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Hunger at night - to eat or not to eat?

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Should you eat when you feel hungry; I'm meaning real hunger pangs; at night; even if you've eaten your recommended requirements for the day? Or is some degree of discomfort and hunger normal when depriving the body of the energy requirements it needs?Does it ease with time?

I seemed to not notice the hunger so much the first 9-10 days but the last couple it's been awful. I feel so hungry and my stomach growls and I am so distracted by thinking about food and having to do the mental gymnsatics to remind myself that I've eaten my calories for the day and that I'm not starving and I do not need the extra snack.

I guess I'm asking, is it normal to feel really hungry in the evening? And ignoring it will do me no harm? Or is this my body telling me it needs more fuel and if I don't feed it, it will slow down my metabolism to conserve energy?

I still sleep all night even though I go to bed feeling hungry. I've also however noticed that my weight has stayed exactly the same for the last 5 days. I lost 2.5kg in the first 7 days and I've only been dieting for 12 so it's not "a plateau." I guess I'm wondering if this is related to the " evening hunger factor."

BTW: I've been on reductil for 1 week and haven't noticed much difference other than the first few days I got the "I feel full messages" quicker than normal. I lost interest in food for a few days but, that wore off already. I also take ACAI berry capsules every day and drink Oolong tea once or twice per day. I'm not sure if any of these make a difference to the daily burn or hunger factor.

Any thoughts?


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How much do you exercise? what is your weight/height/age? Because, considering all these factors you can see how much you burn, and then see how much cals you need to lose weight (about -500cals from what you burn). Maybe you are eating too little, and so you are losing weight, but too fast so you are hungry cuz you are way too deprived of nutrients.

Another thing is make sure you are getting around 30g fiber and a half a gram of protein per bodyweight in lbs (I shoot for a gram per pound of bodyweight but I lift and run a lot and need a lot more protein that most people) because this will keep you pretty full. I find fiber doesn't do too much for me, but definately protein, however, everyone is different. Specifically, try and eat something with protein and fiber before bed, like cottage cheese and fruit.

Lastly, stay AWAY from sugar. It will make you soooo hungry the whole day and make you feel tired too.

Bottom line is it depends on what you are eating. There is a bit of science behind hunger and if you are eating enough of the right types of foods you shouldn't be hungry.

Let me explain a bit so you can evaluate the foods you're eating and see if it's that or if you need more food ... some foods cause a higher insulin reaction than others - if you're familliar with the GI scale, that's what I'm referring to. When you have a higher insulin reaction you may feel hungrier sooner than you would had you eaten a low GI food. If you're hungry in the evening, take a look at your dinner. Things like pasta, white rice, breads and sugars will cause an higher insulin reaction than things like brown rices, lean meats and veggies. Even one small square of chocolate after dinner is enough to cause this to happen.

When insulin is absent (or low), glucose is not taken up by most body cells and the body begins to use fat as an energy source. I don't understand the exact mechanics of insulin, but I do know it's the cause of the 'sugar crash' people have after eating lots of sweets. The result of a high GI dinner causing a high insulin response is that just a couple of hours later you're hungry again regardless of how much you ate.

From my experience, when I eat low GI foods I am full. If I eat a meal that is full of fats and refined carbs that are high on the GI scale (pasta or pizza for example) I find myself hungry again a few hours later. I've even had the experience of eating pizza for dinner, going to bed and waking up in the middle of the night starving - but not eating and then waking up in the morning and not being hungry.

I don't like being hungry ;) And I don't think you have to be to lose weight. The other thing I do to regulate blood sugars is to eat 6 small meals a day as opposed to 3. I have a planned 'meal' that I eat at 8 or 9 at night - usually just a protien shake, but enough so I'm not hungry.

I have no experience with Reductil - sorry. Hope that helps.

I'm 37. I'm only 5'2" (159cms) I weigh 91.7kg. I am very overweight and I have a really high BMI. That's why my Dr put me on reductil.

I do not exercise at all. I'm focusing on changing my eating habits and want to lose a little bit of weight first before embarking on any major lifestyle change - exercise program.

3 days of the week I am mostly inactive and burn 1960-2110, if I add in an hour of light effort house-keeping. I'm probably more active than I think though as I have 3 kids.

The other 4 days of the week I work 4 X 6 hour shifts as a Duty Manager/Checkout supervisor and I'm on my feet, serving, packing, moving around a lot. I log this as Standing light. And this brings my daily burn on those 4 days up to 2730

CC recommended I eat 1378 per day and I pretty much hit that target most days.

My diet consists mainly of Porridge oats, Sultana bran, low-fat milk, raw vegetables and salad ingredients (sprouts, cucumber etc), low fat cottage cheese, low-fat yoghurt, cassava chips, rice cracker, corn thins, salmon - fresh or tinned, tuna or chicken. Creamed rice (the chocolate one - a 100 gram tin is 108 calories) is one of my daily treats. At work I occassionally have a handful of cashews or pistachios for a quick energy boost. I have a boiled egg occassionally too as my protein levels have been a bit low. I use splenda to sweeten if needed and never add sugar to anything.

My ratios are always low in fat, average in the protein department and high on the carbs. They look closer to 10 (fat) 20 (protein) 70 (carbs)

I don't eat bread, pasta, noodles, potatoes, meat (except fish or chicken), sugar.

How I do decrease carbs as the bulk of my diet fruit & veg is carbs?


Bah! 1378 calories isn't very much food! Did you put a target date in for that to come up or was that what it calculated? I'd say eat more for sure!

For the foods you're eating, the oats, bran, low fat milk, raw veggies, cottage cheese, yogurt, fish and chicken are all great foods - even the pistachios and cashwes aren't bad as long as you don't eat to many.  The cassava chips, rice cracker, corn thins I'm not specifically famillar with, but I'd guess they might not be the best for a daily staple because they probably are higher on the GI scale. I'm pretty sure the creamed rice would also be high on the GI scale. Maybe try taking these out for a couple of days and eating closer to 1500 or 1600 calories - especially on the days you're working.  You may not lose as quickly, but it's a lot easier to stick to an eating plan if your not starving!

Carbs aren't bad in and of themselves, some people do great on a diet without them, lots of people lose weight and stay healthy with them. I'm a huge protien fan - eating protien with every meal helps minimize the insulin response so I'd suggest trying to add more protien to your diet to replace some of the carbs. Maybe instead of the corn thins and such you could have a protien shake? Carbs that you are getting from veggies and fruit you don't really want to reduce - but be careful with the fruit because it's high in sugar, therefore higher on the GI scale. I personally stick to only 100 calories from fruit per day.

Put this in retrospect- I'm a 15 girl, and last fall, when I was 5'1 and 93 I lost a pound in a week (and it stuck... so I was 92 until recently) by being completely sedentary and eating 1500 a day. 

You (a) are taller, (b), weigh much more, and (c) have a higher RMR, so you should be able to lose on 1500 for a lb a week. Yes, I am still a teen, so I need more, but my metabolism was (and still is) not right from starving myself (still kinda slow/starvation mode)

In the calories needed for goal weight section (using my current weight, my goal weight, sedentary and my chosen goal date): You should consume about 1368 calories a day to reach your goal weight of 62 kgs by February 07, 2010.

If I don't put a goal date, this is what it comes up with: You should consume about 1250 calories a day to reach your goal weight of 62 kgs. This is at a reasonable weight loss average of 0.7 kgs per week, which should be reached by December 13, 2009. (This is even less calories and at a faster loss than I planned.)

If I change my activity level to light and leave my current stats, goal & chosen goal date the same the result is:  You should consume about 1568 calories a day to reach your goal weight of 62 kgs by February 07, 2010.

I can consume 200 extra calories simply by changing the activity level. I've been basing mine on sedentary but, I'm not totally inactive, laying around, never moving. It's hard to say which I fit into so what if I split the difference and up the calories by 100? Then I can have a snack later in the evening when that intense hunger hits.

--------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------- ---------

The rice crackers stats for 1 X 15g packet.

Energy = 58 calories

Protein 1.1g

Fat < 1g

carbs 12.1g

sugars < 1

sodium 83mg

--------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------- ----------

The corn thin stats:

1 cracker (5.8 grams)

calories = 24

fat = 0.2g

carbs = 4.8g

fibre = 0.5g

protein = 0.6g

--------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------- -----------

The Cassava chip stats:

1 X 12g pack

energy = 43 calories

protein = 0.2g

fat = 2.1g

saturated = 0.7g

carbs = 6.0g

sugars = 1.4g

--------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------- -----------

I use these as bread/cracker substitutes or a quick snack and are limited to 2/3 serves total per day. How do you tell the GI level?

--------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------- -----------


How much would I eat on a work day (4 days per week) when I have an active job (I'm a checkout supervisor and duty manager) - 6 hours on my feet - moving around a bit? I logged it as:

Standing; Light - Bartending, Store Clerk, Assembling, Filing, Duplicating, Putting Up a Christmas Tree, Standing and Talking At Work, Changing Clothes When Teaching Physical Education

And my total burn on those days is 2730.

If Im really hungry at night I always have a little snack even if it pushes me slightly over my calories for the day. I find if I dont I wake up ravenous and eat a lot more!

I think its better to play around with the cals during the day than to get into the habit of eating at night.  I used to get hungry at night but now I don't, partly because I pushed my dinner a little later to compensate.  I usually eat around 8:30 at night and go to sleep by midnight without feeling hungry.  Boy do I wake up hungry though!  haha.  You would be surprised what upping the cals by as little as 100-200 can do, and that would still keep you in the range to lose weight.  

Basically you are eating too little!  On the days when you are completely sedentary then you could eat 1400 or so, but on the days when you are working you should really be eating 1700.  The recommended maximum daily deficit is 1000. 

I would agree with many people here. I think you're not eating enough. If you get really hungry at night, could I suggest increasing your dinner? If you get hunger pains at night, eat a snack like fruit, just enough to satisfy your stomach. For me, I sometimes eat a FiberOne Strawberry and Almond bar.

(here's the nutrional information) one-chewy-bars-oats-i128876

That's your choice to make

do you gain weight? does it mean your estimates were wrong? does it matter?

12 Replies