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Back N9ne

Dealing With Appetite & Hunger

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I would say I'm fairly 'fit', underneath all my excess weight. The weight is making it really hard for me to do much in the way of exercise, though, because of the impact on my joints.  I know I really need to work on my diet, but there's a huge problem there, too: even when I'm eating healthy (lean meats and veggies), I am hungry all the time and I generally eat more than I need to.  A lot more.  Especially in the evenings, when I know I SHOULDN'T. I am hungry when I'm full. I eat when I'm full. If I'm hungry for very long, I feel hot and cold and shaky and weak.

I KNOW I don't need to eat THAT much, but I do.

 

My doctor just shrugs and says I should eat less, which is about par for the course.

 

Does anyone have any recommendations for appetite suppressants that aren't just laundry lists of inconclusive testing and side effects? Ways to get around this? Tips and tricks?

Anything would be welcome!

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Hmmm. I don't think you can "trick" your body long term... you need to deal with the underlying hunger. You say you're hungry when you're full and that you get hold, cold and shaky? I think you definitely need better medical advice and if your doctor isn't interested in helping you should try someone else, like a nutritionist. Unfortunately doctors are notorious for dismissing the concerns of overweight patients, but it doesn't follow that they're right to do so. In the meantime, some questions: Lean meat and veg sounds great. Do you also get some high quality carbs like legumes and whole grains? Do you get some good fats? You need fat, and most people benefit from carbs, too. I'm asking about this because I wonder if hunger could be caused by imbalance rather than lack of food volume. Certainly when I drastically cut entire macronutrients in the past (at one stage, fat, at another stage, carbs) I would find myself unsatisfied, going back to the kitchen again and again. Another question: how do you feel when you are hungry/eating when you're full? What does that mean? Does it mean your stomach feels filled up but you have cravings? Or boredom? Or some emotional need that food fills? Or you literally feel like you're simultaneously physically hungry and physically full? 

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Getting in LOTS of protein helps (think 1g per lb of bodyweight lots), as does staying hydrated, and incorporating gelling fiber (found in grains & beans, psyllium, pectin is another good example) - think of 'water-hungry' soluble fiber options as your secret sauce to helping reduce hunger. ;) Caffeine also reduces hunger, but don't consume it later in the day or it will eff up your sleep schedule (insufficient sleep will increase hunger signals). Some folks find that 5HTP can help as an appetite suppressor, but there are several drug interactions that you need to be aware of - and should probably chat with your doctor before trying to supplement with it.

 

Has your doctor tested for insulin resistance/prediabetes? If yes, then the shaking and weakness could be psychosomatic - if you haven't done a fasting insulin test, you probably should though.

 

If you're feeling hungry even when your stomach is physically full, there's something going wonky with your hormonal signaling - that could be due to eating too quickly, mistaking thirst/boredom for hunger, unhelpful food combinations (sweet/salt/fat/carb combos muck with everything), prescription meds, chronic stress, etc. Our bodies are marvelously complicated. :P

 

Strategies to help:

  • Sleep at least 8hrs/night, and improve your sleep hygiene
  • Manage your stress (meditation and gratitude journaling are often effective); you could try taking some rhodiola and/or ashwagandha to help with stress as well
  • Eat at least 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight every day
  • Eat at least 1-2 servings of vegetables with each meal, and 1 fruit or veg with every snack
  • Reduce or eliminate any added sugars (they're in lots of stuff, ketchup, store-bought bread, etc.)
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol
  • Avoid foods that make you crave more (chips, pizza, fast food, processed foods, etc.)
  • Drink 250-500ml of cold water 20-30min before each meal
  • Take at least 20min to eat each meal
  • If you're still hungry after a meal, drink another 250-500ml of cold water and wait another 20min before eating any more
  • Some folks benefit from a high protein (think 20-30g) breakfast within 30min of waking up in the morning
  • Drink coffee or black/green tea, but abstain for at least 8hrs before bedtime
  • Stop eating at least 2hrs before bed
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Well, right off the bat a few of those things are out the window. :D 6 hours a sleep is a TRIUMPHANT night of sleep for me. Eight would be some sort of hilarious fantasy. I stop having coffee at 9am, just because I've found it to be making my afternoon energy crashes so much worse.  I consume a lot of legumes (my house runs on beans, chickpeas, lentils, and the like), and I consume a lot of protein, but I am probably not consuming THAT much.  I'm probably 210lbs LBW, so 210g of protein is like 1200g of protein-containing foods.

 

My last fasting blood test was negative for pre-metabolic or pre-diabetic conditions (again, much to my doctor's confusion). I am reasonably sure that it's a psychosomatic response to not eating. I've always stress-eaten and boredom-eaten, and the stress-eating got kicked into high gear since last August for... many reasons. Managing my stress is never easy at the best of times, but I try to be mindful and meditative when I can.  I have one beer on the weekends (like, one on Friday, one on Saturday).  I always try to drink a lot of water after meals to 'fill in the gaps' and keep me full, but I still get cravings for cheap carbs and salt. I have a high protein breakfast every morning right before walking the dog.

 

But yeah, long story short: when I feel physically full, I generally also still feel hungry and have the urge to eat. I am trying to be mindful of the emotional / habit eating, but I'm almost 40. If there's one thing on this WHOLE PLANET I've had the most practice with, it's eating.

 

Thank you both, and folks, keep the answers coming! This is good reinforcement!

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54 minutes ago, Back N9ne said:

210g of protein is like 1200g of protein-containing foods

Probably more, if you're eating a plant-based diet. ;) Speaking as a former vegan, it's very difficult to not fill your tummy if you're hitting the protein numbers!

 

If your sleep and stress are known issues, then those are two awesome areas to focus on for improvement - probably more than anything food related, honestly. Self-talk is important - be sure to tell yourself 'yes I can', rather than 'that's not going to happen'. I'm far from a hokey 'positive energy' type of individual, but there's enough hard data to suggest that mindset can affect your body chemistry that I think it's good to keep in mind. So: sleep hygiene and stress management? :D 

 

Frankly - if the hunger is not physical, but rather phycological and/or emotional, there is no appetite suppressant that's going to help - because it's not an 'appetite' challenge that needs to be addressed.

 

And - although this can be taken too far - some folks need to go through a period of abstinence of any of the 'signal disruption stuff' (ie. processed foods, cheap carbs, alcohol, salt/fat combos, etc.) in order to reset. After 20-30 days of just forcing yourself NOT to eat the junk food, you may find that the cravings subside, or are more likely lessened to a manageable level. At the end of the day, you won't know what works best for YOU until you start experimenting and tracking to determine what's effective. Good luck, be safe, and welcome to the 'boards!

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stress/ boredom eating suggestion: Take a moment and think of some other options that you can do to relieve stress than eat. Then when you are feeling like eating , ask yourself if you are hungry. If no , then  choose to do something else for 20 minutes. At the end of that time, if you still have the craving, go ahead and eat, if not then don't . Even if you do go ahead and eat, just getting into the habit of stopping and thinking about it will help you establish a good habit pattern. If 20 minutes sounds too long ,try 10. 

Same thing with seconds at meal time. Give yourself a waiting period.

 

What I've been doing lately that has really helped is slowing down my eating. Waiting until I finish chewing before I put another bite in my mouth . Putting down my fork in between bites.  Stopping and really focusing on how the food tastes

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