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LGREGG07 SparkPoints: (44,505)
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11/1/13 9:51 A

I still think that you're making things complicated for yourself and that's what stresses you out. By trying to cut out so many things from your diet (ie: the list of things you are going to avoid (the additives)) you're going to be spending a lot of time reading food labels, and I have a feeling that that is also going to create a lot of unnecessary stress for you as well. It's easy to think that you can cut a bunch out and not feel overwhelmed, but in reality, its hard and stressful and very overwhelming.

Personally, I think you're better off just trying to eat as many whole foods as you can and supplement with packaged foods (like greek yogurt, maple syrup, almond butter, and even frozen veggies) without trying to focus to much on how many chemical additives are in them. Then once you've gotten to a point where you've tackled your hunger issues and are losing weight at a consistent rate, you can start focusing more on eliminating additives from your diet.

I think concentrating on losing weight and getting your hunger under control should be your first priority, in my opinion.

FTSOLK Posts: 1,392
10/30/13 2:00 P

I usually wait 30-60 minutes before I eat again. I'll drink water, go for a walk, and the hunger doesn't go away.

The hunger itself is physical hunger. However, there IS an emotional aspect to how I deal with it. I definitely get into the whole "I'm hungry, this doesn't work, forget it" mindset (though, not always 100% consciously), and I'll eat half a bag of chips.

When I was 13, 14, 15, chips were meals. I wasn't required to eat lunch at school after age 10 (basically, as soon as I entered middle school). In high school, I only went into the cafeteria if the library was closed. Instead, after school, I'd walk home, and I'd often pick up Wise potato chips at $1.00 a bag. That was breakfast and lunch on many days. The only reason this stopped at 16 was that I got a job after school. I drank a LOT of orange soda and ate a LOT of fried chicken banquet TV dinners during that time.

I think my high school potato chip meal habit has just stuck with me. When I'm hungry, that's often what I want to reach for- especially if I'm hungry and stressed. Like when I've gone all day without eating as a student, or when I've been eating the "right" foods and I'm still hungry.

Though, I have a bit of a confession. My favorite barbecue chips have vanished, and I haven't really missed them. Ok, I'll admit, I did try a different kind yesterday (which I hated). Lately, I've been more into popcorn (not the microwave stuff!) and organic blue corn tortilla chips and medium salsa. I can eat an entire bag of barbecue chips in less than an hour. It typically takes me 2-3 weeks to finish a bag of tortilla chips. So, it's not perfect, but it's an improvement.

I am currently making a list of groceries I want to buy: ingredients to make a slow-cooker chili (ground beef, tomatoes, beans, etc), rosemary (for homemade sweet potato fries), maple syrup (for yogurt), plain full-fat Greek yogurt (fage Total), whole milk, natural nut butter, fruit, veggies, etc.

My grocery list (in general- not just specifically for this week) does contain some packaged foods (including canned, low sodium beans, conventionally raised dairy, Simply Balanced fruit snacks, etc), but I'm completely avoiding a lot of chemicals, white flour. I'm still going to eat some pre-flavored yogurts (Fage Cherry is one of my favorites, and I can get Chobani Bites for $0.88 this week!), and I still think picking up a banana and a packet of Maple Almond butter (which does have added sugar) will be a go-to snack for me when I'm at Target. Of course, there's also my favorite popcorn- but I'll try to make the basic sea-salt variety my standard and save the sea salt caramel flavor for a treat.

Basically, my food list is:

No artificial sweeteners (duh- I've mentioned before that they make me sick)
No artificial coloring (including "caramel coloring")
No artificial flavoring
No bleached/enriched flours (100% whole wheat flour only)
No nitrates/nitrites

I'm not going to focus on numbers for a little while. I'm just going to focus on eating primarily real, whole foods, with limited shortcuts (ie: frozen veggies, store bought yogurt, etc). I'll work on calorie counting AFTERWARDS.

The only time I plan on deviating from this is when eating out (I'm focusing on eating at home first. I don't want to overwhelm myself again). Ok, so if I go to Macaroni Grill (I have $25 worth of gift certificates), I'll go for the whole wheat pasta, but I'm still likely to get the parmesan crusted chicken and pancetta. I still plan on bringing home leftovers (as I ALWAYS do when I have pasta), but I'll divide the leftovers up into a couple containers for lunch for 2-3 days- and pair them with some additional veggies, fruit, and such. If I don't allow myself to eat leftovers, I'm more likely to try to overstuff myself. By allowing the leftovers, I actually eat less because I look FORWARD to packing the leftovers for lunch.

Of course, making these plans does increase the chances that my mom will bring home french toast or meatballs from work (she's the cook at a preschool/daycare). Or my dad will fill the freezer with lean pockets.

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 3,293
10/30/13 1:14 P

OK, so here is a stupid question. When you feel hungry after you have already eaten a high-protein, high-fiber, meal, how long do you wait before you decide to eat more?

In the past you have talked about easing the hunger with things like popcorn and chips, which aren't likely to do much to resolve real hunger...which is probably why some of us have suggested that there may be an emotional component or that something about your sense of hunger is off kilter in some way, perhaps due to a medical problem like PCOS or metabolic syndrome.

FTSOLK Posts: 1,392
10/29/13 5:49 P

I'm not, technically a college student. I've been out of school for personal and financial reasons since 2011. I am, however, aware that you may be right about the sleep patterns. As of lately, my insomnia has been acting up, and that always messes me up. Still, things may get more "normal" for a little while- meaning that time when I have a job, but don't have schoolwork (I'm planning on doing online courses while working a, hopefully, full-time job).

I've honestly tried the whole calorie banking/averaging concept. It's basically what I did the FIRST time I successfully lost any weight (around 20 pounds and 2-3 pants sizes- I went from a size 10 to a size 6, almost a size 4!) Rather than divide my weekly points from Weight Watchers up and have an extra 5 (It was back when we only had 35 extras; now, you get 49) points per day, I saved most of my weekly points for a "treat meal" after my weigh-in. Sure, I dipped into the allowance throughout the week, but MOST of them were saved for Tuesday nights.

It is nice to have someone validate what I already knew, Anarie. I've had people tell me, point blank, that I am never really hungry after eating a meal. They give the usual answers:

"Drink water!" (Even though I mentioned drinking water throughout the day, and with the meal alone, I had a liter of cherry seltzer)

"Eat more fiber!" (Dinner contained roasted broccoli with garlic, string beans, and a small to medium baked sweet potato)

"Eat more protein!" (I had a 7 oz salmon)

"You're not eating enough fat" (The veggies were tossed in a little olive oil, the sweet potato was topped with coconut oil, and the salmon is pretty fatty.)

I go through the "checklist" myself before posting about these unexplained hunger signals, and I also do the whole "wait 20-30 minutes" thing. Sometimes, I'll admit, it does work. Other times, it doesn't. And to have people completely disregard what I am saying is hurtful at times.
Michelle- My nutrition tracking is sporadic at best. I've done better at tracking elsewhere, but tracking is not my strong point. Most of my entries are just tests/samples/thinking- not actual tracking. I also don't track fruit and vegetables (excluding startchy veggies), so that also skews things a bit. I try to have protein with every meal and snack, however.
Renata- I've actually been considering a slightly modified version of the 100 Days of Real Food 10 day challenge. Modified, in that I won't necessarily eat organic meat, dairy, or produce. I'm not sure I can maintain that for life, but I can certainly try to make that my foundation for eating.

Of course, Chobani Bites, preflavored cups (including Fage), and Champions Tubes will have a place in my life- along with Target's Simply Balanced butternut squash soup, Justin's maple almond butter, and The Good Bean Chickpea snacks. Honestly, since my favorite chips have vanished from shelves, AND I've been experimenting with new snacks, I've been on a bit of a chick pea and popcorn kick (Sea Salt Caramel and White Cheddar with Black Truffle oil popcorn- YUM!) Potato chips were my weakness before, but now, I honestly don't really miss them.

Of course, the Oreos will be harder to give up, but I suppose, after a while, I won't miss them either. Then, there's also the detail that, at least to start, I'm not going to stress about eating out. I'm going to focus on what I'm eating at home and what I pack for lunch (lunch packing is a hobby of mine. I NEVER buy lunch when working.) So, I may start out overcompensating when eating out, but most people seem to say that the healthier they eat most of the time, the less they want to overdo it, so my dining out habits may gradually change on their own.

I'm not necessarily completely discounting calorie counting, but I'm considering that if I switch the focus to a "cleaner" diet, it might make things easier. I'm sure there are people who start off on a paleo diet, and then start counting calories to keep portions in check. Not eating out of packages is something I need to work on, though I am pretty good about eating off of smaller plates when I do plate my food. I don't use my largest plate often (it's the "dinner" plate), but I've made some pretty epic salads on it in the past).

ANARIE Posts: 13,179
10/29/13 4:45 P

There's nothing weird or unusual about being hungrier some days than others. It doesn't necessarily have a cause, certainly not one that would be obvious or easy to identify. It happens to everyone-- in fact, it would be more bizarre to feel the same every single day. If you really want to track down the factors that are causing it, you would have to eat exactly the same thing every day for months at a time while obsessively recording every detail of activity, weather, mood, hours of sleep, exposure to germs, exposure to sunlight, visual stimulation, advertising, television viewing... There are hundreds of hunger triggers. Knowing that you're a college student, my guess for the strongest contributing factor would be sleep patterns, but there are still going to be many other factors that have to interact.

And then there's the fact that your whole goal is to eat too little to sustain you. Weight loss doesn't happen without hunger. You can minimize it, and that's why people do all the stuff of spreading out meals and drinking water and so on. But you can't lose weight without feeling hungry sometimes. If people have told you otherwise, they're just trying to make you feel better. You CAN feel hungry an hour after a meal; you're absolutely right about that. If you want to lose weight without that discomfort, you have to at all other times eat the absolute minimum you can without feeling hungry, so you'll have a few extra calories to eat another salad on the days you do feel hungry.

Lissa, you might find it useful to use a program that gives you weekly nutritional averages. We say you need a minimum of 1200 calories a day, but that doesn't have to be 100% literally every single day. If you have a day when you don't feel like eating and you get up to 1000, it doesn't really hurt to say, "Okay, I was short on calcium and fiber, so next time I'm extra hungry, I'll need to make up for those two nutrients."

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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10/29/13 2:03 P

I eat very intuitively now and it's working great thus far. But there's a few caveats that go with that.

First, my consumption of junk food is low, and I consciously keep it that way. If you converted the entire pantheon of sweet and salty snacks (plus desserts) into apple pies, I'm probably eating about the equivalent of one piece of pie every two weeks, and no more. Plus a slice of pizza about once a month -- that's it on the "dinnerish" junk food for me.

Second, I do still maintain a loose and informal form of portion control. My single biggest potential issue is grazing, so foods get put away in my house, and I don't eat straight out of cartons. I know approximately how far up the bowl to fill the food in order to be full but not overfull after I'm done, and I stick to that. On the other hand, these things are long-established habit for me now and if I'm hungry a while after a meal I'll eat some more without worrying about it -- in that way it's intuitive.

Third, and this is important -- with these steps I am so far able to maintain my weight. Not lose.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,100)
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10/29/13 4:22 A

I glanced at a few days of your nutrition tracker. I think the hunger is perhaps related to the lack of protein and would aim for 100g/day minimum.

Edited by: MICHELLEXXXX at: 10/29/2013 (04:34)
FTSOLK Posts: 1,392
10/29/13 1:22 A

Azul- I USED to be the kind of person who would scrape the cream out of half a package of double stuf Oreos and pile it up to make a mega-cookie. Now? I'm not a huge fan of the cream. It's the chocolate cookie I REALLY like. So, my search would simply be to find a chocolate wafer cookie or something that I can dunk in milk.

That being said, I'm also REALLY lazy. So, if my options for my cookie and milk cravings are make it or nothing, then there's a good chance I'll opt for a piece of organic dark chocolate instead of making the cookies.

I would love to give up processed foods (at least at home where I can control the ingredients,) but that's easier said than done. I have considered a gradual approach. Not necessarily giving up all processed foods or all junk food right away, but eliminating certain chemicals like artificial colorings, flavorings BHA, nitrates, msg, etc. There's a list on the Whole Foods website of "unacceptable ingredients." My first step would be to eliminate foods with those ingredients. Then, I can wean myself off of processed convenience food.

Though, I do wish I could eat a real foods diet at home with the convenience of popping something in the microwave on a day when I just don't feel like cooking. Though, now that we have the air fryer, salmon doesn't take all that long to cook.

(And of course, my favorite flavors of yogurt and Justin's maple almond butter [it's AMAZING with banana slices] don't count according to the rules of '100 Days of Real Food. It's not just about Oreos and potato chips. I do have some healthier obsessions!)

10/28/13 5:28 P

And Lisa some days I'm just hungrier than others. That's one of the reasons why I stopped tracking daily. Feeling like I have to eat when I'm not hungry or conversely feeling bad about myself because I went over my calories for the day just plain sucks.

10/28/13 5:25 P

I think what you eat is the key.

I eat a diet high in fat. Over 60% of my calories come from fat every day, 20% from vegetable and fruit carbohydrates and 20% from protein.

I also enjoy big meals because I like to feel full and because of that I don't snack, I'm just too full to snack.

It's a great way to eat. emoticon

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
10/28/13 4:27 P

Anarie has the right idea. The point that toddlers are still growing--building bone, muscle and flesh--is an important one too. Their nutrition is also fueling brain growth and an explosion of learning. In just a couple of years, they literally double in size. You, on the other hand, are trying NOT to double in size. :)

Another element to consider is that most processed foods are purposefully engineered to trick our natural sense of satiety. They are built to trigger a bliss point by combining the right amount of fat, sugar and sodium. Some are even created with textures that are meant to fool us.

Take Cheetos, for example. They melt in your mouth, which is not accidental. It's something that is done on purpose and food scientists call it vanishing caloric density. If a food melts down quickly, our brains think there are no calories in it--so we can eat a lot, and buy more of the product. It's all about profit and it is meant to be addictive.

You are on the right track with preparing things yourself...but I think that if you were to make your own Oreos you might be too disgusted to eat them. The filling is lard whipped with sugar. Of course both the lard and the sugar (plus the flour in the crisps) are incredibly refined and processed products. I love Oreos, but yeah, they are gross. A small piece of real chocolate is probably a better choice.

Given that you are eating processed foods, there is just no way that you can depend on your natural sense of satisfaction to gauge when you need to call it quits.

Another thing to think about is how humans ate before the dawn of civilization. We ate meat and foraged vegetables along with some very minimal amounts of fruit. We did not consume grains until about 10,000 years ago when farming began and some cultures became sedentary. When people encountered something rare in the wild such as honey, it set off gimme-gimme-gimmie pleasure centers in our brains. Now though, we have easy access to sweet foods all of the time. Physiologically however, we are the same as our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Our brains are designed to deal with meat and vegetables--they don't really do a very good job of processing the extreme amounts of sugar, carbs and salt that are in modern foods. Our perceptions are all askew. They are not dependable.

Some people have fast enough metabolisms that they can deal with eating junk food and not be overweight. Many of these people hit 30 and suddenly become fat when their metabolisms slow but their eating habits don't change. Other people LOOK healthy on the outside, but really are not very healthy if you look at their bloodwork or they are not very fit--take people who are skinny-fat, for example.

Obviously I am over simplifying some complex issues from anthropology, evolutionary biology, chemistry and medicine...but these are just some more things to think about.

FTSOLK Posts: 1,392
10/28/13 3:28 P

Anarie- Trust me, I'm fully aware that I'm wanting the impossible. To be perfectly honest, however, this wasn't supposed to be about mindful/intuitive eating initially.

I am sick and tired of people telling me that I'm not hungry. They blame it on thirst (though, I know when I'm thirsty). They say it's emotional. According to the majority, it is physically impossible to feel hungry after eating. But sometimes, I am! Sometimes, I can go hours between meals. Other times, I'm ready for a snack less than an hour later!

It got me to thinking that maybe, sometimes people are just hungrier than other times. It's not 100% about protein and drinking water and eating veggies (though, I do think that eating real, whole foods DOES make it easier for you to be in tune with real hunger signals and such). Sometimes, for no apparent reason, you're just hungrier.

I've had days where I was on a 1,200 calorie diet (not eating back exercise calories, but I didn't count fruit and veggies). On a few days, I ate as little as 700 calories (again, not counting produce). I wasn't hungry or was busy- I don't make a habit of eating that little.

Yet, I've had days where I've eaten over 2,000 calories and I was still hungry. These days weren't necessarily directly before or after a lower calorie day either.They weren't during my TOM either. For no apparent reason, I was just HUNGRY.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,100)
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Posts: 3,750
10/28/13 2:51 P

I think the difference is that toddlers have to fuel growth-spurts, while adults are finished growing.

JAMIRBLAZE Posts: 1,767
10/28/13 1:16 P

I've been committed to being health for almost two years (longest for me), and I still have weird hunger signals, though I've gotten myself to the point where I schedule my meals to where I am rarely hungry.

For me, I had to start looking at bang for calorie buck. Sure, I can make those two cookies for 200 calories work with my lifestyle, but I also could have a large apple and a tablespoon of peanut butter (a lot more food and much more balanced nutrition) for 200 calories. Two cookies leaves me hungry 60 minutes later. A large apple and PB will get me through until the next meal. I also try to incorporate filling sides - two cups of raw cauliflower, two servings baby carrots, etc. Lots of food for a relatively small calorie amount.

ANARIE Posts: 13,179
10/28/13 1:04 P

The thing is, you're trying to have the best of both worlds. Eating whatever healthy foods you want when you're hungry would work IF AND ONLY IF you NEVER ate a single bite of anything unless you were starving, and even then it was always healthy whole foods. You wouldn't be able to eat Oreos because you're hungry; it would have to be brown rice and beans, or broccoli, or a turkey sandwich on 100% whole grain bread, etc. And if you're eating as much beans and turkey as you want when you're hungry, then if you weren't starving when you went out with your friends, you'd have to sit there and not eat anything.

If you think about it, that's how toddlers are. A two-year-old doesn't do social eating; if you take a toddler to a restaurant, s/he's not going to join in to be polite. If s/he's not hungry, whatever food you put on the high chair tray is going to end up on the floor.

Eating like a toddler might work, but you have to do it ALWAYS. You can't be a part-time toddler.

FTSOLK Posts: 1,392
10/27/13 10:41 P

I'm working on making changes to my diet- including giving up Oreos. They are my weakness (regular- not double stuf) with a glass of milk, but it needs to be done. Though, there is a website, 100 Days of Real food that gives the advice "if you want junk food, make it from scratch." Cut your own potato to make chips or fries. I'm sure I can find a recipe to make homemade oreos (or simply the chocolate wafer cookie). It won't be healthy, but it'll have fewer chemicals, and if it takes more effort than walking around the corner to 7-11, I'll think twice about eating a whole box in one sitting.

The restaurant meal thing is an issue. I know I need to start ordering foods that are good as leftovers. If I do that, I'm more likely to bring home leftovers for lunch. If I can split a meal in half or even thirds or quarters, I'll be much better off. (Though, my first priority is home eating. That's where I consume most of my meals).

10/27/13 7:21 P

Honestly, if we "only" ate according to hunger cues (and only used mostly wholesome foods), most everyone would maintain a healthy weight.

But today, about 50% of the US population is overweight or obese. So something (or really many things) have made maintaining a healthy weight difficult for many. (and we are seeing these things alter our toddler's eating habits as well.)

Just look at some of the concerns (and add more to the list).
6-8 hours of "entertainment screen time"
dining out meals with 2000 calories
diets of chicken nuggest and French fries, with few fruits and veggies
processed foods that trigger the pleasure center of the brain (latest Oreo cookie study)
pop, pop and more pop

Your SP Registered Dietitian

FTSOLK Posts: 1,392
10/27/13 4:29 P

One of the problems I run into with counting calories and "dieting" is that I'll do well for a while- then I'll have a day where I'm just hungry. It's not that I was overly restricting calories or anything. I'll just have a day or two or three where I'm a bottomless pit.

And I get the usual replies. "Drink more water." "You aren't really hungry." "Eat protein." Even though I was drinking water and eating protein, I STILL have days where I'm hungry even right after eating what SHOULD be a complete and satisfying meal. It's not emotional hunger. To be honest, when I'm really stressed, I don't eat. I actually get knots in my stomach and I CAN'T eat. After I lost my job back in March, I had to force myself to eat for a few days afterwards.

I recently got to thinking about my time working in a preschool. On several occasions, parents have come to me concerned that their two-year-olds aren't eating enough. Thing is, with kids, you can't predict things. One week, a toddler may eat very little, and the next, it will seem like they have a hollow leg.

Is it possible that we don't outgrow that- we've just ignored our real hunger signals for so long? However, if is true that it's normal to have days where we are extremely hungry for no apparent reason, how do we deal with that in conjunction with counting calories? Do we just suffer through extreme hunger in the name of "reaching our goals" and staying in our ranges?

This bothers me, and trying to ignore hunger because I don't have calories left has been my downfall time and time again. At the same time, during the times I'm able to stick to counting calories, I do lose weight. So, I am torn.

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