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How to skip a meal/hack my hunger

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 18, 2013 at 8:35 PM

I keep hearing about the benefits of skipping meals and I'm curious to try it out myself to break through my last weight loss plateau and to stop me obsessing over food, but I'm kinda nervous to try it for the following reasons:

  1. I get ridiculously hungry. Like, my stomach cramps and gurgles and hurts so badly I get dizzy - trying to go longer than seven hours (absolute maximum) seems to be impossible.

  2. I try to just "listen to my body" and eat intuitively - but then I have three problems with this: I am ALWAYS hungry, I'm terrified of feeling the aforementioned hunger, and I am still in full-time education (17yo), meaning that I really don't have flexibility with my mealtimes.

My current intake is roughly this:

Breakfast: (6:15am if no morning run, 8:00am if morning run) 2-egg omelette with chopped tomatoes, or two scrambled eggs with 50g smoked salmon - always accompanied by a black coffee. If I'm doing a 10k run then I'll have a banana with a small amount of peanut butter (yes, I know it's not paleo, but I can't get hold of almond butter in the UK yet) and a black coffee beforehand.

Lunch: (12:45pm) Usually protein + veggies, sometimes with cheese/half an avocado e.g. chicken breast, heaps of broccoli, 25g extra mature cheddar cheese. Alternatively, I might have a salad of iceberg, chicken, carrots, cucumber, bell pepper and parmesan cheese. I have no heating facilities at college, so lunch is basically whatever food will taste okay cold and will be able to last until midday at room temp.

Dinner: (6:00pm) Meat stew/chicken breast, veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, brussel sprouts, carrots) and half a sweet potato. I will usually eat a LOT at dinner - it's definitely the main caloric body of my day as it's our big family meal and I'm usually famished by the time 6pm rolls around.

Snacks: I try not to snack during the day (difficult when I'm in classes, anyway), but after dinner I usually turn into a human hoover and have to resist the urge to eat everything in sight no matter how "full" I feel. Most evenings I end up grazing on grapes, nuts and greek yoghurt. I might also grab a black coffee in between morning classes if I have time or a study period free.

I'm a 17yo, 5'6", 130lb female-bodied runner who runs 35-40km a week, and I've lost nearly 70lbs over the past ten months. I sleep 10:30pm-6:00am almost every day.

This hunger and plateau is driving me insane because it means I can't stop thinking about food due to my hunger, so any help would be really appreciated.

Edit: I forgot to add that I am currently on restricted mileage, running-wise, as I have some terrible blisters my physio warned me against aggravating. I'm running about 15km/week at the moment, and I'm really worried about weight gain as my hunger hasn't decreased in the slightest.

7af9df85f81d002634ce1ddf168552c1

on December 11, 2013
at 10:19 AM

Hi. I have seen almond butter with nothing else added from most Holland and Barrett branches I have been into. I have also seen in Sainsburys (London)

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on April 19, 2013
at 08:15 PM

don't forget your body needs a lot of energy not just to live day to day, but also to GROW. try 4 eggs instead of two. how much fat do you use to cook? instead of one chicken breast have 3 or 4 chicken thighs. Check with the dorm RA or front desk to see if they have a stove or microwave. They WILL have a microwave SOMEWHERE, I can guarantee that. Ours was in the basement. We even had a stove and oven and crockpot! Also, the dinning hall or marketplace should have a microwave you can use.

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on April 19, 2013
at 08:05 PM

you're a teenager so you need lots of food, 3 meals per day and snacking is OK, your body is still growing and will keep growing until you're 25 or so. on top of that you exercise a lot, so you need even more food than other teenagers.

3351f6c8ec1ea64435e419f380ca6468

(1255)

on April 19, 2013
at 02:39 PM

Cool! You see it differently, and your N=1 has different results. So what would you advise the original poster to do?

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on April 19, 2013
at 01:52 PM

Various people have managed to run and stay relatively low carb. It requires more research (and more carbs) than the average sort of low carb diet stuff though. Some links: http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/the-interplay-of-exercise-and-ketosis-part-i, http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/the-llvlc-show-episode-588-south-african-running-legend-tim-noakes-embraces-high-fat-low-carb-living/14565, http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/the-llvlc-show-episode-642-ultramarathon-runner-timothy-olson-thrives-on-a-low-carb-diet/17363.

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on April 19, 2013
at 11:32 AM

you can grind nuts with a little melted coconut oil to make your own nut butter. I use a coffee grinder or food processor. coffee grinder is much smoother. just buy whole almonds

6b13003098d2212b6dc747ea7a9048c6

(40)

on April 19, 2013
at 05:04 AM

Wow, that's really helpful - thank you very much!

3351f6c8ec1ea64435e419f380ca6468

(1255)

on April 18, 2013
at 09:08 PM

You may want to take a look at Peter Attia's blog; he has been working with endurance athletes and ketosis/performance for a couple of years, apparently successfully. http://eatingacademy.com/

6b13003098d2212b6dc747ea7a9048c6

(40)

on April 18, 2013
at 09:02 PM

Thank you for the help - my only concern is that going too LC would negatively impact my distance running, as I'm aiming on working up to a half marathon and then a full marathon over the next year or so. But thank you very much for your suggestion!

6b13003098d2212b6dc747ea7a9048c6

(40)

on April 18, 2013
at 08:54 PM

I don't want to give up the running as it's one of my main passions in life, so that isn't really an option, and my trainer has strongly advised me not to try endurance and low-carb. Furthermore, I wake up and I'm ravenous - when I say I'm hungry a lot, I mean almost all the time. The only time I'm not hungry is about one hour after eating a meal. But I'll definitely have a look into the rest of that, so thank you!

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6 Answers

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2
32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on April 18, 2013
at 09:42 PM

First, don't even try IF until your hunger is controlled. Fasting should always feel natural, not like something painful. If it is stressing your body, it won't work, bc your body will go into survival mode and store fat.

Second, if you are hungry all the time, it's one of 2 things: (1) you're not actually eating enough, or (2) you are missing a critical nutrient, and your body is driving you to keep eating to find it.

So, play with your ratios. Add more fat, add more carbs, add more protein - try different things and see what works for you.

If you want to play with nutrients, Perfect Health Diet has an awesome list of supplements, narrowed down to what you REALLY need, with ideas for getting it in food. For me, my critical thing was magnesium. Once I started getting enough of that, a lot of my issues cleared up, including hunger.

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/recommended-supplements/

6b13003098d2212b6dc747ea7a9048c6

(40)

on April 19, 2013
at 05:04 AM

Wow, that's really helpful - thank you very much!

2
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on April 18, 2013
at 08:51 PM

The easiest thing to do is skip breakfast. Don't eat until you are hungry. The second thing to do is eat a meal that is heavy on fat and protein. I used to eat bananas at a particular time everyday. One day I brought brisket, still warm, to work, and I decided to eat it instead of the banana. I forgot about eating for the rest of the day, whereas, if I had eaten the banana I would have been hunger two hours later, like I am right now. The third thing you can do is learn about the Shangri-La Diet. Extra points if you go into the forum and find my old thread based on what I told you about the banana & brisket. The fourth thing you can do is stop running. This makes you hungry. The getting-dizzy if you don't eat things sounds like hypoglycemia, so basically what you are describing is a scary blood sugar situation where you eat, raise your blood sugar, and then for some reason your insulin response is pushing your blood sugar down into dangerous (or at least cranky) territory.
Thus going low carb is a possible fifth thing you could do. If you can put up with the ugly transition phase, your blood sugar would be pretty steady throughout the day.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on April 19, 2013
at 01:52 PM

Various people have managed to run and stay relatively low carb. It requires more research (and more carbs) than the average sort of low carb diet stuff though. Some links: http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/the-interplay-of-exercise-and-ketosis-part-i, http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/the-llvlc-show-episode-588-south-african-running-legend-tim-noakes-embraces-high-fat-low-carb-living/14565, http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/the-llvlc-show-episode-642-ultramarathon-runner-timothy-olson-thrives-on-a-low-carb-diet/17363.

6b13003098d2212b6dc747ea7a9048c6

(40)

on April 18, 2013
at 08:54 PM

I don't want to give up the running as it's one of my main passions in life, so that isn't really an option, and my trainer has strongly advised me not to try endurance and low-carb. Furthermore, I wake up and I'm ravenous - when I say I'm hungry a lot, I mean almost all the time. The only time I'm not hungry is about one hour after eating a meal. But I'll definitely have a look into the rest of that, so thank you!

0
43e6e312fcc6b2cd2238e7898ad50480

on December 12, 2013
at 01:39 PM

My question would be this: at 5' 6 and 130lb - what makes you think you have a weight loss plateau to break through? If by eating Paleo (note I say EATING, not fasting), you've managed to lose 70lb and take up running, what is it that you're looking to fix? Unless you have a particular reason for it (other than weight loss), I can't understand why you're determined to keep trying when your body is telling you loudly and clearly that a) it's perfectly happy with what you're already doing and b) has responsed extremely well to it! If it ain't broke... :)

0
C16e2e3642960bfaabee1c1c7fbf9df1

(384)

on December 11, 2013
at 10:13 AM

The other responses are pretty good. Make sure you're eating more fat, eat enough carbs (eat more around your workouts), and play around with how much protein you're eating. Maybe you might need to eat more (protein) but don't let it satisfy you enough so you won't eat enough fat. Protein isn't your dominant energy.

Everybody's different and you have to figure out what works for you. What you need right now might not be what your body needs in 10 years time. Put everything you eat into a site like cronometer to get an idea of what you're eating in terms of calories and macros. Aim for at least 50% fat, 20-30% carbs and the rest protein. Try to at least get your maintenance calories rather than being in a deficit and adjust from there. I found adding more carbs, fat and food in general made me lose weight without exercising. Good luck.

0
3f9711d32e68088cecebf2c21529c641

on December 11, 2013
at 06:22 AM

You are not eating enough fat. Why haven't you mentioned cooking anything in butter or coconut oil? Fat just from solid food sources will not be enough to satisfy a person. The best weight loss success scientific study was with a mostly fat diet, this was featured in the book Beyond Paleo. ONce you add sufficient fat to your diet, the idea of eating will seem unnecessary even when you feel your stomach growling with emptiness. You will just be satisfied. AFter a week or two of saturating your body with animal fats along side the paleo routine you will easily be able to skip meals when you want. I was shocked when this happened to me, and when I keep to the paleo with the extra animal fats, I have complete control over how much I want to eat. Before my eating was out of control. I suggest reading Beyond Paleo, it is an excellent book.

0
3351f6c8ec1ea64435e419f380ca6468

(1255)

on April 18, 2013
at 08:51 PM

I know that the VLC/LCHF folks sound like a broken record (so, sorry about that!), but your diet appears to be pretty low fat, so you're fueling on glucose all day (directly through the veggies and sweet potatoes, via gluconeogenesis from the protein).

Since glucose isn't stored as glucose, when you use up what you ate, you're out - and hungry again. To skip meals, you need to be at least keto-adapted, so you can fuel from your stored fat. The only way I know to do this (perhaps other answers will supplement) is to increase the fat you eat and keep carbs and protein low enough that your body has to adapt to burn the fat as fuel. Add bacon, butter, heavy cream and the like to your intake.

3351f6c8ec1ea64435e419f380ca6468

(1255)

on April 18, 2013
at 09:08 PM

You may want to take a look at Peter Attia's blog; he has been working with endurance athletes and ketosis/performance for a couple of years, apparently successfully. http://eatingacademy.com/

6b13003098d2212b6dc747ea7a9048c6

(40)

on April 18, 2013
at 09:02 PM

Thank you for the help - my only concern is that going too LC would negatively impact my distance running, as I'm aiming on working up to a half marathon and then a full marathon over the next year or so. But thank you very much for your suggestion!

3351f6c8ec1ea64435e419f380ca6468

(1255)

on April 19, 2013
at 02:39 PM

Cool! You see it differently, and your N=1 has different results. So what would you advise the original poster to do?

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