used to the crazy eating that it doesn't know what it needs. In that case, yes, you might need some outside help.
Hmmm....

I do feel a bit concerned about that.
I've never been a calorie-watcher, so I have no idea about the caloric value of foods.
I wonder, with as little as I'm eating, if I might be under a healthy number.

Maybe I should look up some charts online, just to be safe, although there would be a bit of irony in making my first-ever foray into calorie-counting, to make sure that my intuitive eating is safe!

Thanks Mamas, for the guidelines, and the heads-ups!

alsoSarah

I just happen to like apples, and I am not afraid of snakes. ~Ani d.
These dolls and toys confuse me so; Confound it all, I love it, though!~J. Skellington
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Old 01-15-2007, 06:45 AM
 
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I did WeighDown a few years ago, and this was the principle of it. "Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full." She said that you will typically eat about 1/2 of what you used to. And my mom changed her eating habits w/ the program to eating according to hunger several years ago, and she lost a lot of weight and has kept it off. And I think that things have leveled out for her, and she's now used to eating small amts through the day.
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Old 01-15-2007, 11:42 AM
 
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if you are worried about not getting enough, you are right to want to track for a while. you can get free tracking and calorie counting at sparkpeople.com.

It might be that what you think regular portion should be is distorted (since what we think of as a portion is usually huge), and that now you are eating normally but it seems really small.
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