Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Different Kind of Hunger

Yesterday I got hungry. I haven't been hungry much over the last two weeks; just a couple of days where I felt like my stomach was a bottomless pit and no matter what I ate or how much water I drank, I felt *empty.* It happened a week and a half ago when I was in the middle of my monthly cycle, and it happened again yesterday because, according to the calendar, it is PMS time for the next couple of days. I have always been hungrier at those two times of the month so this was no big surprise. The surprise is that, so far, I have not had any *other* symptoms of PMS: no headaches, cramps, irritability, nausea. None of that. Just the hunger. In fact, I have not had *any* headaches whatsoever in two weeks. I cannot remember the last time I went that long without a headache. I will have to write another post on that later, but for now, I am just enjoying being headache-free.

I am not sure *why* I don't have the extreme PMS and headaches that have plagued me for years. I have to assume that something in my diet before was triggering those things. I know that sugar always made my PMS (and painful joints) worse. Was sugar the culprit all along, for all that pain I was in? Perhaps there is more to it; I cut a lot of foods almost completely out of my diet this month so it's hard to say, but when I start adding things back in I will do it slowly and be extra careful to see what causes my pain. Dairy? Some artificial ingredient? High sodium? Processed meats or other foods? Who knows? But this is a great opportunity to find out.

Anyway, yesterday I had the hungriest day yet. I started out with a cup of green tea and an Oatmeal bar. Two hours later I had an oatmeal muffin. Usually those are very filling. By 11:45 I was hungry again so I ate again: a bag of Chili Cheese puffs. (Remember, each of these meals is HIGH in protein... 14 or 15 grams... and fiber, too. They usually do their job and keep me full for 2-3 hours). I drank lots of water. I decided to distract myself with a walk. I took my daughter to preschool and then headed to the park for an hour, walking in the sunshine. I stopped and enjoyed nature along the way and felt refreshed by the time I got home... and hungry again. So I made myself something *extra* filling: chili. And not only did I fix up the chili by adding some canned tomatoes, but I made the whole meal more substantial by putting the chili over a bowl of Romaine lettuce tossed with Ranch dressing and a bit of light shredded cheese. (I 'borrowed' a vegetable serving from dinner to do this, which is a great idea for hungry days).

After I ate that, I was feeling FULL. I was quite pleased with that until an hour went by and... I felt empty again! Now, let me explain that I was *not* feeling the old kind of hunger I used to feel when I was eating a lot of carbs. My hunger used to manifest as a *head* hunger: not only would my stomach be growling, but my whole brain would hurt. I'd feel like the surface of my brain was in pain and I got this crazy *drive* that I HAD to eat RIGHT NOW. If I let it go too long, I'd end up shoving everything and anything into my mouth just to make that crazed and painful feeling go away. I think that had to do with carb/sugar addiction, as outlined in Kessler's The End of Overeating (great read, BTW). Now, my hunger is not in my head and is not painful nor does it feel like I am *driven* to eat. It is just stomach grumbling combined with a sensation of nothing being in my stomach. And the desire to feel like my stomach isn't empty.

I was already ahead of my eating schedule because I had eaten my meals closer together than usual. All I had left to eat was my dinner and my after-dinner mini-meal/snack. I decided at 4PM to go ahead and have my after-dinner snack then. I mixed up a Hot Cocoa with decaf coffee and put it over ice as a nice, filling mocha (again with lots of protein and fiber). Ahhh. Finally I felt okay. And then I was pretty much okay for the next two hours.

Dinner was a delicious chicken salad with veggies added (recipe to come) and was very filling and satisfying. When 9PM rolled around I had a sugar free Jello cup and that was enough to last me the night. This morning I feel great! And the scale today said the same number it said yesterday: a nice, solid 223.

Just to show you I am not starving, here's a couple pictures of my dinners on the previous two nights.

Night 1 (Monday I think): broiled flat iron steak, mashed cauliflower "potatoes" (creamed with a bit of half and half), and steamed green beans. (This is a meal we have always loved except I did make real mashed potatoes for the kids and gave them sliced whole wheat bread & butter with their dinner). If you have not tried flat iron steak you must. It is my favorite steak!

The next night was even better! I always make extra steak so I can have it over a salad later. Dinner was leftover, sliced flat iron steak over a Romaine and spinach salad tossed with light Blue cheese dressing, a side of steamed asparagus, leftover mashed cauliflower "potatoes" topped with leftover green beans mixed with a wedge of Laughing Cow Light Swiss cheese. Yummy!

Every night after dinner, I think, "Wow, that was SO good. I am so full. I cannot possibly lose weight eating this." Yet I am. And *most* days, I am not hungry at all.

I'm happy and feeling good, and very much enjoying having less weight on my joints. I have a ways to go before my joint pain is gone (at least I *believe* it will be gone someday) but it's already much improved with 11 pounds gone so far this month.

Enjoy your day!

31 comments:

NewMe said...

Lyn,

I'm just curious. What kind of sweetener is used in the muffins, bars, etc.?

-J.Darling said...

That's awesome!

I have PCOS and find that when I stay on a CONSISTANT eating plan (which Medifast is great for), my periods are MUCH more managable! For a while, it was like clockwork - and it's NEVER been like that for me! (I've had PCOS for 11 years now, and there is no cure.)

Way to stay on plan AND reap the benifits!

Check out my most recent blog entry. It's all about this - making the good little decisions. :)

Lyn said...

NewMe~

It varies by product. The oatmeal for example has 1g of actual sugar (in the form of brown sugar) and acesulfame potassium (which is the sweetener used in diet Pepsi and some other diet sodas.) The Bars have 3g of actual sugar in the form of evaporated cane juice plus they have maltitol syrup. Hot Cocoa contains fructose and acesulfame potassium.

I am not a big advocate/fan of artificial sweeteners in general, but as a tool for getting off real sugar I am fine with it. I don't drink diet sodas or anything and when I am not using Medifast I generally only use honey or agave nectar to sweeten anything (lightly).

SoupDragon said...

Hi Lyn,

I'm so glad Medifast is working out for you. I will have to look out for flat iron steak - I adore steak and am constantly on the lookout for lean cuts. (Glad to see you like it rare :))

Izzybee said...

Wow - sounds like you're doing great! One thing I'd be careful about - it sounds like you're eating an awful lot of protein, which can be bad for you. Does Medifast address this in their literature? It's one of the things that's sort of keeping me from really considering it as a plan. I'd be interested to know, since I can't find anything on their website about it. Having a brother with kidney disease I'm a bit paranoid about that stuff!

nikki7 said...

I am a Medifast "sister" and so proud of you. I am in my 11th week and doing well. I have had about 6-7 really HUNGRY days. (Most of the time I forget to eat) But those hungry days are tough. Way to hang in there and find ways to deal with it (i.e., taking the walk, ect.) You can do this! Blessings to you.

Knitty said...

Hi Lyn,
Inspired by you, I cut the sugar (ALL the sugar) out of my diet about a week and half ago. The first three days were awful but now I've gone eight days without a headache. Amazing!
You're doing so great, and your dinners look amazing! Please keep posting the photo, I look forward to them. :)

Leslie said...

It all sounds great. Fewer headaches, less achy joints, energy and weight loss! I've never made cauliflower mashed potatoes, but I have to try it! I have a fresh head of it in the fridge - maybe tonight. My husband will probably hate it, which is fine as there will be more for me! So glad to hear you doing so well. What a different place from a month ago! I need some kind of jump start myself!

Lauralei said...

i hate those kind of days when you can't get full no matter what you do

Shelley said...

Now I want a flat iron steak - that looks so good!!! You are really doing well with the Medifast, and how cool is it that your PMS and headaches are gone?!? I'm happy for you, Lyn!

Diana said...

Your dinners look wonderful. I've never tried flatiron steak before, but it's going to be on the menu next week. Thanks for the tip!

Rebekah said...

You are doing AWESOME Lyn!

C.G. the Foodie said...

Diet sodas also contain aspartame which Medifast does not. Products containing aspartame have warnings on them that say the product contains phenylalanines. Most sugarfree gum and soda has it. It's what gave me near blinding headaches, and I only found out it was the culprit when my boyfriend of almost five years and I started seriously dating. Phenylalanine causes him to have seizures so I stopped keeping those products in the house and funny enough, my headaches went away! Since then, if I accidentally have a product with phenylalanine in it, my sight goes fuzzy and the headaches come back to an extreme! Not sure if you are still enjoying products with aspartame but be warned that if you have cut it out and you do reintroduce it, the effects get a LOT worse!!!

Debbie said...

Hey the steak looks great and just the way I like it. I am glad you are doing so good on Medifast keepup the good work.

The Great Fantastic said...

I just stumbled upon your blog recently, very inspirational. Thank you

Lyn said...

Izzybee~

My understanding is that the main problem with high protein diets (like Atkins) is eating a lot of animal protein which is usually high in saturated fat, and that is bad for you. On Medifast, the protein is mostly soy, some whey, plus a portion of lean protein at dinner, so the saturated fat content is low.

As far as kidneys go, articles I have read say that IF you already have reduced kidney function then you shouldn't do a high protein diet but that people with normal kidney function are not adversely affected by a high protein diet. Of course if you aren't sure you should ask your doctor about it. I read this article but I am sure there is more info out there.

http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2003/03.13/09-kidney.html

Izzybee said...

Thanks Lyn - some awesome information - I hadn't read that one :) After all my brother has been though I'm always paranoid about high protein diets, even though I've never had a kidney problem in my life.

Anonymous said...

Dieting has never been very good for me. That's why I'm looking for something new. I'm tempted to try "Looking Good Naked", the new natural weight loss book. I think that might help me.

TheLosingAmerican said...

wow! your food looks so yummy!!

compared to what I eat for my diet...bleh...it's bland and I'm not losing weight :(

Mary Jane said...

Lyn,
Yesterday was my Day #13 and I felt hungry all day, which is the first time I felt like this since starting the program. I got thinking it was due to that week before TOM starts and I get really hungry. I just drank water and waited for each meal time and got through the day. It was strange to have such hunger pangs and not overeat as I use to in the past. I refused to cave in. Thanks for writing this blog because I enjoy reading your posts!
Fondly,
MJ

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

That crazy hunger jumps up and attacks me every once in a while, too. But most days I can keep it at bay with eating what I'm supposed to and when I'm supposed to, and get plenty of exercise. The crazy way I'm wired, when I don't sweat, I get even hungrier. Makes no sense...

Hang in there, friend.

Deanna - The Unnatural Mother said...

Yeah and yeah!

Lisa said...

looks delish!

Fat Girl in NYC said...

I am new to blogging...I love your food pics!! I enjoyed reading through your blogs...lots I can relate to.

M Pax said...

I found my hormones fluctuated less as I lost weight and ate healthier, too. Then I hit ... well, I started on cohosh and it's a godsend. It's an all natural product that helps women. I think there are formulas for younger women.

Kristen said...

Lyn, you will experience days on MF when you feel like you never stop wanting to eat, and sometimes you aren't even genuinely hungry as it happens. I attribute it to your body trying to psych you out; it's about to drop a good amount of weight and it doesn't want to, so it's trying to get you to eat more. Just hang in and I guarantee you will see a very nice loss on the scale. It happened to me every single time I went through a big loss.

MargieAnne said...

I eat mainly low carb which means more protein, more vegies, very limited bread or other baked goodies. When I keep to my plan I have no arthritic type pains, no acid reflux and other gut discomfort, feel more energetic, fewer headaches and no hot flushes.

I beg to differ with experts who warn against a high protein diet. There are dangers in anything to excess as we well know. But high protein doesn't mean unbalanced meals. Consider stone-age man who lived on animal protein and plants. There is also a great deal of research that questions our fear of animal fats. Again the danger is an unbalanced. diet.

I sometimes wonder if we have been shortchanged by today's food experts and we really do need more protein. It's not only essential for building and repairing our bodies but it's brain food too. Maybe some of us are fat because we have substituted protein with carbohydrates and are essentially suffering malnutrition, always trying to meet our hunger/body needs but missing the mark by choosing the wrong food group. Just a thought *smile*

I find bread is a real problem for me and when I go off plan after a lengthy period of not eating bread I have all kinds of gut and arthritic pain. I do not have celiac disease but my body is happier without wheat. I'm sure you will find some interesting reactions as you re-introduce some foods.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lyn, Can you please, please, pretty please post a recipe for the cauliflower "mashed potatoes"? I have attempted them in the past but they have NEVER looked as wonderful as yours do. Yours look like real potatoes! I would really appreciate it! Thanks so much! BTW, congrats on your success this month...I have been really excited to hear your success on Medifast! Keep it up! :)

screwdestiny said...

Your meals look great! I find true hunger much easier to ignore than the faux hunger of just wanting to eat something. That usually creeps up on me when I'm bored, and it can be very hard to ignore. But if my stomach is truly growling at me, I usually don't have a problem ignoring it if I don't feel like eating something else. Weird.

Lyn said...

Anonymous~

sure! Look at the bottom of my most recent post for the recipe :)

Okiebelle said...

I know you have been a faithful follower of Bethany of "The Great Reduction". I wanted to let you know that she passed away last night. She dropped dead of a heart attack at Walmart. I don't know her password, so I can't update her blog.
Denise (Her sister)