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Weight Loss
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My brain is constantly hungry, HELP!

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Please can someone help me. I constantly want to eat, even though I'm not hungry but my head keeps telling me to eat. It's like it keeps on reminding me on how good something tastes and how much I need it and that I have to have it. Then, once I start eating I'll want more and more and then I can't control myself. Everyday, I start off saying I'm just going to eat my regular meals and not go crazy. But i just end up eating my regular meals along with my crazy food fests. Part of me says, "No, you don't need to eat this." but the other part of me is so much more powerful and I always give into it. I feel so trapped and I don't know what to do. I was working out everyday for 1 hour and a half but it was just wasted because I would go and eat right after. I just want to be thin again so badly. I've gained so much weight in such a short time. I used to be 103lbs 3 yrs ago, then I got up to 150lbs and since feb. I've gained 40lbs. I am so sad. I wish that I didn't want food so much. My life is miserable now. I don't go out because I'm so ashamed of myself. I used to love clothes but now I just wear baggy stuff. I know all of these bad things but it still doesn't give me enough power to tell myself to stop eating. 
17 Replies (last)

Brush your teeth.  The sweet taste tricks your brain into thinking you've just eaten.  Not only that, but I hate eating right after I brush my teeth because everything'll taste like crap.  This is just kind of a quick fix, though.  It's a nice little trick.  Try chewing gum?

What are your "regular" meals?  Three squares a day?  If so, try eating 5-6 little meals spaced out throughout the day instead of forcing yourself to wait in between three big meals.  That definitely helps quell the hungry feeling.  Also, eat lots of fiber and protein, which will also help prevent you from feeling the need to eat constantly.

The brushing your teeth does work - I tried it.

Also - like traps suggested - if you're doing 3 larger meals per day - try breaking that into 5 - 6 smaller meals.  The phrase "eats like a bird" comes to mind with this method.

I personally am working off the smaller meals and onto the 3 larger meals to kind of ween myself into the normal world again and not feel and look like a pig eating all the time. 

Also - for snacks - if I absolutely have to have a snack - I grab fruit, yogurt or - my new fav.  veggie crisps...  They're like potato chips, but made with tomatoes, spinach and potatoes and they're really yummy. :)

Remember - you are in control. :) Will Power! :) *HUGS*

Original Post by cjeka:

Also - like traps suggested - if you're doing 3 larger meals per day - try breaking that into 5 - 6 smaller meals.  The phrase "eats like a bird" comes to mind with this method.

I should probably also mention that I do the three "main" meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner) a day, but I definitely snack a lot in between as well.  My main meals are around 200-300 calories, but I snack on something small pretty frequently, sometimes as often as once an hour.  But it's usually a granola bar or yogurt or something of that nature.  Usually not anymore than 100 calories or so.  I'm usually pretty good at hitting my 1500-calorie mark each day.

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You sound EXACTLY like me. I can offer some suggestions that help me sometimes, but I am always looking for more suggestions too : )

I eat several small meals throughout the day rather than 3 big ones, starting with a good sized breakfast.

If my brain is telling me to eat, but I really am not hungry, I set the timer in my kitchen for 20 minutes. I say if I am still hungry when the timer goes off, then I can have something to eat because I am probably truly hungry. I have NEVER felt hungry after 20 minutes, I think it just allows time for the craving to pass.

I drink lots of herbal tea, it helps me to feel full and helps to overcome cravings.

I chew lots of Trident......somehow curbs cravings.

I also try to track everything that I eat on a piece of paper, that way I can look at the list and realize what I have actually eaten, and that I should not be hungry right now.

So in a nutshell, for beating cravings or wanting to eat when I'm really not hungry, my routine is the 3 Ts......Timer, Tea & Trident : )

Hope that helps!

I agree with what everyone else has said so far, definitely.  Cravings are very hard things to control, and some people definitely get addicted to certain things more easily than others.

On another note though, are you still exercising for 1.5 hours a day?   If you're exercising that much every day, or even most days, it will create a hunger that will make you want to eat far more than you've just burned.   If you have been exercising this much, cut it down to 45 minutes or so a day, or perhaps set a limit on 300-400 calories burned per gym/exercise session.  (over-exercising was my problem last year, and goodness, I was starving and craving food all the time!)

On yet another note, being ashamed of yourself is in NO way going to help you get back on track.  It will only hinder your efforts.  Try overcoming your cravings in little pieces.  If you're craving ice cream and want to eat the whole carton, allow yourself to eat just 1 or 2 servings instead.  Don't think of it as derailing your effort for the day...because by allowing yourself to eat one or two servings, it can often prevent you from eating 5 servings instead.  For me, I find when I can control my craving by eating what I want but in a smaller portion, that increases my self-esteem and later food choices almost as much as avoiding the craving from the start

I hope some of that advice will be helpful for you :)

I have the same problem.

What I've been doing...  I drink water first, if it doesn't work then I'll have a low-cal snack and some more water.  This helps me.

Also, I am not usually hungry in the morning so I eat very little before noon so I can save my cals for the afternoon/evenings when I want to constantly eat.  I'm sure some would object to this method but it helps me keep my calorie total within my range and I can eat a little bit more during the times I really want to eat!

Original Post by andisue:

I have the same problem.

What I've been doing...  I drink water first, if it doesn't work then I'll have a low-cal snack and some more water.  This helps me.

Good point...I've read that sometimes hunger isn't even hunger at all, it's actually dehydration.  Drinking water first might be the trick.

I've tried drinking water but that doesn't help me. It doesn't make me feel full, it just makes me eat slower. You guys have given me some great advice. I don't know if I could do the 5 small meals a day, that would probably end up being bad for me. I would end up eating like 4 Lean Cuisines and then a big dinner with my family. My family eats huge portions of everything, too but they are not overweight. BTW, are Lean Cuisines considered small meals? I think they are small but I'm used to big portions. 
I think I'm just a weak person. I give into my cravings, just like I give into everything else. I think I'm just a messed up person. Like right now, I want to eat something. Part of me is saying, "no, you don't want it. you don't need it." the other part of me is saying "screw it, just eat it." Once I start eating, i lose care of everything. I don't think about anything except for how good the food tastes. Now, I don't know what to do after I write this because I have nothing else to do but watch TV and I mostly just watch the food network. I just feel so lonely and bored and I know that's probably one of the main reasons why I eat. 
If anyone wants to be email friends, you can e-mail me at I joined this site so that I could talk to people who were also in similar situations because I don't really know anyone that I can talk to that would understand what I am going through. 

Eat something lesser than a Lean Cuisine for your snacks.  I occasionally use a Lean Cuisine as one of my "big" meals.  Although the garlic beef one I just had was only like 170 calories or somesuch.

STOP disenabling yourself by saying that you're weak and 'messed up'.  You've got to have a more positive mindset and tell yourself that you're completely capable of doing what YOU WANT to do, otherwise you're never going to get anywhere if you keep throwing up these mental roadblocks.  If you think you shouldn't eat it, then don't keep it in the house.  Or keep it out of sight somewhere.  Out of sight, out of mind.

How receptive is your family to supporting you in this?  You mentioned that they eat huge portions, but what if they start eating smaller and more frequent portions with you?

A nice trick I use with the Lean Cuisines is put them on a plate after I cook them, so they look like a "real" meal.  Then you can even spread it out a little bit to make it look bigger.

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A lean cuisine would be considered an actual full meal, and I don't know how entirely healthy they are because I don't eat them and therefore don't know the nutritional value, but if that is all you're eating, you are missing out on fresh fruits, veggies, grains, yogurt, etc. All kinds of good, healthy fresh alternatives.

Here are some ideas that come to mind after reading your last post. If your family eats large meals, then you just use a smaller plate. Designate a salad plate as your meal plate and you won't eat as much.

Make a list of healthy foods you love and tape it to your fridge. Whenever you do feel hungry, try one of those options first, then after you eat it, set the timer on your microwave for 20 minutes. If you are still hungry after the timer goes off, have something else off the list.

When I say I eat 5-6 small meals a day, here is a sample of what I mean:

Breakfast : 12 oz juice from my juicer (carrots, celery, apples, kale, etc). 2 Pieces whole grain toast, 1 with almond butter, 1 with honey & real ground cinnamon) Then about an hour later I have a serving of fruit.

10:00 - 11:00 Yogurt, or fruit, or Larabar (sometimes 2 of these)

Lunch: Turkey sandwich w/avocado OR a bowl of beans and brown rice w/salsa

2:00: bowl of Kashi cereal, or oatmeal & probably more fruit

4:00: apple w/peanut butter, or maybe 2 whole grain waffles with a tablespoon of real maple syrup, or  banana with almond butter & honey.....something that will give me energy for the gym later.

5:00-6:00: oatmeal, or a cup of steamed veggies, or a tiny portion of my family's dinner

I try to eat more early in the day not eat after 6:00 ( I realize the not eating after 6:00 theory is debatable but it works for me). I only have herbal tea at night.

Another thing, you say you have nothing to do, that's absolutely not true! Why can't you go for a walk? Make ANOTHER list of things you CAN do and tape that to your fridge as well, right next to the list of healthy foods you CAN eat when you're hungry.

Also, remember all of this is ultimately a choice, your choice. Keep reminding yourself of that. Overcoming willpower is such a great feeling. I don't always succeed, but when I do I feel so good : ) 
Oct 14 2007 05:36
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PJ--Please don't beat yourself up about this. Your brain is doing exactly what it's built to do--focussing on food when it thinks you may be threatened with starvation. It's trying to save you! There have been a number of studies done on the mental effects of dieting, even where the calorie restrictions aren't so severe that we're actually starving. Please read this article: alth/a/exrunawayeating_2.htm

It talks about just this phenomenon, and it's a good one. You aren't weak, or messed up, you're human and having a very natural, physical, human reaction to calorie restriction, coupled with a sort of forced focus on food, because, unfortunately, if we're going to change our diets, count calories, worry about what we eat, etc, we're going to end up thinking about food more than we ever did, all while we're trying to eat less--what a cruel irony. Actually, it's often all the thoughtless eating we've done that's brought us to this point, not a focus on food; we've eaten without really thinking about it, about what's best for our bodies, and now we're forced to make up for that by learning to think about what we're doing so that we can do it better. I think it would be really hard to do that and NOT obsess about food.

There are also a lot of reasons for why we might choose to eat that aren't related to hunger, and knowing what those are can help us to control our eating. Some are about bad habits, boredom, frustration and anxiety, and others have deeper roots, like food addiction and compulsive eating. For some people, overeating and feelings of lack of control are a signal that there are deeper psychological/emotional issues that need to be investigated. Pay attention to your feelings when you have a strong urge to eat when you aren't hungry, or feel out of control of what you're eating. Do you have someone you can talk to about your feelings of helplessness and lack of control over food? Would you ever consider counseling? What you're going through is legitimate and important and you deserve to be able to ask for help if you need it. And none of this is about your value as a person. You're about a lot more than the shape of your body, and you're not weak or flawed because of it. What's most important is that you feel good about yourself; it's really hard to focus on being healthier for the right reasons, and succeed, until you feel you deserve good things no matter what size you are. You do.

ETA:  I don't know why the space is appearing in the link, above--something the website is doing to keep links from being created in the comments, I guess.  When you paste the address into the address bar, take out the space between the 'e' and the 'a' in 'fitnessandhealth' to go directly to the article. 

I have the same problem, especially if I have junk food in my house. If it's within reach, it's impossible to resist. So, I suggest not having any junk in your fridge or cupboards. If you want something sweet, you'll have to walk to a corner store, and usually the idea of going to a corner store for just one candybar can detour most people, and if not, you can buy one candy bar and you probably wont want to take ANOTHER trip to buy more.

Another thing that helps food cravings is eating something healthy that takes a long time to eat. Pomegranates are perfect for this, because they take me a good half-hour to eat one if I go at a moderate speed.
From your posts, one of the problems seems to be bordom. I tend to eat a lot more when I'm laying around bored rather than when I'm active and doing something. Become more active. Go window shopping. Go to parks. Go walk your dog or play with your pet. Being busy with something keeps my mind away from hunger and food, and if I do get hungry, I decide not to eat to save the money for something I can buy later on when I go "window shopping."
I make sure I am doing something all the time. I am not as hungry when I am being active, and if I go out I try to go to a coffe shop or pick up a drink at the conviniant store so that my mind thinks I am giving it real food worthy energy. When really I am not. Also, I eat little mint candies. they tend to curb the urge. An as bad as it sounds, I smoke a cigg.....if it comes to that.
It's gonna sound like a load of poo to a lot of people, but google Shangri La Diet. My friends and I have had good success with reducing our appetites with it. You just have to read it for yourself. There are tons of blogs about it because they were giving out free copies of the book to anyone who agreed to try it and write about their experiences.

This blog has a pretty good rundown of what it is and there are forums on the author's website (Seth Roberts).

I didn't last very long doing it because of the restrictions of when you can eat and going without food or taste. If you can do this, it works.

you're very much not alone.  i am in the same position as you are.  i can't stop wanting to eat and i've gain 40 lbs too.  the whole socializing and clothes issues, i'm going through it too.

i think you just need to stop  a moment before wanting to eat whatever food it is and ask yourself how much you want it, is it more than wanting to lose weight.  prioritize.  it sounds easier than to do for sure, a lot of times i end up putting the food in my mouth before thinking anyway. 

you're very much not alone.  i am in the same position as you are.  i can't stop wanting to eat and i've gain 40 lbs too.  the whole socializing and clothes issues, i'm going through it too.

i think you just need to stop  a moment before wanting to eat whatever food it is and ask yourself how much you want it, is it more than wanting to lose weight.  prioritize.  it sounds easier than to do for sure, a lot of times i end up putting the food in my mouth before thinking anyway. 

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