What’s My Cue?

Remember I posted about Health at Every Size, and one of my follow-ups was that it inspired me to make two changes to my eating habits?

  1. Eat foods with more fiber.
  2. Plan an afternoon snack.

Well, I’ve been doing both of these for a few weeks now.  The good:

  • My blood sugar isn’t fluctuating as quickly as it was previously.
  • My planned snacks are more satisfying than vending machine ones.

The bad: I lost my primary hunger cue.  Oops. 

I realized this the first week one day at 4pm, a time when I was normally ravenous.  I had packed a plum and half of a ham-with-mustard-Gouda sandwich for my snack.  I didn’t feel hungry; I didn’t feel full; but the food looked tasty and I ate it.  A short while later, I felt much more energized and  focused.  My productivity picked up too.

My reaction to having eaten was what it it would have been if I’d been really hungry.  But I hadn’t felt hungry, right?  Um…why not?

On further reflection, I realized that, for years, I’ve been relying on my blood sugar tanking to know when I was hungry.  Now that my blood sugar increases and decreases are more gradual, I’ve lost my “need to eat” signal.


Thus has begun a bit of an experiement.  How do I know I’m hungry – short of headache and dizziness?  (Yes, I’ve had both several times – and am trying to avoid in the future!)   To help with this, I’ve taken another suggestion from Health At Every Size:  I’ve started noting how I feel before and after eating, so I can look for patterns.  This is something I resisted, since on the surface it is yet another “diet diary”… but it’s been a few weeks and I’m still forgetting to eat, so I bit the bullet and replicated Dr Bacon’s format as a Google Docs spreadsheet (easy to update from home or work).   The focus is on “Feelings/Moods/Thoughts/Body Sensations Before Eating” and “Feelings/Moods/Thoughts/Body Sensations After Eating”, and does not include amounts, calories, fiber, carbs, protein, or fat grams.   So far what I’ve noted is things like “tired; empty stomach; cold” before eating and “warm; comfortable; focused” after eating.

I’m tempted to hold off on posting this until I’ve relearned my hunger cues, but I don’t know how long that’ll be :)  So hey, there it is – you know what I know.

3 thoughts on “What’s My Cue?

  1. I completely feel for you. I had to relearn hunger cues during my pregnancy because if I let myself get that low my morning sickness would kick in. No one could explain to me why my body’s reaction to not having food was nausea, but it was a harsh lesson. But an effective one.

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