Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Announcements

I never feel full!
avatar
CatWoman1971 posted:
I have lost 60 pounds in the last year and 1/2 by watching what I eat and exercising. I started running early this year, which really took the pounds off. I was trying to stay at 2000 - 2500 calories a day due to my activity level. However, I have lately found myself taking in probably twice that many calories several days a week because of the below problem.

My problem is that I never have an actual feeling of hunger in my stomach signalling me that it's time to eat, or a real feeling of fullness or satisfaction in my stomach signalling me to stop eating. I have had this problem ever since I was about 10 years old.

I have tried fasting, and the only way I know I need to eat is when I get weak and dizzy. And then I can eat and eat until I get a weird kind of "dazed" feeling, but there is really nothing in my stomach signalling me to stop eating. I can ALWAYS eat. Even after a full meal (500+ calories), I feel like I could still eat the same thing over and then some. I have had to put myself on a strict regimen of eating at specific times every day and watching my portion sizes.

That was my problem when I was overweight. I have controlled it for a long time, but I have been reverting back to my poor eating habits.

What can I do to feel some satisfaction in eating and get some control over what I am eating? I have tried extremely hard to eat a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, etc., which I feel is important since I now run about 20 miles a week. I have tried eating more protein and fat, but I can STILL eat and eat. I mostly crave the high sugar / processed carbohydrates when I feel like eating and eating.

I went to a doctor several years ago about this, and all she did was prescribe diet pills (I was overweight at that time). I am currently 5 ft 1 and weight 128, which is ideal I think. Is there a specific kind of specialist I should go to besides a general practice or primary care physician?

HELP!
Reply
FirstPrevious12NextLast
 
avatar
Elaine_Magee responded:
Wow! I've never heard of not being able to feel full before but I congratulate you for making your way through it as you have. I'm a dietitian and not a medical specialist but it sounds to me like there is some type of dysfunction in the nerves of your stomach (that tell your brain when it is stretching) or in the hormones that signal to the brain when the stomach isn't hungry anymore. I would think a gastroenterologist might know more about this condition.

The one way, foodwise, to bulk up your stomach contents without adding too many calories is through fiber and water. Eating high water/fiber foods like lettuce, vegetables, fruits, for example, would normally help fill your stomach with food bulk and not too many calories. You've probably tried everything but have you tried drinking some hot green tea before your meals? Hot liquids tend to stay in the stomach a little longer.

Beyond the physical condition you have, it sounds like there could be some eating issues that have arisen from the physical that involve some feelings of uncontrolled eating. If you think this is part of the problem, you might benefit from working with a psychologist or dietitian who works with people with eating/emotion issues.

You definitely are active and it sounds like you have found a weight that works for you. That's the good news. Hopefully a visit to the gastroenterologist will give you further insight into this condition. And let us know if the focusing on high fiber/high water foods and/or drinking a cup of hot green tea before meals helps you at all.

All the best,

Elaine Magee
 
avatar
CatWoman1971 responded:
Thank you so much for the response! I am glad somebody actually believes me. A doctor I saw years ago actually laughed at me and just prescribed me diet pills.

I did make an appointment with a gastroenterologist. I also agree with you about the feelings of uncontollable eating and am looking into providers for that.

One question - with my weight (128), height (5'1"), and activity level (I run about 20 - 25 miles a week divided up over 4 days every week, then cross train and strength train 2 other days). Do you think 2000 - 2500 calories is enough? I just want to maintain what I have.

Thanks again!
 
avatar
CindyO1119 responded:
I totally understand what you are saying. I've been the same way since about 10 years old too! I think what helps me the most is to not eat any processed flour foods and very little grains. I do very well on the South Beach food plan but when I try to add even whole grain carbs, I am not as successful in weight loss and health as when I don't eat them. Believe me, I am not celiac positive and have been to every weight loss group, gastroenterologist and therapy for "what is really eating me" and I firmly believe it is a biological condition. Keep that weight off! You are doing so well! I am trying to relose, again!
 
avatar
crherr16127 responded:
I thought I was the only person in the world who had this problem! While I wouldn't wish it on anyone, I am relieved to know that I am not alone. I'm sorry I don't have any answers for you, though. Having been overweight all my life (I was put on my first diet when I was 3), I have tried just about every legitimate weight loss known to man. I have had the most success with Weight Watchers - mostly because I can adjust the foods and times to suit my needs - but I still struggle daily and am far from my goal. I assumed the problem is all in my head (as opposed to an organic problem), which is why I haven't mentioned it to my doctor. She was really pushing gastric by-pass for a while and I refuse to go there. Maybe I do need to discuss it with her again.
 
avatar
walkthewalk4me responded:
I have had this issue for as long as I remember and I am in my 50's. I have been lucky to find many good people interested in helping me on my journey to better health through weight loss. Though I have a long way to go, I have lost and kept off 60 lbs for several years. It is hard. I, too, could eat any time day or night. I can eat breakfast for dinner and ice cream for breakfast...No matter.

I have been told that years of abuse with excess food as well as extreme dieting, diet pills and excessive exercise have ruined my appestat - sort of the thermometer for your appetite. The hungry/full setting as opposed to the hot/cold setting of a thermometer. When I am able to I live a fairly organized and regiment life with my food. Always breakfast is the same of steelcut oats and fat free yogurt....a banana later.....I have 2 cheese sticks later with about 12 walnut halves and some V8 juice and I cook a healthy dinner or salad to take to work with me and a yogurt for desert.. I always eat an apple or piece of fruit driving home from work so I am not emotionally starved when I get home. I have a very stressful job and will eat for that alone if I feel I "deserve to."

No...it isn't easy to find people to either believe or understand. But I opened up and found a doctor, a priest (who had the same issue!), a patient that I had cared for and a member of my church. We ALL have excessive dieting and restricting of food in common.

For me, 3 good meals a day....a LOT of them filled with Superfoods (great book - Superfoods RX by Stephen Pratt, MD) and no sweets to antagonize the beast within are the way I will continue on. I know I am a candidate for weight loss surgery but I do not want it. I have seen what healthy weight loss can do for my body and mind and I want more of it. We can live with this complicating factor and in fact, we can overcome it. As it is said, one day at a time....Today is all we have to worry about. Good luck to us all...
 
avatar
terrry7 responded:
WOW Ditto! I'm 51 5'5" & can outeat anyone & not realize I am over eating until I am literally in pain! Salad bars are dngerous for me! I am never really hungry, I did a 28 day fast & my stomach never growled , WATER only!!! I,ve been 200 pounds to 106.........currently I have been about 115 for the past year, but only by 1 hour workout DAILY & very controlled low glycemic frequent meals AFTER I do my workout, I do not eat until I have done my exercises! It gives me motivation. I LOVE food!!
 
avatar
Alittleunwell responded:
I am really impressed with your weightloss and you should feel really good about it. I have lost about 80 pounds and have been stalling myself but I think I am on track now to continue losing. I would really like to lose another 100 pounds. I did the 80 so why not more? About the hunger, have you ever read Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz's book "YOU On A Diet"? They mention there that High Fructose Corn Syrup when in a product tricks you brain into thinking it never ate. This stuff is in everything and the only way I could find foods without it is by buying sugar-free food. It takes real dedication, and I know you have it because you have lost all this weight, and therefore you have to look at the ingredients of everything you put in your mouth. The nice thing is because of the rise in diabetes (not so nice for that) but good for us because there are many products on the market that are sugar free. The other thing that might be something to look at is, are you taking any medications? I take about 10 different ones a day and they make me feel hungry and the doctor cares but says the other problems are more important right now. Anywho, good luck!
 
avatar
magicpill responded:
I am having this problem as well ... I relate it partially to caffeine intake in my case, but I can't seem to quit my caffeine addiction!! Caffeine really stimulates my appetite (I know it has the opposite effect in many people, but I'm not one of the lucky ones.) It seems like once I get hungry after drinking coffee, I can't ever get rid of the hunger no matter how much or what type of foods I eat. This happens especially during my "PMS" time... and with my 5 week cycles, that is a LONG TIME!!
 
avatar
Grdidi responded:
Is it the caffeine, or do you perhaps use an artificial sweetener in your coffee? I usually drink green tea now (and plain), but when I occasionally drink coffee, it's usually decaf, but I have a brand of creamer/sweetener that tastes good, but I should stop using because it has no benefit other than flavor and does cause me to have those hunger sensations. Drinking a diet soft drink produces the same effect (again--I'm trying to avoid those).

Usually it's easier to substitute one behavior for another than to try to just quit something by itself. I really liked the taste of Diet Dr. Pepper until I quit having one per day. Then when I treated myself to one a couple weeks ago, it just didn't taste the same. If you can switch to green tea (or having a 5-minute walk break/whatever) for two or three weeks, you might surprise yourself. Best wishes!
 
avatar
subtlemischief responded:
I was taking a tricyclic antidepressant for 10 years for chronic headaches and depression. It was recently stopped. The gnawing that I had suspected was not hunger, but reacted to anyway, has gone! I have already lost some weight.

I knew from my training that people often self-treat peptic ulcer disease (PUD) with eating, so going to a GI doctor I suspect is the right route. If you do not have a medical reason preventing you from taking an antacid, you might want to experiment to see if that helps until you see the doctor.

www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_symptoms_of_peptic_ulcers_000019_3.htm
 
avatar
Tonja77 responded:
First of all, good for you for doing so much work in identifying and addressing this. Truthfully, most doctors don't know enough about nutrition or individual differences in hunger to help you. And the science on the physiology of hunger is not advanced enough yet. But there are several things you can do that will definitely help.

First, get the book "Eat to Live" by Joel Fuhrman and follow that eating style (www.drfuhrman.com). You need an exceptionally nutrient-dense diet to bring your body's phytonutrient levels up, which will help the hormones that regulate hunger function better. Also, this way of eating provides a higher volume of food for less calories, so fills the stomach more, also helping to reduce hunger. You will also find an increase in general energy, a stronger immune system, and other benefits from eating this way.

You actually should be able to fast without feeling weak and dizzy. The fact that you do feel weak and dizzy when you fast is an indicator that you need a more nutrient-dense diet.

Second, take 200 mg of chromium two or three times a day (but at least twice a day). There is strong research supporting this, and the fact that you crave high sugar / processed carbs is a good indicator that you are deficient. Not all chromium is well-absorbed, however. Use either chromium histadine or picolinate.
 
avatar
2Stubby responded:
Checkout www.mendosa.com/satiety . Here's a synopsis of it....

Susanna Holt, PhD, has developed the Satiety Index, a system to measure different foods' ability to satisfy hunger. A fixed amount (240 calories) of different foods was fed to participants who then ranked their feelings of hunger every fifteen minutes and were allowed to eat freely for the next two hours. Of all the foods tested, potatoes were the most satisfying.
 
avatar
straightscoop responded:
I have trouble feeling full myself, I could eat any time of the day and need large amounts of food to feel satisfied. My husband, who is 6ft tall, has said he feels "stuffed" after a small sandwich and nothing else, and I'm like, "can I eat your french fries?" I've managed to keep it under control by eating large amounts of the lowest-calorie foods I can find so there isn't much room left for junk food. Shirataki noodles are a godsend for me. (Google them)They have ones with zero calories and ones with tofu added that are 40 cals for about 2 cups of noodles. I mix these in with Progresso light soup, in a veggie stir-fry or with light tomato sauce and it really tides me over without many calories. I also eat huge salads. I eat an entire bag of pre-cut lettuce at one sitting, mixed with some type of protein and shredded carrots, green onions, and tomatoes and low-cal dressing. (Walden Farms makes many calorie-free varieties).

Whipped egg whites folded with 2-3 cups of vegetables and a little light cheese, baked and topped with salsa gives you a filling and large plate of food for only about 200 cals.

I also eat a lot of high-fiber foods to fill up. When I make liquid-type foods like oatmeal, shakes, or soups, I often mix in psyllium, guar gum, or glucommanan powder, which causes it to expand and thicken, and gives you a bigger serving with no extra calories. Hope these ideas help.


Helpful Tips

Have you tried Quinoa yet? You should!Expert
Quinoa is a whole grain that has been around for thousands of years...once considered the "gold of the Incas." I've been trying to think ... More
Was this Helpful?
67 of 84 found this helpful

Expert Blog

Healthy Recipe Doctor - Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

Dietician Elaine Magee has the secret recipe for creating healthy meals that are guaranteed to please any condition or diet...Read More

Related News

There was an error with this newsfeed

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.