8

votes

Eating when not really hungry?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 10, 2011 at 8:20 PM

I am doing pretty good on the paleo diet. Have cut out the grains totally and sugar for the most part but the problem is, I always want food, I am constantly thinking about my next meal. And when I am home I feel like I am constantly nibbling on something, even though it is "paleo" I am still eating quite often. I am not sure if its a boredom thing or a oral fixation but I feel like I just need food because it is so good and it makes me happy. Does anyone else have this problem? Does anyone have advice on how to handle it? I tried putting notes up. Its not a problem if I am not at home, but if the food is readily available I will probably munch on it.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on March 11, 2011
at 09:11 AM

Working out 6 days a week? How long are the sessions? This *could* be the source of your hunger. If you are going to play volleyball 3 times a week in summer AND keep up with the Crossfit then that is a heck of a workload! (As an athlete, I am sure you know your own limits). I don't buy in to the 'boredom or habit makes me eat' idea (I might be wrong), as in the wild I'd imagine boredom would make you expend energy. In contrast hunger would make you (go get something to) eat.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on March 10, 2011
at 09:30 PM

By damaged metabolism I mean trashed your hormonal sensitivity (and be in the process of exhausting hormonal generation). The big two from an obesity perspective (and so hunger), I guess, are insulin and leptin - but there are surely others. How this might be fixed.....a paleo approach will be of benefit in many cases, but really you'd need to see your MD to get a formal diagnosis and professional help.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 10, 2011
at 09:25 PM

Can you please explain damaged metabolism and how to fix this. Thanks!

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on March 10, 2011
at 08:29 PM

how long have you been paleo? it took me a good 30 dais, EASILY before i stopped thinking about food and cravings. and per usual, i agree with melissa that you need to make sure youre getting enough fat! that really is what keeps you satiated and free of cravings and nibblings.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 10, 2011
at 08:23 PM

Are you eating enough fat at meal times?

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10 Answers

6
0242b468fe1c97997749db416c92e7ed

(4528)

on March 10, 2011
at 10:30 PM

Hi Amanda,

I've been paleo for the better part of three years now, and I still struggle with what you're describing. I'm a bit of a foodie, I love to cook - especially new recipes, and good food just plain makes me happy. For me, it's largely a psychological issue, rather than real hunger. I enjoy eating. Plain and simple.

That said, I've found that intermittent fasting has helped me a LOT in that area. One little snack somehow gave me permission to have another little snack, and another and so on, throughout the day. Even though they were typically healthy choices, (beef jerky here, some macadamia nuts there) they still added up. Understanding that it's not particularly healthy for me to be in a perpetually "fed" state, and understanding the beneficial things that happen to your body while in an unfed state was huge. Intermittent fasting - whether it's 16 hours from dinner to lunch the next day or 23-24 hours from dinner to dinner - simply takes food off the metaphorical table for me, and I don't feel the need for it so much. So instead of looking for my next quick-fix snack, a good fasting period allows me instead to plan and look forward to a nice meal at the end of my fast. This totally suits the closet gourmet chef that I pretend to be.

Caveat: I'm throwing this out there because it helped me, but this may or may not be applicable to your situation, depending on how long you've been paleo. If you're just starting out, I wouldn't recommend any lengthy fasts yet. Fasting is easy when you're keto-adapted, but not so much when you're not. Just concentrate on eating plenty of nourishing, real food (esp. good fats and protein) while your body heals and acclimates. You'll know when you're ready and able to extend the duration between meals when you can do so without negative side effects. If you feel at all weak or shaky, it's definitely time to eat something.

Good luck!

3
F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

on March 10, 2011
at 09:09 PM

Assuming you have not damaged your metabolism with your previous lifestyle and you have no underlying health issues, you might want to address the whole paleo-package, not just the diet:

  • eat 'paleo'
  • respond to hunger at each meal, eat until full, don'tcut back on quality fat and protein
  • conduct intense but brief exercise a couple of times a week
  • get your sleep in order - try to go low tech at dusk (read a book)
  • remove temptations. Period!
  • drink plenty of water - certainly in place of traditional 'hot drinks'
  • relax
  • play
  • socialise
  • try a cold shower!
  • try introducing IF once or twice a week (at least 16hrs)

It takes time to become keto-adapted. If the problem is mostly one that occurs at home then that is a bit of a conundrum. Inclination to snack is probably to do with a real underlying hunger.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on March 10, 2011
at 09:30 PM

By damaged metabolism I mean trashed your hormonal sensitivity (and be in the process of exhausting hormonal generation). The big two from an obesity perspective (and so hunger), I guess, are insulin and leptin - but there are surely others. How this might be fixed.....a paleo approach will be of benefit in many cases, but really you'd need to see your MD to get a formal diagnosis and professional help.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 10, 2011
at 09:25 PM

Can you please explain damaged metabolism and how to fix this. Thanks!

1
61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on March 11, 2011
at 06:45 PM

I used to snack constantly. It wasn't because I was hungry; it was just a bad habit. When i realized what I was doing, I cut out snacks completely. This was before Paelo. For about a month I just avoided snacks. I didn't eat unless it was a meal time. If I got hungry and it wasn't time for a meal, I would do something else or drink some water or something. By doing this I taught myself that I don't HAVE to be doing anything at all, least of all eating.

Occasionally I get in a "mood" where all I want to do is eat. It usually crops up when I have nothing else to do (eating because I'm bored, maybe) and in these cases I can distract myself by focusing on something else, like reading a book or going for a walk. Sometimes though, I just need a snack and I've become comfortable enough to allow myself that snack (usually after a day or so of wanting it, lol).

1
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on March 11, 2011
at 12:52 AM

If you're still eating some sugar, cold turkey of it ASAP. (I'm not sure sugar is something most people can successfully wean off) The ups and downs of blood sugar swings could be making you hungry frequently.

Added: And for a few days put your meals through a program like cron-o-meter to see what kind of macro ratios and carb percentages you're actually eating. I found that it helped with some of the fine tuning/seeing where I was off track.

1
Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on March 10, 2011
at 09:55 PM

My first 2-3 weeks of paleo I ate like a starving man. It passed. How long has this been going on?

0
8acb208ec16e320322afbd2bda9dc8ce

on March 11, 2011
at 03:58 PM

I guess I shouldn't have said sugar for the most part, more along the fruit aspect. I haven't really been eating bad sugar (I don't eat candy bars or ice cream or cookies, it has been about 10 days since I have had any sort of sugar, I am trying to go 21 days with out bad sugar which was usually dark chocolate chips when I felt like something sweet), but its hard for me to cut out a lot of the fruit. I obviously want to keep fruit because i do have a large workload when it comes to working out but i just want to be able to eat a meal and not feel like i need something 30 minutes later. Or feel like I need something in my mouth right when I get home, I usually go straight to the fridge when I get home from work and I don't know why. I sit at work and think I am hunger free and don't need food, but if I was at home and there was food available I would probably be eating something. The workouts aren't long, I go in for an hour and with crossfit we do a strength and then a WoD lasting between 8-15 min. I think it is a psychological thing though as some have stated they have the same problem. I guess I think I just need to consciously talk myself out of munching...

0
84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 11, 2011
at 10:18 AM

I've had the same problem but the thing that helped me what to stop eating cheese (it's always easy to make some cheese. And eggs. And creme fraiche) and maybe even a bigger one, to start eating in an 8 hour window (10AM-PM or so). After a week of that, I can easily fast for 20 hours, eating just one BIG meal per day.

0
9ac8a7b68cf079b22de42b703e466e64

(787)

on March 11, 2011
at 06:46 AM

Yep. I have the EXACT same thing. I've been paleo for 15 months now. I still can't quite pinpoint the problem. I do think I get enough fat so I'm thinking it's definitely psychological. If I'm away from home, I don't usually give food a second thought. If I'm at home, I'm thinking of what little paleo snack I can cook. Still though, I stick to 2-3 meals. I feel you though

0
6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on March 11, 2011
at 01:04 AM

"Have cut out the grains totally and sugar for the most part but the problem is, I always want food, I am constantly thinking about my next meal."

Sounds like sugar could be the culprit here. Any amount of sugar will leave you wanting more sugar and more food. Try cutting it out cold turkey and add in some IF.

0
8acb208ec16e320322afbd2bda9dc8ce

on March 11, 2011
at 12:05 AM

@ asclepius, I considered myself pretty healthy before paleo, i had given up soda a long time ago and really only drink water now and have for many years. I work out about 6 days a week doing crossfit. @ aaron, we started a 90 day paleo challenge at our gym on february 1st, so only about a 1.5 months, but i had been about 70/30 paleo before then, trying to get in to it.

I think its really what Kim said, i feel exactly like that. Food makes me happy and I enjoy eating and have really gotten into cooking an really enjoy that too. But I come home and have a snack and then watch tv and eat a lil something else and then i will have dinner.

I feel like I get enough fat but maybe not, I have been trying to eat avacado a lot in the morning and also have some guac at night or a salad with olive oil. How much fat should I be having at each meal?

I was going to hold off on IF but maybe need to start it sooner than planned. But I also worry because I am an athlete and once summer hits I will be playing volleyball about 3 times a week along with keeping up with crossfit and want to be able to maintain my energy.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on March 11, 2011
at 09:11 AM

Working out 6 days a week? How long are the sessions? This *could* be the source of your hunger. If you are going to play volleyball 3 times a week in summer AND keep up with the Crossfit then that is a heck of a workload! (As an athlete, I am sure you know your own limits). I don't buy in to the 'boredom or habit makes me eat' idea (I might be wrong), as in the wild I'd imagine boredom would make you expend energy. In contrast hunger would make you (go get something to) eat.

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