Weight Loss
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I've noticed something that's raised a few questions in my head.

Naturally slim people generally only eat when they're hungry.

For us to lose weight we're recommended to eat every 3 hours, even if we're not hungry.

Doesnt this defeat the whole purpose of learning to control yourself with food?

Why cant we only eat when we are hungry, and lose weight?

Do we have to constantly eat, even if we're not hungry, to lose weight?

Natrually thin people do it, why cant we?

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Naturally thin people have no problem keeping themselves from overeating when they get hungry.  They get hungry, they eat until they feel full, if they happen to over-eat they feel stuffed and thus will eat less later, and it all works out to be eating about the number of calories they need to maintain.

Then there's people like me.  If I ate whenever I got hungry and ate until I felt full, I'd still be at 250lbs and slowly heading on up.  I don't feel full until I've eaten too much.  That's the way I am.  I can't eat like a naturally thin person does because I am not a naturally thin person.

I've got a choice between being a fat person, or eating somewhat unnaturally.  So I pick the second.

And then there are people like me who eat even when we're not hungry.  I'm hoping eating every three hours will break that little habit.

I think it also has something to do with the size of your stomach. Naturally thin people, who've never over filled themselves have little to no stomach stretching (the actual organ), whereas people who're overweight and have been for some time often have enlarged stomachs.  Eating smaller amounts more often will allow your stomach to shrink to a normal size, without compromising your nutrition and diminishing the desire to eat past the point of full.

For some people, once they've been at a smaller size for a while their bodies adjust and they can go back to eating only if they feel hungry and stopping when they're full. For others, not so much.

I think JP hit it on the head.

But also, the recommendation to eat every 3 hours doesn't guarantee that you'll lose weight by any means, but it is a good way to prevent people from doing the "I'm being so good - it's been hours and hours since I ate.... oh my god I'm so hungry, I'd eat anything" Jeckell & Hyde routine that some dieters go through.

Over time, I found that by allowing myself to eat more often, and making those snacks planned, I was less likely to pick unhealthy foods. Now, even though I don't consider myself a naturally thin person, I've learned to listen to my body better. But it's not an immediate thing that we can just switch on.

Whether trying to lose or not, I've never forced myself to eat. I can't stand to think about food in the morning for instance, so I never make myself eat breakfast.

I lost weight just fine without eating every X hours, or X number of meals, etc.

The daily total seems to be the only thing that truly matters, though for those who might get too hungry from not eating frequently and end up overeating, it might be a better strategy to have the small, frequent snacks/meals.

Sometimes, I would have a slim fast in the morning if I was going to the gym or something, but even with liquids, I've never seen any point in forcing yourself to eat if you don't feel hungry.

When so many say they have issues with eating out of boredom or stress, etc etc (every reason *but* hungry) It seems a good rule of thumb to only eat when you're actually hungry.


I am not what one would call a "naturally thin" person. I have friends who are though, and they are the types of people who will say no to dessert because they feel full, or can stop eating a sandwich halfway through. They types of people who will have no problem with not finishing what is on their plate and don't really ever seem to crave food. Most people cannot stop themselves from eating pizza halfway through a slice. Personally, I am full after about a slice and a half. But I still eat the last half. I love pizza.

Now, I do eat every 2-4 hours. I eat rather small meals though, meaning I actually do get hungry every 2-4 hours. I have a banana at 7 am, a bar at 10 am, lunch between 12 and 1, some snack (generally a greek yogurt) between 3:30 and 4:30, and a large-ish, 500 calorie dinner at 7. (This is perfectly healthy, I am consuming 1400-1800 calories a day this way) This leaves room for a snack after dinner or a snack during the day if I am every still hungry. But by eating every few hours and not allowing myself to get really hungry, I prevent myself from overeating.

Original Post by irishgirl49:

I am not what one would call a "naturally thin" person. I have friends who are though, and they are the types of people who will say no to dessert because they feel full, or can stop eating a sandwich halfway through. They types of people who will have no problem with not finishing what is on their plate and don't really ever seem to crave food. Most people cannot stop themselves from eating pizza halfway through a slice. Personally, I am full after about a slice and a half. But I still eat the last half. I love pizza.

This is not an attack; it's simply a perspective.

I am almost 37 and have never been close to overweight—the most I have ever weighed is 129 at 5' 3.5", and that was largely muscle accumulated over years of weight lifting—but I definitely crave food and always have. And I don't only eat when I am hungry. I just pay attention to how much I am eating and I don't allow myself to overeat even when I want to—and I often want to. And I lift weights so that there is more wiggle room in my calorie allotment for the day.

I say "No" all the time to things I want to eat or a second helping, etc. I think a lot of "naturally thin" people do. Sure, when I was a kid I could eat and eat and eat and not gain weight. But, when I grew up, I changed my habits so that I would remain thin throughout my adult life.

If you were to ask my friends, they'd probably say I eat only when hungry and never seem to want more. But that just isn't the case. I just pay attention to my body and I accept when I "want" more but don't "need" more. At that point I walk away. And, as I say, I do allow myself from time to time to eat when I'm not hungry. I am just mindful of the calories and I adjust accordingly later in the day.

Now, when it comes to eating every few hours in order to avoid overeating, well.... I'm not a fan. I prefer to eat three large meals a day. That is what works for me, what I find most satisfying. I like big meals. But I will sometimes eat when I'm not hungry if I really want whatever is being offered. And I will sometimes graze out of boredom or while socializing at a party, and then just not eat a large meal at dinner.

It's all about finding out what works for you and sticking to it. That, I think, is what most "naturally thin" people do. They are mindful of what works for their bodies, what will keep them slim, and they adhere to that. Do they face temptation? Yes. Is it always easy to say "No"? Absolutely not. But they do it, anyway. And they eat three times or six times or some number of times in between if that is what they find works for them.

They do exactly what y'all are learning to do yourselves. Well, this "naturally thin" person does, anyway.

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I am not naturally thin, but am intrigued by the concept (but probably not enough to buy the book in hardback).

For the most part I have been eating 3 snacks and 3 meals almost every day (skip snacks sometimes in the morning on the weekend if I sleep in, skip snacks in the afternoon if I forget and never got hungry and remembered to eat or if I eat a late lunch, skip dinner sometimes if I get home from work too late). Breakfast is usually about 7:30AM for me. There almost always is that moment between 10:30 and 11 where I suddenly realize, "hey I'm hungry" and I eat something. I have been very good to bring snacks and meals with me to work. Innocent

I do have a better idea of what full feels like and what hungry feels like on a scale from 1 - 10. I have been consciously not letting myself get too close to either 1 or 10, living most of the time between 3 and 8. It is working for me, and I feel like I have a healthy relationship with food right now EXCEPT I do go out of my way to not buy a Krispy Kreme donut as I walk past it almost every night to go to the grocery store. If I was truly thinking like a naturally thin person, and was not concerned with calories and bringing my weight under control, I'd probably be one of those naturally thin people who ate a donut almost every day. That seems improbable.

The difference I see between the fit & thin folk in my office and the obese peeps is that the obese peeps can't say 'no'.  When it's there in the office(biscuits, candy, dougnuts) it 'has' to be eaten.  They walk past the biscuit tin and take one every time they pass it, not one in the afternoon like the thin peeps.  But then they do crazy stuff like skip lunch...?!  Or they say they leave the house without breakfast, but then scoff junk all day.

Eating regularly keeps my blood sugar stable and gives me sustained energy during the day.  I train for 2 hours after work most days.  They say to me how do I find the energy as they go home and feel exhausted.  I could explain to them it's because I haven't eaten half of the biscuit tin and crashed after a sugar high, but there's no point...

The concept of "grazing" has long fascinated me.  The catch is what are you eating every three hours?  If you are eating junk food every three hours, you are defeating the purpose.  High fiber snacks are the best things to eat like that.  They are filling - especially when eaten along with a glass of water.  People who naturally graze on healthy, high-fiber, low-calorie snacks with a high water content feel full longer and are less tempted.

I'm fascinated by this topic.  I've read a few books on it.  I could never see myself eating intuitively to stay thin, and this scares me.  I'm still not there, but here's what writers like Geneen Roth would say:

That we ALL have it in us to eat intuitively and be at a healthy weight.  We just need to listen to our bodies.  

Most of us are here on CC because we kept eating even after we were full.  But your body/stomach feels a certain way when it's had enough calories.  It may feel a little less than full, but that's a queue to be heard.

All that said, I still count calories, and I don't know if I can ever stop.  But I'd like to be able to eat intuitively someday.

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