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TL/DR: Worried about losing weight by not eating enough. | Looking for tips to reach protein/calorie goals when not hungry. | Looking for others' experiences with lack of hunger this far out in WL Journey.

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I meet with my nutritionist for check-ins about every 3 months. For this last one, my 9-month, she told me not to be upset if I hadn't lost, as a stall was expected. Yet, I had lost just as much as I had been. We went over what I had been eating & she wasn't concerned about content but suggested increasing variety. [I'm a meal repeater 🤷‍♀️] Though, she again warned me that it is now especially likely that I would stall since I hadn't yet. Since that appointment, I've still been losing weight.

I know it might appear strange to worry about meeting the goals we are here to meet, but my nutritionist is big on trying to relearn the natural cues of the body. So, as they are absent, you can notice pressure in your stomach, sighing, or a runny nose as indications of fullness. As indications of hunger return, you can utilize them to increase portions within the parameters of slow eating and not exceeding controlled sizes.

The thing is, I don't know that the initial increase after, you know, the literal wounds healed, I have really expanded much more. I don't really get hungry until 'early-bird dinner' time. So eating during the day is purely done out of obligation. [& if I'm being truthful, there are times when I forget entirely until after work.]

So obviously, that leads me to try to have all of my calories in one 'meal' in the day, which I have to eat over a couple hours [even if it is small] if I don't want to get nauseous or actually regurgitate. [The regurgitation has improved slightly over the last couple of months. I had a very reactive stomach that required me to prolong my dependence on Protein Shakes. Pre-surgery, I don't think I came even close to needing to vomit since pre-school 🙁.]

To be fully upfront, I have not counted a single macro or calorie or weighed a single food item during my entire journey. I've tried tracking before in my weight-loss journey, and it was not healthy mentally for me. I realize that I may be under goals rather than over them, but straightforward counting of calories is just not something that would be part of a successful journey for me.

So, all of this is a longwinded way to say:

- Is anyone else struggling to eat enough this far out?

- What helps you to reach your protein/calorie goals when you don't really want to eat?

- Any other tips/tricks/specific brand or meal suggestions?

Edited by BKJ

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My hunger or interest in eating didn’t really return for around a year. I found eating to a routine very helpful. In fact I still eat this way. I started doing it to establish good/better eating behaviours (been a meal skipper for most of my life in an attempt to control my weight) & also to ensure I was getting in calories & necessary nutrients. Not a food tracker either. Wasn't required to in my program. I do random checks for my own curiosity, to ensure I wasn’t slipping or getting complacent & to check new foods/ingredients or recipes. I more often checked portions. I know my calorie intake was low compared to others (barely 900 at 6 months & my goal) but at least I was eating regularly & nutritiously.

I still have times I don’t feel hungry. Usually just a day or two but went through a period of a couple of months recently which saw me reduce my intake a little. Went from 4 meals & 3 or 4 Snacks to 3 meals & same snacks. On the days or times I didn’t feel as hungry I chose something lighter to eat like yoghurt, Soup or just ate some Protein & didn’t care if I didn’t eat all my portion. Oh & I still take 30-45 minutes to eat most meals - used to take up to an hour.

I’m also a meal repeater. I have favourites & there’s nothing wrong with that. Know how much I can have as a portion & the protein content. I used to eat scrambled eggs or rolled oats for Breakfast. Now I just eat rolled oats. Similarity at lunch - 3 or 4 options I rotated through currently two options. dinner is repeats too mostly because of left overs. I still cook much as I did before 😁. Eat that meal for 2 or 3 days & freeze the remaining portions for those nights I don’t feel like cooking (love my freezer & microwave - little reheat & sometimes cook vegetables - 5 mins total). I usually cook pretty simply too: protein & vegetables so I can easily check what I’m eating & getting nutritionally.

I never had those signals many speak of regarding fullness. No sneezing, no runny nose, etc. Just my restriction if I went too far or if something sat more heavily than expected. It’s why I started asking myself if I really needed the next bite or just wanted it. It’s not unusual for me to put food on my fork & then put it down again to maybe eat a couple of minutes later.

I remember the first time I felt hungry after surgery. I was about 7 months, had a busy day & then went to a function. Hadn’t eaten much & there’s was nothing suitable at the event. Was home & in bed when I realised I was vey restless. Something was wrong but didn’t know what. It took some time to realise I was hungry. I realised this was my real hunger signal. Didn’t want a specific food, flavour or texture. There was a logical reason I was hungry - I hadn’t really eaten for most of the day. Took another 3 months before I felt it again.

One of the things I’ve learnt along the way is you have to do what works best for you. Because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Whether that is tracking or not tracking your food, how many meals or snacks you have, how much activity you do, what foods you choose to eat, eat occasionally, or generally avoid, etc. Use other people’s experiences & routines as suggestions of things you could try if you’re stuck but if they’re wrong for you, try something else.

So after a long way of getting to it, my two suggestions based on my experiences if you want to try them, are:

  • Track your calorie intake & nutrients for a few days just to ensure you’re on track & not missing anything. Then only check new foods you introduce &/or do random checks.
  • Try eating to a routine. Doesn’t have to be a full meal but at least something that is nutritionally dense & protein focused.

Oh, yes stalls happen. Mine were short. A few days only. I tracked my weight daily which is how I saw when they occured.

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21 hours ago, BKJ said:

- Is anyone else struggling to eat enough this far out?

yep.

i was notorious for barely eating anything. i just didn't want to honestly. and i want to be the type of person to force my self to eat if i didn't want to (personally i think that is just as an unwanted eating habit as eating out of boredom).

i did also lose more that i wanted to after reaching goal (at 7 months), but it all leveled out eventually (by 1 year). and no, i did not waste away, i did not become malnourished, i did not starve to death. while i did look pretty gaunt for a few months, that too went away despite not re-gaining any substantial amount of weight.

i did have to re-learn how to eat higher calorie foods (abstaining from them during weight loss phase got ingrained into me, so it took me a few months to be mentally ok eating it again, you know?)

i'm 5+ years out and there are still days when i just don't want to eat, or just forget to eat altogether. i don't worry about it too much because i know there will be a day when i just wanna eat. so long as my weight stays within my acceptable range, my pants fit, my doc is not concerned and i feel great, then i'm all good.

21 hours ago, BKJ said:

- What helps you to reach your protein/calorie goals when you don't really want to eat?

honestly i just accept that i didn't reach my goals that particular day...so long as i reach them at least like 60-70% of the time, then i consider it a success. but i'm a bit far out now...during early weight loss phase i did try a little harder by drinking Protein Shakes (which i don't anymore), also i never tried to forcefully increase calories during weight loss phase though, no matter what i was eating. but during maintenance i was concerned about increasing calories...see my go-to's below:

22 hours ago, BKJ said:

- Any other tips/tricks/specific brand or meal suggestions? 

stuff i ate to increase calories in the early days of maintenance when stomach real estate was on ongoing issue:

- avocaods

- nuts and nuts butter

- full fat dairy and cheese

- beef Jerky

- olive oil drizzled on whatever

- chicharron / Pork rinds --> yeah this one would raise eyebrows cuz the crazy fat content, but i loved/love it! plus it had the added bonus of being very high in Protein, ha. and it really helped to bump up my calorie intake.

finally, i am also a grazer...since i can't really eat alot in one sitting, i eat a little bit every hour or so. this was really an issue for me in the early years, but now my food intake capacity has increased so it doesn't feel so much like a chore as it used to.

In sum, just do your best, keep up with your labs and doc appt to make sure you medically ok, and eventually the stuff that you are worrying about now will be just that thing you used to worry about.

good luck! ❤️

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