4

votes

How to deal with mindless eating/eating when not even hungry?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 16, 2012 at 1:21 AM

When I first started paleo, it was awesome--I wasn't hungry ever, and I lost 20 pounds in the process. However, after a year, I gained everything back. Part of the reason was that I was NEVER hungry, but I'd sometimes feel lightheaded and weak, so I started eating even when I wasn't even hungry. This was in comparison to pre-paleo, where I'd eat breakfast, lunch and dinner whenever I've felt hunger. Now, I've gotten into the habit of eating all the time. Like, I wasn't even the least bit hungry half an hour ago, but I still downed at least 500 calories in nuts. Also, I'd continue eating even after I'm full. I feel my hunger switch has somewhat just turned off, and now I don't know how to regulate. As a consequence, everyday I eat way too much and am gaining too much weight. Any suggestions as to how to cope with this? I'm also a student so I feel I have to eat to keep my brainpower up.

B6c16d850e7305aad0507ad079ecf1d4

(232)

on September 29, 2012
at 10:20 PM

You want to eat a variety. Sometimes carby things have unique vitamins and enzymes.

E565e11cf32b38ab1f45086c1e0205f7

(613)

on September 16, 2012
at 05:47 PM

I should add that at certain times, eating more carbs has actually helped me lose weight.

E565e11cf32b38ab1f45086c1e0205f7

(613)

on September 16, 2012
at 05:45 PM

Try more carbs. Try less carbs. Try cycling between the two. Personally my want/need for carbs is very cyclical.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 16, 2012
at 02:53 PM

Great article by Dr. B (who is under-appreciated IMO)

776cf39df980711e80fc02317eb64649

(892)

on September 16, 2012
at 03:23 AM

Omg....I just ate an entire 7 oz bag of coconut flakes and 1/2 a 90% chocolate bar....it's like you've read my mind.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 16, 2012
at 03:08 AM

This just in... I just ate a few good tablespoons of almond butter out of the jar. Oh well. I mean, It's not nearly as bad as before, and I'm still just starting out with the gut flora repopulation thing... but... there is definitely something to be said about boredom, dehydration and loneliness.

Medium avatar

(2338)

on September 16, 2012
at 02:16 AM

insulin, contrary to popular belief, is not evil and in fact is a hormone that regulates appetite. guess what happens when you never secrete it............ you stay hungry.... who coulda seen that one coming......

Medium avatar

(2338)

on September 16, 2012
at 02:04 AM

especially as a college student. your brain alone could probably eat up at least 150 grams of carbs a day. not to mention if you exercise intensely at all. if you still want to lose weight just be mindful of your portion sizes and eat whole real paleo approved foods including carbs.

Medium avatar

(2338)

on September 16, 2012
at 02:01 AM

you guys don't seem to understand that glucose is a necessary nutrient for the body.....when did OP say they were addicted to sugar? ..... carbophobia is so 2011. carbs in their natural state is one of the best possible things you could give your body. only go ketogenic if you are morbidly obese. you're only gonna magnify your carb cravings and make yourself more insulin resistant

05de181d71c1df6304a03566fe821d4b

(795)

on September 16, 2012
at 01:56 AM

I'd do ketogenic too, sever your addiction to sugars, natural or not they end up as glucose in your body.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on September 16, 2012
at 01:53 AM

I would give the opposite advice - eat a ketogenic diet

776cf39df980711e80fc02317eb64649

(892)

on September 16, 2012
at 01:25 AM

But I'm still trying to lose weight...

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10 Answers

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1
E565e11cf32b38ab1f45086c1e0205f7

(613)

on September 16, 2012
at 05:39 PM

I've also had the experience of feeling week and feeling like I needed nourishment, but not really being hungry. I've also eaten when not hungry thinking "Will I be hungry later? Will I be able to get something nourishing to eat? Better go ahead and eat now..."

Despite the healthy and positive changes in my diet, I think I've also made some downturns on my journey. One of them being the feeling that I've somewhat lost touch with my natural intuition of when to eat/how much/etc. I think this is a common paradox among paleos. As much attention as we pay to or diet, we can sometimes obsess, overthink, and confuse ourselves about our choices.

In addition to the mental aspect of it, I think another pitfall is getting into a rut with what you're eating. Not only can you get bored with that, but even eating really healthful foods, you can suffer deficiencies if you're not paying attention to balance and variety.

I'm still trying to overcome both these issues right now. My advice:

Try to determine if you have any nutritional gaps in your diet.

Consider adding more variety back into your diet. For me, adding back some "taboo" foods on occasion was actually a very positive step for my health, from a physical and a mental standpoint. (More carbs. Sometimes -gasp- grains, carefully prepared - soaked, sprouted, and/or fermented. Dairy.)

Repopulate, with probiotics and fermented foods, as already mentioned. Not only do they help your gut, but I find fermented foods really satiating.

Consider meal planning. Make a schedule, decide what you'll eat ahead of time. Easier said than done for a student, though, I know.

5
98266ae0c87836d4bb714b6d31cacbf9

on September 16, 2012
at 02:46 AM

Drink water whenever you feel hungry, that way you will find out if it's actual hunger or not. Green tea, the caffeine helps suppress the hunger.

The best way to deal with mindless eating is mindful eating. Basically be aware of what you feel, when you feel and why you feel that. When you eat, just eat. No distractions. Chew your food until it becomes liquid then swallow. Put the sppon/fork down after a few bites and breathe.

3
B72e976b2df9e7f01315830062a5209c

(1365)

on September 16, 2012
at 03:00 AM

I have this problem as well, usually triggered by certain foods. I stopped buying those foods (for me it's dark chocolate and/or coconut flakes). Out of sight out of mind.

776cf39df980711e80fc02317eb64649

(892)

on September 16, 2012
at 03:23 AM

Omg....I just ate an entire 7 oz bag of coconut flakes and 1/2 a 90% chocolate bar....it's like you've read my mind.

3
194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 16, 2012
at 01:30 AM

I know exactly how you feel. For many years my satiation endorphins or whatever would just refuse to kick in... I would often eat until I was sick, or I would stop eating before I was full and just deal with the remaining "hunger."

You'll probably be seeing me post about this all over the place, but for a good reason...

raw, unpasteurized fermented foods. Eat them every day (every meal, if possible) for a few weeks. This not only knocked out my fatigue, it gradually eliminated my food cravings. Nuts were my weakness. They still are, but now I eat them, and then I feel satiated (because I'm actually DIGESTING them). And then I stop.

You could also be confusing boredom, dehydration and loneliness with hunger. Pay attention to what you really want.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 16, 2012
at 03:08 AM

This just in... I just ate a few good tablespoons of almond butter out of the jar. Oh well. I mean, It's not nearly as bad as before, and I'm still just starting out with the gut flora repopulation thing... but... there is definitely something to be said about boredom, dehydration and loneliness.

2
269cc064c414e6dfadbc7755f2582d60

on September 16, 2012
at 10:26 AM

Change your daily activities. Decide to eat not more than 3 or 4 times even you feel hungry just for one week. Cut any snacks. Have a look here: How often should we eat? http://www.drbriffa.com/2012/08/31/how-often-should-we-eat-2/

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 16, 2012
at 02:53 PM

Great article by Dr. B (who is under-appreciated IMO)

2
F7cf9588bc47db8b3b7ddeb5172a9311

(455)

on September 16, 2012
at 09:04 AM

I can empathise, I have found that this happens to me as well. It's usually out of boredom. I find that when I have something to occupy me, like watching a movie or being out of the house, it doesn't happen. The more I think or read (on blogs, here at PaleoHacks, et cetera) about food, the more I want to eat. Perhaps try to drink some water and find something to do when you get the urge to eat without appetite. Your brain needs to be hydrated to function properly, and dehydration can be easily mistaken for hunger. I also found that Intermittent Fasting worked very well in remembering what hunger feels like, and reminded me that I can survive without hourly meals. I hope you find a strategy that works for you.

2
931a99246c4b901c8cabd52da1e9f6d2

on September 16, 2012
at 01:44 AM

It has happened to me too, with nuts. I agree add some sweet potatoes, root veggies it really does help. I avoided nuts for awhile, try blueberries! Best of luck!

1
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on September 16, 2012
at 04:57 PM

over-eating and binging has been a life long problem for me and i have come to the conclusion that while sweeter carbs tend to trigger bad episodes, it is more a behaviour thing. i know when i am full, i just choose to ignore the signal.

when i am out of my home away from my food, or eating with friends, i am not bothered by it. you could try taking a short walk just prior to putting food in your mouth or you could take a photograph of everything you are about to eat and e-mail it to yourself or a supportive friend?

1
B6c16d850e7305aad0507ad079ecf1d4

(232)

on September 16, 2012
at 02:25 AM

I don't know your story but I've seen this happen when people become too restrictive in their diets. Maybe it could help to try new foods and recipes, try to have more variety and some indulgence...

0
Medium avatar

(2338)

on September 16, 2012
at 01:23 AM

eat more carbs. roots, tubers, fruits, etc.

776cf39df980711e80fc02317eb64649

(892)

on September 16, 2012
at 01:25 AM

But I'm still trying to lose weight...

Medium avatar

(2338)

on September 16, 2012
at 02:01 AM

you guys don't seem to understand that glucose is a necessary nutrient for the body.....when did OP say they were addicted to sugar? ..... carbophobia is so 2011. carbs in their natural state is one of the best possible things you could give your body. only go ketogenic if you are morbidly obese. you're only gonna magnify your carb cravings and make yourself more insulin resistant

Medium avatar

(2338)

on September 16, 2012
at 02:16 AM

insulin, contrary to popular belief, is not evil and in fact is a hormone that regulates appetite. guess what happens when you never secrete it............ you stay hungry.... who coulda seen that one coming......

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on September 16, 2012
at 01:53 AM

I would give the opposite advice - eat a ketogenic diet

Medium avatar

(2338)

on September 16, 2012
at 02:04 AM

especially as a college student. your brain alone could probably eat up at least 150 grams of carbs a day. not to mention if you exercise intensely at all. if you still want to lose weight just be mindful of your portion sizes and eat whole real paleo approved foods including carbs.

E565e11cf32b38ab1f45086c1e0205f7

(613)

on September 16, 2012
at 05:45 PM

Try more carbs. Try less carbs. Try cycling between the two. Personally my want/need for carbs is very cyclical.

05de181d71c1df6304a03566fe821d4b

(795)

on September 16, 2012
at 01:56 AM

I'd do ketogenic too, sever your addiction to sugars, natural or not they end up as glucose in your body.

E565e11cf32b38ab1f45086c1e0205f7

(613)

on September 16, 2012
at 05:47 PM

I should add that at certain times, eating more carbs has actually helped me lose weight.

B6c16d850e7305aad0507ad079ecf1d4

(232)

on September 29, 2012
at 10:20 PM

You want to eat a variety. Sometimes carby things have unique vitamins and enzymes.

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