Eat More, Crave More

Today’s weigh in is exciting for me because I am half way through to reaching my goal of Losing 30 Pounds in 3 Months. It is now Week 6 of my self-structured weight loss program and for the most part I have been really doing well. One thing I have been struggling with lately is staying motivated to exercise. When I was off sick for a few days my body and mind became really lazy and the fact that I was up three pounds at my last weigh in certainly didn’t help. So this past week I have had to force myself to get exercise, which I hate to do because it doesn’t make it very fun. I’m hoping that the fruits of my labors will show in my weigh in today and will stir up some new motivation for me to keep going. Here goes…my current weight is…

219 lbs

Yippee, I’m down so I’m happy. Last week’s weigh in was pretty disappointing because I had gained three pounds, so losing again is a good sign even if it is only two pounds. I have six more weeks to reach my goal of 207 pounds. I am feeling very confident that I can lose 12 pounds in that amount of time.

Eating large meals and high calorie snacks can be at the root of hunger and the reason why the more you eat, the more you crave.

Eating large meals and high calorie snacks can be at the root of hunger and the reason why the more you eat, the more you crave.

For the most part I have been watching my food portions closely; making sure not to overeat at meals. However, this weekend I attended another birthday party and controlling portions while you sit around chatting is very hard (If you recall, I had a terrible time at the last birthday party I attended where I feasted on birthday cake and booze and regretted it terribly. You can read that post here Weight Loss Tips for a Party Night). So this time, in my infinite wisdom, I strictly limited myself to just the veggie platter, but had a blatant disregard for how much I was eating. Let me tell you, I surprised even myself at how many vegetables I can eat in the span of a few hours.

Without controlling portions, I ate and ate until I was very full. I didn’t feel so guilty because it was all veggies, but even still I regretted not being able to exercise more self control. What really threw me for a loop however, were the severe food cravings I experienced afterward. It was like my body said, “No, no, don’t stop there. Keep feeding me!” Many times before in my life I would have caved into these cravings, but not this time. This was the first time I realized the important connection my body has with food – the more I eat, the more I crave.

If you are also someone who is overweight, then likely you too have experienced the Eat More, Crave More vicious cycle and understanding why this happens may help you to overcome it. To begin with, when you allow yourself to consume many calories in one sitting your blood sugar and insulin levels will spike up quite drastically and then fall rapidly. When your blood glucose levels fall like this your brain triggers a hunger response. So as you can see, when you consume a large meal or snack you are going to be hungry quite soon afterward despite eating hundreds of calories. In order to avoid drastic spikes in your blood sugar, it is recommended that you eat several (5-6) small meals a day, instead of three large meals. There are also some foods that are considered better at stabilizing blood sugar than others. These foods are rated by the Glycemic Index.

Another part of the Eat More, Crave More phenomenon may be attributed to cravings not triggered by your brain, but by your stomach fat. In an article published in April 2008, researchers claimed that they have discovered that abdominal fat cells produce a neuropeptide, called Neuropeptide Y (NPY), that signals a hunger response in the brain. In this situation, the more overweight you become, the more hungry you become as your fat cells make more and more NPY. However, all is not lost. According to the research, consuming calcium helps to regulate NPY, thereby reducing food cravings and appetite. In some patients, between 2,000 – 3,000 mg of calcium were needed daily to control NPY levels.

As you can see, there are many factors that affect hunger and appetite. I have found that the best way for myself to control these urges is to eat about four or five small meals during the day that contain some high fiber foods. This way I can keep my blood sugar levels stable and am not being tormented by hunger pangs all day long. This concept of NPY being produced by stomach fat is interesting and may hold some truth for many of us. However, I would recommend you speak to your doctor or a pharmacist before starting to take high doses of calcium every day.

1 comment to Eat More, Crave More

  • Belly Fat Removal

    Congratulations on your weight loss. I realize that exercise can sometimes be a grind, but if you can continue to stay on schedule, stay on track, then you will be all the more successful. I know there are days when I don’t want to work out but it has become such a part of my routine that I feel guilty for not doing it sometimes. And when I roll out and get it done I feel so much better than if I had not done it. I guess it’s the endorphins. Then I end up feeling glad I did. So that is what I think about everytime I’d prefer to kick back and surf TV.

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