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Eating to Hunger and Fasting

Posted Jun 02 2012 11:01am

One issue that has come up with my eating to hunger is skipping meals.  Sometimes I'm not hungry for a meal, and so I skip it.  This naturally leads to some type of intermittent fasting, though it's done on a random basis.

After skipping a meal/fasting, I usually feel better the next day.  This is different because in the past, when I've done scheduled fasts, it never seems to work that well.  And this is the key difference for me: if you're not hungry and you skip a meal, I see that as a positive.  But if you are hungry and you skip a meal, I see that as a negative.  I think that in general, if you frequently skip meals when you are hungry, that this will backfire.  It is the metabolic equivalent to dieting, and so eventually hormones will adjust and promote weight gain.  (I would say an occassional mismatch between hunger and food intake isn't necessarily bad.)

But here's where I get stuck with all this: you can "train" your body, so to speak, to not be hungry at certain times.  In other words, if a person consistently skips breakfast and eats larger dinners, then it should be no surprise if that person isn't hungry in the morning.  But this is an artifact of previous eating patterns, and so maybe isn't "natural" (at least in the way I'm thinking of it).  It seems a person could just as easily train themselves to eat big breakfasts and skip dinner.

Based on Cordain's analysis of hunter-gatherer meal patterns, the most common meal pattern was leftovers for breakfast (or no breakfast at all), no lunch, and a larger afternoon or evening meal.  So I guess this might be the most "natural" meal pattern, if there is such a thing.

What I don't like is taking this natural pattern and making it into a rigid one.  Even if a person regularly skips breakfast, if they wake up hungry one morning , then why shouldn't they eat?  This is where a rigid plan conflicts with a flexible, more natural plan in my view.

Still, I haven't put all this together to my liking yet.  My general thought is that a condensed eating window/intermittent fasting should naturally fall out of a eating-to-hunger-and-satiety eating style.   I'll have to think and experiment more on this one.



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