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What I Eat When I’m HUNGRY

I don’t know about you, but I get hungry. My metabolism is high, and it has been ever since I recovered from anorexia. Even though I eat regularly and do my best to avoid restriction, I still sometimes find myself panicky hungry, what my mom calls “bonking.”

Not only that, but my IBS distorts my hunger and fullness cues sometimes in such a way that I don’t eat enough at a meal and then find myself bonking in a few hours.

Because I still have BS calorie counts in my brain, I find I too often respond to my hunger by eating something that my brain tells me supposedly has “enough” calories but doesn’t actually make me feel physically full, like raisins or soy milk. But I’ve learned over time how to manage my hunger better.

When I’m really hungry, I not only need more food than when I’m just moderately hungry (duh!), but I also need different food to make that nagging, distracted hunger feeling go away so I can move on productively with my life.

I find that when I’m really hungry, I first and foremost need:

  1. Lots of starches. Preferably more starches than usual. Rice, potatoes, bread, quinoa, oatmeal, etc. I need more food in general if I’m really hungry, and I find that getting that extra energy from french fries or another roll helps fill me up more than, say, an extra pork chop. And while I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sugars, naturally occurring or added, they don’t do anything help me feel full. If I’m really hungry, fruit on its own often leaves me more hungry than before I ate it!

  2. Protein. I try to get at least 20 grams or protein at every meal anyway, as my dietitian directed, and I find it’s especially helpful when I’m really hungry. I love me a good PB&J, but if I’m really hungry, a hamburger fills me much better. Fats are great for managing hunger long-term, and I try to get a good amount at each meal, but if my blood sugar’s low, peanut butter honestly doesn’t do much for me.

    Turkey and cheese sandwich with lettuce and mayo, cucumbers, orange

  3. Volume. When my hunger sirens are going off, I find I need something big. Filling up on veggies is often preached as a “trick” for dieting. Even if still believed in that nonsense, I find that fruit and veggies on their own don’t keep me full at all (see above). Still, I do find that loading peppers and cucumbers and tomatoes and strawberries and whatever else onto my plate alongside rice, cheese, meat, Nutella, yogurt, bread, potatoes, etc. does actually help me feel more satisfied and stops that panicky feeling. I find fluid sometimes also helps; again, not as a “trick” for dieting, but so I can feel full and satisfied and move on with my life.

Which is, after all, the point: to move on with my life. I used to think that I wanted to be as hungry as possible when I ate, and that therefore it was good–healthy, even–to live with the constant distraction of hunger. But it’s not. If I want to focus on what I’m reading, what I’m studying, what my friends are telling me, to notice the beautiful flowers I pass on the city sidewalks and the sounds of the birds, I need to deal with hunger by getting rid of it.

Here are some examples of meals that work well for when I’m really hungry:


  • A burrito bowl with rice, meat, corn and/or beans, cheese or sour cream, lettuce, peppers, salsa
  • Fried rice with meat or tofu, eggs, and veggies
  • A burger with fries or a substantial salad on the side
  • Meat or bean tacos topped with cheese and veggies, corn on the cob, chips or refried beans on the side
  • A big ole bowl of cereal with banana and eggs or sausage on the side
  • Chili topped with cheese, cornbread or corn chips on the side
  • etc.

Linking up with Amanda to share these thoughts for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

What do you eat when you’re really hungry?



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  1. Diane Wahto says:

    The food you have in your pictures look so tasty I wish I had the patience to cook. As for when I’m really hungry, I eat–period. We eat a lot of chicken and vegetables. I do like a few almonds between meals. Otherwise, I don’t usually get too hungry. I suppose age has something to do with it.

  2. Cora says:

    Bonking. Thats a really good term. I’ve never thought of naming that panicky feeling something, but I think I know exactly what you mean. I can get like that really fast, and definitely most powerfully in the mornings. That thing about fruit making you more hungry…ya! Why is that!? I eat an apple and I’m “full for maybe 5 minutes and then I swear my belly is eating itself even more than before.

    To be full I definitely need carbs. Bread, rice or potatoes most particular. Peanut butter is a good one for me though. Drinks never do it…even smoothies.

  3. Emily J. M. says:

    “my IBS distorts my hunger and fullness cues sometimes in such a way that I don’t eat enough at a meal and then find myself bonking in a few hours” – yes, I feel you! I particularly find this hard when I’m sharing meals with people who have troubles (past or present) with eating… I can feel like I’m not setting a good example, even though I know that’s not true/in my control.

  4. Emily says:

    This is so good Joyce; it’s amazing how if you feed that hunger you don’t have to sit and think about hungry you are. I love your ideas of making sure it’s a balanced meal/snack with lots of good volume but also adding protein and fats and starches (things to satiate that hunger). 🙂

  5. When I’m really hungry… I guess I just eat whatever I’m craving. If there’s no “real” food option I’ll typically grab a Quest bar until I get to food. That taco bowl looks like something I need!

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