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Have we forgotten what it is like to be "hungry"?

ipsedixit Sep 10, 2012 02:10 PM

Do people even know what it's like to feel hunger anymore?

It seems most people eat either based on time (12 for lunch, 6 or 7 for dinner, etc.). They're like robots.

Or they eat out of habit -- e.g. "I cannot start my day without my Starbucks cappuccino latte with 2 extra shots" or "I need my midday Snickers bar" or whatever ...

Do people even eat when they actually feel "hungry"?

Better yet, do people nowadays even remember the true sensation of "hunger"?

  1. sunshine842 Sep 10, 2012 02:25 PM

    I just saw an article the other day talking about how pediatricians are concerned that they are seeing children who literally never stop eating...it's one snack after another from the time they open their eyes until the time they go to bed. The pediatricians are worried that not only is this an enormous intake of calories, but that children are not learning to stop eating when they are satiated.... http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/20/din...

    And look at some of the "diets" of the last several years that are well-meaning (if misguided) and intended to stop one from being hungry and binging at regular meals...but there are plenty of programs out there that recommend breakfast...then a mid-morning snack...then lunch...then a mid-afternoon snack...then dinner....then a snack in the evening! So the parents are setting the example for the kids, and enabling a non-stop grazing to go on throughout the entire day.

    29 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842
      cowboyardee Sep 10, 2012 02:28 PM

      Small frequent meals/snacks are probably the healthiest way to go, especially if you exercise much. Large frequent meals and a sedentary lifestyle on the other hand...

      1. re: cowboyardee
        sunshine842 Sep 10, 2012 02:40 PM

        The article suggests otherwise...and there is a point at which you obtain diminishing returns.

        ...and the French seem to be doing quite well in a culture of not snacking at all.

        1. re: sunshine842
          cowboyardee Sep 10, 2012 03:09 PM

          The article isn't exactly a shining example of meticulously researched nutrition science.

          That said, there are plenty of things in it that I agree with. Frequent meals aren't necessarily a solution for everyone, and if you're healthy eating 3 meals a day, then keep on keeping on. Anyway, if you're eating often, the size and quality of those meals and snacks is extremely important, but simplistic dietary advice to eat more often can easily be misinterpreted as a green light to eat whatever you want whenever you want. I'm less sold on frequent meals as a way of managing one's appetite (especially for sedentary folks) for some of these reasons.

          On the other hand, small frequent high-quality meals have an excellent track record with competitive athletes and exercise buffs. And what nutritional science there is has generally shown fairly positive outcomes from small, frequent meals if those meals are proportioned well and well balanced, even in less athletic individuals. But it may be the kind of thing the average person should research for a while before implementing, because eating 6 plates of spaghetti a day along with a light dessert or two probably isn't the best way to go.

          1. re: cowboyardee
            sunshine842 Sep 11, 2012 12:39 AM

            "but simplistic dietary advice to eat more often can easily be misinterpreted as a green light to eat whatever you want whenever you want."

            and I think THAT is the crux -- I remember when the low-fat craze came, and people were stuffing their faces with anything that said "low fat" on the label (remember Snackwells, and Hey, Cookie Man?)....then they realize that they were GAINING weight, because the calorie count had gone through the roof, even though the fat level went down.

            And I would offer up that an athlete in training is a whole different set of nutritional requirements than your ordinary 8-5 Joe or Joanne....or their children.

            Everybody wants dietary advice in 30-second sound bites...and nobody wants to take the time to see how that advice REALLY works.

            1. re: cowboyardee
              g
              givemecarbs Sep 13, 2012 03:10 AM

              Great thread! Thanks for starting it ipsedixit! There are a few raw vegans I know who eat constantly, but raw fruit and veggies and green smoothies mostly, with an avocado or two thrown in the mix. This diet gives them a constant flow of high energy I've observed.
              I love to wait until I'm very hungry to eat, the meal is so much more enjoyable. But waiting til I'm real hungry and/or doing the raw vegan constant sipping and nibbling thing can be hard to pull off if you want to dine with others.
              My mom was kind of afraid of feeling hungry, and used to carry a candy bar or two in her purse as a remedy. I'm lucky enough to live in a time and place where I don't fear starvation, so sometimes feeling hungry makes me feel more alive. To deaden or snuff out ever feeling hungry for no good reason seems boring to me. After all, even zombies call out for braiiiins!

            2. re: sunshine842
              c
              Chowrin Sep 10, 2012 04:34 PM

              weighing in at 130 lbs, 3000 calorie a day diet -- and still losing weight? you betcha I was grazing!

              1. re: Chowrin
                Prav Sep 19, 2012 04:38 AM

                Nice try, Chowrin's parasite! ;)

                1. re: Prav
                  c
                  Chowrin Sep 19, 2012 05:33 PM

                  *snort* my 30lb. backpack is not a parasite!
                  *stomps foot*

            3. re: cowboyardee
              ipsedixit Sep 10, 2012 02:58 PM

              I don't have any scientific evidence, cowboyardee, but I really do not like eating multiple meals (or grazing).

              I exercise quite a bit, and I actually prefer to do it on an empty stomach. When I used to do marathons or tri events, my last meal would be what I ate the night before the event.

              1. re: ipsedixit
                cowboyardee Sep 10, 2012 03:16 PM

                Do what works for you. I'm not suggesting otherwise. I've been working out a decent bit myself recently, and I don't eat as often as many sources indicate I should, mainly because it doesn't fit into my habits. Seeing pretty decent results anyway. There's more than one way to be healthy.

                I'm just saying that the evidence suggests that frequent meals when implemented well can be a very healthy strategy.

              2. re: cowboyardee
                j
                julesrules Sep 14, 2012 06:36 AM

                The thing I don't like as a parent about the non-stop snacks my kids are offered at daycare and school (between the two, my daughter had *4* regular snacktimes her first grade year) is that it encourages the kids to pick and choose not only when but what they eat. My kid has to be HUNGRY to eat vegetables and is even losing her love of fruit. The snacks offered are good quality, not typical junk food, but often high carb and/or high fat. Protein is secondary. There is raw fruit and veg served along side but it loses ground. And then, stuffed from all the snacking, my kid is less likely to eat her dinner, which includes cooked veggies and also my attempts to broaden her palate. Too many options, too often.

                1. re: julesrules
                  h
                  HillJ Sep 14, 2012 06:42 AM

                  Are you allowed to send her to school with snacks you would prefer your kids eat so you have more control over their hunger signals, what they are eating and how it fits in with the rest of your planned family meals?

                  My kids never had school provided meals in grade school. Every snack, lunch or after school program included a brown bagged meal/snack provided by me. I know times have changed but not necessarily mindsets to oversee what our children eat during school/after-school hours.

                  Today, the typical school provided lunch bears little resembalance to what I would have been happy packing my grade schooler.

                  1. re: HillJ
                    j
                    julesrules Sep 14, 2012 06:53 AM

                    Well for a while, she also had me send her *another* snack, to fit in with the school's healthy eating program (they have weekly fruit or veg assigments, and kids who bring that food get entered in a draw for prizes). But that snack didn't always get eaten and we realized it was over the top. Ths year in second grade there are no longer school-provided snacks so it's not as excessive as last year.

                    It's tricky. I actually like that she eats when and what her peers are eating because I see sharing food as a human/social pleasure. I appreciated there was no pressure on me to send things like overpriced, overpackaged granola bars (junk disguised as health food IMHO) that her peers may have brought if snacks weren't provided. At daycare, I'm not going to tell her that she alone is not allowed to eat the daycare cook's homemade cheese strudel, only the carrot sticks that I sent. The meals provided are actually not bad, but the choices she makes within those meals are not great. I could have input on the food if I joined the board, but I know they are already pretty strict, banning any chicken with skin, for example. They stopped using canned food due to BPA concerns many years ago. Etc.

                    1. re: julesrules
                      h
                      HillJ Sep 14, 2012 07:01 AM

                      Homemade cheese strudel over carrot sticks.......hmmmmm, what would I pick :)
                      If that's an indicator then I was overbase in thinking the food offered wasn't to your liking. What you're describing actually sounds very nice by school provided standards. Easier to keep the ongoing conversation about choices with your child than to step in on school decisions (via a Board) anyway.

                      1. re: HillJ
                        j
                        julesrules Sep 14, 2012 07:41 AM

                        Exactly :) And she comes by it honestly too - I also always loved rich foods. Most of the kids at the daycare are lean and eat this stuff pretty sparingly. We have different genetic tendencies to struggle with. We do okay, overall. But 4 snacks a day last year seemed a bit much when I was trying to get her to eat her veggies at dinner.

                2. re: cowboyardee
                  hotoynoodle Sep 15, 2012 03:28 PM

                  when i was a kid, we had 3 meals a day, no snacks -- "it will ruin your appetite." we all were slim.

                  the recommendations for smaller, more frequent meals came about when low-fat, high-carb became the standard. to keep from having insulin crashes you needed food all darn day.

                  having given up grains and upping both my fat and animal protein, i eat fewer calories easily and usually just eat twice per day. i do feel true hunger and no longer have an insulin gremlin nagging, nagging at me.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                    cowboyardee Sep 15, 2012 08:09 PM

                    "the recommendations for smaller, more frequent meals came about when low-fat, high-carb became the standard. to keep from having insulin crashes you needed food all darn day."
                    ________
                    I don't think that's accurate. The kinds of medically recommended and/or sports-based diets I'm talking about are often comparatively low carb and emphasize foods like nuts, beans, lean meats and fish, especially healthy oils, and non-starchy vegetables.

                    1. re: cowboyardee
                      sunshine842 Sep 16, 2012 01:31 AM

                      but conversations regarding diets for athletes in training really don't apply to a guy who sits in his car or on the train for an hour each way to his office, sits at his computer all day, then kicks back on the sofa in the evenings.

                      1. re: sunshine842
                        cowboyardee Sep 16, 2012 03:23 AM

                        Athletes are not the only beneficiaries. I mention athletes because there is so much information about proven diets that very fit people abide by. Less active people need fewer calories. Which is still entirely possible eating small meals frequently, perhaps more easily for some depending on their particular propensities.

                        You're conflating two very, very different diets. On one hand, a diet consisting of multiple small meals of foods chosen for their nutrient density and their ability to keep a person satiated and energetic. On the other, eating two or three large meals a day and then snacking on sweets, junk food, refined carbs, etc, in between. The similarities are entirely superficial.

                        1. re: cowboyardee
                          sunshine842 Sep 16, 2012 03:33 AM

                          but you understand what I'm saying, and I'm pretty sure you'd agree that there are far too many people out there who interpret "multiple small meals" as a license to gorge.

                        2. re: sunshine842
                          h
                          HillJ Sep 16, 2012 04:53 AM

                          What I could eat at 20 and what I can eat now are very different and I've beeen active my whole life. What was important was working with my body as I've gotten older and knowing what my limit is. Some folks can get by on very little food and yet aren't active enough to be considered fit.

                          Being slim doesn't mean you're healthy and heavy folks aren't all one step away from death. Figuring out what works for you when it comes to portions, food choices and activity is the best starting place....at every age.

                          1. re: HillJ
                            sunshine842 Sep 16, 2012 08:44 AM

                            Absolutely.

                            1. re: sunshine842
                              hotoynoodle Sep 16, 2012 11:06 AM

                              from the nytimes article:

                              ..."From their days caring for infants, she said, parents are conditioned to be prepared for a sudden attack of hunger. And so she keeps her car and purse amply packed with pretzels, baggies of Cinnamon Life cereal, Goldfish crackers and Clif bars.

                              For her children, little bites between meals have in some ways supplanted the meals themselves. “They usually need a snack midmorning and midafternoon,” explained Ms. Dyner, who lives in Beverly Hills, Calif. “There may be a third snack, and this is usually due to the fact that our kids didn’t care much for what we provided for dinner, so now it is 7:30 and they are hungry. At this point we may give them a yogurt.”

                              ~~~~~~~~

                              so the kids feel hungry all the time because they never have protein and very little fat. the craptastic grains that they snack on all the time keeps insulin circulating at unhealthy levels and just makes them want more grains and sweet stuff.

                              adults eat like this too now. servers at my restaurant come in between 4-5 pm. they get staff meal, or have a chance to eat something they brought form home before service starts. almost everybody is eating something again at 8 or 9. many of them then go out after work around 11 and eat yet again. these are not 20-year-old kids with lightning fast metabolisms. they are industry pros, mostly in their mid-30s and up. one woman i work with, for over a year now, i swear i could count on one hand how many times i have seen her eat protein. she grazes on grains all day and whines that she is always, always hungry. she is eating every time i see her.

                              most competitive athletes need to consume 1000s more calories per day than the average joe or jane. some simply can't get in enough food in 2 or 3 meals. i get that. this is a very small segment of the population.

                              a blueberry muffin at starbuck's comes in at 352 cals. a blueberry muffin at dunkin' donuts is 460! a chocolate chunk cookie at starbuck's is 358 cals. at dd's it's 340. frappucinos and hot chocolates and such can be 200-500 cals!!! even just ballpark averaging gives somebody 600-700 cals and it's all flour and sugar that won't keep them full very long. i can't even finish the pile of bacon and eggs that would clock in at 700 cals!

                              this is not a "snack" for an office jockey. but it is.

                    2. re: cowboyardee
                      Bill Hunt Sep 19, 2012 06:46 PM

                      There are several weight-loss diets, that stress just what you mentioned.

                      I have never tried one, and seldom have the time to "nibble" much during the day, however good it might be for me.

                      Hunt

                    3. re: sunshine842
                      c
                      cleobeach Sep 12, 2012 10:01 AM

                      A quote from that article - “It has all just gotten out of hand,” said Sean O’Neill, an illustrator and father of two in Chicago. Mr. O’Neill wonders why snacks must be served at every sporting event, even those taking place at 10 a.m. or an hour before lunch."
                      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      I could not agree more. It is crazy. My son plays two sports and the constant snacking drives me bats. This is how it went Saturday morning - breakfast at 9am, arrive at soccerr at 9:45 with "snack served at 10:30am. As far as snacks go it was pretty decent - organic juice, string cheese and orange slices. But even organic juice is little more than tasty calorie-filled water.

                      Baseball was even worse - snacks and juice plus the added irritation of the group of parents that were constantly organizing after game ice cream trips, which would occur right before supper time. Yes, as the parent I have control of the situation but it is easier said than done when your little one is the only one not allowed to go and starts to cry.

                      1. re: cleobeach
                        h
                        HillJ Sep 13, 2012 07:31 AM

                        In other sports, like wrestling.. you cut weight. Crazy arse binging up and down to make a gym scale and Coach happy. Moving up divisions, adding weight. Strategies for the team during the season, cutting weight. The most unhealthy HS sport going and dozens of kids I know dealt with it. Made me crazy when my youngest son was on a team for 4 years. Messes with your health, your head and your food life.

                        Being hungry is a good signal to have. Training it is a good idea. And my gym coach recommended that I listen to it years ago to maintain a balance for my body size (which is lean but petite). What you crave is also important to listen to. Working out isn't the only answer, portion size is important too.

                        1. re: HillJ
                          c
                          cleobeach Sep 13, 2012 07:39 AM

                          Could not agree more with your wrestling thoughts. I grew up in a wrestling-crazed area and I remember boys passing out in the halls between classes, constant nose bleeds, etc. I know several now-grown men that have borderline eating disorders from an entire childhood through college age wrestling lifestyle.

                          1. re: cleobeach
                            h
                            HillJ Sep 13, 2012 08:09 AM

                            You won't find any member of my family at a match today. Hung up the wrestling singlets and threw out the shoes. None of us misses that time in our family life.

                            Thankfully my son overcame. Took years and living on his own most recently to make true peace with food again. I'd like to kick that Coach from here to you know where.

                            1. re: HillJ
                              c
                              cleobeach Sep 13, 2012 09:48 AM

                              I hear ya. It is the only activity that I would refuse to allow our son to participate in. I was close with the coach's son and as he aged out of the sport and got away from the brainwashing, it was sad/interesting to hear his version of the experience. (most often came pouring out after many beers)

                    4. cowboyardee Sep 10, 2012 02:46 PM

                      I work in a hospital, and my patients are often unable to eat for extended periods. Some people deal with it just fine. Many others, not so much. We seem to have a kind of culture of instant gratification, and a lot of people just get used to that. But there are plenty of individual exceptions.

                      Honestly, I'm more amazed at the lengths many people will go to not to walk more than a block or two. I've known plenty of people (some in my own family) who diet without complaint and exercise hard at the gym, but seem to think walking a mile or two is an absurd proposition.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cowboyardee
                        l
                        latindancer Sep 10, 2012 07:54 PM

                        <but seem to think walking a mile or two is an absurd proposition>

                        How about here in LA where, coming from the gym, drivers will get into potential fist fights fighting for the parking space next to the door of the local coffee house. It's really illogical.

                      2. EarlyBird Sep 10, 2012 02:49 PM

                        Yes, I think that the average Westerner has forgotten wha "hunger" feels like. I admit I practically have. I try to fast one day every couple of months. Not only is it supposed to be "good for you" physically, it puts me in touch with hunger and being hungry while not sating it. I come to appreciate how often I'm either stuffing my face or thinking about what I'm going to stuff my face with next.

                        Mind you, I don't get anywhere near as hungry as someone who lives with chronic food shortages. I experience little hunger pangs, and I think, "Gee, how unusual this feeling is!"

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: EarlyBird
                          ipsedixit Sep 10, 2012 02:59 PM

                          Well, I'm not talking about starvation, I'm just talking about learning to listen to our bodies.

                          Eat when we feel hungry as opposed to eating because that's what we normally do at that particular time of the day, or because we're watching a football game, or because it's "dinner time" or whatever.

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            EarlyBird Sep 10, 2012 03:11 PM

                            I understand. That's one of the hardest things for me to do. My Danger Zone is the evenings when I'm home watching t.v. or reading. Oh, don't let me get into Food Network during those hours, or suddenly I'm "famished" and am raiding the fridge.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              mucho gordo Sep 10, 2012 04:10 PM

                              Sadly, I've learned that eating relieves boredom.

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                sunshine842 Sep 11, 2012 12:45 AM

                                to a degree....while I totally agree that eating because of some trigger (a social event, the television, boredom, whatever) is to be avoided when you're not really hungry...

                                ...it's also good to maintain some sort of schedule -- I tried this once, and ended up skipping meals at regular times -- but then I'd be hungry at weird hours when it wasn't always convenient to get something to eat.

                                So now I try to eat something at regular meal times -- even if it's really just a snack, because it's easier than trying to find something to eat at weird hours.

                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  f
                                  FrankJBN Sep 11, 2012 01:33 PM

                                  The OP starts out by saying : "It seems most people eat either based on time (12 for lunch, 6 or 7 for dinner, etc.). They're like robots"

                                  The elaborates by adding "Eat when we feel hungry as opposed to eating because that's what we normally do at that particular time of the day"

                                  Let me preface by saying most of us employed by others and do not unlimnited discretion as to when 'Luncheon is served.'

                                  My main thought is that I get up at 7:00a.m and 'break my fast' as I choose. Not surprising to me, five or six hours later (12:00-1:00) I'm hungry again. Nor am I surprised that six hours or so after that, I am again hungry (7:00 pm)

                                  It doesn't seem to me that this is programmed in, as a robot. The fact that many humans are hungry (or at the least want to eat) every 5 or 6 hours does not seem to be imposed by society.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    f
                                    fogeylv Sep 13, 2012 09:22 AM

                                    Something I've been learning about that bears on this is the subject of "exorphin peptides."

                                    There's a lot on the Internet about them, ranging from scholarly to faddish, but the gist is:

                                    When we eat gluten (wheat, barley, rye) or casein (from dairy, though caseinates are used separately as thickeners), our bodies do not have the necessary enzymes to completely break these proteins down into individual amino acids. Clusters of amino acids remain, and some of these clusters have biological activity.

                                    A few of these clusters take the form of peptides that resemble morphine and endorphins enough for them to have mild drug-like effects. These have been dubbed "exorphins".

                                    Individual sensitivity to exorphins varies a great deal; however, if a person is sensitive, one of the noteworthy effects is that the person experiences withdrawal symptoms a few hours after consuming gluten or casein. This is very likely the cause of "carb cravings" experienced by a person starting a low carb diet.

                                    It's significant to note that if the person eats a substantial meal, the withdrawal symptoms will likely appear BEFORE the person's body has used up all the calories from the meal.

                                    Thus, that person begins to feel "hungry" before his or her body is in need of food. This leads to overeating. (This also suggests an explanation why eating several small meals is effective--you eat before your body goes into exorphin withdrawal, letting you better control your food intake).

                                    I personally am sensitive to the effects. I have been eating a mostly gluten- and casein-free diet for the better part of a year, and I have lost close to 50 lbs. without otherwise dieting or restricting my food intake. (This can be a perfectly healthy diet. Removing gluten still allows you a variety of other starches, such as rice or potatoes, and an adult can easily replace the nutrients lost by shunning dairy.)

                                    I've learned to tell the difference between food cravings caused by exorphin withdrawal and genuine hunger in that time. I would say that before this year, I really didn't know what hunger was, because what I thought was hunger was exorphin cravings.

                                    1. re: fogeylv
                                      f
                                      foiegras Sep 13, 2012 07:51 PM

                                      I thought of this thread when I scheduled a 2-hour meeting from 10:30-12:30 today, and the very first remark was "Are there snacks with this meeting?"

                                      Not sure if I have the same sensitivity you do ... I have eliminated gluten before for 10 or 21 days, and didn't notice much.

                                      How would you describe exorphin cravings vs hunger? I'm pretty positive my stomach growling is hunger :) I tend to experience it as a physical sensation. I also get cravings, which I agree is something completely different--for something salty, sweet, chocolate ... or for 'comfort food.'

                                      My stomach was growling when I got up this morning ... I know some dieters wait for a growling stomach to eat. I find that if I'm really hungry and still wait for a couple hours to eat (perhaps due to an out of control schedule), I end up being a very indiscriminate, undisciplined eater at that meal.

                                      1. re: foiegras
                                        s
                                        sedimental Sep 13, 2012 08:10 PM

                                        Since I have been low carb and higher protein and fats, I find that I am rarely "stomach growling hungry"...... ever. whebn I ate sugar, I would feel hungry often.

                                        I do get hungry if I fast. I try to fast one day per week. I have a feeling of emptiness first, then I actually hear my stomach make noise.

                                        1. re: foiegras
                                          m
                                          MonMauler Sep 14, 2012 09:26 AM

                                          That bit about snacks at the meeting is funny.

                                          I regularly meet with one client in the morning between 9-11, usually for a 1 or 2 hour meeting. Every single time he comes into the office he will bring a cookies from Starbucks or whereever for everyone in attendance. Then we sit around BS-ing, eating cookies for half an hour or so. The first topic of conversation is always, "So what are you guys thinking about for lunch?"

                                  2. f
                                    foiegras Sep 10, 2012 04:35 PM

                                    I certainly do ... I feel hungry on a daily basis. I eat breakfast whether I'm hungry or not on weekdays. On the weekend, being hungry for breakfast drives when I get up. Sometimes my mealtimes are driven by other considerations, like when I need to eat to be on time to a meeting, or if I'm eating at a scheduled time with others. But I typically wait till I'm hungry to eat a meal or snack.

                                    I kind of gather that not everyone gets ravenously hungry. I do, and it's much better if I eat before I get to that point.

                                    1. viperlush Sep 10, 2012 06:06 PM

                                      I try not to feel hunger and attempt to eat on a regular schedule. I get anxious when I get hungry and away from my apartment. So for me it is comfortable knowing when my next meal will be and lets me focus on other things. But there are occasional days when I can't bring myself to eat and I do get hungry. I've always been underweight/low BMI.

                                      1. m
                                        MonMauler Sep 10, 2012 07:32 PM

                                        I get hungry often - usually at least once, if not twice, a day. I almost never eat breakfast, so by the time 1-2pm rolls around, I am pretty hungry and will often eat something around that time. Usually, this lunch consists of a simple sandwich or a slice of cheese pizza, either of which is certainly less than 400 calories. Accordingly, by the time I get around to dinner, which is generally after 8pm, I am definitely feeling hunger again. I hardly ever snack and try not to eat between my 2 meals a day.

                                        1. l
                                          latindancer Sep 10, 2012 07:51 PM

                                          I find, and i've raised my children to do the same based on our eating habits at home, that the (2) meals we eat before dinner are the largest....the last meal of the day around 6pm is light. There's no snacking in between....we're always hungry right before eating these meals.
                                          My father was the perfect example of good eating habits...3 meals a day and absolutely nothing in between. He kept a consistent weight throughout his life....never deviating from the same weight he had since he was young. I live with this example.

                                          1. Peg Sep 11, 2012 01:45 AM

                                            Having tried to eat breakfast because that's what all the advice says I should do, I have come to the conclusion that eating when not hungry is not for me. I wait till I feel hungry and whatever time that is I eat lunch. That can be any time between 10 and 2.
                                            Forcing food down in the morning is horrible (I do get up very early, maybe that has something to do with it). I eat a high protein lunch that sees me through till the evening, when again, I eat when hungry.
                                            So I feel hungry every day, and I think it makes me appreciate simple foods more. If you're hungry then a bowl of steamed vegetables is something to look forward to!

                                            1. mcel215 Sep 11, 2012 02:23 AM

                                              I lost 50lbs over a year, from July 2011-July 2012, and understand what it means to go hungry

                                              I get up at 5am and don't eat my breakfast until around 6:30am, and am famished by that time.

                                              Not snacking in between meals, means that I feel hungry every day, although not starving.

                                              I didn't feel hunger before my weight loss much, because I grazed/snacked in between my meals. I do eat fruit or yogurt now for snacks, but it doesn't quite fill me up like some of my old favorite snacks. I also feel a heck of a lot better and have more energy.

                                              Somehow deep inside I feel like this is a good way to live, because now when I eat pizza or a dish of spaghetti and meatballs, it's much appreciated. :)

                                              BTW, my co-workers graze all day and I never noticed it before because I was right there with them.

                                              www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: mcel215
                                                sunshine842 Sep 11, 2012 05:19 AM

                                                *like*

                                                1. re: mcel215
                                                  b
                                                  Baskerville Sep 11, 2012 01:01 PM

                                                  Your comments pretty much mirror my own experiences. I didn't know true hunger until I lost 85 pounds, and I fully support that feeling hunger is both a necessary and natural part of being, well, alive. I was a flagrant grazer for years. Food tastes a billion times better now that I don't snack.

                                                  1. re: mcel215
                                                    c
                                                    Cachetes Sep 12, 2012 05:40 PM

                                                    I could have written your post. I lost 25 pounds between January and July 2012 (this year), and it was exactly as you said. I had three meals a day, cut out grazing, and learned again what real hunger felt like. In the past month or so, I have begun to eat a bit more with snacks once in a while, but only so that I would stop losing weight (I went from being at the top of my normal weight range to the bottom of it).

                                                    Like you, it felt right. I had a lot of energy, my body ran like a machine, and I stopped have gastrointestinal pain. And I even think that my breath improved, which I think is because I cut out a lot of sugar. It's a good way to live, as you say.

                                                    1. re: Cachetes
                                                      mcel215 Sep 13, 2012 02:20 AM

                                                      It is, now I just have to "stay" on track. :) I'm trying the 80/20 approach, because afterall is said and done, I am still a "chowhound".

                                                      www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                                      1. re: mcel215
                                                        c
                                                        Cachetes Sep 14, 2012 09:07 AM

                                                        Of course! You have to enjoy the food you are eating (whether as part of the 80 or the 20 side of it) and feel some satisfaction, or the whole approach will fail!

                                                  2. p
                                                    PandanExpress Sep 11, 2012 01:11 PM

                                                    I don't consciously eat based on the time, but I do find myself getting hangry (hungry AND angry) around the same lunch time each day, so I eat then for the sake of my co-workers so I don't end up being cranky to them. If I try to push lunch off too late, everyone has to stay away from me.

                                                    I'm more flexible with dinner though and tend to eat later instead of earlier.

                                                    1. tracylee Sep 11, 2012 05:18 PM

                                                      Due to medical issues, I never feel hungry, and could go for days without getting hungry, so I have to remind myself to eat something. And I need to eat multiple high-protein small meals throughout the day. If I really like something and eat what would be a normal person's meal portion, I get sick. A few weeks ago, I had 4 medical appointments/procedures in one day, the 3rd of which was a blood test. I got a call a few hours later telling my my blood sugar had been low, and I need to eat more often. I now take a protein bar with me to eat between appointments - at least before blood tests.

                                                      I know my case is not the normal way of life.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: tracylee
                                                        jw615 Sep 13, 2012 09:37 PM

                                                        Mine is not the normal either...for medical reasons, particularly some specific meds, I pretty regularly get extraordinarily hungry.

                                                        This summer I worked at a summer camp and had to try to explain it to the kids. (so they would understand when sometimes I got special snacks that were not at mealtimes.) I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes so hungry that it is actually physically painful. Sometimes the meds will make me hungry to the point that it's either find something to eat right now or I will actually throw up. It's kind of ridiculous.

                                                        However, I try really hard not to eat when I'm not hungry...weight gain is pretty much a given when you are on this drug...I was doing great until I broke my foot, which kept me from getting on the treadmill for a bit. Now that I'm back to exercising, I'm working it off...

                                                        1. re: jw615
                                                          tracylee Sep 14, 2012 03:53 PM

                                                          I feel for you and trying to explain it to the kids. I hover between 100-110 lbs and need to gain muscle weight, but after breaking my hip, everyone's afraid that I'd hurt myself again on the treadmill. Even with the cut-off, I'd be on the ground before it stopped. Glad to hear you're back to exercising!

                                                          When I was at the skilled nursing facility, the staff were directed to give me 3 snacks as well as the 3 meals. My 93-year-old roommate didn't understand why she wasn't getting snacks all day long as well, so the staff learned to whisper it to me, since she was hard of hearing.

                                                          I take a protein bar up to my nightstand at night to eat when I wake up in the middle of the night, and keep one in my purse in case I feel my blood sugar getting low.

                                                          1. re: jw615
                                                            khh1138 Sep 24, 2012 09:23 AM

                                                            Oh, jw, I can relate. I have a condition where I have to occasionally go on prednisone, which I consider a wonder drug - it totally chases my condition into submission, but the side-effects are a bear. Thankfully I typically only have to go on it for a few weeks once a year or once every two years. The last time I went on it, I was so RAVENOUS and all we had in the house were the makings for grilled cheese. I made one grilled cheese sandwich, and ate it in about 3 seconds, and it was as if I hadn't eaten anything. So I made another. Same story. I continued, until I ran out of bread. I had eaten 6 grilled cheese sandwiches in a row. And I was still STARVING. I certainly would have kept going if I had more food in the house!

                                                            Normally, I find I need to eat about every four hours or so or I get the actual pains in my stomach and light-headedness from hunger - and if I let it go too long, I'll get a migraine from not eating.

                                                        2. Elster Sep 13, 2012 02:58 AM

                                                          I think you're right, but I just don't think it's as much of an issue as one might be concerned. Most animals graze and pick at food constantly rather than waiting to feel 'hungry' but we just can't do this because we have quite regimented routines as part of the societies we function within. I think it's natural to pick at food when it's there because it's just a casual and pleasurable experience - the problem is, of course, that the food that is most often 'there' to be picked at is the high-calorie stuff rather than carrot sticks or grapes. So maybe what I'm saying is that the problem is not that our sensation of hunger has been lost but rather that we have become increasingly surrounded by food, and that makes our tendency to graze much less healthy. I remember when I first moved to Germany and was astonished by the fact that one is constantly surrounded by people snacking all day long - it took me a long time to get used to it and not let the sight of it make me want to snack too!!

                                                          1. Rodzilla Sep 15, 2012 04:28 PM

                                                            So many directions to take this question, and I think it's a very individual thing.

                                                            The more intuitive you can be with your eating, the better - but that goes for knowledge as well. People do feel "hunger" sensations even when they've eaten adequately, it's also possible possible to not feel hungry despite being undernourished.

                                                            There are many variables that influence hunger, beyond the physiological need for sustenance and vice versa. I think the more intuitive you one can be with their eating - the better, but schedules and a general idea of the values of the foods one is consuming is equally necessary.

                                                            1. s
                                                              serah Sep 16, 2012 04:04 AM

                                                              I am increasingly cheesed off with people's constant eating at work. It seems like every meeting I go to someone is chomping away at something. Even ones first thing in the morning , when grown adults should be organised enough to get up in time to have breakfast. I can cope with a cup of tea or coffee but the full on cake/sandwich/crisps just does my head in.

                                                              I'm in the UK and go to the US for a consortium meeting each year. The meeting has a constant supply of food on tap - bagels, toast, muffins, cookies, fruit, and other assorted junk which is just a total waste as well as encouraging poor eating habits. Snacks are increasingly supersized (not just in the US, but in the UK as well) -for me, a snack is a banana, or a single biscuit (cookie) - something like a Digestive, but not a hand sized chewy US-style cookie. Now it seems like a bagel with jam is a snack - that's BREAKFAST!

                                                              Although I'm not practising what I preach at the moment - I'm pregnant and oscillating between eating anything that's not nailed down, and everything making me want to heave :/

                                                              1. w
                                                                wewwew Sep 16, 2012 12:28 PM

                                                                OK, I'll bite on the age question. Now in mid sixty range even after three hours of cycling I don't feel hunger, not the teenage eat the fridge, not even spontaneous ideas popping into my head. A feeling of enough comes after eating, but it is not a counter to need as it was in my past.

                                                                1. u
                                                                  upsidedownorchid Sep 17, 2012 07:47 PM

                                                                  I have found eating on a fairly regular schedule actually helps me feel real hunger and has helped me lose weight. I eat breakfast when I get up, around 9. I work as a server and I need to eat a substantial breakfast to avoid drooling on plates when I work a lunch shift. I am hungry enough to have a snack around 1:30 or 2. I eat lunch around 3:30 or 4 after work. I usually have a snack around 7-7:30 (when I work an evening shift, the delicious smelling foods drives me crazy if I don't). I have dinner when things are calm enough to, or after I'm done work, somewhere between 9 and 10 pm.

                                                                  I am almost always actually hungry at these times because I've kept to this schedule for about 6 months. It has boosted my metabolism as well. I've lost about 12 pounds and I'm far warmer than I used to be!

                                                                  1. Bill Hunt Sep 19, 2012 06:44 PM

                                                                    I try to structure my day, so that I will feel hungry, come dinner at a fine restaurant.

                                                                    I will do a lighter breakfast, and no lunch, and then walk several miles, before dining.

                                                                    Now, at a Biafran level, I have not known real hunger in decades.

                                                                    Hunt

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