The Hunger: Part Deux

I wanted to follow up a bit on my post from yesterday. Coincidentally, I am listening to the Two Fit Chicks podcast where the first question that they are discussing is about Hunger during weight loss. It’s nice to know that there are others who struggle with this. Well, not “nice” but you know what I mean.

To clarify a few things: Normally, while following the Weight Watchers program I have very often had very different things to eat from day to day. This could be breakfasts of egg/egg white omelets with veggies, cereal and light soy milk, a piece of chicken from the dinner before to even soup. I don’t distinguish foods based on when we are supposed to eat them! Prior to probably 2 months ago I had a snack in between breakfast and lunch, generally only consisting of fruit. Lunches were always a combination of a carb/protein/veg; brown rice with shrimp, avocado, tomatoes and a dressing of Dijon mustard and lemon juice, or 100g of leftover penne pasta with some tuna, olives (exactly 5), tomatoes and a light dressing of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. There would be snacks in the afternoon of fruit and yoghurt, and raw veggies (cucumbers, carrots, etc). Dinner is provided by the Hubs, but he is always thinking about my program and lets me know what’s in the meal if it’s a new recipe. Otherwise, it’s normally always a healthy combination again of carb/protein/veg.

There was nothing really wrong with what I was doing. I love food so I had no issue making up nice lunches and tasty snacks. There was and is pretty much still no junk in between (I made it out of my 2+ week chocolate frenzy finally). The only issue? I haven’t lost any weight since November (sorry for those who know this – I know I’m repeating myself, repeating myself).

So I went to 3FC to get some feedback and received the following:
I was eating too much fruit
Wasted calories from my daily latte
I needed to eat even more vegetables to fill up
I was eating too much in general
Too many carbs
I should try counting calories since it seemed WW wasn’t working for me.
Dinners were clearly going over my budget.

The actions I took from that advice:
I stopped eating so much fruit.
The only morning “snack” I’m having is now a double short non-fat latte (I was having a triple tall).
If I get really hungry I drink a large tea.
Afternoon snacks: try to hold out until I leave work (I would have PM snacks and then be hungry again on the train home, then I would eat more fruit)
Dinner – non-exercise days: weigh and measure everything and keep an eye on portions

I tried, very feebly admittedly, to count calories, but I don’t see the point really (ha-ha, the POINT, get it?) when it’s pretty much the same as Weight Watchers. If I know that I have a budget of 29 points and I want to keep 10-15 for dinner, then I split the rest out. Calorie counters do the same thing with their budget.

What my life looks like:

I get up latest 5.20 every weekday morning.
I eat breakfast (after coffee) at around 6 am. (Hunger level is pretty high)
I arrive at work at 8.50am
I have my only latte at 9am (I am generally hungry again at this point)
I may have a tea around 10.30 to tide me over until lunch.
I eat lunch 12 sharp (or I am a cranky mofo)
I leave work at 5pm, hungry
I eat my snacks on the train home I arrive home around 7pm. (at this point I am hungry again)
If I am running, I will have a snack like a peanut butter sandwich or PB and crackers. If I am going to the gym, I will eat dinner first.
After running, or just when I get home, dinner (between 7.30 – 8.30pm).
When I am preparing food and actually bringing stuff to the office, I will normally do this after dinner and before bed.
Bed between 10-10.30pm If I go to the gym, there is no food prep, though I may then get up at 4.30am to do it (depending on how tired I am).

I do think that part of my problem is that my waking hours are too long compared to my sleeping hours, but given my commute, there really is not much I can do about this (I think) I do not think that I have a super-fast metabolism, but I don’t know how to test that (if I did, would I still be fat???). In any case my metabolism is probably faster than it was a year ago, because I’m a lot more active.

Regardless, I have had this hunger problem for as long as I can remember! 10 years ago, 20 years ago, I remember always struggling with this! So I can pretty much eat what anyone would think would satisfy and I would still be hungry. What I have learned from all of this though is that just grabbing something doesn’t help either, so I won’t eat just anything.

Last week and this week I am pretty much eating a sandwich (2 pieces of multi-grain bread, 10gr of light mayonnaise and filet americain or chicken lunch meat) for breakfast, and for lunch 2 sandwiches (one with multi-grain bread, light cream cheese, 20g of lunch meat, and one with celery salad, mustard tomatoes). I have had a 0% fat yoghurt in the afternoon, some fruit and maybe some raw veggies if I’ve had time to prepare. That’s it. And guess what? That? Costs me almost my entire daily allowance on Weight Watchers. Clearly this will not work for me, so next week I’ll go back to planning and prepping and bringing lunches and snacks again. This sandwich thing is an attempt to eat like a typical Dutch person (though my toppings are probably not completely typical). This is exactly how my husband eats, though he has yoghurt in the morning and after lunch (what I’m doing today).

The question still remains: Why am I not losing weight when I eat varied and use my points in a more fulfilling way, fill up on veg, snack only on fruit, protein at every meal, only good carbs, etc? I am less hungry eating the way I was before, but a dull hunger is still there. Now I’m eating what I find to be very little in volume, and too much in points and I’m ravenous.

I would really love to know what it feels like to not have this empty feeling in my stomach and lightness in my head. I’m not making this shit up. As I type this, it’s 7.45am, I’m on the train to work and I am STARVING. I would like to fit properly into my size 42 jeans and possibly lose up to 12KG more. It will never happen though if I have to keep eating to feel like I’m not going to fall over or possibly eat off the nearest body part.

I hope that provides more information. I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this. All I know is, I can not continue this way – it’s not healthy and it’s not pleasant to feel like this all the time. A little bit of hunger is ok, I can accept that. I’ve been doing this a long time though, I am pretty sure my adjustment periods are way over by now.


  1. pinkymcpie says:

    If I look at the first link above I get the following questions to answer:
    1. Am I thirsty and not really hungry?
    I always drink plenty of water or tea to make sure I’m hydrated. Normally NOT thirst

    2. Did I skip a meal?
    I am skipping snacks, because I thought my fruit snacks were too much sugars; I would like to eat a snack, but then I don’t know what as fruit costs me 0 points and other things cost me a range of points

    3. Did the meal have a lot of rapidly absorbed carbs,
    I do not generally eat anything but complex carbs

    4. Was the meal too small?
    Possibly, but again, I will run into my daily budget going over if I don’t know what to eat.
    5. It’s normal to be hungry
    (Hunger in the morning or late in the afternoon is normal. It’s not normal to feel hunger 30 minutes after eating.)
    OK, it’s normal. But to what degree? And sometimes? I feel hungry a half an hour after eating.

    6. Is the feeling not really hunger at all?
    I’m pretty good at identifying emotional eating. The feeling I have is real hunger
    7. Is the feeling a craving rather than hunger?
    I rarely crave anything at all. I never just think “ooh I could murder a pint of ice cream” or “I need mac and cheese right now!”

    So… anyone???

    1. Issie says:

      Hi from a first time commenter (BTW love your blog).
      I sympathise, I’m also doing WW and sometimes wake up in the night with hunger pangs! A bowl of low-point soup often helps during the day but I appreciate that with your hectic schedule it’s time consuming to make (maybe some miso with chopped veg). I get hungry if I haven’t eaten much protein, maybe you’re similar and adding some pulses into your salads might help.

      I like FitLiving’s comment about treating your body like a scientific experiment, I feel like I’m learning something new about my diet and body everyday at the moment.

      1. pinkymcpie says:

        Hey Issie! Thanks for commenting first of all! I love getting feedback – everything helps, whether it’s sympathy, encouragement, laughter or a kick in the arse!

        Our bodies are pretty much an experiment and my sandwich trials are officially over. Back to basics again- planning and preparing are now on the agenda. Soup is in fact a great idea and I have the ability to make a giant pot and freeze servings. So, thanks for reminding me! I can easily add lentils for protein too!

        I hope to see you again here!!

  2. seattlerunnergirl says:

    Hmm, okay, so I’ll throw out a few more thoughts:

    1. Are you eating plenty of healthy fats? I’ve heard they are good both for satiety AND for helping you lose weight.

    2. Maybe you’re not eating enough. I know that sounds crazy when it comes to weight loss, but maybe try adding 5 QUALITY points per day and see if that helps – both with the hunger and with the weight loss.

    3. Go see a doctor, either MD or ND (or both) and make sure there is nothing going on physically that might account for you not losing.

    Beyond that, I got nothing. And I can hear how frustrated you are and I would be, too, in your shoes. So whatever the solution(s) turns out to be, I hope you find it soon. Meanwhile, hang in there!

    1. pinkymcpie says:

      Great advise! Thanks for reminding me about healthy fats. When I put my plan together tomorrow, I will MAKE sure I’m getting them.

      Also, I seem to need a few more points a day anyway, and it shouldn’t be an issue to add a few things in and not be over budget at the end of the week. So I’ll try that.

      I will also make an appt with the doctor – it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

  3. Renee,
    Even when you’re writing about something serious, you crack me up. You’re so funny sometimes. But anyway, I hear what you’re saying. I agree with Seattlerunnergirl…maybe you’re actually, seriously hungry!

    Biggest Loser just put out a little blurb this week that said if you aren’t eating enough calories, you’re reducing your fat burning capabilities by 20%. That’s one thing. But you say, you haven’t lost weight since November, so you could argue that yes, you are eating enough. However, on BL, when someone isn’t losing, they force them to eat at least 200 calories extra for a week and it helps them to start losing again (Perhaps they put a gun to their head? Maybe “force” is a little strong.).

    The other thing is this: You MAY not have the kind of body that deals with insulin spikes very well and it may be that every time you eat that bread that it screws up your body. I have no scientific evidence for this except for my own experience. My family is full of diabetics, I’m the only non-diabetic in the family (knock wood and eat well) and YET, when I’m not losing any weight for say, 3-4 days (I know, you hate me) I pull out my computer and look at my food logs and always, ALWAYS, it’s because I had 2 or 3 servings of bread on a given day, maybe several days in a row. Plus, on those days, I AM hungry, and not happy about it. I have no explanation for this but it’s most definately happening. When I cut out the bread, or only have it half of the days in each week, things move along well.

    I despise being hungry. DESPISE it. I won’t do it. I’m like Mizfit, the second I start to feel like I’m actually, truly hungry, I grab fresh veggies or fruit. I do notice that it’s all a balancing act for my body and I have to “fine tune” my diet every day. Like you, I have to look back at my food log and see why I was so crazy hungry on a given day and then look for foods with lots of fiber and satisfaction to make me feel better the next day. Yogurt does nothing to satisfy me, oatmeal does.

    I’m sorry this comment is hogging up your whole blog! I just want to say, keep treating yourself as a scientific experiment and see what works for you. You never will know why those people in the Netherlands can eat those (ugh) sandwiches endlessly and not seem to be hungry, but you are who you are and you have to work with that. I believe that the answer is out there somewhere, just keep trying things. Cut out the bread and find something to replace it. (soup? more veggies?) Hey, do they have fiber drinks available there? Those add a healthy amount of bulk to your diet without adding many calories.

    1. pinkymcpie says:

      Thank you Katie! And please continue to hog my blog with your comments! This stuff helps me so much! Like talking it over with good friends and a fresh pot of coffee!!

      So yeah, sandwich trials are over. They can keep their bread and cheese!!
      Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

  4. shrinkingirl says:

    Man, I wish I had something to offer that hasn’t already been said. As a calorie counter I learned I could way more when I ate veggies and I also learned what fruits had the least amount of sugars (= less calories). I’m also not afraid of good fats at all, in my mind good fat = keeps me fuller longer.
    But I agree about consulting a doctor…it’s always better to make sure there isn’t something else going on!

    1. pinkymcpie says:

      I think I’ll check my GI Diet book again for good sugars. I am going back to having a fruit snack in the morning.

      You know what the ONLY disadvantage is to filling up on veggies????? Please don’t make me say it! This is another reason why I tried to cut back a bit on veggies as snacks…

      1. seattlerunnergirl says:

        Oh, and if you add some fat or protein to your mid-morning snack, that will probably really help! 1/2 ounce of nuts, 1 ounce lowfat cheese, 1T peanut/almond butter, etc. Every little bit helps! HOw often are you eating?

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