Monday, June 30, 2008

Hunger, fullness and quantity

Another breakthrough-I shared a hamburger yesterday. A hamburger! Who doesn't eat an entire hamburger by herself? I decided if I was still hungry, I'd order another one. Half a burger and a shared green salad and I was satisfied. Until this morning! How could that be? And it wasn't a huge burger. More the size you would make at home-not a puny McD's burger. I'm shocked. Of course, I wanted more. Very flavorful meat. Cooked perfectly. Juicy. But again it was my mouth that wanted more. Not my tummy. So I resisted the tempation to overindulge. I exited quickly before the waiter came by to offer me more food. "Did you save room for dessert?". My least favorite question in the world. Save room. Is the waiter an idiot?
This morning I was thinking about being hungry. I was hungry at the time. It occurred to me that it probably doesn't matter how hungry you are when you sit down to eat, if you are mindful and intuitive you should be satisfied with about the same amount of food whether you are "starving" or just hungry. The fullness feeling would first be in the stomach. Since that would most probably be close to empty if you were truly hungry then the same amount of food should signal a fullness feeling regardless of how many hours it's been since the last meal. I don't know if this is scientifically valid but it makes sense to me.
So if I should be satisfied with about the same quantity of food regardless of the degree of hunger, then why do I eat so much when I'm very hungry? Because I'm not paying attention to how I feel. I'm focused on how hungry I WAS and not how hungry I still AM.
Even other metabolic changes that signal hunger/satiety like blood sugar should signal satiety after eating a mixed meal whether the meal is huge or normal. I think. I'm going to have to do some research to be sure but this is making sense to me.
Now if only I can use this to my advantage.....

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