Weight Loss
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Eat only when hungry? What a revelation!


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Ok, so call me totally nutty, but instead of obsessively counting calories, I am going to try a new approach to weightloss.  Eating when hungry, and stopping when no longer hungry.  Sounds so simple, right?  Ok, maybe I should explain my story.

   I have been slightly overweight my entire life.  I am a freshman in college, and last year, at my highest weight, I was 5'8 and 166lbs.  I decided to start eating better and exercising before graduating highschool.  Well, I did just that, and in the process, developed anorexia.  From March until August I shrunk from 166 - 120.  I looked ill.  It started with a healthy diet, but then I began cutting my calories more and more, abusing diet pills, and exercising 3 hours every single day.  I couldn't take it anymore, gave up the obsession, and of course, gained weight back.  Now I am back up at a much healthier weight of 155 and am seeking counseling at my university to help deal with the mental aspect of the situation.  However, I would like to attempt losing weight the healthy way.  In my opinion, counting  calories feeds into the obsessive mindset that got me into this whole mess, so I have decided to adopt a much less strict approach of simply listening to my body and eating when hungry, not when full, a function that many people take for granted, but after developing an eating disorder, one tends to lose all forms of hunger and satiety.  I think by listening to our bodies and giving them what they need, exercising, and making healthy choices, the weight will come off in a much less mentally torturing way.  Any and all feedback is welcome.  (duh, it's a forum) :]
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Good luck.It sounds so simple to eat when hungry, and stop when full. If only it was that easy. I think if most of us followed that, we wouldn't be here. You need to train yourself to stop eating when your full, not when your stuffed, and had too much, but when your full. It's something I am trying to do as well.

anyway, as i said, good luck, and let us know how you get on!
I think that's great! Once you really pay attention to your body's cues and really FEEL them and LISTEN to them and LEARN what they mean, you'll be a much stronger person. It's a really great feeling to know your body. I personally prefer to count my calories, but I think this is a great idea. It might take a little practice but you can do it! I like to eat just enough to take the edge off -- I HATE that feeling of being full. I think a lot of people like it though -- that's why they tend to overeat. 
#3  
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The system requires the one thing I still haven't learned to do:

One. . .

must . . .

eat. . .

slowly . . .
My problem is I never get full....well, if I ate around 2000 in one sitting I may be stuffed to the pint of not being able to eat, but the hungry feeling never goes away- LOL

It's a pain in the butt, especially on binges, cuz I can eat sooo much, so it's hard for me to just stick with the 1500 maintenance calories, I have to pre-plan everything, or I'll just keep eating....good thing I'm still young and metabolism hasn't caught me yet  :)
Try it out and let us know how it works for you...

For me, I have found that I often mistake thirst for hunger.  I now respond to  hunger with a glass of water and a 10 minute wait.  It often takes care of the problem.

And, I often find myself hungry just after my noon and evening meals (where I have less fiber consumed)  So I'm trying to add more protein and fiber to these meals, and its helped.

Finally, I am hungry late at night (I like to stay up until 11-12).  Now I'm realizing that my body is burning fat.  If I just drink water, or go to sleep - often the next morning I'm down a half pound or so.

Hope these personal revelations help you!
I personally think that counting calories is necessary if you're trying to lose weight regardless. I know people who gain weight cause they don't eat enough cause they don't get hungry. It's proven that frequency of meals increases the body's metabolism. Also, there are a lot of things you can eat that don't fill you up til you've eaten too much of it.
Dunno about you, but I find that when I wait until I'm really hungry to eat I tend to overeat.  It seems to take awhile for my body to tell me it's full, and by the time I get the message it's usually too late.

To avoid this I tend to try to eat more frequently so that I never get close to that ravenous hunger feeling.  As soon as I start to feel just a little hungry I'll try to snack on something healthy.

Most days I can get away with; a large breakfast, a midmorning snack of fruit or nuts, a salad for lunch, another healthy afternoon snack, and dinner.  The toughest time is after dinner, so I try to keep myself busy to avoid having free time to sit on my butt and feed my face.

But more important than when or how much to eat - to me - is what to eat.   I try to stay with whole foods; fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, beans... and plenty of water or tea... to help me stay full.
I like your attitude, but I'd also like to suggest something if you're open to it:

Yes, eat when you're hungry.. but eat healthy stuff AND eat six times a day and you will see you're health improve dramatically and the weight come off too.
#9  
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I think it is better to eat six times a day, regardless whether you are hungry.  The issue is WHAT you are eating and how much.  If you stuff your face six times a day, that'll equal weight gain.  If you eat moderate portions six times a day, then you will experience weight loss.  Why deprive yourself?  Food tastes good, is good for you, and is meant to sustain us.  We all should learn to eat for health, otherwise we will fall off the wagon.  Just watch those calories. 

By the way, if you have managed to deprive yourself long enough to get hungry, you are likely close to starvation mode, meaning weight LOSS will just be that much harder.  Just a thought. 
I know the positive effects that frequent eating can have on the metabolism, but I just don't believe in forcing myself to eat if it doesn't want food.  For example, when I wake up in the morning, I have absolutely no appetite, and therefore will not enjoy food if I force myself to eat at that time.  I'd rather wait till I'm hungry so I can actually enjoy what I'm eating.
Someone in this forum mentioned that there are food with denser calorie than others. So if I were you using your hungry-eat system, I would watch what I eat also. Because you may end up consume too much calorie for the feeling of full, or the other way around. Keep us posted on your progress! :)
Oh, well definitely.  You have to make healthy choices, that is a given.  But to me, counting calories and such is not living life.  Make healthy choices, exercise, and the weight will come off if you're patient and listen to you body.  After struggling with an eating disorder, I've learned that essentially, that will get you where you want to be instead of spending your time counting every calorie.
My doctor told me that it takes twenty minutes for the signals of satiety to really register from the stomach to the brain. So, if you follow your proposed eating pattern, make sure to eat slowly and wait at least twenty minutes before going for seconds.

Here's something that might interest you. In "Heart of the Mind - Engaging Your Inner Power to Change with Neuro-Linguistic Programming", Connirae and Steve Andreas write about a "strategy" or "thought sequence" for being naturally slender. Here it is (quoted from pp. 123-124 of that book):

The Naturally Slender Eating Strategy
  1. First, something makes me think of food. This might be seeing that it's time for lunch, hearing someone mention lunch, feeling hunger, or seeing food.
  2. I check how my stomach feels now.
  3. I ask myself "What would feel good in my stomach?"
  4. I visualize a possible portion of a food: a sandwich, a bowl of soup, a dinner salad, etc.
  5. I imagine eating this food. I think of the taste of this food, and then feel the food slipping into my stomach, and get a feeling of how this amount of this food will feel in my stomach over time if I eat it now.
  6. If I like this feeling better than how I will feel if I eat no food at all, I keep this food item as one possibility. If not, I discard it.
  7. Next, I visualize another food  I might eat.
  8. I imagine tasing this second item, and feel how it feels as it goes into my stomach, and stays in my system for some hours to come.
  9. I notice how I like this feeling. Do I like it more than my best choice so far? I keep in mind the food item that makes me feel best, to compare to my next choice.
  10. Now, I repeat steps 7, 8 and 9 as often as I want to, always keeping in mind the kind of food that I imagine would make me feel the best over time if I eat it. I compare each new possibility to that.
  11. When I'm satisfied that I have considered enough options, I eat the food that I imagined would make me feel best over time, so that I'll get to feel that good.
In the book, the authors explain that the essential thing is to think about the feeling over time, not just the delightful in-the-moment taste sensations.

Good luck, and please keep us posted!

Best regards,
---Kayvan
If you plan to eat only when you're hungry then it might be worth reading Paul Mckenna's I Can Make You Thin.

Well done for trying to do it a healthier way than before!
Eat only when you're hungry?

are you kidding? I'll starve to death. Ive been doing low cal for so long i'm used to it and I get SO full from 100 kcal I almost feel guilty. I have to eat to increase metabolism to lose weight
To be honest, I don't count calories perse, I just can't. Too tedious. On top of that, my menu is mostly not western food. But, that said, I do watch what I eat and eat sensibly. I think it is good that you are in-tune with your body to know when your body needs food and to response to it. Good luck :)
#17  
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Well, good luck to you.  I can't do that, I eat impulsively and when I am stressed, hungry or not.  I get into a habit of eating.  By doing calorie counting I am hoping to break this bad pattern.  Heck, I have been fighting and losing this battle for 18 years, since my mom died.  I am totally an emotional eater.
yes, you are doing it right, IMO.  The body is designed to tell us when to eat and when to stop.

But you also hit the problem right square in the eyes:

"one tends to lose all forms of hunger and satiety."

Or, perhaps a better way of saying it is, many of us think we are hungry when we are not, and many of us eat even when we know we are not hungry.  But the net effect seems to be the same -- we lose the ability to distinguish hunger and we certainly lose the ability to feel satiated.  And we lose the ability to hear what our bodies are telling us.

Today I was taken to lunch at an all you can eat buffet.  My body was saying, salads, fruits, cottage cheese, a good soup.

so that's what I had.  all around me were tacos, orange glazed oriental chicken, fried fish, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy -- and loads of deserts.  But they were not the least bit tempting because my body didn't desire them. 

but all I wanted was what I ate.  And I 'felt' very full when I finished.  The soup was in a small bowl, and the rest fit on a plate -- no seconds of anything.  Oh, I did have a roll and butter with it. 

that's what I like about the plan I'm on -- it's getting me back in touch with what my body wants and needs. 

and none of the hassle of calorie counting.

different strokes for different folks --
Whoever said feeling hungry was a bad thing?  When I am hungry between meals, I know my body is processing what I've already given it. 

It's a good thing, really it is!

Mary K

  1. 8/1-226 lbs
  2. 11/22 - 192.8
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