...Hunger is a need for food rather than a want for food. Hunger for me is feeling woozy and weak, unable to focus well. I can push through which means I am using stores of energy that are more difficult for my body to process, and my brain does not work as well with less glucose...
...I should eat something so I can go to bed without waking up early needing food. So I ate a boiled egg with half a pickle. That will be enough food to last me a few hours...
Something intermittent fasting has taught me - and that I needed to relearn - is the difference between a craving (strong desire to eat something) and hunger (for me, "gnawing hunger" fits). Cravings are an emotion, lasting 30 minutes, intense ("I want something now!"), and often go away if I have something to keep me busy. Or a cup of coffee, usually.
If it is hunger, it won't go away. It isn't painful, although uncomfortable. I was hungry before I ran 3.5 miles yesterday. I was really
hungry after running! But being hungry doesn't prevent me from running. I was feeling light-headed when I got back, so I drank 24 oz of water and had 2 capsules of runner's salt. Then I wasn't light-headed and I ate an hour later.
And once I cut the vast majority of sugar and bread and white rice, most of my cravings went away. Not all. But a craving will go away if I ignore it for 30-45 minutes. Hunger gradually intensifies. It might go away if I fasted for over 24 hours. I might try that sometime. Not yet.
So when I feel hunger, I tell my body, "You've GOT food. Right above my belt. Use it!
I think belly fat is like my freezer. My mouth is like my refrigerator. It is easier to access food from the refrigerator than the freezer. But if I never use any food from the freezer, it will stay fully stocked. Hunger is when my body complains the refrigerator is empty. I then need to point to the freezer and tell it to thaw some food and eat.
When I started intermittent fasting, I did get headaches. So I took Motrin. After a week, I stopped getting hunger headaches. Now hunger is something I will experience regularly. Oh well. It isn't fatal. It no longer gives me headaches and I can exercise hard while hungry. That is what was missing from how I've lived much of my life. I'd eat in advance of being hungry so I wouldn't GET hungry - but hunger is normal in animals.
I lost 50 lbs when I was in the 9th grade and spent much of my adult years trying to avoid fat in my diet. Like the USDA and American Heart Association say to do. And if you cut fat out then it gets replaced with either protein (sometimes) or carbs(often). What I hadn't realized is how many "Low Fat" food have a ton of sugar added! So like many other Americans, I ate less fat and more sugar without even realizing it.
Since retiring from the military, I've also tended to think, "I'm getting older. If I want a scoop of ice cream before going to bed, so what?
" So what? So it was making hiking and running and riding harder. And I had more cravings even if I was never hungry. The uncles on my Mom's side were all fat, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and didn't have heart attacks or strokes, at least into their late 80s. So I may have the genetics to survive regardless. But I don't want to look or live like they did! If age becomes an excuse, I'll age faster!
I've lost weight before. Always on a low carb diet. But low carb diets are hard to sustain. It gets really BORING. What I like about this approach is I can have carbs. Just not highly refined carbs. And I can eat cheese and eggs and nuts without feeling guilty that I'm eating "fat". And since it satisfies, I don't eat as much, and I also can be hungry and content at the same time.
We have also shifted to saying our one heavy meal a day can include almost anything except sugar or bread. Brown rice, kidney beans. I'm in Arizona, so I cheat sometimes and have flour tortillas - just make sure the flour (or white rice since my wife is from the Philippines) is a minor part of a complete meal.
The other meal is, like you say gottatrot, often small. A couple of eggs. Leftover casserole or stew. One bowl. Heck, we had a big meal just 5 hours earlier! Since starting intermittent fasting, my portions have shrunk. I just don't want to eat that much.
And yes, at some time during the 24 hours, I get hungry. Oh well. It isn't fatal. Most humans have known the feeling before.