The problem with pre-eating

Posted on May 30th, 2014

I’m not sure where I heard this term. It was in passing, a cursory phrase to describe something so familiar to us that no one – to my knowledge – has paused to discuss it in depth.

Image via Favim.com

Image via Favim.com

So many of us pre-eat, especially at dinner. Peanuts, crackers and cheese before dinner. The desserty treat when we can’t quite make it to lunchtime. We think we can’t last, we’re that hungry. Or that’s what we tell ourselves.

This is the thing I wonder:

Are we so uncomfortable with the feeling of hunger, that we have to get rid of it before we eat?

I also wonder – actually I strongly suspect – it could have a lot to do with being scared of restraint and lack. Many of us fear that feeling of missing out and the feeling of “emptiness”, for a whole quagmire of really messy reasons.

We shove food down on top of hunger, hoping it will silence all other emptiness or flutteriness we might be feeling.

There’s also this: As I’ve written before, our willpower muscle has limited strength. After being worked all day, it becomes exhausted and by 6pm it falls into lactic collapse. Which is why we tend to pre-eat at this time.

But pre-eating is also a chapter in the big book Why We’re Getting Fat. Which is the companion title to The Story of How We Lost Our Real Appetite.

* We tend to pre-eat food that’s carby. We do this to stoke our flagging blood-sugar levels. It gives us a quick kick and is a great “emptiness” filler. Problem is, it sets up our metabolisms all wrong for dinner which would, presumably, be some good protein and vegetables. It sets us up to store calories.

* When we pre-eat – in fact, when we eat between meals in general – we don’t give our appetite hormones the time to re-balance. Same with our gastric juices – they don’t get a chance to build up. Remember: “snacking” and the idea of eating 5-6 meals a day was “invented” in the 1990s by nutritionists concerned about their sugar-addicted clients’ blood-sugar rollercoastering.

Snacking is a confection to “Band-aid” our messed-up metabolisms…which is caused by snacking.

* Plus, pre-eating leaves us not-so-hungry when the real meal arrives. Thus, we don’t tend to devour the nutritious bits; we go for the highlight bits.

Yep, the Spanish and Italians et el do tapas and aperitivo and meze. But they also tend to eat twice a day only. And dinner isn’t their biggest meal…often they only eat the tapas. Traditionally speaking, of course.

I can very much be tempted by pre-eating. But I resist it now…and try to be at peace with the resistance.  These tricks work:

  • I drink a glass of warm water and apple cider vinegar about 30 minutes before eating. This curbs the blood-sugar nagging while also preparing my gut for dinner.
  • I eat a proper lunch.  I don’t muck about. I fill it with protein and fat. Lots of it – no piddly little salads.
  • I tend to eat dinner earlier now. This really is a simple solution, no?
  • If I am tempted to pre-eat, I will pick at some raw veggies (carrot sticks, some fennel as I cook). The enzymes from raw food can also assist your appetite in preparation for the main event.
  • I avoid drinking alcohol before having my first bite of dinner (I happily drink a glass of red with my meal most nights)…booze can excite the appetite (ie make you a bit too hungry) and taxes the liver.
  • Meditating before dinner. Sometimes I just need to calm the fork down and be a bit OK with my anxiety and that feeling that I’m missing out on something.

Wondering…how cool are you with the feeling of hunger?

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  • Ariane Khachatourians

    Funny, I don’t use the term “pre-eating” that way. To me “pre-eating” is what I must do if I’m going to go out for dinner, since I inevitably won’t be able to eat anything at a restaurant or dinner party. I’ll often just eat my full dinner before going out!

    But as far as the crash/carb-munching, eating dinner earlier is really mandatory for me. 6pm-6:30pm I have to be sitting down to eat, otherwise my blood sugar crashes like crazy.

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  • Lauren Rose

    I find that if I am snacking I am not hungry at meal times.

    I read a quote once about the French, a culture I think we can all strive to emulate in that there is an appreciation for but not emotional attachment to food, “In France, each meal starts with a good appetite”

    I try to live by that. And, if there is a delay or a long (say, 6-7 hour) gap between meals, I have some almonds. No big deal.

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  • Helen K

    This is really interesting, I do seem to have a real fear of being hungry and always carry snacks, though healthy ones. I wonder if it is connected with primal instincts?

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  • Steph

    It will often depend on where I am – if I’m at work, I’m hardly likely to actually head out of the office and grab that mid-morning snack, as I’m busy and would rather wait until I can take my full lunch hour. Contrast to being at home (read: when I finally get back at the end of the day and I’m starving), I’ll eat like I’ve been deprived all day while I’m preparing dinner. Same deal on the weekend… one of those killer habits that I’m finding it really difficult to break!

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  • Kat

    I always feel like I am eating……I delay breakfast till at least 830am. Then it feels like constant snacking. ( nuts, some fruit) lunch….within 2 hours im looking for more food even though im having a good proper lunch. Then snacking till I leave work ( more nuts, fruit, green juice) healthy snacks but still snacking! Just feels like I am always stuffing something into my mouth. I can only put it down to habit & boredom with my work. I’m sure it affects my lack of weight loss.
    Breakfast is the only time of the day I am actually hungry! I am trying to resist, trying to understand why I cant let myself go without food if Im not hungry.

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    VE Reply:

    Same for me…habit and boredom, habit and boredom, not fear. But whatever it is I wish I could stop it. avoiding snacking is really hard..it seems to happen before I have even noticed….

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    Kat Reply:

    I hear ya VE..!!

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    Mikki Williden Reply:

    Kat I am sure if you ate your breakfast earlier, you would likely be able to regulate your appetite. Often hunger is fuelled by stress hormones, therefore delaying breakfast increases stress hormones (potentially, in your case) which will disrupt your blood sugar levels, thus putting your energy levels out of whack for the entire day. I see that a lot. If you ate breakfast (say) at 7.30am or 8, and had a breakfast that was protein rich (helps regulate stress hormones) you might find your appetite easier to control? 🙂

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    Kat Reply:

    Thanks Mikki. I usually have a decent size cup of lemon & ACV about an hour before, breakfast at the moment is quinoa & chia porridge with almond milk and cinnamon. its the habit/boredom of snacking through the day when at work. generally weekends are fine…..why cant every day be like a weekend?? lol

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    Mikki Williden Reply:

    I don’t mean to give you unsolicited advice* but maybe add a tbsp. of coconut oil or make with some coconut milk (1/2 in 1/2 with almond) – could help? And then brush your teeth when you feel like snacking.
    *(of course I mean to give you unsolicited advice – that’s what open forums are for, right? 🙂 )

    Kat Reply:

    lol….these forums are great for advice! I have been trying a bit of oil pulling instead of after dinner snack. reading & swishing! lol. But im so going to try a bit of coconut oil in the porridge…..don’t no why I didn’t think of that before.

    Mikki Williden Reply:

    I’m a nutritionist (and a big fan of IQS/Sarah) – it’s my job to think of these things 🙂 Enjoy your breakfast (and the oil pulling!)

    PC Reply:

    Contrary to popular belief, high carb breakfasts are not great for blood sugar stabilization. When I eat chicken and some coconut oil for breakfast it keeps me going until lunch and I don’t need to snack.

    PC Reply:

    What helps me is having a high protein breakfast (ie. chicken breasts) without any carbs, and making sure I stop eating after 7pm at night. Having plenty of protein at the start of the day seems to keep blood sugar constant as your body takes longer to break down the protein throughout the day.

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  • Seems to me that if you’re regularly pre-eating its probably just because you’re hungry at that time. Why laden that with heavy psychological guilt about feelings?

    “We shove food down on top of hunger, hoping it will silence all other emptiness or flutteriness we might be feeling”

    Ouch.Do we?

    .As a bloke I’ve never seen that kind of talk as productive; Self congratulatory for the non-snackers; paralyzing for the rest of us. Why choose the verb “shove”? Instead I’d look at our working hours and lack of healthy take out options (compared to many other countries like Singapore who can do both fast and healthy cheap food).

    Great tips at the end though.

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    pixiedust8 Reply:

    Exactly. I feel like everyone’s body operates differently. Some people absolutely HAVE to snack. Some don’t. As long as someone is eating (mostly) healthy foods, what’s the big deal?

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    Ebby Reply:

    Here here!!

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    sophie Reply:

    agreed!

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    Sue Reply:

    absolutely.

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    Jem Reply:

    I agree. I don’t feel “anxious” or whatever when I’m hungry. I just feel hungry, it’s pretty simple, no need to introvert on it.

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    picardie.girl Reply:

    I agree. I think it is actually quite a bit more complex than that.

    Would have been good if it were more of a compassionate approach (a-la Geneen Roth’s book about breaking free from emotional eating), and a meditation on the importance of getting back in touch with our bodies and eating when hungry, rather than a guilt trip/pat on the back as Tony describes.

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    Karli Reply:

    I have to disagree with the thoughts in this article too.

    If I’m hungry, my body is telling me it needs fuel. So, I eat some real food. Doesn’t matter what time it is. There’s plenty of research saying that Metabolism is fuelled by eating more – not less. From my experience, flagging energy (so far as ‘hunger’) = rise in cortisol = stress = fat storage. I eat ‘proper’ all 3 meals with a great balance of fat, protein and complex carbs. But most days – especially days with lots of brain and/or physical activity – I get hungry in between… so, I eat.

    I find the suggestion that we should not eat when we’re hungry, but drink when we’re not thirsty, bizarre. Our bodies tell us when we need fluids by us noticing we’re thirsty. Why are we told to drink water when our bodies aren’t telling us we need to? I get the warm water with lemon in the morning etc benefits, but generally, to me, it goes against listening to my body.

    I appreciate that for some people, anxiety and other emotional issues can lead to over-eating instead of managing the root cause of the issue. I can only speak for myself so for me, “resisting” hunger would be a crippling way down the road to developing a serious issue with restrictive diets.

    Picking at food while cooking dinner in fact leads me to slow down while I eat dinner, and finish everything on the plate because I’m not in such a rush to get the food.

    Sarah, I always appreciate your thoughts, and it’s great if not eating between big meals and not “pre-eating” (I’d just call it eating?) works for you, but I don’t agree that those of us who do it on account of listening to our bodies are doing it out of lack of restraint or feel of lack or missing out, or “shoving” food down. It’s quite the contrary!

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  • pixiedust8

    Apple cider (even diluted in a glass of water) is not good for anyone with weak enamel or even to do regularly. Just wanted to point that out from the dental standpoint.

    I only eat when I’m hungry, but I’m hungry a lot. I don’t have (and have never had) a weight problem. However, everyone is different.

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    Ebby Reply:

    Drinking vinegar is also very bad for those of us with sensitive systems, wouldn’t follow that advice. Maybe lemon in warm water but that’s it. Don’t see an issue with snacking at all considering it’s when we starve ourselves that we’re more likely to gorge at our main meal

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    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    You guys both know apple cider vinegar ain’t the same as other vinegars – it’s alkalising.

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    pixiedust8 Reply:

    All I know is my holistic dentist advises against it because of the tooth enamel.

    Liberty Reply:

    It’s fine so long as you rinse your mouth out with fresh water afterwards. The other health benefits are worth it, I speak from noticeable experience

    jennyb Reply:

    My husband is a holistic dentist and we both take ACV mixed with fresh lemon and lime juice and water three times a day and always brush our teeth beforehand to avoid weakening enamel.

    pixiedust8 Reply:

    Okay! Go for it. I’m not going to do it, because I clench my teeth when I sleep and lost enamel, but to each her own.

    Guest Reply:

    I agree – if I’m starving because I don’t have time to snack I’ll eat the same amount as I do when I snack. If you eat when you are hungry (whatever that looks like for you), rather than at set times, your body works itself out.

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  • Kelly Exeter

    Hunger does scare me a bit because I make bad food decisions when hungry … And also tend to overeat hungry.

    So I like the idea of being comfortable with that hungry feeling – but I suspect there’s a whole host of hangups I have to get over before I can do that!

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  • Alexandra Bruggisser

    LOVE. THIS. ARTICLE.

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  • Aimee

    I like the idea of warm water with apple cider vinegar…do you do this for every meal or just dinner? Anyone? xx

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    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    me – as many meals as possible… when my gut is a bit rough

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    Kate Dixon Reply:

    Great post Sarah. I find pre-eating especially tricky when at a friends for lunch/dinner etc. I am normally so conscious of what, when & how I eat but it all comes undone at said events. I gorge out on all the finger food, follow it up with the main and spend the next 6 hours with an aching gut. It’s a work in progress

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    dg Reply:

    how much vinegar (both with the water and per day)?

  • Marnie B

    Perfect, Sarah. Just perfect. As I try and work out my relationship with food and why it’s so negative, this is such a perfectly timed post. And so accurate. It IS about missing out. It IS about anxiety. It IS about an empty feeling. Or any sort of negative feeling that you want masked. Excellent. Thank you!

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  • Ebby

    I LOVE YOU SARAH but I couldn’t disagree more with this article and take particular offence with the suggestion that those of us that follow a 5 meal a day plan are “shoving” food in our mouths to silence some sort of emotional weakness… Everyone’s body is different and we have to understand how our own system works. I simply cannot function on 3 meals a day with no snacks, I would faint or GO CRAZY! Sweeping statements like those made in this article are the reason we have so much confusion and guilt around our diet and lifestyle. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL!

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  • Kath

    Hmmm, if I’m super hungry I get angry and shaky. A handful of almonds tides me over til my next meal beautifully. Does that mean I’m not dealing with my emotional emptiness? So be it.

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    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    I’m not going to judge you for it… I’m all about wondering and postulating x

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  • Claire Baker

    A few years ago this idea would have seemed completely impossible for me – no snacks?! I’ll faint! I’ll go crazy! But… With a bit of gentle experimentation, whattaya know – my body actually functions MUCH better this way. Sure, some days I snack and pre-eat, but mostly I don’t. Feels way good. Thanks Sarah!

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  • Guest

    I pre-eat when I’m out. I know if I wait when I am hungry I get dizzy &/or stomach pain, which leads me to lose my hunger and miss the meal entirely.

    If I’m home, though, I’ll just eat dinner early and have a snack or another meal later if I need it.

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  • Gavin

    I agree with your overall thrust Sarah. Of course others will have different experiences or the same experiences that have been interpreted differently. Definitely an emotional need rather than a physical one (and yes I am guilty of this AND am overweight – try bloody hard not to be though). Had a tooth ache last week and realised how little I actually need to eat when it physically hurts me as opposed to emotionally comforting me!

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  • Sue

    Interesting post. I generally agree with the premise but I don’t agree with the sentiment.
    If you are hungry is perfectly fine to eat.
    My view is much more simple. If I am hungry, I eat. If I am not hungry, I don’t. If I am eating and satisfy my hunger I stop. If I am doing something (work, chores, errands) I usually wait until a time that is convenient to eat.
    There is nothing wrong or unnatural about feeling hungry. What is wrong is eating for the sake of eating. You don’t have to eat because someone offers you something, because you are bored, or because you feel like it.
    Feeling guilty about being hungry or about eating is a very slippery slope.

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  • Hannah Rodgers

    I agree with this article, and the quote that others seem to have bristled at (the “shove food” one). If I am stressed or anxious, I am constantly ‘hungry’ and looking for more snacks. Healthy/good fats/whatever. It seems I can never be satisfied.

    I needed this reminder to be ‘mindful’ of my belly and look for the hunger before eating a well-chosen meal. Nothing to be afraid of!

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  • NaomiI

    I’m really interested in this… I read a book recently called Women, Food and God and this brought up this issue for me. I tend to pre-eat not necessarily before going out, but before exercise (I am very active), when really I may not need to. I think I need to fuel my body, without really appreciating that my body already has fuel on board! I am slowly starting to get comfortable with being hungry. I am finding it is a fine line though – leave it too long and then I go a little cray cray with food and binge!

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  • Cara

    After doing a 10 week fitness challenge, I’ve found that eating regularly (every 2 hours) is better for my metabolism. Obviously you need to eat healthy foods, protein foods (almonds, small amounts of fruit, vegetables). From a weight loss perspective I believe this works as the body does not go into ‘starvation mode’ where the body holds onto fat.

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    Jake Reply:

    Agree with you to some extent Cara. It’s “overall calories” throughout the day that have the biggest impact for most people looking to lose or even just maintain their weight. Stabilising blood-sugar levels with regular smaller meals works better for some people – being mindful of overall caloric intake though – as it helps them eat healthier, be better prepared, snack less on junk, regulate appetite/satiety amongst other positives.

    I also agree with Sarah that we need to allow our digestive system time to reset digestive enzymes and hormone levels (insulin and cortisol for example, in addition to the hormones that signal hunger and satiety) between meals. This prepares our bodies to maximise the intake of macronutrients, rather than store them as “fat” if we’re set up to treat the intake as “excess” to our needs (when glycogen levels are full, insulin levels are conducive to fat storage etc…). As a result, snacking throughout the day is not a great idea.

    Let me just add… that this concept of pre-snacking will raise insulin levels – this is conducive to fat storage. So, if you “pre-snack” (raise insulin) then eat a large/regular meal 10 or 20 mins later… the result will be some fat storage that would otherwise not occur. It’s unlikely that you’ll regulate your intake of the main meal based on the “pre-snack”… due to the types of foods that most ppl snack on (carby) and the delay in satiety associated with such foods.

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    Cara Reply:

    Even though I eat regularly, I still feel hungry most the time – mainly because of the good foods I eat along with a quick metabolism. Depends on activity too. People just need to listen to their bodies and notice how certain foods make them feel.

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  • Brooke

    good post Sarah – this was called “happy hour” in our household – now “happy hour” usually is our Friday night dinner, antipasto and tapas style after long week at work to relax for the weekend 🙂

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  • Aletha

    Interesting terms ‘pre-eating’ but that’s really what it is for me when I’m hungry (or bored) before dinner or lunch. But I think Sarah is correct. If you eat a very substantial lunch with healthy fats you tend to be less hungry often by dinner time. I have also experienced how carbs cause our blood sugar to jump all over the place and make us hungry more often. I have low blood sugar (hypoglycaemic) and since I was a teen I never knew how to balance my body. Embarrassingly fainted a few times from it. At the start of my 30s, I developed graves disease. I’m 33 years old and I specifically remember my endocrinologist sitting in her consulting room saying “Well you’ve got a few complex things going on, your blood sugar is one of them.” After going to a naturopath and switching my diet to totally unprocessed foods, quitting sugar, my low blood sugar was under control. Never found myself running to the nearest bakery or convenience store to grab ANYTHING to bring my blood sugar back up instantly. For those of you who might be interested… here’s proof that white bread (most things from the bakery) will instantly lift your blood sugar… When I had extremely low blood sugar, I would get shakes in my hands, feel sweaty and weak. The doctor told me to eat glucose lollies or jelly beans. I hated them. I always found it better on the stomach to eat bread anything from a bakery- a bun, a croissant. Shortly after I’d feel good again. By the way I’m not obese or overweight, never have been. For a person who has hypoglycaemia, that was my emergency pit stop if I had low blood sugar. It’s very interesting for me learn that quiting sugar actually rebalances my blood sugar, and I suffer far less problems with low blood sugar when I remove sugar and refined carbs from my diet completely.

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  • yes! get hungry don’t stay hungry. i think many of us have problems not being scared to get hungry but we just don’t understand what hunger is because it’s something that we don’t experience because we are always eating

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  • Anna

    This speaks to me in so many ways. I went from a 100kg teen, to a 60kg party animal who rarely ate. I remember during my party (drug) days loving the feeling of feeling hungry. My meals became smaller and less frequent to the point of only eating once a day. But that backfired and I developed bulimia. That was 5 years ago and I am still battling this. I need to learn how to eat again. I need to learn to slow down. Enjoy every mouthful. Be mindful.

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  • Eilish Bouchier

    Great article Sarah and timely too. I think it is very closely tied to our inability to do nothing. Food is a salve for so many things in our society and a socially acceptable and encouraged one. I think it is used to fill so many holes. Snacking and ‘pre-eating is like fidgeting. I have recently cut out snacking with the exception of a handful of almonds when the gap between meals is too long and I notice I feel much better. I love Lauren Rose’s quote that each meal starts with a good appetite. I recall this from childhood where there were 3 meals a day with the main one at lunchtime and find I now come to the table hungry. I lived in Spain for a while and found their way of eating really suited me and my body. Much lighter there in many ways. That said everyone’s needs are different. It’s all about checking with your body and giving it what it needs but ti takes time to learn that too.

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  • Karlie

    Great advice. Remember it’s ok to feel hungry. We evolvedmine it’s what the principles of intermittent fasting (IF) are founded upon. I practice IF regularly, whether it may be a 24hr fast, skipping a meal, or just eating a very small portion, I mix it up. It’s all about tricking the body so your metabolism works better for you. IF is the ideal solution for those experiencing plateau in their weight loss process. I usually have two meals a day, full of fat and protein like Sarah Wilson suggests. Eating meals full of good fats and protein, along with loads of vege’s and very little fruit keeps me super satiated all day, I rarely snack and I rarely want to eat a third meal, even though I exercise like a maniac.

    If you want to repost my info on IF, pls Comment On My Facebook Page: http://Www.Facebook.Com/Karlieeattolive

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  • Interesting reading through all the comments here. I have a bit of a fear of letting myself get too hungry because it generally leads to me making bad food decisions and over-eating. Hard to know how much of that is physiological and how much is psychological!

    But your idea is an interesting one to ponder Sarah x

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  • Slim Birdy

    The older I get the more I realise there is no one right way to do anything – just the way that suits you best personally. Everyone is so different and many battle with different factors when it comes to eating. After years of yo-yo dieting, addiction to certain foods and binge eating (a result of holding myself back when I was hungry and the food addiction issue,) the way you describe eating doesn’t work for me at all. It was such a relief to allow myself to eat every two hours if I wanted to. It removed any anxiety around trying to restrict food and the need to overeat at meal times to make sure it lasted until next meal time. (The reality was it just stretched my stomach and made me even hungrier quicker.)
    I’m all for listening to your body, if you are hungry then eat. If not then sip a cup of herbal tea to distract yourself until the real hunger kicks in. I am with Tony C., eating for me is a physical thing nothing to do with emotions. Once I tuned into the physical, removed the addictive stuff and eat wholefoods, I’ve not had a problem since, easily getting to the weight I want to be.
    Everyone is so different though and your post may be just perfect for some.

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  • Niikii

    I intermittent fast and only like to eat every second day. Totally balancing… so much so that I very much dislike food on an ‘everyday basis. I eat very nutritious organic food on my eating days which does me very well on my non-eating days. I am very ok with going without food – but I too like to pre meal snack. The main target is mung beans so I’m cool with that. Its sweet (sugar craving) and its starchy (carby craving) and… they are yum as.

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  • Tiffany Preece

    “calm the fork down” Love it! Hahaha.

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  • But pre-eating is also a chapter in the big book Why We’re Getting Fat. Which is the companion title to The Story of How We Lost Our Real Appetite.

    Are these real books, Sarah? They sound fascinating, but I can’t find them anywhere when I search online.

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  • Amy Landry

    This is totally in alignment with the principles of Ayurveda. Snacking means that our digestive system never gets a break to rest and to heal. We’re so programmed into picking at food, whether it’s at home, or out for a meal. Quite often we eat when we aren’t truly hungry either – just because it’s “lunchtime”.
    Ayurveda says that we should eat 3 meals a day, sufficient to fuel us to the next meal… and that we should be hungry, physically hungry, to eat a meal – otherwise it’s an indication that we have not yet processed the previous meal.
    Anyhow, I’ve gone off on a tangent. But, hopefully it contributes in some way. I guess it is all about awareness and presence. Simple.

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  • Teagan

    I love this article Sarah and also, the interesting discussion it has begun.
    I have found the best way for me to eat, and feel that I am eating for my own health and energy, whether it is ‘right’ or not, is to eat a small breakfast and larger lunch and dinner with no snacks. Breakfast generally consists of chai tea and a protein/bliss ball, lunch can be anything from sashimi and seaweed salad to quinoa/rice salad or a typically breakfast scramble with eggs, mushrooms etc. and then dinner is a ‘whatever is going around’ generally a meat, vegetables and salad or beans.
    The flutteriness you talk about I experienced all to often before I started eating this way which is probably as you desribe as being more protein and fat focused rather than carbs, sugar and ’empty calories’. Years ago when I transitioned to gluten free eating I would struggle with NOT having that dense, heavy, sluggish feeling that I would always have after a bowl of pasta. I use to then search out processed gluten free snacks AFTER my meal to fill that void. Now Im not afraid to eat more meat, more brocolli, more roquette to help me feel satisfied.
    People do tend to eat to feel grounded and quell the fluttery, anxious feeling because, I feel, its what the modern world has programmed us to do instead of maybe taking a 5 minute break to breathe and re focus our priorities.

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  • Lizzaroo

    there’s nothing wrong with eating when you are hungry. I spent many many years depriving myself of food, drinking water chewing gum etc instead of just eating. I became so focused on food I was continuously cooking, baking etc but never actually eating the things I created. I ended up incredibly underweight and struggled with insatiable hunger pans and binge and purge tendencies for several years. recovering meant giving myself permission to eat- even if it wasn’t “dinnertime”. As long as we’re eating real food most of the time (and the occasional burger or tim tam) I see no harm in nibbles before a meal. It’s just food. Eat it and be done with it

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  • Tracy Dawson

    Great post, and I believe pre-eating and FOMO are closely related.And for my generation, brought up by parents/grandparents who remember the war and the depression, maybe the idea of not wasting anything combined with “we struggled for all of this, we deserve it” -as in wealth=food? Since I quit sugar I have realised I am no longer hungry between meals most days.

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  • Amanda Kay

    I usually forget to eat until I’m shaking and have a headache.

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  • Fiona

    Does anyone else need to eat every 2 hours? It doesn’t seem to matter what I eat, or how much I eat, 2 hours later I’m starving and if I don’t eat then I get a migraine (severe headache, sick stomach, have to go to a dark room and lie down). I have pcos. Any advice would be greatly appreciated 😊 Thank you!

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