Learning the difference between hungry and not-hungry

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Old 04-02-2011, 01:59 AM
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Default Learning the difference between hungry and not-hungry

For me, this is the hardest part of my journey. I look at my nephew, who has the ability to turn down chocolate cake when he is no longer hungry, or to eschew cookies when he would prefer a banana. And I am envious, because I too once had that ability and so did we all.

So what causes us to abandon that? How did we learn to override our satiety and continue eating well after we were full? And how can we get it back?
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Old 04-02-2011, 03:06 AM
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Listening to your body is a lost art, I think (it was for me, anyway). We get so used to giving in to immediate gratification that we take what seems good at the time without thinking about what's best in the long run.

I remember reading when I was pregnant that sometimes cravings were a way of the body signalling you to get a certain nutrient; don't know if that was proven or not, but it sticks in my head.

I think taking things slow is a big part of getting that control back. Stop and think about your options and what you really want. It's easy to say, "of course, I want the cookie," but does your body want it, or your brain? I'm of the deprivation-leads-to-failure camp (me personally, though YMMV), so if I really want the cookie after weighing the options and the pros and cons, I'll eat the cookie (not that there are often cookies here, but that's beside the point). However, if what I really "want" is something quick that tastes good, there are a lot of options other than cookies.

Some of my most vulnerable times are when I let myself get too hungry and then feel like I have to choose something fast or I'll fall over...I have a hard time making good choices in that situation so I try to prevent it. Also, if it's a social situation and I'm not paying attention to what I eat (I imagine the same goes for those who watch TV when they eat). If you aren't mindful of what you're eating, it's easy to go way past full.

Some people "rate" their hunger on a scale of 1 to 10 and eat till, say, 5, 6 or 7. Anything below is still hungry; above is full or stuffed. I don't do that one but if it works, hey, more power to them. Some people wait 20-30 minutes from the time they decide to snack until they eat it, to make sure they're actually hungry for something.

So the long response to the short answer, for me, anyway, is mindfulness. Be mindful of what I want, need, and am eating, and will eat the rest of the day, and strive for balance.

Good question, spooky...had no idea it would be this involved until I started writing my response.
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Old 04-02-2011, 11:22 PM
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Thanks Cassie, I think i would try some of the methods you sugesst.

My problem is I eat at a certain time of the day.
Breakfast 7-8 am
Lunch 1:30- noon
snack: 3pm
dinner 5:30 -6:30
Around that time, I felt like eating weather I am hungry or not. And I still try to train myself, tell myself that I wasn't hungry. Some days it work, some days not.
Also, when I eat rice with my special Vietnamese food. I just can't help it to serve myself a few serving more (my brain said just 1 more serving, it wouldn't hurt.) Before I know it I am stuff with carbs.

This is a long journey in which we have to try every single day to stay healthy.
Mai
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by lastri View Post
Thanks Cassie, I think i would try some of the methods you sugesst.

My problem is I eat at a certain time of the day.
Breakfast 7-8 am
Lunch 1:30- noon
snack: 3pm
dinner 5:30 -6:30
Around that time, I felt like eating weather I am hungry or not. And I still try to train myself, tell myself that I wasn't hungry. Some days it work, some days not.
Also, when I eat rice with my special Vietnamese food. I just can't help it to serve myself a few serving more (my brain said just 1 more serving, it wouldn't hurt.) Before I know it I am stuff with carbs.

This is a long journey in which we have to try every single day to stay healthy.
Mai
I know a lot of people like to schedule their meals, but it's actually not the right thing to do. Like you said, you're eating at that time whether you're hungry or not -- and one of the main keys of proper nutrition is only feeding the body when it's hungry. Instead of making a habit of telling yourself, 'I'm going to eat here, here and here,' just carry on with your day until you actually require the sustenance.

Another thing is, the body takes 20 minutes to digest your food and decide whether it's full or not. So when you actually ARE eating, eat slowly and try to take at least 20 minutes for your meals. That way, you will know exactly when to stop.

Also, let us not forget that the human body easily confuses hunger and thirst, so it's a good idea to drink a lot of water throughout the day!
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