. the fear of eating early and eating more .

by Amanda @ .running with spoons. on April 23, 2013

When you wake up at 5 AM, you’re pretty much ready for lunch by the time 10 o’clock rolls around. Despite eating a good breakfast and enjoying a mid-morning snack like I always do, I couldn’t get my stomach to stop pestering me for more than 20 minutes yesterday morning; and since there’s nothing more distracting than hunger when it comes to trying to get some work done, lunch was on the table and in my belly by 10:30 AM.

Italian Stuffed Chicken

Leftover Italian style stuffed chicken, coconut spiked bulgar, and steamed mixed veggies. 

Stuffed Chicken

Ever have those early breakfast/lunch/dinner days? I do – especially when I don’t get enough sleep. I’d love to say that I have no problem with them, but that would only be a partial truth. While I do honor my hunger even when it’s not the “proper” time to eat (mostly because I can’t stand the feeling of being hungry and what it does to me), I don’t always do so without anxiety. True story. I know I may come across as being completely carefree when it comes to matters concerning food, but that’s not always the case – I still have lingering anxieties that pop up every now and then. The difference is that they’re now a subtle itch at the back of my mind rather than a dominant thought in the forefront that goes on to dictate my actions.

And what exactly is it that makes me so anxious? Well, in the case of eating a meal early, the fear that I’ll end up eating more (read: too much) throughout the day. And you know what? Oftentimes that’s exactly what ends up happening…

Almond Butter on Toast

Almond butter on the butt of a loaf of bread.

Oat Bran Mess

A mess of oat bran, plain Greek yogurt, homemade applesauce, honey, and cinnamon.

There are days where I have to toss in an extra snack or two because I can’t get my brain to focus on anything other than food – a typical symptom of hunger for me. Terrifying, right? It definitely used to be.

Back in the day where I was religiously tracking my calories and macros, the mere thought of eating more than I had planned or allowed myself to was enough to send me over the edge. And when it came to actually doing it? Yeah right, there was no way that was going to happen. Hungry or not, I would force myself to wait until the proper hour to eat, obsessively watching the clock and agonizing over how slowly the minutes were passing by. One minute. Three minutes. Five minutes. Gah!

Looking back, it’s hard to figure out why I put myself through that kind of unnecessary misery, why I couldn’t just eat when I was hungry and move on. Actually, I take that back – it’s not hard to figure out why. I was afraid that eating before it was time would cause me to eat more (read: too much) and…. gulp… gain weight. But, as with any other disordered belief, this one proved to have no truth to it as well. I mean, I did gain weight, but that’s because I needed to and was consciously trying to. I was severely underweight and eating an amount that was well above my maintenance level. But I digress.

Early lunches, they happen. Eating more, it happens. The point I’m trying to get across here (to myself as well), is that nothing bad happens as a result. Trust me (brain, I’m lookin’ at you!!). There are days where I feel like my hunger is off the charts and I’m doing nothing but eating, but lo and behold, those days never seem to show up on my butt or thighs. So don’t be afraid to eat when you’re hungry, even if that means having lunch at 10:30 AM.

. – . – . – .

Can anyone relate?
Do you eat a snack between breakfast and lunch?

{ 107 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Khushboo April 23, 2013 at 8:35 am

When can I not relate! This post especially resonated with me, Amanda! It makes me cringe to think how back in the day, I “couldn’t” eat lunch before 2 pm, dinner before 8.30 it goes on! Thank goodness those days are behind me and reiterating on what you said, eating earlier (or as my stomach called for a meal) has done a world of good for me physically and mentally. For starters, I am not wishing my days away merely so I can eat. Some days I’ll eat more than if I had waited a bit longer to eat but some days I don’t…easier said than done, but it all balances out eventually. And you know what- a growling stomach is not a bad thing. It’s a sign that our metabolism is working and needs more fuel to keep on burning.
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2 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Ugh I remember just trying to “get through” the times between meals… definitely not how I want to live my life.

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3 Tiff @ Love, Sweat, and Beers April 23, 2013 at 8:36 am

Oh yes! I can totally relate. I eat a bunch of snacks throughout the day, and I still go for an early lunch. Rice cake before gym, real breakfast after workout, snack, and then lunch, which usually occurs before noon.
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4 Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness April 23, 2013 at 8:39 am

Oh you mean second breakfast? Yes, I’m very familiar. It’s okay though because getting in a bunch of calories in the morning isn’t a bad thing, and it tends to keep my hunger in check for the rest of the day. Although sometimes I am just a total hunger monster and no matter how much I eat in the beginning of the day, I’ll still want more and more food later in the day as well, which is stressful of course. But for the most part I think morning snacks are a pretty good way to go actually.
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5 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I can definitely relate to my hunger being a lot more manageable if I eat a decent amount of calories earlier in the day. If I don’t, then I’m pretty much a lost cause for the rest of the day…

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6 Andrea @ mainerunnergirl April 23, 2013 at 8:43 am

I just did this same thing and am so glad you shared this! I ate a snack earlier than usual because I was so hungry and instantly thought that it was somehow “bad”. For the love, self ;)…a granola bar is not going to make me 10 pounds heavier tomorrow!

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7 kris April 23, 2013 at 8:44 am

This totally happens to me when I eat breakfast too early! I have to remind myself sometimes that if I don’t eat enough earlier in the day, I’ll most likely end up overeating later on. Plus the energy/calories are much needed since our bodies started working earlier in the day.
I’m all for the snack between breakfast and lunch :)
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8 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm

My hunger is a lot harder to manage if I don’t eat enough early in the day as well!

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9 andrea April 23, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Same here! I really love this post because I completely relate. I wake up at 5 and have breakfast at no later than 6 so by 10:30 comes around I’m starving and anticipating 2 more hours. However, if I manage to fuel myself with snacks, it actually makes NO difference in “weight gain”.
Thanks for reassuring me that there’s others out there as no one else in my family is like that!!!
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10 Heather @fitncookies April 23, 2013 at 8:46 am

I can totally relate! Oh gosh can I relate. I hate when I have those strarving days, but I try to move on. I bring a morning snack everyday, and have been eating them lately whenever hungry. My lunch times are unpredictable as a sub, so sometimes I am forced to eat lunch at 10:30. I am usually starving for a second lunch by 1! Sometimes I save part of my lunch for later, but if I am hungry, it is all eaten!

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11 Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin April 23, 2013 at 8:46 am

That’s funny you post this today because yesterday was definitely one of those eat every meal early days, which resulted in eating a lot more than usual. I was up early for a test and wanted lunch by 10:00 AM too. I kind of just accepted this and ate whenever my body told me to, which you’re right isn’t always easy when your mind is telling you you “shouldn’t”. Luckily both of us seem to not let those annoying thoughts dictate our actions. And I woke up this morning the same old me, surprise surprise ;)
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12 Beth @ Mangoes and Miles April 23, 2013 at 8:47 am

Oh my goodness yes! When I was counting calories, I would not allow myself to eat if I was hungry at 2. I would force myself to wait until 2:30. Even now, I get slightly anxious about eating earlier than anticipated. One thing that really gets me is if it’s like 4, but I’m planning on eating dinner at 5:30 (I know, I’m an old lady :P ), sometimes I just won’t eat because then I’m afraid I won’t be hungry when I want to eat dinner. I’m working on it, but it’s not easy! :)
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13 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 12:15 pm

I usually eat dinner around 5:30 as well ;)

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14 Carly @ Snack Therapy April 23, 2013 at 8:48 am

It’s so important to throw out socially accepted eating times! My schedule for school is totally wonky and all over the place. You best believe that if I’m staying up ’til midnight, my last meal isn’t going to be at 6pm.

I used to try to push my breakfast back as far as possible so that I would eat less throughout the day. So silly!
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15 Lisa April 23, 2013 at 8:54 am

So glad you posted about this. I’ve definitely experienced those days and those challenges, and yah it was really hard to move past those “rules” I had made for myself, but it’s SO important. Especially because life doesn’t run by a schedule. Most work places, jobs, or social situations don’t adapt to your schedule (though it would be cool if they could ;) )
I can relate so much!
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16 Zoya April 23, 2013 at 8:54 am

I can relate to this fo sho. It happened to me yesterday, and I decided to roll with it…as a result, I felt better, happier, and woke up today looking as trim as ever.
Also, the butt of the bread is the best part to toast spread some nut butter on (or coconut oil and honey!) Love it!
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17 Emma @ a mom runs this town April 23, 2013 at 8:54 am

I can totally relate… I’m eating breakfast after a workout by 6AM and STARVING by 10AM! I usually grab a rice cake and almond butter. When I was nursing I would seriously eat breakfast, brunch, lunch, linner and dinner. But, it’s definitely better to spread out your calories.. keeps the metabolism going!

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18 Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness April 23, 2013 at 9:07 am

I can totally relate to you! Back in the day when I was a strict calorie counter I used to hate days when I was extra hungry and just wanted food more than usual. Now I know that it will all balance out and it definitely causes a lot less anxiety for me.
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19 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 12:27 pm

It definitely all balances out! I find these days are usually followed by a few where my appetite is a lot easier to manage… And then the cycle repeats :lol:

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20 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles April 23, 2013 at 9:08 am

Absolutely yes I can relate! While I still struggle a little bit with eating lunch before 11 if I’m hungry, I’m not nearly as bad as I used to be. I remember the days of eating by the clock…they were depressing and agonizingly painful. Minutes tick by so slowly when you’re hungry.

I don’t usually eat a morning snack, but that’s because I’m usually not eating breakfast until 8:30 or 9 right now, and lunch by 12 or 12:30. But if I need one, then I’ll go for it.

Hungry days are still a tad awkward for me. But I’m learning that my body knows what it’s doing, so I really just kind of roll with it. Like you said, nothing bad ever happens as a result!
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21 Sarah Pie April 23, 2013 at 9:11 am

I used to have a hard time accepting how much food I actually needed in a day, I would fill my lunchbox with what I thought was a reasonable amount of food… and have eaten it all before my first class. Now I pack my lunchbox (and my backpack…and my car) with more food than I could possibly eat in a day. Then I eat what I want, when I want it and (gasp!) nothing drastic has happened. It’s awesomely freeing when you realize that your body actually does know whats up :)
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22 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I think sooooo many people make the mistake of thinking that their bodies need less food than they actually do – I know I was crazy surprised when I realized how much food I needed to eat to feel my best, especially when I saw that it didn’t make me gain any weight like I thought it would.

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23 Letizia April 23, 2013 at 9:11 am

Awesome post, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Today, I woke up at 5am, had a snack at 8:30 and ate lunch at 11. I always feel the anxiety that you described so well, but I have learned to accept it (for the most part). I am also unable to ignore my hunger cues now. I guess it’s something that remains after my ED. I just can’t stand being hungry, and I seem to go from stuffed to EXTREMELY hungry in a matter of minutes! Go figure…

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24 Sarah @PickyRunner April 23, 2013 at 9:25 am

Holy cow can I relate to this. The timing thing is something I still struggle with. An early snack? What if I’m hungry again at the usual time? Early dinner? God forbid I eat before 6 in fear that I might need a bedtime snack. It’s ridiculous, really. I’ve found myself counting down to 5:59 until I could start eating when in reality, that minute makes NO difference. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one that does this, but I’m even more glad that like me, it’s only a slight nagging sentiment in the back of your mind rather than something that you act on..
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25 Ashley @ Life and Fitness April 23, 2013 at 9:26 am

Yes I can relate to this especially this past weekend! I was up by 3:30 last Friday for the airport and probably ate about 7 meals that day compared to my usual 5. Like you, at first I was worried about eating so much more all in one day. Then I realized I had been up for almost 24 hours straight and my body needed that food so I could have some energy. On regular days, I try not to worry about it because the next day I won’t be so hungry and it all evens out.
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26 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I’ve definitely noticed that it balances out. And I have the same trouble when I’m travelling – especially if I have to deal with a huge time zone shift.

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27 Alex @ therunwithin April 23, 2013 at 9:29 am

I mean I think anyone that struggled with this in our past can relate to that misery. I always wonder why the heck I allowed myself to feel utterly sick the majority of the time. I couldn’t concentrate, didn’t have energy and then of course the thoughts only perpetuate. The ease of just eating feels so much better I have to say. thank goodness.
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28 Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health April 23, 2013 at 9:39 am

I always have a snack between breakfast and lunch and lunch and dinner. I have an apple every day for my morning snack and usually a banana with bread after work before I exercise. I would pass out if I didn’t have a snack! I worry about eating dinner too early too because, just like you, I want something later on before bed. I find a nice glass of milk usually shuts my stomach up long enough on those nights though. And maybe a cookie too. :) You’re right though, the best thing you can do is just be happy and not stress about eating!!
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29 Jemma April 23, 2013 at 9:42 am

I can totally relate to this! On days when I wake up really early I feel like a bottomless pit and have to plan in extra snacks. I think it’s important to follow your bodies needs though so I tend to just go with it.
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30 Morganne @ NutButterRunner April 23, 2013 at 9:50 am

This is me to a T! I literally am way too strategic about when to eat just so I don’t eat more (too much). And I always pack snacks because I’m afraid I will get hungry and won’t have anything that will adequately satisfy me! Great post…thank you for writing it! :)
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31 Kayla @ Blondes Have More Run April 23, 2013 at 9:52 am

Wow – story of my life. I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about! I’m the same way. Sometimes I try to rationalize with myself saying “well hey, since you woke up early maybe you’ll be tired early, so those are hours you won’t be eating, making up for those early hours”
Great post! :)
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32 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Hehe. I’ve done that kind of rationalization too ;)

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33 Nicole April 23, 2013 at 9:53 am

I definitely felt more anxious than most days yesterday when I was hungry only an hour after eating breakfast. I was at work, and had my lunch with me, but considering how hungry I was, I thought, “If I eat my lunch now, then I won’t have an actual lunch to eat later!” Thinking I had a granola bar in my car like I usually do, I skipped out to my car and damnit! Wasn’t there. I was a mess until lunch. I ate about half of it beforehand and after lunch felt fine…. but then the hunger kicked in again and I swear, I overate by a LOT yesterday. It made me uncomfortable, but when I was finally full (at like midnight), I realized how GOOD it felt to not feel hungry. THAT is what always ends up putting my mind at ease and allows me to keep pushing forward at times like this where in the past I would’ve just sat with my miserable hunger.

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34 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm

That’s what always keeps me going too – realizing how much more I enjoy life when I’m not counting down the minutes between meals.

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35 Liv @ Life as Liv April 23, 2013 at 10:07 am

I can 100% percent relate. I used to the a slave to th clock, eating every three hours, whether I was hungry or not. It’s been a hard lesson to listen and TRUST that my body knows when it needs to be fed, and I can’t “out think” my body.
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36 Samantha April 23, 2013 at 10:07 am

Thank you so much for sharing this post! I used to have the same anxiety with eating early and before I was “supposed” to. Now that I know better it seems silly to me. So glad I’m not the only one who ever felt like this!

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37 Mary April 23, 2013 at 10:15 am

Meh. This ends up happening to me all the time! I’m trying to get out of the rut I’m stuck in of ‘I MUST have breakfast the second I wake up whether hungry or not!’ at the moment as I get up between 5-5:30am most mornings. Lunch isn’t until 1:15…that’s a long gap!
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38 De @ Cooking for the Other Half April 23, 2013 at 10:16 am

Girl, I can SO relate. During my bad e.d. days, I used to obsess about the ‘right’ time to eat a meal, and eating too early always made me worried that I’d eat too much.

I also get up close to 5am, and am starving by 10am. I usually have a snack between breakfast and lunch — sometimes it’s a Luna bar mini, sometimes it’s some fruit, sometimes it’s nuts…etc. I wouldn’t survive without my mid-morning snack!!!
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39 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile April 23, 2013 at 10:20 am

I literally eat like 700 times a day, so early lunches are normal for me ;) And yesterday, I ate like a million times a day because it was just one of those days! I usually always wake up early and often eat up to 7 times a day. I never worry about it, because if I am up early and moving around longer than I would be if I woke up a bit later, my body needs the extra fuel!
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40 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Definitely loving that reasoning!

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41 Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen April 23, 2013 at 10:22 am

I’m all for eating when I’m hungry. On that same note, I’m okay with not eating if I’m not hungry yet and it’s the typical time for a meal. (I’ll just eat later) I wake up super early too and I need to start eating a mid-day snack because I get so hungry by noon. Awkward stomach growling in a meeting- not letting that happen again!
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42 Victoria @ Reluctantly Skinny April 23, 2013 at 10:40 am

I don’t know anyone who can’t relate to this. I think we all have days where we think of nothing but food – and no amount of snacking or meal eating can curb the appetite. It all balances out in the end, and it seems like even your snack foods are healthy and unprocessed. I like to think that if we’re conscious of what we eat (even most of the time) days where we might eat a little more than we like aren’t do bad! As for snacking, I do try to have a snack between lunch and dinner (we eat very late) so I don’t overeat at dinner – I have a habit of eating too much too late and feeling queasy when I go to bed!
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43 Megan @ runningonjava April 23, 2013 at 10:42 am

I definitely find that if I wake up early and eat early, I’m eating an earlier lunch. My high school started at 7:15 (meaning I was eating breakfast at around 6:45) and our scheduled lunch time was between 10:30 and 11. It seems crazy, but it makes sense considering our schedule. My schedule has changed a bit thanks to college, so 10:30 is a very early lunchtime for me – it’s more my morning snack time. oh, and I love the bread butts.
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44 Brittany April 23, 2013 at 11:00 am

Before I left TJ’s I was up everyday at 3am or 4am to be at work which meant my “lunch break” was at 8am or 9am. I would eat a cliff bar or something similar at 4am and then a huge meal by 8am. When I got off around noon I would eat another large meal and there were plenty of snacks in between. I was actually at my lowest weight during the last few months of this eating/working schedule. I think my body finally got used to eating more and at odd times. I do have to say it was hard at first and eating that early knowing that I would be eating “more” was tough. I’m with you on listening to the hunger cues though!
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45 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm

3 AM?! My God, lady… I know TJ’s is supposed to be all that and a bag of potato chips, but dang… that’s crazy early!

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46 Allison @ Life's a Bowl April 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm

I was on a similar schedule when I was working retail Brittany! It was somewhat “strange” to eat lunch at what some think of as breakfast time but we eat breakfast for lunch and dinner – no rules!
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47 Miss Polkadot April 23, 2013 at 11:31 am

Okay, it’s getting ridiculous how often I say this in my comments but your post once again couldn’t have come more timely. Just today is one of those days. Due to an appointment I had to get up way earlier than usual. Cue an earlier breakfast followed by a – much! – earlier than usual lunch and I haven’t really stopped eating since. Eating too early and being a bottomless pit on one and the same day? Anxiety-inducing like crazy. I’m surprised I actually managed to get things done for classes with my mind focussed on food all of the time. Being afraid of eating more later is just not getting me anywhere but I still am afraid as it does actually happen most times. Sigh, I wish I worked my way to intuitive eating and accepting those days faster.
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48 Ashley @ Eat Run Live Happy April 23, 2013 at 11:33 am

I can relate so much to this post. I just wrote a very personal post today about how far I’ve come and shared some of my old writings. I am so much better now but I do have my times. I feel the same way about eating early. When I do my training runs early I am starving for lunch at 10:30. Then I usually try and eat dinner before I go to work at 4. I have a fear that I’ll want to get something out of the vending machine or steal a cupcake that’s lying around. Sometimes I do and I’ve gotten better at saying no thanks and I’ve also gotten better about giving in every once in a while and enjoying it. Recovery is a long long road for sure. I’m happy I’ve come so far.

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49 Becky @ Olives n Wine April 23, 2013 at 11:43 am

I can TOTALLY relate to this. I try to eat on a schedule, especially since I wake up so early but I should really just eat when I’m hungry. I shouldn’t eat because I’m tired or bored or because I think that I should be eating.
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50 Devon @ Health in Equilibrium April 23, 2013 at 11:55 am

Oh I totally know the feeling of needing to wait until set mealtimes. I can remember being at work and everyone had already gone to the lunch room 15 minutes ago, but I was stuck in my chair, starving and staring at 1:58pm on the clock, waiting for it to change. I mean, really?? Two minutes was going to make me fat?? Now I see how irrational it was, but I still have issues with eating too early. I still like to have meals within a certain time RANGE in order to keep a bit of structure in my day, but the difference is that I will have more snacks before those times if I am hungry, rather than hoping I can make it from 7:30am to 1:00pm with only the celery sticks I had packed to tide me over. Thanks for opening up about this. With any kind of ED history it’s totally normal to have some residual anxieties, and the fact that you recognize them and try to work through them says a lot about who you are :) xoxo
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51 Brittany @ FreckledNettles April 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I definitely can identify A LOT with this post. I tend to ignore some hunger cues, simply because it’s not the right “time” to eat. I worry about over eating during the day. I KNOW that if my body is hungry, then it is asking for food. It is obviously in need of energy. It’s not like I’m over feeding myself!
Why do I still continue to ignore these cues? I couldn’t tell you!

Anyway, I’ve teamed up with Meg, Heather, and a few other bloggers to participate in the IE challenge. I’m really hoping that I can come to peace with myself and learn to listen to body’s needs.

Keep remaining true to yourself and remaining the inspiration that you are. Xoxo
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52 Hollie April 23, 2013 at 12:08 pm

I can relate to being up and five and starving no matter how many snacks I eat by 10. I had to start eating two lunches (one around 10 and one around 2) otherwise I couldn’t make it through the day. I’m really glad you are finding something that is working for you and hope it keeps working out well!
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53 kathy @ vodka and soda April 23, 2013 at 12:12 pm

i eat 5x/day. i get up at 445/5am to workout and i must eat a light snack before my workout otherwise i will pass out. in my mind, food is my fuel and nothing more, nothing less.

when i first get up at that godawful hour, i eat a few scoops of my breakfast (which i’ve already prepped the night before) and stick the rest in the fridge for my actual breakfast.

then i eat the rest of my breakfast after i’m showered, dressed and usually when i’ve reached work (which is somewhere around 730/8am).

i have another snack around 10am, followed by lunch at around 12, then another snack at around 3pm and finally, dinner at 530pm. dinner is usually very light and the lowest amount of calories because i’m not that hungry by the time dinner rolls around. so i actually don’t eat more per se but have learned how to eat better/more efficiently (ie. splitting my breakfast into two “snacks” so i don’t over eat etc). i know how many calories i need and i stick to that give or take a few calories. i find that when i work out extra hard, i’m more hungry so that is my body’s way of telling me it needs more fuel so i listen to my body. everyone should!
great post :)
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54 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats April 23, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I can totally relate! I don’t eat a morning snack because I usually have a later breakfast and a semi-early lunch but I usually have 2 afternoon snacks. I used to sit and wait until a certain time to eat and it was so awful because that’s all I could think about! By the way your oat bran, greek yogurt, applesauce mix looks AMAZING.
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55 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm

The afternoon is usually when I’m feeling my snackiest as well. And oh girl, I can’t sing enough praises about the oat, yogurt, and apple combo!

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56 Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl April 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I can totally relate! During the work week, I get up at 4:30 and so I’m defintely feeling hungry around 10:00. I usually try to hold off on the midmorning snack and if I’m busy enough, I can. But if I’m just sitting at my desk, it can be really distracting.

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57 Eating 4 Balance April 23, 2013 at 12:28 pm

I can totally relate. This was me today! I ate breakfast at my normal time of 6:30 AM but when I got back from my class at 11:00 AM I was hungry for lunch… And then at 2:00 PM today when I got back from my next class I was ready to eat again. Well, normally I don’t eat lunch at 11:00 but at the 2:00 time. For a second I thought about just waiting until supper, but that would have been 6 or 7 hours between meals, which is just not good. And I’m positive I would have been a ravished beast by then ;) But, I feel like I made the right choice and just had a small meal instead! No hunger pangs for me thank you very much.
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58 Sara @ fitcupcaker April 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I get up at 515 for work and im usually hungry so I have to eat within the hour, so I usually have a snack before lunch. Work is always crazy and I never usually get lunch until about 1 pm. Could you imagine not eating for 6 hours!? NOT ME lol
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59 Caitlin April 23, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Oh yes, I can definitely relate to this, BUT I’m getting way better. Not quite a subtle itch level, but not the domination of activity either thankfully. If I’m hungry (and I usually am) before lunch, I have something small…pretzels with nut butter or something along those lines…I also have very little problem moving up lunch now if my snack doesn’t satisfy me. Progress :)
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60 Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl April 23, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I SO relate. For some reason I cannot get specific “times to eat” out of my brain! Anytime that I do not eat when I am “supposed to” I definitely feel anxious about it. I am not quite sure how to break this horrible habit!! I really WANT to just eat when I want to, but my brain (darn brain!) often keeps me from doing so :(.

As for the mid-morning snack..it is a banana for me every day!! I forgot to bring one to work on Monday and it was seriously disappointing!
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61 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 3:28 pm

I’ve found that the only way to break it is to go against it. So, if you’re hungry and it’s not yet time to eat, eat anyways and realize that nothing bad happens as a result. In fact, you’ll probably realize that you feel SO much better, and it’ll get easier after that :)

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62 Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl April 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Thank you for the advice! I really need to almost FORCE myself to just do it!! I am going to give it a go! :)
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63 Kay April 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I know those frozen mixed veggies all too well! Haha!
I realized that when you say eating when you’re hungry doesn’t make you gain weight, it doesn’t matter if it makes me gain weight! I’ve never been huge and I never will be so a couple extra pounds might actually make me HAPPIER

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64 Amanda @ Run Principessa April 23, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I can relate 1000%. I try to listen to my body to determine whether I’m hungry or not, but most of the times the answer is ABSOLUTELY YES! And when I’m in class all day, being hungry is NOT a good way to focus. So I snack whenever my belly tells me to!
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65 Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom April 23, 2013 at 1:55 pm

While I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever had an eating disorder, I do know that I have had/do have some disordered thoughts about eating in the last few years since I’ve started being more conscientious about what I put into my body and am trying to eat intuitively. As I said on your post the other day, I am scared to gain weight since I’m not tracking my calories! I tend to have a snack between breakfast and lunch..and then two snacks between lunch and dinner usually. They’re nothing big, just enough to tide me over. I’ll usually have a snack/dessert sometime before bed too. I get really grumpy when I’m too hungry, so I try and be overprepared! Some days, I’m still underprepared!
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66 meredith April 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I am always up early and eating early..and plenty of days are hungry days which I can feel as soon as I wake up. That feeling where no matter what I eat or when is going to to the trick. That being said, I always eat when I am hungry, even if it means lunch before most people eat breakfast. I have found, more often than not, that regardless of the time of meals, they all seem to balance out. I am no hungrier at 3:00 pm if I ate lunch at 11 or at 1.
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67 Sarah @ Feeeding the Brain and Body April 23, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Timing of meals is definitely something that used to bother me alot more in the past. After staring working my schedule has pretty much turned upside down. Some nights I don’t get home till almost 8pm when I was used to having dinner at 5:30pm. Essentially I have gotten better at going with the flow when it comes to meal timings, but I can definitely relate. I do almost always have a snack between breakfast and lunch :)
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68 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm

I’ve often found that it’s the things that force us out of our comfort zones that make us realize how illogical some of our beliefs and habits can be. Work and travel have definitely done that for me in the past, and I couldn’t be more grateful for it.

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69 Kate @ Quarter Century Southern Living April 23, 2013 at 2:39 pm

It’s funny, because some days I feel like I could eat a breakfast buffet, and other days I am happy with a bowl of cereal. I try my best to listen to my body and just go with it. :)
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70 Trudy April 23, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I actually love being hungry :D When I’m hungry, I eat! So hunger in mah belly means I get to eat more food – YAY!

But I definitely do understand your point of view. Good post :)
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71 Brittany @ Delights and Delectables April 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I can relate to this! I think it is because I have “meal times” stuck in my head. It’s like I can’t have lunch yet… its not TIME. Our bodies don’t run off of time though… they just know when they need more fuel.
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72 lauren April 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I’m doing that right now at the hospital. The kitchen closes at 630 and I’m not hungry because ive trained my brain to eat at like 7 or 8 :o( who closes a kitchen?! I think one of my biggest weaknesses is watching the clock constantly.

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73 lindsay April 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm

feel better lauren. sending hugs!
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74 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Make sure to stock up before the kitchen closes! Your body needs the food to heal <3 <3

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75 lindsay April 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm

i gave up on time. I think being married helped that and married to man that has no routine. It changes daily. Sometimes i eat lunch at 10:30 too, because i really just hate snacking. I know, i am weird. I like meals. So 4 meals a day works, yes? LOL!
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76 Chelsie S April 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm

I eat breakfast at 3:30am most days, so this definitely applies to me. But what I’ve learned over these past few months of transitioning into this routine is that if I honour my midmorning / early lunch hunger, I’m more satisfied through the midday. At the same time, I’m up early, but I also go to bed early. Dinner usually happens between 4:30 and 6pm (most frequently around 5-5:30ish — early bird special!). I would never, ever make it to dinner at 7pm or later without an extra snack. Those days happen, and on those days, I snack. It’s what my body wants and needs. I’m up later and therefore will require more fuel. Done and done. The anxiety comes more when I’m trying to ignore the hunger cues rather than going with them … I guess I am my hunger’s b!tch and at her mercy. And that isn’t a bad thing in the least!

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77 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm

I usually eat my dinners around 5:30 as well, and then have another snack before bed. I honestly can’t even fathom the idea of eating dinner at 7 or later… I’d be well beyond starving. But my anxiety is definitely a lot harder to manage when I’m hungry as well. At least there’s a pretty simple solution for that :D

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78 Alyssa @ Road to RD April 23, 2013 at 5:03 pm

I totally know what you mean! If I sleep in really late I eat so much less and I actually like it (although I hate sleeping in late)
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79 Matt @ The Athlete's Plate April 23, 2013 at 5:26 pm

LOVE this post! I will admit that I have a fear of eating when it’s not “time.” What if I get hungry again before the next meal? Gotta learn to go with the flow ;)
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80 Meghan @ After the Ivy League April 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm

I definitely have my hungrier than usual days, and like you, in the past I would just stare at the clock and wait until it was “time” to eat or have a snack or whatever I had “planned” for the day. So silly! Now whenever I have a hungry day, I eat more. Super simple and I don’t overthink it. And I haven’t gained weight because of it either. Usually if you’re hungrier than usual, there’s a reason behind it. Nothing to over-analyze and obsess over, the body is a complicated thing. It just means you should eat a little more!
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81 Kate April 23, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Yep, I can TOTALLY relate to this! Lack of sleep has definitely been scientifically proven to increase your appetite, and I always feel kinda like a bottomless pit when that happens. And usually I kinda fight with myself and don’t let myself eat till it’s “time”, but it’s SO exhausting. And you know what…it all balances out in the end. Our bodies are smart, and it’s a shame that we’re so afraid to just listen to them! This is definitely something I need to work on for sure. And holy crap – that Indian stuffed chicken! I totally have to make that!

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82 Tatiana April 23, 2013 at 6:53 pm

no matter if I eat a snack right before bed, I often wake up at 4 am because I’m so hungry. Even when I don’t, I wake up at 5 for no other reason, and I’m still hungry… so I’ll usually end up eating breakfast around 530.
this still stresses me out… even though it’s been going on for over a year… but I don’t want to just be hungry for a few hours (read: cranky and miserable) until it’s a more appropriate time to eat… I know I eat more because of this, but I don’t know what to do about it…

tl;dr yes, I can totally relate, unfortunately.
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83 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 23, 2013 at 9:06 pm

If you’re hungry that often, it might just mean that you need to eat more during the day? We often underestimate how much our bodies really need to function properly. Sure, we can “get by” on less, but we’re really not doing ourselves any favors by doing that.

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84 Jess April 23, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Just for the record, if I woke up at 5:30 I think I would have about ten snacks between breakfast and lunch. I can definitely relate to getting nervous about eating before the “time” you were planning on eating. I’m much more relaxed about it now but I used to be really rigid about my eating times and if I got hungry and, god forbid, ate something before my scheduled time I would feel disgusting and like the day was ruined. But now when I think about it I was essentially just trying to tell my body when it was allowed to be hungry and how much it was supposed to want and it seems like such a bizarre and unnatural thing to occupy yourself with. This post made me realize that I’m so grateful to be able to satisfy my hunger no matter what the time and then let my thoughts and my actions revolve around other more exciting things in life.

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85 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 23, 2013 at 7:44 pm

I definitely can relate – I used to eat strictly by the clock and that feeling of watching the minutes creep by until it was an acceptable time to eat was all too familiar to me. Now my eating is all over the place – lunch is sometimes at 11, sometimes at 12, sometimes at 2. It all depends on my hunger and my schedule. I don’t always need a morning snack if I have an early lunch, but if I have a long time span between breakfast and lunch, then a snack is definitely necessary!
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86 Sara @ Nourish and Flourish April 23, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Oooohhh yes, I can relate! My meals and macros were dictated by numbers–both on the clock and on my nutrition tracker—for YEARS. I lived in fear that if I ate X amount before X time, I’d over-eat, so instead of acknowledging my hunger, I’d find every distraction under the sun to prevent me from eating. I’d take long walks; I’d chew gum (oftentimes a pack/day–no joke), I’d call friends, I’d do sit-ups/push-ups; I’d go to the library (where food was prohibited)…And you know what? I’d always feel like crap doing those things because my body was literally starving! Fortunately those days are over, but like you, I occasionally grow anxious if my stomach starts grumbling earlier than I expect it to. Right now that rarely happens, though, because in an effort to gain weight, I’m eating A LOT at every meal. :-p That in itself is another challenge!

Great post, as always, Amanda! <3 xoxo
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87 Ali April 23, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Kind of a tangent, but is that Barney Butter I see creeping into that photo?… What the wha?!?!… I thought we were united in our dislike of the artificial-like taste of that particular variety of almond butter?… I somehow feel a lil’ betrayed, especially since I have grown to love our staple variety of Maisie Jane’s. ;)

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88 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 24, 2013 at 6:03 am

Hehe no need to feel betrayed – that’s still the same old jar from back when I first posted about it. I’m not a big fan of the stuff, but I hate wasting food so I’ve been doing my best to pick away at it here and there.

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89 Ali April 28, 2013 at 3:28 am

Oh I see, makes perfect sense… and now I can sleep better. :)

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90 Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie April 23, 2013 at 10:28 pm

I have to admit that I still prefer to eat around the same times (7-8 for breakfast, 12-1 for lunch, 7 or so for dinner) just because it works better for my schedule and I’ve never been one to eat dinner early and hate when I have to, but I’m a lot better about not strictly sticking to the clock for meal times. But eating more than usual? Heck ya, that scares me like no other! I had a pretty off week with eating most of last week, skipping meals because I wasn’t hungry and then being starving later and it really messed with me when I felt like I was eating a lot. In reality, my body was just trying to make up for a lack of food earlier. And unfortunately, I tend to get super hungry at the least convenient times, like when I’m in class and don’t have any food packed or food isn’t allowed, and that can make me a little ravenous when I finally get my hands on some food!
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91 Sabrina @ Nutritiously Sweet April 23, 2013 at 10:48 pm

I sometimes deal with this myself! I wait sometimes to eat because I dont want to get hungry later or whatever the case may be, but I tried to be mindful. If I need to eat, then I should!
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92 Rose April 24, 2013 at 12:31 am

“And what exactly is it that makes me so anxious? Well, in the case of eating a meal early, the fear that I’ll end up eating more (read: too much) throughout the day.” This is exactly, 100 percent, how I feel every single day. Took the words straight from my mind.

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93 Katy April 24, 2013 at 1:35 am

I can DEFINITELY relate. I used to struggle with doing this, but now it’s just about listening to my hunger. Like you, I do feel odd doing it and I worry that I’ll end up overeating that day, but I remind myself that it’s not the worst thing in the world to happen!

I always have a morning snack on weekdays! On weekends I don’t get up till at least 10 so I have breakfast then a couple of hours later my tummy wants lunch! I only snack in the morning when I have to be up at stupid o’clock :P
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94 Sara @my less serious life April 24, 2013 at 4:35 am

amanda – this is SO me! i get up at 5 AM often for work and then i have pushed myself to wait until a normal lunch time. only to be miserable and starving when lunch actually came around. one morning i ate lunch at 10:30 and was amazed at how much better i ate. i think i had an extra snack that day and probably freaked out about it (read: my brain freaked out about it), but the world didn’t end and i am still here. thank you for this post!
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95 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 24, 2013 at 6:05 am

The world didn’t end and you probably felt a lot better, huh? That’s what I try to focus on if my brain starts trying to play games with me – how much better I feel when I do what I know is right.

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96 Shannon April 24, 2013 at 4:56 am

Amanda thank you for writing this and admitting you too have these anxieties. I do too and they are sometimes hard to fight. But over the past few months I have gotten to a point that I can eat earlier or later and have less worries (they are not gone- I am looking at my brain too!) But it saddens me to see certain friends of mine that cannot change their eating times and habits.
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97 Christina April 24, 2013 at 5:39 am

What a great post! I love that you called it the butt of the loaf, haha. That’s my favourite part!

I definitely struggle with being ‘allowed’ to eat earlier – even if I have my lunch at 12.15pm I feel like it’s too early and that I should be waiting, but I just can’t concentrate when I’m at a certain hunger-point! I try to space snacks out over the course of the day so that I don’t get home from work and devour the entire kitchen!
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98 Ja @ Ja on the RUN April 24, 2013 at 7:18 am

Oh yes! I actually just had my brunch. For me, when you know you have a delicious left over from last night’s dinner, that’s when I know I’m going to eat that for breakfast or early lunch again. :)
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99 Liv @ Life As Liv April 24, 2013 at 8:30 am

Isn’t it crazy how your appetite can be SO STRONG one day and almost non existent the next? I get annoyed when I don’t have an appetite because snacking and eating is one of my favorite past times… Haha, is that a bad thing? ;)
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100 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 24, 2013 at 10:41 am

Definitely not a bad thing… It’s one of my favorite things too ;)

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101 Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life April 24, 2013 at 8:36 am

Ohhhh goodness, I can so totally relate to this. I’d say I was at my worst probably 4-5 years ago. Even up until about a year and a half ago I still had lingering issues. Granted, I’m not comfortable in saying that I am 100% okay with these thoughts now, as they do tend to pop up here and there, but I soooo know what you mean here, Amanda. It’s an awful feeling…but I’m so glad you’ve been able to (for the most part) push past it. It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?!
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102 Tamar April 24, 2013 at 8:56 am

Thank you for posting this! I’m a calorie-counter, because I’m trying to lose weight, but I know I’m too obsessive sometimes about WHEN I’m allowed to eat, which is ridiculous! I’m at work by 7 and today I was feeling a little dazed at 10 but OBVIOUSLY (ridiculously) it was too early for lunch. You inspired me to get up and eat something, because it is definitely not a good idea to be sitting here, unproductively waiting for lunch. I think it’s partly because my boyfriend is on a much later schedule than I am — but recently I’ve accepted that I’ll make dinner for me at 5:30 and just have to reheat it when he gets home from work at 9!

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103 Kat April 24, 2013 at 11:40 am

Oh gosh do I get hungry HARDCORE when I am at work. I eat at 7, then snack at 10, then eat lunch at 11:30 then eat post workout around 230 and am snacking the REST of the day. We eat dinner around 530 and most of the time Im shoving food in my mouth while cooking it lol And then at like 7 or 8 Im hungry AGAIN. Sometimes it drives me bonkers. But most of the time I realize that I really AM hungry, so I have to feed my body right? Ignoring it has not worked out so well for me in the past, so I really try to just eat something, even if its a rice cake with nut butter. Just something small. If Im still hungry, then I keep adding to it. Im not going to be the girl with the growling belly anymore!
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104 dixya@food, pleasure, and health April 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I can relate to everything in this post. Lately, my appetites been out of whack and I have noticed myself eating constantly and it kinda bugs me but if i dont honor hunger, I cant focus like you mentioned. Its a challenge to find that balance :(
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105 Hayley April 24, 2013 at 5:54 pm

I have so many problems with this….I currently do not eat when I am hungry all the time… I have gotten better but it still scares me a lot. If I don’t eat how I plan I freak out. I wish I could let this go but it is so hard.
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106 Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 24, 2013 at 6:12 pm

It takes a lot of time and effort, but the more you challenge yourself to do it even when you’re scared to, the more you come to realize that nothing bad happens as a result. In fact, you’ll probably love how good it makes you feel not to have to suffer and be hungry all the time. It’s all about just facing your fears.

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107 Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli April 25, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Oh girl, I’m right there with you! ESPECIALLY on the whole watching the clock thing! I would literally have to “talk myself into” eating even fifteen minutes before my designated meal/snacktime! I mean, seriously?! What the heck difference does it make?! And I OBSESSED about food…I was almost always thinking about what my next meal was going to be even before I finished the one I was currently eating! I guess it’s because I knew I only had a “set amount” of meals for the day so I had to do my best to make sure they were absolutely PERFECT…and don’t EVEN get me started on those meals that were subpar…I may or may not have cried over a smoothie once because it didn’t have the flavor/consistency/satisfaction I thought it was going to have. Definitely not one of my proudest moments.

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