Why do we overeat? Why do we ever stop eating?

I’m going to use some summary quotes from a series at Gnolls.org about hunger and satiety signals. I just wanted to get some general points across that I have been talking about for some time now, and these bullet points pretty much sum it up perfectly. They relate nicely to my points about nutrient density, and your body’s ability to regulate it’s own nutrient and hunger needs if you allow it. (Check out my archives for more.)

Introductory points

  • Hunger is not a singular motivation: it is the interaction of several different clinically measurable, provably distinct mental and physical processes.
  • In a properly functioning human animal, likes and wants coincide; satiation is an accurate predictor of satiety; and the combination of hunger signals (likes and wants) and satisfaction signals (satiation and satiety) results in energy and nutrient balance at a healthy weight and body composition.
  • Restrained eating requires the exercise of willpower to override likes, wants, and the lack of satiation or satiety; the exercise of willpower uses energy and causes stress; and stress makes you eat more. Therefore, a successful diet must minimize the role of willpower.
  • A lack of satiety will leave us hungry no matter what else we do to compensate. We fail to achieve satiety by not ingesting (or not absorbing) the energy and/or nutrients our body requires, and by an inability to retrieve the energy and/or nutrients our bodies have stored due to mitochondrial dysfunction.
  • Satiation is an estimate of future satiety based on sensory input. As with satiety, we fail to achieve it by not satisfying our nutritional needs. We can also bypass satiation by decreasing sensory exposure to our foods. Some common enablers are eating quickly, eating while distracted or on the run, and eating calorie-dense packaged and prepared foods.
  • The role of reward in hunger constitutes hedonic impact (“liking”, palatability) and incentive salience (“wanting”, the drive to consume more food). The process of learning modifies both. Furthermore, reward is not limited to food, is neither static nor an intrinsic property of the food itself, and is modified by many experiences besides its taste during the act of consumption.

Conclusion Points

  • Reward systems drive all our behaviors, not just our food preferences.
  • Liking and wanting don’t exist just to make us fat: they exist to keep us alive.They are the product of millions of years of natural selection, during which animals that didn’t have our tastes died out and were replaced by those that did.
  • Liking and wanting are values we assign to food, not invariant or intrinsic properties of the food itself.
  • The modulation of reward (liking and wanting) does not require taste at all.
  • Incentive salience (“wanting”) is a product of hedonic reward (“liking”), satiation, and satiety.
  • Eating food you like may either decrease or increase your want for more, depending on the food, the circumstances, and whose studies you believe.
  • Palatability can affect satiation, either via nutritional satiation or “sensory-specific satiety”, but it does not affect satiety.
  • Hyperpalatability is an unnatural amount of hedonic reward, combined with an inability to produce satiation or satiety. Therefore, the worse a snack food is for you, the more difficult it usually is to stop eating. 
  • Conclusion: in order to keep incentive salience (“wanting”) under control, make sure that hedonic impact (“liking”) is always accompanied by nutrition. Eat delicious but nutritionally dense foods, containing complete protein, healthy fats, and ample nutrients. Otherwise you’re eating food with no brakes.
  • And when you do take the risk, eat your cheat food after you’ve already satiated yourself with a complete meal.

…Just sayin’

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Meal timing for stubborn fat loss. Intermittent Fasting.

Intermittent fasting seems to offer many of the same benefits as calorie restriction, including increased longevity, neuroprotection, increased insulin sensitivity, autophagy, resistance to stress, and some great effects on hormone secretion and mental clarity. Not to mention IF has some benefits that exceed those of simple calorie restriction!

(I can tell you from personal experience the mental clarity and hormone thing works!)

Unfortunately, not all of us want to worry about counting calories. It tends to be tedious and really counterproductive in the world of muscle gains. It’s also pretty stressful and can drive you bonkers, leading to cheating and bingeing, and just plain failure.

Intermittent fasting is the best of both worlds. It allows you to reap all the same benefits of calorie restriction practices, while still allowing an 8 hour window for good eating.

The easiest way to do it is by following the Paleo framework, and eating only animals, vegetables, and some fruit. By following the Paleo diet, our hormones will be more able to keep us from getting hungry during the fast, and our body will be trained to burn fat for energy when we are not eating! That’s exactly what we want!

By eating a Paleo diet rich in animal fats, our hunger signals are greatly sated, and we just don’t get hungry, unless we are truly hungry! And we are only hungry when nutrients are needed by our bodies (not just because of a sugar craving or because our blood sugar is low). It is pretty easy, see? Our caloric intake pretty much self-regulates once neolithic food toxins are no longer being ingested.

Fasted training also results in improved protein synthesis, better metabolic adaptations, and a higher anabolic response to post-workout meals!

Fasted training also blunts glycogen depletion during workout, meaning more fat is used instead!

So, once you’ve reprogrammed your genes and hormones using the Paleo framework, IF becomes effortless! And that stubborn fat loss plateau should be easy to break.

How do I do it?

  • Eat 2 or 3 large meals inside an 8 hour window. Usually between noon and 8pm.
  • Make sure adequate protein takes priority to preserve muscle mass.
  • Within the 8 hour window, only eat when truly hungry, don’t snack unless you are hungry, and don’t eat any calories outside the 8 hour window. Coffee in the morning is an ok exception (very little cream. NO SUGAR).
  • Train fasted. That means if you hit the gym at 6pm, make sure your most recent meal was at least 3 hours prior at 3pm. This should ensure you are fasted enough to reap the benefits.
  • Eat a large post-workout meal. This will be your last meal until noon the next day, so make it count!
  • On rest days, eat less than you normally would. I usually consume only 2 large meals. (It’s easier if you sleep in 😉 )

Here is a good guide to get you started, basically a nice explanation and a few protocols for different meal timing strategies.

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them.

The Caveman Diet. It’s About Nutrient Density.

Posted from Free The Animal. A comment Richard made on his post about nutrient density of a vegan diet versus one that includes nutrient dense animal meats.

[It’s about] the superior nutrient density of animal products. Why don’t you do ahead and try your hand at comparing a kale and spinach meal with an equal calorie meal that includes meat.

And don’t forget, we [paleos] can eat kale and spinach too.

It’s not what you are eating because we can eat everything you do (in terms of fruits, veggies, tubers or even nuts). It’s what you can’t/don’t eat that is calorie for calorie, more nutrient dense.

For instance, take your kale and spinach meal, reduce whatever it is by 400 kcals and replace that with 400 kcals of some animal product: meat, fish, fowl, eggs or even dairy. You only improve the nutrient profile.

That’s the point.

And that’s my point, too.

I’ve got better things to do than eat 6 or more large meals a day. I can’t be carrying around all that food on my back, I’ve got shit to do. I’d rather have 2 or 3 small nutrient dense meals a day, not be hungry, and be able to have a kick-ass fasted lifting session at the end of it all.

Stop Counting Calories. Your Body Regulates Hunger.

“Calories in. Calories out.” How many times have you tried to cut your caloric input, or increase your output, just to fail, binge, or not lose any fat?

If you did succeed, how long did it last before you bounced back to your old weight? How did you feel while dieting? Were you hungry, tired, depressed, irritable, or just plain unhealthy? Did you have to lie to yourself that you weren’t really hungry, just to “stay on the wagon”? Did you have to utilize a “support group” like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, in order to muster enough motivation to just “hang in there”?

It’s not natural to spend weeks or months worrying about caloric intake. Plus it takes way too much energy to count grams-of-this, or calroies-of-that. It tries your patience, makes you worry too much. The stress alone is probably counter productive, since stress plays a major role in weight management.

From birth, your body is naturally programmed to regulate it’s own caloric intake. It does this using hormones that regulate hunger and cravings. Leptin, Insulin, and ghrelin, just to name a few. They work in harmony to signal your brain that you need (or don’t need) nutrients.

After years of eating modern food, like hyper palatable packaged processed garbage-food, (baby formula, canned pasta, boxed snacks, soy products, grain products, vegetable oils) your hormones get thrown out of whack, waaaayyyyy out of whack. Grains in particular are especially damaging to your bodies natural systems. They initiate systemic oxidation (systemic inflammation), immune disfunction, and hormone imbalances with gluten, phytates, lectins, and high glycemic load. That’s a pretty potent punch!

Your goal is to get your hormones back in sync, and let your body determine when you are TRULY hungry, and what you REALLY want to eat. The first step is to remove the processed crap, the grains, the sugar, and get back to REAL fucking food. The stuff you were BORN to eat. The stuff you EVOLVED to eat. The REASON THAT WE ARE HOMO SAPIENS. The reason we have the power of reason!

Why Does Modern Food Throw Off Your Natural Hunger Regulating Mechanisms?

It’s because hyper palatable modern food is also hyper-tasty! It creates an unnatural amount of hedonic reward, that is, your body sees modern food as an extremely dense source of calories, but it’s unbalanced by the fact that modern food is nutrient void. They are made of ingredients that are so nutritionally void, yet so dense with calories, that they never tell your body to stop consuming them. You could simply keep eating until you were nauseous and had consumed pathological amounts!

Your body’s natural mechanisms for sensing nutrient intake continue to drive hunger. Ever wonder why you get ravenously hungry a couple hours after breakfast, even though you ate a WHOLE BOX OF CORN FLAKES? Your hunger mechanisms recognize that even though you were STUFFED a couple hours ago, you didn’t fulfill your basic biological needs. Not only did you not give yourself complete amino-acids, or enough fatty-acids to last through the afternoon, but all the vitamins and minerals in the “enriched wheat flour” were unabsorbed by your gut. All thanks to grains being the wonderful staple that they are. Hooray USDA (ppbbthppbbthpbthbb!).

Snack after snack. Trip after trip to the vending machine. Still hungry? How ’bout a Coke! Mmmmm that’s right. Satisfyin’. Fat-free yogurt? Sure! Let’s go ahead and make it taste good by loading it with SUGAR or fake sugar! That’s TOTALLY better for you. Because we all know that fat makes you faaaaaat. [End sarcasm]

How Do You Correct Your Hunger Regulating Mechanisms?

Start by eating real food. Follow my very simple rules: Eat This. When you stop tricking your body into over consuming calories, it will begin to regulate caloric intake on its own. When you are hungry, EAT! Eat complete protein, good fats from free-range animals, lots of vegetables, and fruit (always along with a protein/fat). When your nutrient intake has met sufficient levels, you will stop wanting food. You may not even be full, but your body tells you to stop, and the food becomes less palatable. These are the normal signals your body uses to regulate hunger and keep you healthy. When you crave salt, or fat. EAT IT!

The best part about following a whole food Paleo or Primal lifestyle is that your calorie intake may actually seem too low, or just right if you happen to keep track one day. It is right on par with what your body actually needs, because your body is built to REGULATE ITSELF. You may find that some days, you only want to eat twice. You won’t even need to snack. Doing Intermittent Fasting for weight loss will become easy. You can pull off an 18 hour fast like a breeze, without having distracting hunger pains!

See for yourself. Do it. Now. There’s no reason to put it off any longer. Start eating like the predator you were born to be, and BECOME A FUCKING SUPERHUMAN!!!!!111!22

Leave me a comment first, though……