Monday, December 03, 2007

Hunger and Cravings

For 6 months, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to what I eat. I’ve also been working my body, sometimes much, much harder than I have in the past. Sometimes, watching what I eat is really hard. Sometimes, I completely lose it. Today was a perfect example of this.

I started the day all right. For breakfast, I had 16oz whole milk, 3oz fat free turkey breast, a slice of whole grain bread and just a little mayo. Added up, this was a 5 block meal on the zone diet. I ate at about 5:00 AM. At 9:00 AM, I had 3 oz turkey, 1/2 an avocado and 2 small granny smith apples. At 11:45 AM, I had 4-5 oz turkey, the other half of the avocado, several walnut halves and another 2 apples. I got home at about 2:30 PM.

When I got home, I was ravenous. I felt like I hadn’t eaten for days. Suddenly, I cracked and started devouring everything. 2 slices toast with copious butter and jelly. 4 oz turkey. 7-8 chocolate covered, peanut butter filled pretzel bites. 20 minutes later, I was still starving. I ate 7-8 peanut butter pretzel sandwiches and drank another 16 oz whole milk. Finally, 20 minutes later, I wasn’t hungry.

Now, it is 6:00 PM and I have a craving for food. This is different than when I got home though. This is a mental desire to be eating and has nothing to do with the stomach churning hole than demanded to be filled. I don’t understand either urge but I would call the earlier one hunger and this one a craving. I seem to be mostly successful fighting cravings but I collapse against hunger. For example, while I eat everything that was handy earlier, I’m not eating anything now.

I don’t understand how to fight hunger or even if I should. Should I refrain from eating and only eat to my specified schedule, no matter how hungry I feel? Is ravenous hunger an indication that I’m not giving myself enough fuel to support the muscle building that is happening. (This is possible as I’ve just finished 4 days of incredibly tough workouts.) Is there something I can eat to fill the void without destroying what I’m working so hard to achieve? What do you do when you are fighting hunger or cravings?

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