Thursday, July 20, 2006

Waiting Until You're Hungry To Eat Is Awful

I got into a discussion about livin' la vida low-carb today with my boss at work as she was talking with a co-worker of mine inquiring if she was on the Atkins diet. When my fellow co-worker answered in the affirmative, my boss retorted back, "Oh, that's nice for weight loss but you can't possibly keep eating that much protein all the time."

Now, whether she realized she said this right in front of Mr. "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Man" or not is unclear, but you know I couldn't just let that pass. My response was, "Come on, now, don't diss my Atkins diet like that. It worked pretty well for me, didn't it?" There was no response and she left it at that. It's probably good, too, because I might have let my enthusiasm for livin' la vida low-carb override my better judgment to keep that job that's paying my bills right now. :)

Anyways, earlier today I spoke with that co-worker who is on the Atkins diet and we were discussing the subject of being hungry while on low-carb. She had seen a woman I have blogged about before named Gwen Shamblin who appeared on NBC's "Today Show" this morning talking about her "Weigh Down" diet. I shared with my co-worker about my experience on that diet which I did over 10 years ago and that it is basically a starvation diet.

The basic concept of the "Weigh Down" approach, which is allegedly based on Christian principles (although Shamblin was later found to be a Jehovah's Witness who doesn't believe in the Trinity -- it's a long story!), is to wait until you are hungry to eat, then eat whatever you want until you are just "satisfied" and finally to pray for God to fill you up with His word so you don't desire food as much.

It's a nice concept, but highly impractical for people who don't know when they hit "satisfied." If they did, then they would never have gotten overweight or obese to begin with! But this conversation got me to thinking about this idea of waiting until you are hungry to eat concept.

I remember that first day on "Weigh Down," I kept waiting and waiting for hunger to show up, but it never came. It took 53 hours for me to start feeling hunger for the first time and I basically was starving myself the entire time I was on that diet. I lost some weight, but quickly gained it back and then some because I didn't like the feeling of being hungry ALL THE TIME!

That's why livin' la vida low-carb has been such a godsend to me. I get to eat all of that protein that my boss ridiculed so much earlier today because it keeps me satisfied and filled up for many hours a day. In fact, ever since I started livin' la vida low-carb, I've done something that I have NEVER done on any other weight loss plan in my life -- I ATE WHEN I WASN'T HUNGRY! Gasp! Somebody call the nut farm because Jimmy's gone over the edge now!

Seriously, I consider it a VERY GOOD thing to eat when you are not hungry because you can be more sensible about what you are eating. I don't know about you, but when I am really hungry, my personality changes. That feeling of being so ravenous turns me into a monster that you don't want to be around. Just ask my wife Christine, she'll tell you.

Even waiting for just a little bit of hunger to show up makes it that much more likely that I will overeat. Sure, I could stop at a certain point and my hunger would subside. But when you get to a certain point after being hungry, it's very difficult to slow down that internal mechanism that says EAT EAT EAT! Do you know what I'm talking about?

While the suggestion to "wait until you're hungry to eat" certainly SOUNDS like good advice on the surface, I believe for some people that is a recipe for disaster and keeping them from effectively gaining control over the weight problem.

I can count on ONE HAND the number of times I have been "hungry" while on low-carb and those are days when I have broken from my normal routine. Let me tell you, having a regular time that you eat your meals is very important to making this low-carb lifestyle work to perfection. For me, it's every 2 1/2 hours or so and that keeps my metabolism going throughout the day. I wouldn't have it any other way.

What about you? Do you ALWAYS wait until you are hungry before you eat any food? Or do you do what I do and eat so often that you keep the hunger bug from ever hitting you? What are your thoughts on this subject?


Blogger Ronald said...

Eh. Since when I ever had to be hungry to eat? :P

I was on Atkins Diet once. And it's true about the forgetting to eat part.

7/21/2006 12:57 AM  
Blogger Sparky's Girl said...

I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. Not a good idea to wait until you are hungry. That's always when the bad choices are made. Get hungry enough and even your shoes look tasty. Most of the time I have to remind myself to eat as well though.. because I just don't get hungry like I used to.

Right now I'm in deep ketosis and I'm not snacking in between meals. I can get from meal to meal without them most of the time. If I do feel a bit of hunger coming on I do eat.. even if it's just a cheese stick or some nuts. Hunger is my enemy! Not to mention it's tough on the metabolism to skip meals, etc. I do my best not to let more than 4 or 5 hours go between eating. I probably should eat more often, but I'm usually so busy that I can't stop for a snack.

7/21/2006 1:41 AM  
Blogger Mr. and Mrs. Fat said...

I am on a regular eating schedule now, so I try to stick with it whether I am hungry or not. Second week of induction and although I am keeping track of both calories and carbs, I'm finding I've been eating less and feeling better.

Mr. Fat

7/21/2006 6:52 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Personally, I like to eat only when I'm hungry. I just tune into my body and when I need food I eat it. Sometimes I eat in the morning, sometimes I don't. I have a fairly flex work schedule so I take lunch between 12 and 3 depending on when I get hungry. I find I eat about 2 meals a day, 1 if it's something like 4 eggs and a 1 1/2 pound steak.

Eating just to eat is a mental artifact from high carb eating. Yeah, if you're eating zero carb there's no restriction on calories, but it's wasteful and a sign that your body is still eating too many carbs. Multiple meals also means that you're still fixiated over carbs and food in general. While I may have a blog I don't really spend much time with food itself. I get hungry, fry it up, eat it and not consider eating again for several hours or until the next day.

This is just another benefit of a zero carb approach.


7/21/2006 10:26 AM  
Blogger detox said...

For me the beauty of a low carb regimen is that I can actually forget about food, and I do only eat when I am hungry. It helps me to listen to my body and find out when I am hungry. Or just needing something else, such as a big big extra glass of water. While I do understand the concept of eating every few hours or so, for me it doesn't work. As long as I have legal foods around, being hungry isn't a problem at all. The only times I do have probs with that is when I am travelling without being prepared to bring my own food.

Still, I prefer to feed my body only when it wants/needs food, not when I think I should have food. We have been trained to eat threee or five or whatever meals a day not listening to our needs. I let my own rhythm and needs guide me, because that is what suits me best. And if I don't require food, I'm not eating.

7/21/2006 11:47 AM  
Blogger Carol Bardelli said...

My eating pattern pretty closely matches yours. I eat every 3 hours no matter what. I react to hunger by going from Jeckyl to Hyde. Why go there? I'm going to blog on this topic also, it's an intriguing subject.

7/21/2006 6:12 PM  
Blogger Darleen said...

I'm amazed at how much I eat and stay thin. After losing 75 pounds and keeping it off for a year so far following low carb eating. I eat all day. Good breakfast, snacking on healthy food mid morning. Big lunch. Snacks in afternoon. Big dinner. More snacks in the evening. I even carry nuts in my purse just in case. What this eating of healthy food does for me is help me never to be tempted or want junk food. Why would I? I'm full, I'm happy. Life is good on low carb.
I love the comments of people at work. "How do you stay so thin when you eat all the time - some people are just lucky to be able to eat all they want." LOL Unless they knew me before I lost the weight they just don't realize how funny that statement is.

7/21/2006 8:31 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

I eat on a schedule during the week. I have to or I'd eat too much. I'm ALWAYS hungry and a schedule forces me to wait until x time for my next snack.

7/23/2006 10:13 PM  

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