The real dictation of hunger

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 20, 2012 at 6:24 PM

I've been having one major problem with Paleo in that I'm not experiencing any attenuation in my perceptions of fatigue. Coupled with this, an important detail, is that I have not lost any weight either--rather I fluctuate between my regular weight (on an unhealthy diet) and 2-5 pounds above it. I have dissolved my relationship with low carb and whatever other dogmas, so i'm focusing on healthy foods regardless of macro rations. My question is in regards to when to eat as I feel this has an impact on the fact that i'm not losing weight and still feeling fatigued. I eat to relieve my fatigue, it has nothing to do with hunger pangs or anything else, it's always when I feel tired. I read up a bit on this and apparently this is a common occurrence in binge eaters/overeaters..etc. They eat to relieve [stress] and fatigue. So i was wondering if I should change the my cue to eat (i.e. eat when I feel hunger pangs and not when I feel fatigued). Any input on the matters is GREATLY appreciated. Thanks again, Everybody!!

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2 Answers


on March 20, 2012
at 07:15 PM

Obviously there's no simple answers, but my first would be - have you tried sleeping more? It's trendy to focus on the diet as the fix for everything, but fatigue suggests you may be tired.

Beyond that, if you think there is an issue with what you're eating, my best advice is to experiment with fasting. If you're looking to break your current habits and reconnect eating with hunger then you might as well go all the way and see if giving your digestion a complete rest clears up the fatigue you're feeling. If it doesn't then you can be pretty sure there's something not functioning right. Again I'd be looking at sleep quality (and daytime activity) first. Other possiblities like Leptin reset or hypothyroidism protocols are popular at the moment, but without knowing the details of what you eat, and what you've tried in the past, it's hard to get too specific. On the other side of things though, I believe that a few days of lots of sleep with nothing but water can help sort things out without worrying about the details of exactly which 'trick' you need to try to employ.



on March 20, 2012
at 07:47 PM

PrimalDanny's advice is very sound from my perspective as a recovering binge eater.

You may do best eating frequently or you may do best by eating less often--try both!

Against prevailing "paleo CW" I've made heavy use of fasting in the past months to achieve a deeper understanding of my 50-year pattern of binge eating. I've learned to know myself a lot better. Here are only a small portion of my self-discoveries:

  • I was identifying any GI tract sensations as hunger (when in fact they were probably distress from my habit of frequently eating mass quantities of junk food
  • Eating, even healthy eating, makes me feel tired and less energetic while fasting generates high energy, so eating infrequently is definitely an overall plus for me
  • I really do enjoy eating large meals that happily fill my stomach
    • eating infrequently/fasting allows me to schedule and enjoy large meals occasionally
    • I don't get hungry for a long, long time after a large meal
    • the large meal is just as satisfying as junk even though most of the food volume is fruit and leafy greens
  • fasting forced me to confront my fear of hunger (childhood poverty) and perceive that it's just another physical sensation
  • even total failure in the form of a junk food binge is just a transitory event with no long-term impact on health or weight UNLESS you let depression and self-hate become an excuse to make it an ongoing pattern

I'm now about a year in and I have a sense of confidence I never had that neither fasting nor eating can knock me off a desired path--only I can.

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