Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 22 - October 25

It was a busy long weekend for me.  More concerts, an all day debate which I judged, preparations for Farley's upcoming birthday.  I am tiring of posting so many repetitive pictures of the whole plant food we eat.  So I am  not going to post more repetitive pictures.  I have put some more on the web at https://picasaweb.google.com/farley368/BobSOctoberChallenge where anybody can see all the pictures for the October Challenge.

The only things of note to report over the last few days -
 - I used steamed kale a lot for my green in my bowls.  Like any green vegetable, it works great and tastes fine.
 - We celebrated some accomplishments of our amazing son with a bottle of wine.  1-2 glasses per day.
- I had to buy some new jeans -  the old ones were falling off.  Size 33, which is three inches less than my old ones.
 - My blood sugars are doing well.  Yesterday's FBS was 98.  I was running in the 170's before this challenge.  Weight continues to drop.
 - I ordered and received the Get Healthy Now (Red) DVD set from vegsource.com and have watched the first DVD in the 3 DVD set.  This included 2 lectures by Dr. Fuhrman - one dealing with various aspects of hunger, and the other various aspects of cancer.  The hunger lecture was particularly interesting because Dr. Fuhrman added some details to the already excellent presentation in his book "Eat to Live".  I would like to talk about these details.
Redefining My Concept and Experience of Hunger
Dr. Fuhrman has redefined my concept of hunger.  I was aware from Dr. McDougall and Jeff that their concept of hunger differed from my own, but I did not really understand what Dr. McDougall was talking about when he discussed the problem of the "volume eater."  Jeff mentioned in some his posts that hunger was a pleasant sensation that was felt in the mouth and throat, but because the physiology of hunger was not his specialty perhaps, I did not understand much beyond that.  I was also too complacent.  I had reversed my medical problems, restructured my diet around whole plant foods, lost a lot of weight, and been designated a Star McDougaller.  I thought I had it down pretty well.

Dr. Fuhrman's "Eat to Live" really challenged me.  He emphasized the importance of being slim - not just ok, and the importance of getting my blood sugars into the normal range rather than being happy with levels that just avoided medication.  He definitely challenged my concept of hunger.  His description of toxic hunger is exactly the only hunger sensation that I experienced since childhood.

After several weeks now, I am experiencing very little in the way of toxic hunger, and becoming much more familiar with my body's true hunger sensations.  But one section of Dr. Fuhrman's talk in the Get Healthy Now lecture really resonated with me.  He stated that when you eat, you should not eat to being "full."  You should not eat to the point that your stomach expands and you do not feel like exercising.  When eating the correct amount of food, you should still feel like you could go out and exercise.  That is not how I have done it.  Because I have been eating fewer meals, I have allowed myself to continue eating a lot of food at meals - usually having seconds.

For the last few days, I have eaten according to this idea and it is working great.  When I do this, I feel really good after meals, and by the time for my next meal comes around, I am experiencing some true hunger.  If I understand Dr. Fuhrman on this, the ideal is to never feel stuffed, and to time the amount you are eating so that you will be truly hungry when the next meal time comes around.  Because I have such a long history of not doing this, it is taking some time.  But the work and patience is really paying off as I move towards healthy eating habits for quantity as well as quality of foods.

I had previously underestimated the importance of learning to manage my hunger.  I thought, as per Dr. Lisle, that my hunger would take care of itself with a whole plant food diet.  This is probably true for most people.  It was true for Farley.  She became very trim, with a very low BMI, simply by eating the same foods that I do.  But she long felt that I ate way too much, and I agreed that I ate a high quantity of food.  I am in the process of reeducating my hunger.  This seems to be a very important concept to me, and I am sure many others.  It is definitely a step beyond where I was before, and I am excited to see where it will lead in the future.  It would be wonderful if getting slim was the answer to my high blood sugars.  Dr. Fuhrman says that some people are sensitive to even a small amount of extra fat.  Those people need to get slim to get their blood sugars back to normal.  I hope to get slim and to be one of those people.  I do believe that understanding and reeducating my hunger drive is going to be key on this journey.  Today, I eat much less than I did a  year ago, when I was about 15 pounds heavier.  I don't suffer and feel even better than before.  There doesn't seem to be any downside.

I would recommend that anybody who is eating healthy food, but has yet to reach their goals, to get some of Dr. Fuhrman's books or lectures and investigate whether they are eating in response to toxic hunger rather than true hunger.  There is a great chance that you can do a lot of good by refining your own concept and experience of hunger.


  1. A lesson I've been learning too.


    "The Okinawan cultural habit of calorie control called hara hachi bu, which means eat only until you are 80% full, plays a role as well as their habit of eating an antioxidant rich plant-based diet. Stopping at 80% capacity is actually a very good strategy to avoid obesity without going hungry because the stomach's stretch receptors take about 20 minutes to tell the body that how full it really is and 20 minutes after stopping you will really feel full.

    "In Okinawa, Heart Disease rates are 80% lower, and stroke rates lower than in the US. Cholesterol levels are typically under 180, homocystein levels are low and blood pressure at goal levels. Rates of cancer are 50-80% lower - especially breast, colon, ovarian and prostate cancer. Hip fractures are 20% lower than mainland Japanese and 40% lower than in the US. Dementia is rare.

    "However, Okinawans who adopt Western eating styles have similar rates of heart disease as in the US. Young Okinawans, eating more processed foods, have a higher risk of heart disease than their elderly relatives. A study of 100,000 Okinawans who moved to Brazil and adopted local eating habits, showed a life expectancy 17 years lower than in Okinawa.

    "In summary, the Okinawa approach is:
    Consciously controled portion sizes through the practice of Hara Hachi Bu: eat until you are 80% full..."

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  3. No. Why would I retract that statement? Even with toxic hunger, an obese person is always going to lose weight on MWL. I would agree that a person such as I with a low metabolic rate (my temperature is quite low) who is a volume eater might not get to the lower range of body fat. I am probably a good test case myself. My diet was near MWL for several years, and I dropped from the obese range to what I would term a "high normal." I am judging that by the mirror test or body fat percentage, since I don't go with BMI on that. See Dr. Fuhrman's book. And this was eating a LOT. Yet I still lost a lot of weight. I just settled in at a high normal. I still lost a lot of weight doing this.

    So I think anybody who is not reasonably trim will lose weight on MWL even stuffing themselves, and everybody will settle in a reasonable range. Volume eaters, or those eating a lot in response to toxic hunger will stop before more normal people will stop.

    Anybody who is substantially overweight and saying that they can't lose weight on MWL are, IMO, mistaken about what they are eating or lying.

  4. Doug -
    Welcome and thanks for your comments. I think I agree with the "80%" figure that you speak of. My problem is knowing where that 80% is. I don't have a gauge, and my feelings haven't worked out too well. That is why I like Dr. F's advice of not expanding your stomach, and feeling like you could exercise right after eating. As I write this, I realize that I ate too much tonight for dinner. Don't feel like a run. LOL.

  5. Bob, I have been following your thoughts on hunger on this blog and Dr. M's site. As a fellow "volume eater," I knew that this was an area I needed to work on, MWL, Fuhrman, whatever.

    Dr. F's "Eat to Live" is not the program for me, but I do think that his thoughts on hunger are quite valid for me. So, I have been basically following MWL, but trying to "mindfully" gauge my hunger before plating my meal and slowing down my (formerly way too) fast eating. Also, I try to determine if I really need (80%) to finish it all. Dr. F's suggestion to avoid snacking has been helpful to me, as was his thoughts on the desirability of letting oneself reach true hunger before eating.

    Bottom line: I'm quite happy eating way less than I would have ever thought possible. Not hungry, except in the "true" sense. Cravings way down. Food quality way up.

    I'm not "there" yet, but I am doing better and it makes a difference in how I feel, as well as my weight. Better yet, gradual improvement seems to be a comfortable process, like learning a new skill. Not a problem.

    Love the pictures of your meals. I'm gradually moving the same way -- simpler, less seasoned, more non-starch.

  6. I've been reading the threads on hunger on the McDougall forum.

    I've reached a normal BMI mostly following the program. But I know that I still have a tendency to overeat and/or eat when not hungry.

    The Hatha Yoga Pradipika says that one should leave one fourth of the stomach free. I first read this in 2005. It's been a little seed in the back of my mind.

    The principles of calorie density allow many people to eat more and weigh less. But I think there is a lot to be said for understanding one's sense of hunger and learning to stop at different degrees of fullness.

    Thanks for sharing your exploration.