Wednesday, March 26, 2003
posted by Julie |
Hmmm… I've been hungry lately.
Hunger, for me, comes and goes. For several days I may feel hungry constantly, for no reason I can name. I haven't increased my carb consumption, am not eating more or less, exercising more or less, and it doesn't appear to have any bearing on my cycle. Then, for whatever reason, the hunger will subside, and I feel very much appeased through the day, having to remind myself to eat sometimes. I don't gain or lose weight differently during these times, either.
But the good news is, for me, those periods of constant hunger are few and farther between. But I'm cranky when they hit. At these times, the trick, for me, is learning to understand and manage the hunger when it visits. And to try not to take out my crankiness on my dogs, cats, or husband, in that order.
If you've read my early posts, you know that I lost the first 50 lbs. following a protein-sparing super-restricted calorie diet (Optifast), paired with lots of learning and counseling. My experience on this diet was that after three days, most of us stopped experiencing hunger at all. Two things seemed to be happening, one, we'd reduced our calorie load by so much, that our satiety mechanisms just turned on and stayed on. This seems to be a survival mechanism for bodies designed to deal with times of feast and times of famine. We induced famine, and we experienced no hunger.
On the other hand, our stomachs, over far more time than three days, also recovered to some degree from the constant stretching that overeating may have been causing. Our stomach capacity is no more than about the capacity of your closed fist. If you limit yourself to that amount of food at every meal, you'll really be doing your body a favor.
Then when I switched back to eating food and followed a diet of several tiny meals a day of low-glycemic foods (lower carb, higher protein), I began to experience hunger again. The more I lowered my carbs, the less hunger I felt. The low-carb people correlate ketosis, the fat-burning state, with elimination of hunger.
I learned that it takes 20-30 minutes for the brain to register the nutrients received and fullness in the stomach. Slow down the meal is the message there.
I learned that certain foods (often misunderstood to be any carbohydrate, but there are certainly some foods better than others, like sweet potatoes, popcorn, oranges, and beans) are more satisfying to our brains and stomachs than others. See the satiety index link below.
I learned that warm beverages between meals help keep hunger at bay. And keeping the stomach full of water helps.
I learned there is a lot to learn and a lot of research currently being conducted on the hunger/satiety mechanism and our bodies' responses to feast and famine. Is there a hunger hormone? Is there a genetic connection? But meantime, our bodies seem to signal hunger and satiety through a couple of mechanisms, one monitoring nutrients, the other stomach fullness.
I experience the least hunger when I eat lots of veggies and a nice serving of protein. That keeps me full for hours. If I try to eat just the veggies or just a little protein, I haven't satisfied my system.
For me, eating baked goods will always result in extreme hunger throughout the day. Same with breakfast cereal.
For me, breakfast has to be primarily protein or I will be crawling with hunger all day long.
Though it conflicts with the satiety index study, much has been made of recent research, (funded by peanut growers), that peanuts and peanutbutter make a good hunger management snack. I have found that a small handful (1 oz.) of almonds will do that trick.
So the upshot is, I don't really know why sometimes I'm hungry and sometimes I'm not. When I am, I try to eat more veggies, eat less and more often, have a sweet potato at night when hunger can get the best of me. Drink lots of tea. Remain calm.
That's not always easy,
Good luck discovering the tricks to your own hunger and managing it, sweeties,
a href="http://www.healthpromoting.com/Articles/articles/fat.htm">Satiety Mechanism explained this way
Dr. Susan Holt's Satiety Index
Hunger Pangs different for Men and Women
Peanut Butter a hunger killer?