Friday, June 22, 2012

Hungry from Carbs?

I have been SO hungry today. I was quite hungry yesterday until dinner, too. I am not used to feeling so hungry. I've been eating relatively low carb with very few grains for awhile, but the last 3 days I allowed more carbs into my diet as long as my calorie count was within the budget. And now the hunger is back. Like right now. It makes NO sense. Today I have eaten:

Breakfast smoothie (Greek yogurt, 2 oz pomegranate juice, frozen berries, 1/2 banana)
black coffee
1 small peach
a small carrot and a few sugar snap peas
unsweetened iced coffee w/half and half
2 eggs over easy
2 slices thin bacon
1 small slice of leftover pizza
1 slice of low fat cheese

Total so far: 779 calories, 44 g protein, 88 g carbs, 29 g fat (33% fat)
It is only 2pm and I am so hungry! My stomach feels empty and growly. I am drinking lots of water, but feel like I need a whole big meal. I wonder if it is the extra carbs (sugar in all the fruits, refined flour in the pizza crust). Or maybe it is just PMS, hard to tell. I have not been this hungry in a long time. I feel like a bottomless pit.

I don't really have a dinner plan except to use up that spinach I mentioned the other day (but didn't ever make that salad). Will make sure I get plenty of protein, too.


Lori said...

Lyn - you may benefit from pyramiding your calories and having the largest meal be breakfast and get progressively smaller. 779 calories is not a huge amount to have had by 2 pm.

Anonymous said...

The Beck book taught me "Hunger is not an emergency" It taught me what hunger was and was not and how to 'be' with hunger and not necessarily to 'act' on the feelings ie to eat again. As you know hunger has an emotional component as well as physiological. Also I wouldn't be ruminating ie correlating, micromanaging ingredient intake to your 'hunger' It can make you crazy. (The Beck Diet) Slow down :)

Vickie said...

Here is a link that you might like to read:

In it sandrelle suggests:

Here are the top 6 tips to help you keep the muscle and burn the fat:

1. Keep well hydrated (drink lots of water)
2. Don't skip meals, which can slow your metabolism. Find an eating plan that works for you
3. Eat an adequate amount of lean protein to help build/keep muscle, about 20-30% of total daily calories
4. Eat carbs moderately, ones high in fiber (about 40-50% of daily calories)
5. Balance workouts with cardio intervals for fat burning, and strength training for building muscle and keeping your metabolism revved up
6. Eat healthy fats, about 20-30% of your diet

I mention it to give you some target percentages for fat, carbs, protein within total calories. I personally keep my carbs and lean protein percentages closer to each other (slightly lower carbs than sandrelle) and then healthy fat lower.

Do not make yourself crazy trying to get percentages perfect, notice there are ranges. The idea is to just balance things a bit. This helps people who are insulin resistant/carry fat in their belly. HEalthy fats are things like nuts and avocados.

This is part of a several part series sandrelle did a number of years ago.

Anonymous said...

I honestly think this hunger you speak of is more mental than physical. You ate not undereating by any means.

timothy said...

to get the hunger easing benefit of low carb eating carbs usually have to be under 50g and for the full weight loss benefit i have to keep mine under 30. i generally try to stay under 20, mayhaps it's a specefic food triggering the cravings, is there something you added back recently? and i agre with lori about pyramiding the meals! xoxoxoxo

Diana said...

I know how you feel. It's 6:43pm and I haven't left work yet. I've had 982 calories so far today. I'm so hungry I could chew my own arm off! I haven't felt this way in ages because I haven't let myself get this hungry in ages. I guess it's good for us, right? Hang in there! I'm really going to try the no eating 3 hrs before bedtime tonight. Probably will be a sleepless night!

Anonymous said...

Yup, same here. I've found a calorie isn't a calorie, at least for me. Sugar and grain-based calories, especially, cause me to hold onto weight, EVEN IF THE OVERALL CALORIE COUNT IS WITHIN MY DAILY GOAL (I think because they cause water retention) and create greater hunger, especially for more of the same.

You might read Gary Taubes, if you haven't yet. Good Calorie Bad Calorie or Why We Get Fat, either is good. Great explanations of how the body metabolizes carbs vs. protein/fat.


Karen said...

Wheat = trigger

For me. There is no moderate wheat intake.

I think that hunger after eating pizza is feedback. The choice of what to do is up to you. No failure, just feed back. The next decisions are yours.

I've had great success kicking grain to the curb. Karen P

Anonymous said...

Gary Taubes is a writer (a rich one, now, thanks to his diet books), not a doctor or scientist, and he's known among a good number of physiologists to twist and cherry-pick research to suit his own agenda (I am one myself). Just a warning, his message sounds so appealing to those struggling with weight loss (it's not the calories, you're not overeating... it's just the carbs! Those evil, evil carbs...), that it's easy to get sucked in.

Your perceived hunger could be due to lots of things, not just the couple that immediately pop into mind. Everything from conditioned environmental stimuli, stress/HPA activation, insufficient calorie or nutrient intake, increased ghrelin (which happens any time you diet... and carbs actually help reduce ghrelin), hormonal shifts, psychological wear and tear, placebo mechanisms (which could be due to a belief that carbs make you hungry/overeat/binge), and other things. Please consider that there could be lots of things going on here. The perception of hunger is a complex sensation that has multiple physiological and psychological components.

Anonymous said...

Also, skipping meals does not slow your metabolism. That's a myth (there's no metabolic adjustment for about three days without any food, so don't be scared into snacking all day long). Even nutritionists believe that one, but the science says otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Without fail, every time I lose weight I get hungry constantly in the beginning (and this is not at all a deprivation plan, evenly spaced meals totaling 1600 calories a day), and weirdly, my lower ribs kind of ache at night. Very strange. But I always consider these to be my personal good signs. Maybe your hunger is an indication that your metabolism is back in action!

Anonymous said...

It's definitely the carbs. I keep mine around 20-30g a day and I experience true hunger (tummy grumbling) as opposed to feeling that craving sort of hunger where you just feel you need food.

As soon as I eat anything vaguely carby, I feel hungrier for the rest of the day.

I agree with KathyA - read Gary Taubes.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Timothy and Kathy -- carbs do it to me, reliably. It's predictable: If I'm eating what would be considered a normal amount of carbs, even if they're all what would be considered good carbs, I'm hungry and have a great deal of trouble controlling my eating. As soon as I go lower carb -- mostly just ditching wheat, rice, potatoes and any refined grains, limiting fruit -- it's like magic. I'm 100% satisfied with
smallish meals, I don't find myself eating when I'm not hungry. PLUS I'm in a better mood, I'm more energetic, less achy, clearer-headed.

I thought when I read your post about counting calories that the carbs were going to cause problems. Like me, you've demonstrated it over and over. It all comes down to the glycemic load -- the effect that a given food has on our blood sugar. (Strawberries aren't bad, BTW)

I just got myself back to lower carbs a few days ago and the effect, as it always is, was almost instantaneous. One day in, I felt like someone without an eating disorder. Feels like freedom and lets me put all that energy that had been wasted into my life instead of thinking about food/how fat I am.

I don't think that it's necessary to count carbs or to be super-strict. But when you get the worst of them out of the diet, it's SO much easier to resist them.

And there are great alternatives to most things. I made a fantastic low-carb pizza with an almond meal crust last night and it was very close to the real thing.

Good luck!

~ Arabella

Cathie said...

YES you are hungry because of all the carbs. One thing I learned from medifast - even good carbs feed the addiction and keep me from losing weight. I am now on Medifast for 4days off for two ( but still eating medifast for the first half of the day) and then I eat a meal and may have a martini or desert (but only on those two days) and medifast is still working like a charm. sometimes on those two days I still do medifast because I just don't crave the carbs. Try sticking to medifast for 3 or 4 days to perfection. Then reward yourself on the fifth day, but then get right back on. find a on / off schedule you can stick with and work to improve it by adding more medifast days.

Anonymous said...

some good points here, but also.....
You clearly obsess about food.
Journaling is good for the soul, but not when it just perpetuates your addiction.
take a break.
write and think about something else.
something that makes you happy

Anna Down Under said...

Sorry, where were your carbs? I see a lot of fruit, and some pizza crust. Most of the rest of what you had wasn't really carbs, I mean a small carrot and some peas isn't that much. My starch-based diet is 70% carbs (complex carbs, though - high in sweet potatoes, beans & lentils, with smaller amounts of rice and pasta) and I do not get hungry or have cravings. The carbs in fruit come mainly from sugar. Dr McDougall advocates a starch-based diet - but on his maximum weight loss plan he does limit fruit, so maybe that's the problem?

Vickie said...

I wanted to add that protein is what helps hold you. But i am talking about lean, healthy protein.

Keeping carbs and protein sort of balanced helps hold.

But the healthy fats are important too.

The healthy fats do make a difference for me. If I am out of avocado in the morning, especially on my exercise mornings, I run to the store to get one.

It is a process to figure out balance.

My person opinion is to eat as close to whole foods as I can so I am simplifying things. If I eat a lot of processed or unhealthy, then, when I have a problem, I can't tell what is causing it.

I also think it is smart to start at as high of a calorie count (of healthy foods) as we can, while loosing weight slowly, so we 'have some where to go'. Think long term.

People who start too low in calories, box themselves in for the last 20lbs and also maintenance.

I also wanted to say that I believe you when you say you are hungry. That is why I left you all this information.

Anonymous said...

Also consider that it takes a few days to adjust to eating fewer calories. If you stick to your plan for a few days the hunger will lessen and it will get easier. Your body will adapt. The first days are the hardest.

Anonymous said...

This is shameful for me to admitt, but carbs do turn me into a foodaddict. When I eat low to no carbs, I have the appetite and eating style of a normal human being. I eat, I get full, I go hours and hours, sometimes all day without needing another meal. Very low carb makes me normal. And yes all carbohydrates are the same , carrots , grains. Cake, none of them are less enerving than the others. It does give me chuckle when I hear people try to say this is psychological. Only those in the throws of this know so well that it is not a mind trip, its a physical addiction as serious as heroin. One thing that helps me is severely limiting the number of carbs at one sitting. Anything over 12 seems to be a problem, and I make sure I get enough fat for energy. We have to get our energy from either fat or sugar, so going lowfat/lowcarb can be very hurtful. If you decide to do some research, gary taubes, the Drs. Eades, Weston A Price, Peter over at hyperlipid site are all excellent resources!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with "anonymous" above me. IF you have a severely damaged metabolism (which I would say is anyone who has gotten over 240 at a normal women's height), the "normal" rules no longer apply to you. Your body is broken, in that you are no longer sensitive to your own insulin and pump out copious quantities when eating carbs. All of us in this category dream about going back to eating a standard american diet once we are thin. I would argue that you would never have become fat to begin with if this was a valid way of eating for you.

Example: at 16 I was 170 pounds (5'6") while I worked hard on my parents farm, jogged and participated in track. I had been aware of being somewhat heavier than my peers since I was 9 years old. THAT is the propensity to get fat on a diet that all my friends were staying slim/skinny on. I would argue I was much more active than they were. If this sort of description applies to you, (NOT able to stay effortlessly trim when a teenager), you are fooling yourself thinking that you can eat as much refined carbohydrates as other "normal" people do and not have to constantly quit eating before you would like to quit for the rest of your life. If by eating less carbohydrates (equal grams to protein at each meal or less), you can control your hunger (and thus your weight) that may be the only long term approach that can be successful.

Looking at the National Weight Control Registry, you will see that people who successfully lose weight and keep it off are people who either count calories EVERY DAY or those who change what they eat permanently. Or both. There isn't really anyone who loses the weight and then can just wing it, eating the old foods.

My father, who was fat growing up in the 40's and 50's lost his weight at age 20 and continues to this day to keep his weight under 205 (he's 6'2") by intermittent fasting when he sees the scale is too high. (He doesn't call it this... he just sees it as going a day or whatever without eating).

I think you could use a combination of all of the above to maintain your weight once you've lost it, but I question if that's possible if you haven't found one solution that you can mentally stick with long term to lose the weight.

Please note, this isn't really aimed at you, as much as the problem itself. I consistently flop between low carb, low calorie, protein shakes, blah blah blah and haven't found a long term solution for myself on how to keep off the weight (once lost). I have lost the weight 4 times, and gained it all back plus more each time. Finding the long term solution is really about finding out what you can live with and continuing to do it. It may not be possible for a lot of us, who get to 190 or whatever and start feeling "normal" and regain because we are feeling so good.

Anyway, I am glad to see you keep trying to find out what will work long term for you and documenting it. There is something to be learned.

I purchased a 25 pound bag of sugar yesterday (for my husband, we buy in bulk), and it really reminded me how much losing "just" 25 lbs would mean to me physically.

Anonymous said...

Oh Lyn, our stories/struggles are so similar it's scary. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the both of us. Other than that, I'm clueless and have no answers. What works one time, doesn't the next. What motivates one time, doesn't the next. Low carb has never been sustainable for me, some people thrive with it. Sigh.

PuffsPlus said...

If you've been not eating carbs and in ketosis to any extent, then that will help suppress hunger.

Anonymous said...

Lyn, hungry from carbs, for me yes. Even relatively benign one such as fruit. I've been keeping a food journal and although I can handle rice and a small amount of potato, I cannot handle wheat, sets me off into huge hunger pangs. So fruit and wheat and sugar of course, I am having to stay away from.

Oh I just noticed another poster, Karen, says the same about wheat. Honestly it's the devil incarnate for me.

CatherineMarie said...

Lyn, I've noticed I am hungrier in the morning if I've eaten something substantial the night before... maybe just making your big meal lunch instead of dinner would help. I'm not much of a breakfast person...

Colleen said...

If I eat carbs at breakfast it ruins me for the day in terms of cravings by 2-3 PM. I find if I have a moderate serving for lunch (like half a sandwich on one slice of whole grain, or one slice of whole grain pizza) it is not as bad but still not great, i.e. I may crave dessert at night.

What works best is not more than 15-20g carbs at any one meal and pairing it with as many or more grams of protein, period. Messing with that formula messes with my waistline.

I think in the back of your head you know the rules but you still wish you were normal. You're not, and that's ok. I made my peace with it about a year ago and have had a much easier time maintaining my weight every since. Sure, I would rather be at 170 than 180. But I am holding steady at 180 for 4 years and counting, wearing anywhere from a size 8-12 with no mobility or health issues whatsoever. Big improvement from 222 and a size 18.

Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

It's not the carbs it's the type of carbs you're consuming: slow vs fast. If you just eat fast carbs, your blood glucose levels are going to be fluctuating too much and you will feel fatigue and hunger. Try incorporating slow releasing carbs: sweet potato, brown rice, etc. along with fast. You need both.

Diandra said...

If you are really hungry, add in stuff that will keep you happy - protein and fats (from nuts, for example). You know best what will trigger more eating than you need, but I can say from experience that fruit and veggies, although I love them and eat way more of them than I need, never do keep me happy for long. A bit of cheese or meat will do the trick any time.

katie said...

personal "accountability" (rigorous honesty) and "consistency" keep me on track. i keep a picture of a "pause button" on my fridge too. it gives my frontal cortex time to interrupt my amygdala brain !! :)


Amy said...

Something you might consider too, is adding a fiber suppliment. Most of us don't get enough and it will help you feel fooler in between meals.

Anonymous said...

Now this will let you take the next steps to becoming successful:0))