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Generally speaking, is it okay to eat when you're not hungry in order to get enough calories?


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I find if I only eat when I am hungry I fall quite short of my maintainence calories.  I am vegetarian and eat a lot of healthy foods including peanut butter, whole grains, tofu, vegetables, etc., some are high calories and some are low.  Is it okay to eat when I am not hungry in order to get enough calories for the day?
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I would say yes, as you need that minimum amount to keep your metabolism up & going where it should naturally be. But, to avoid this happening, maybe you should pad your meals with the same number of calories you end up needing to make up for at the end of the day. What I mean is, if you find yourself consistently falling 300 calories short at the end of the day on most days, then start padding each meal by enough calories to make sure you end up where you need to be at the end of the day. You'll be eating when you're hungry, just eating a bit more, and you'll still be within your caloric budget. Good luck!

thank you, that is a good suggestion.  unfortunately I still sometimes get paranoid about overeating, and I can't keep eating if I am full.  I guess the best thing is to try to use higher calories foods from now on.

I'm paranoid about overeating too and I find myself slipping into starvation mode lately, getting only barely 1200 calories a day (today was less than 1100) because years of trying to diet by not eating at all messed with my mind. I guess I just have to learn to eat enough, stick with it for a while and see for myself that it works and I'm not gaining.

yeah I guess years of dieting have conditioned us to undereat... :(  It's a hard habit to break.  
I wouldn't suggest it. Instead try to plan ahead to make sure that you will hit your calorie goal. Forcing yourself to eat when you are not hungry hurts you in the long run. Eventually you will be unable to recognize hunger...that is the problem I have now. For a long time I had to force myself to eat so now, even when I am not hungry, I want to eat. Just try to be more prepared with food.

Do it! I am just like you: a vegan who eats just about all whole foods and was used to eating a lot less so I would be so full even under 1200 calories.  But I wasn't losing any weight so I decided to up my calories by adding more healthy fats and protein (ie. nuts, avocado, beans) even if I wasn't that hungry.  Result? I'm finally steadily losing weight (even if it is at a healthy slow pace) and by body has gotten used to eating this amount (which is actually the right amount I should be eating).

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Original Post by anaxandra:

I find if I only eat when I am hungry I fall quite short of my maintainence calories. I am vegetarian and eat a lot of healthy foods including peanut butter, whole grains, tofu, vegetables, etc., some are high calories and some are low. Is it okay to eat when I am not hungry in order to get enough calories for the day?

If, like you say, you have grown accotumed to undereating due to dieting, then I'd suggest you eat your allotted calories. However, for a normal person, a nutritionist would never recommend eating when not hungry.

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