eating · fitness

The upside and downside to not feeling hungry

Since my thyroid surgery I just haven’t been that hungry. You can read a bit about that here Forgetting to eat? Who are these people? and here The weak link in intuitive eating.

And if you think that losing weight would be a good thing, you might also think that not being hungry would be wonderful. Wouldn’t it be easy to diet if you didn’t have to deal with hunger? I confess, it’s easier than life when I was hungry all the time. I’m even sleeping in because I no longer wake with hunger.

But even though I’m often not hungry I still have to eat. Why? Well, for one thing I want to ride my bike. That takes fuel.

I’m also discovering that not being hungry doesn’t lead to the best food choices. I’ve had a few lunch hours where I’ve wandered through the university cafeteria, finding nothing I want to eat. Veggie burger? Nah. Bean burrito? Nope. How about soba noodle and tofu? No thanks.

This is a real change. Normally when I’m hungry, everything smells and tastes good. It’s easy to make healthy food choices when you’re hungry. Now I’m having to tempt myself into eating.

When I was arriving home hungry the downside was that I’d eat whatever was easy, but that could be vegetables. It just took preparation. Now easy isn’t enough.

A friend of mine uses the apple test for hunger. If he isn’t hungry enough to eat an apple, he decides he’s not really hungry. But by the apple test I’d almost never eat. I actually had dark chocolate with sea salt and raspberries for breakfast the other day. Now that tasted great. It was a special occasion. But it’s not my usual yogurt and fruit.

I’ve been tempted by food that hasn’t tempted me in years. I find myself thinking, “I’m not hungry but I could eat pizza, or even a drive thru fish burger.”  It reminds me a bit of pregnancy and the chicken eating this vegetarian gave in to. Nothing else seemed like a good idea when I was pregnant and a little bit pukey.

So not being hungry seems like it would be a blessing for diet and weight loss. The truth, at least for this active person, is considerably more complicated. I’m sure it will settle into the new normal after awhile. For now, I’m trying to make good food choices without using hunger or temptation as a guide. Wish me luck.

4 thoughts on “The upside and downside to not feeling hungry

  1. Best wishes, Sam. Most likely there will be a new natural eating pattern that hopefully you feel comfortable.

    I agree with eating something nutritious with some energy if it’s a longish or hard bike ride or immediately within an half hr. window after finishing a long/hard ride.

  2. It’s really interesting to me to read about your changes in hunger. For so many people, “stomach” hunger and eating aren’t necessarily well-connected. There is tons written about “mouth hunger,” or eating for reasons other than physical hunger. So this shows that you have a history of eating in response to physical hunger (or because you had to) and not so much as an emotional thing or to fend off boredom or what have you. I’ve thought about it a bit in relation to my own case because I actually don’t feel hungry all that often. I have to go quite long periods without food before I feel hungry. And yet I struggle with eating for all sorts of other reasons, and I can easily eat when not hungry (even if not a big meal, I can eat nibbles and snacks endlessly if I don’t pay attention).

  3. How timely! I am struggling because I am not riding or reallyw orking out — sitting in classes, then sitting at the desk at work. I almost just want to save money on food and eat PB/J every day. Today, this week, I made a point of making healthy food. Usually if I eat when not hungry I find it hard to sit with–like right now with lunch break just passed (break = 10 minutes between classes?). This is something to work on!

  4. I have met a number of people who, seeing how delighted I am to eat and how enthusiastic I am about food, they feel like they’re missing out on an important pleasure in life because they don’t care for food very much. So, although loving food had it’s downsides (like undesired weight gain if I’m not careful), I think looking forward to eating deserves more credit as a desirable state!

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