Tired and Hungry.

I’ve watched two movies lately about addiction. It wasn’t intentional, I just found myself drawn to both of them and afterwards I wondered if it was my subconscious looking for guidance with my own stress-eating habits. One thing that was brought up in one of them was that, to clean up, you have to make sure you’re not ever TIRED or HUNGRY because that’s when you’re at your weakest.

And man…that TIRED thing? Is so true. When I’ve not been getting my full 8-hours a night sleep? I’m much quicker to binge eat. Part of it is that I feel like it’s a stimulus that will help keep me awake. The other part of it is that I’m often too tired to focus on something I need to be doing, but I know I need to be doing something, so I’ll eat instead.

So…YES. I need to make sure I stop being tired so much.

The other part – avoid being hungry – I just kinda brushed off because it doesn’t seem like it can really apply if your addiction is food related. But then yesterday I was really hungry, and I ate, and those hunger pangs weren’t satiated, so I ate some more. And I realized, when I’m really hungry, a “normal” sized meal doesn’t feel like it fills me up, mainly because I eat so fast and my brain probably hasn’t processed the food enough to recognize that the hunger pangs can stop. I also was hungry leaving a meeting this week and instead of waiting until I got home and getting a good meal, I grabbed something en route and made a bad decision doing that.

So…maybe I do need to make sure I don’t get hungry.

But – that feels so First World-ish, doesn’t it? To eat before you’re actually hungry? I guess the idea is to eat a “snack” – something on a salad plate, not a dinner plate. (That’s a distinction that is very important in my life because I feel like my plate needs to be FULL of FOOD, or it’s not enough. Salad plates save me often.) It just feels like something the rich and privileged do – NEVER FEEL HUNGER PANGS! I’ve read powerful pieces about that before, that our society never really truly feels hungry, so I like the idea of waiting to eat until I actually feel hungry to eat. But after that movie I’m now wondering if that’s not ideal for someone with my unhealthy relationship with food?

What about you? Do you wait and eat until you’re hungry? I don’t do it often, but I like to use it as a sign that I actually need food and that I’m not just bored. Deliberately trying to avoid that in some way (How would I even avoid it? Eat something every 3 hours or less?) feels strange…like I’m no longer listening to my body. But listening to my body some days leads me to a 2,000 calorie excess so – you know – that’s obviously not working out for me either.

I’m thinking about food a lot today because I decided to cancel a trip to Knoxville and I was really looking forward to seeing my friends, but I was ALSO looking forward to a veggie plate from Aubrey’s which is one of my favorite plates of food in the world. Wonder if they’ll deliver out of state?

7 thoughts on “Tired and Hungry.”

  1. I hear this. I overeat massively but I am *always* tired due to my medication, no matter how much sleep I get, still tired. And because I live with my parents because of my health issues I don’t have control over when I eat, I eat when they’re hungry not when I am, so I snack between meals and then still pile my plate with food when it’s made. I feel awful about it, especially because I’m getting bigger and bigger, and still can’t stop stuffing my face with chocolate at night even after a big meal. I need to get a grip but it’s so hard.

  2. Have you ever heard of Intuitive Eating? I haven’t mastered it, but working through Evelyn Tribole’s book is helping me heal my relationship with food. The idea is to trust your body to tell you when you’re hungry, and to eat then, but also pay attention and stop when you’re full. You get into trouble when you wait until you’re too hungry. Or when you eat with your eyes (eating until your plate is empty, for example).

  3. There’s a meme floating around about being a special kind of stupid if you forget to eat … but I’m that person.
    And when I do realize I’m hungry, I either scarf it all down like you, or my stomach is so nauseous because of the stomach acid, that I can’t even force myself to eat.
    I need to set an alarm or something that goes “Hey person, EAT some food now.” Bought some healthy snackable foods (almonds, since those are my crack, stuff for smoothies, veggies, etc), so that I can snack through-out the day, so I don’t end up in the “ugh, I need to eat, but I can’t get full”

  4. I second what Ingrid said about intuitive eating! Susie Orbach says the trick is not only eating when one is hungry, but stopping when one is satisfied and not yet full. It’s hard because usually that little voice warning you that you’re satisfied comes waaaay quicker than you want it to (for me it’s usually only halfway into my plate), and you HAVE TO MAKE YOURSELF STOP when the emotional you still wants to eat. But if you do it for a few times (it took about 3 weeks for me) then there comes a point where you are truly happy to stop when your body has had enough and you don’t even think about food during the day if you’re not hungry. I am a big believer of intuitive eating 🙂

    Also, there’s a podcast you might find useful called Mind Body Musings which talks about food addiction, eating disorders, exercise addiction, intuitive eating etc.

  5. I think there is a difference between “feeling hungry” and “being Hungry”. The key is recognizing it early. For instance, I may start with “hmm, I’m a little peckish” and then ramp to “hmmm, time to get something to eat”. If I eat there, it’s all good. But if I don’t? Then it escalates to “I’m Hungry” and “I’m going to chew my own arm off” and “I can’t think straight because my blood sugar is through the floor”. And somewhere in there, girl scout cookies become a better choice than the nectarine because they are here NOW. I also become Hangry and cranky. So, it’s not so much “eat when you aren’t hungry” as it is “have healthy choices on hand and eat them before you want to punch someone for a cookie”.

  6. This was what I was thinking too. Maybe it’s how you define hungry? Eat when you first feel the stirrings rather than waiting for full blown hunger? Also, I carry a small bag of nuts, an apple or some other healthy but tasty snack so I can eat when I need to.

    My husband, many years ago, realized that he didn’t recognize when he was full while eating. So, for quite a while I dished up a reasonable serving of dinner for each of us and we left the rest of the food in the kitchen. When he finished his plate, he waited ten minutes (talking to me, I ate slower) to see if he was truly still hungry. If he was, he served himself a little more, but usually that time allowed his mind to register that he was full. Eventually, he was able to realize he was full without the delay.

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