The Need For Hypervigilance

6 Jun

In yesterdays post ‘Missing Sugar‘ I received two comments from Cheryl and Chris that suggested I should not be starting my day off with a carby breakfast. I still think that by today’s standards some plain greek yogurt and berries is not terribly high in carbs. BUT I do know that evidence shows that if you eat carbs for breakfast then you will burn carbs throughout the day, and this may lead to greater cravings for carbs later. I took their point and so today I did not start my day with a high carb breakfast. In addition, as opposed to what I said last night, I will not leave my carbs in the range of 100-150g, but rather will keep them under 100g as I orginally intended. I think this was a case of cognitive dissonance. I had eaten over 100 g so tried to justify it.

So I guess the big question on everybody’s mind is did I get hungry later than usual after the low carb breakfast? The answer is yes. The hunger pangs didn’t kick in until about 4 or 5pm. I was feeling fantastic. I had kept my carbs well below 100g, I had managed to curb my hunger for two hours, and I had lost another kilogram. Oh I lost another kilogram!! Anyway, I started to feel that my eating was under control and I couldn’t quite believe it. Maybe this time eh?

You might notice I am using past tense………as if something sinister happened later. Well lets just say when I found myself standing in the kitchen hacking off bits of fat from the steak I cooked for tomorrows lunch I realised that something was wrong. Just so you know I did NOT actually put any of the food into my mouth. As I stood there I suddenly came too, and realised that this was addictive behaviour. I quickly went for a walk and when I came back the cravings had subsided enough for me to put the steak in the fridge and leave it there.

This was like a warning sign for me. I cannot let this false sense of security let me be anything but hypervigilant. I cannot let my guard down for one second otherwise it will be like coming too at a murder scene and not knowing what happened. But rather than a dead body it will be empty ice cream containers everywhere. What I did find interesting about the ‘steak incident’ was I really tuned in on the fat. I saw the big succulent juicy pieces of fat and and just lost it. Maybe my body was just trying to get as much calories as it could. Or maybe not. If I have anymore fat cravings I will let you know. The major difference, however, is I only crave fat when I physcially see it whereas carbs are always on my mind.

This evening my hunger levels have been stronger than yesterday but weaker than the day before. I can’t explain it but their is a feeling in my gut that just wants something sweet. That other foods just seems so mundane. I feel so bored with food and so empty. The thought of meat now is putting me off eating. I just want something sweet. Which seems ironic considering that just over an hour ago I was standing in the kitchen with a knife tearing into an innocent steak. I had lowered my carbs today so maybe my addiction for sugar is kicking in a bit more?  Thoughts anyone?

Today was a good day though. My calories were at 3000, and for the first time since I started my carbs were under 100g, and I lost another kilo. All my nutrients except calcium and potassium were well over the RDA. But if you look at it over a week it seems as though I am getting enough nutrients each day.


Late Breakfast/Early Lunch: Pork, Spinach, Tomatoes, Olive oil

Afternoon Snack: Almonds

Dinner: Steak, Asparagus, Olive Oil + Cod Liver Oil

Late Evening Snack: Berries


Fat: 68% (sat 13%, poly 9%, mono 43%)

Carbohydrates: 10% (77g)

Protein: 23%


10 Responses to “The Need For Hypervigilance”

  1. Chris Robbins June 6, 2010 at 10:48 pm #


    Whenever I get hungry before I want to eat I’ll drink hot tea, green, black, oolong, or white. All good, all good for you, & do the trick.

    I also don’t think you should resist cravings. If i have a craving, which I often do, I’ll have it and cut it in half whatever portion I put on my plate (usually real ice cream)

    Your doing great!

    • Dan June 7, 2010 at 1:29 am #

      Chris I don’t drink tea or coffee. Weird I know. For now I will resist cravings just because I cant give an inch. You know.

  2. Cheryl June 6, 2010 at 11:39 pm #


    You may need to eat more often, on a slightly regimented schedule while you figure out if you’re hungry, craving, thirsty, some combo, or none of the above.

    Intermittent fasting isn’t for people with food issues. It’s just not. A regular pattern will help you figure out how much to eat, and when. For example, waiting until “late” (you decide what that means for you) to have breakfast WILL set you up for mindless eating later, only because that’s what you’re used to. eating mindlessly.

    try to eat your meals with intention – appreciating the bounty, appreciating the sight, smell, then taste, chewing thoroughly, and not eating something if there is nothing positive noted in the activities listed above.

    A study was done (can’t find it right now, but will look) about mindless eating – at the movie theater. 2 sets of patrons were given various sizes of popcorn. One group got freshly made, with sea salt and real butter. The other group got week old popcorn, with some chemical concoction to simulate salt and butter.

    Two observations came about – people thought because it’s free, they should get the largest portion available. Those that paid bought the “bargain” quantity.

    The other observation was that nearly everybody who had a larger portion, felt compelled to eat it ALL, even if it didn’t taste very good. Those who selected their own portions ate varying amounts and reported they ate until they were full (read: satisfied)

    Moral – it’s not wasteful to not eat something you don’t like, and, make your selection, enjoy it, then move on when satisfied.

    Try slowing down, and eating a big more frequently (divide up whatever is on the menu), until you know for sure hunger vs. mindless eating.

    It works.

    • Dan June 7, 2010 at 1:29 am #

      Cheryl – My late breakfast was not so much a fast than a I woke up late:) I completely agree with eating slowly and this is something I will be writing a post about in the future. I also am aware of the study you mentioned. Good study!

  3. Cynthia June 7, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

    I think the idea of having something to drink before or along with the food is a good idea. You can trick your stomach into thinking you’ve eaten a lot more calories by simply distending it with liquid. Soups are also helpful for the same reason. Plus I love them (tom ka gai being a favorite). The more success you have, the more motivated you’ll be to continue. Another thing that might help is to divide your biggest meal into two portions- you don’t have to decide to starve yourself by eating less, just eat some of the serving later. I find that even if I ate plenty, I’ll have an urge for something else later, and if I just finish my dinner then, it keeps the cravings and portion size of the snacking down.

    Dr. Davis has an interesting post discussing hypoglycemia, insulin resistance and cravings during pregnancy.

    I wonder what your blood sugar is up to when you have cravings. Have you measured it? Is there any correlation? If you have hypoglycemia, it might explain alot of the craziness.

    Hope you’re having a good day.

    • Dan June 8, 2010 at 9:03 pm #

      Yes I am playing with that idea. I met a hungarian once and he would eat nothing until 5pm and then have two big meals at night. I think he may have a had a small lunch. I really liked the idea and thought it would work well for me. I tend not to be hungry during the day and get very hungry at night. It does not matter how much I eat during the day either.

  4. Carla June 7, 2010 at 11:28 pm #

    Hi Dan! Even though we only “met” yesterday, I wanted to tell you that I have started another blog! My new blog is focusing more on my Primal lifestyle and such, rather than specifically on weight loss as I do on The Right Fit. You are welcome to check out my new blog and let me know what you think. Or you can continue to follow me at The Right Fit as before. Thank you! 🙂

    • Dan June 8, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

      I recommend anyone visit this blog that can be found in the links.

  5. PK June 15, 2010 at 5:57 am #

    “What I did find interesting about the ‘steak incident’ was I really tuned in on the fat. I saw the big succulent juicy pieces of fat and and just lost it. Maybe my body was just trying to get as much calories as it could. Or maybe not. If I have anymore fat cravings I will let you know. The major difference, however, is I only crave fat when I physically see it whereas carbs are always on my mind.”

    I’m a new reader to your blog today and I find myself asking, if you’re always trimming the fat off the meat and never eating it, this may be your body’s way of saying it needs more saturated fat. I know it can be difficult for us food addicts to differentiate between cravings for things that are bad for us and that our brains are addicted to like sugar, but there may also be the possibility that your body is telling you it really really wants that saturated fat. I can also tell you from my experience that low fat meats like chicken breasts and some lean/dry pork, leave me hungry pretty quickly, no matter how much I eat of them, but the more actual, solid chunks of fat I eat, even though that fat is higher in calories, it turns out if I eat it, I eat fewer calories overall throughout the day and feel more satisfied.

    I don’t know which exact plan you are trying to follow, but it may be worth eating that fat and seeing how your hunger and cravings feel. I can state from experience that I can’t overeat saturated fat. After eating a rib eye steak and all the fat on it, I feel ill just thinking about eating anymore. So you may find that by “giving in” and eating that fat, you may actually be doing your hunger a favor throughout the rest of the day and you won’t be actually triggering anything unhealthy. YMMV, of course, but that is my experience.

    • Dan June 15, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

      Hi PK. No I never trim fat from my meat and I never have any problems eating the fat. However, having said that I personally have found that protein is more satiating. But regardless I eat the fat trust me.

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