Why am I so hungry?

After a rough road getting my thyroid medication sorted out, I have decided I am ready to lose all the weight I gained. I started yesterday and, as I felt I wouldn't be able to stick to the recommended 1400 calories, I decided to go for 1500 calories instead even if it means losing slightly more slowly.

But I am so hungry! I get light-headed and have less strength. I am trying to exercise as well because my fitness and stamina has deteriorated since being unwell, and eating an extra 100 calories to compensate, but it is very hard when you have very little energy.

I eat a good quality muesli for breakfast with semi-skimmed milk. For lunch I usually have a salad (no dressing) with some chicken or other lean protein and yogurt for pudding with some fruit. Dinner is usually chicken, quorn or fish with vegetables and salad, with maybe a little sauce that isn't too calorific. Snacks are usually fruit or carrots and maybe a slice of cheese if I feel I need a little more. I have an occasional glass of wine but I am avoiding cakes, biscuits and so on completely.

I am eating all the 1500 calories but I am still feeling hungry and a little weak. Does it get easier? Will my body get used to taking in less food? I don't remember it being this hard before when I needed to lose weight after having my first child. Maybe I'm just getting old ;)

Any help/suggestions very welcome!

Carolyn x

21 Replies

  • It looks to me like you may not be eating enough carbohydrate. That would make you tired, especially if you're exercising. You could add some new potatoes or some basmati rice without adding many calories.

  • Thanks for that. It would make sense. I've cut out any cakes and biscuits and I don't eat bread or much pasta. I suppose I've gone from eating too much sugar to eating too few carbs and it's a little too drastic! I had homemade potato salad with my salmon and salad for dinner today, and a few grapes. Exercise wasn't quite so hard this time. Very hungry now though! I'll have a little cheese and crackers now :)

    Thanks for your help :)

    Carolyn x

  • Watch the quality of your carbs. Potatoes are high-glycaemic foods that bump your blood glucose levels up quicker than table sugar, as are most crackers. Keep your fruit between 2 and 4 portions per day (banana = 2 to 3).

    Fermented dairy foods, such as yoghurt, also escalate your insulin levels.

    Eating lean protein is the fastest way to deplete your liver of vitamin A. you need some fat for fat soluble vitamins; is your cheese full-fat?

    Are you able to estimate how many grammes of carbohydrate you were eating?

  • I have been logging my food. Today I ate approximately 130g of carbs. I don't know if that is enough for 1600 calories (I exercised today so added a little).

    It's interesting what you say about vitamin A. I need to be careful not to deplete my vitamin A as my thyroid treatment isn't completely optimized yet and that can result in a problem converting carotenes to vitamin A. I shall make sure I get enough fat with my protein now.

    I always eat full-fat cheese and yogurt. The only thing I don't have full-fat is milk because I don't like it, but I have semi-skimmed rather than skimmed. I do sometimes have cream on my fruit instead of yogurt. I'm not sure if that is better or worse!

    Do you have some suggestions about what I should eat instead?

    Many thanks

    Carolyn x

  • It depends on factors such as how intense your activities are, and your lean body mass for how much carbohydrate you need. I would think you're not far off the mark now. Try to ensure the carbs you do have are low GI glycemicindex.com/ try making your own muesli and toasting it for example. As well as greens, I find barely ripe banana, sweet potato, whole oats, barley, pulses, or quinoa best sources, avoiding additives, refined carbs, and refined oils.

    It also depends on you stance about saturated fat; I prefer to have cream rather than yoghurt.

    I eat my protein as close to nature as practicable, with the accompanying fat.

  • I prefer to eat full-fat versions too. I had gone to mainly chicken to try to cut some calories but it goes against what I have always done before so I shall stop that now. I'll have some fat with the chicken, when I have it. I have no problem with natural, saturated fats. In fact they are essential from what I have read. I do avoid trans-fats and processed oils. I use butter or olive oil in cooking.

    I shall get some oats. A little porridge would make a nice pre-workout snack. I do karate twice a week so that is pretty intense. I have just started doing a short, intense workout at home but have been finding it very hard since cutting the calories.

    Thanks for the link. That will be a handy reference. I shall try the things you suggest and hopefully I will find it all less difficult :)

    Many thanks for the help

    Carolyn x

  • You're welcome. I hope it helps. Please keep us informed.

  • Hi Carolyn...! ;)

    Oats are great! :) If I have porridge I don't need 'apple time' till 11. Toast and I'm already ready by 10!!



  • Thanks Louise :D It's day 3 today. Hopefully it will be getting a little easier!

    Carolyn x

  • Yes, me too. We've stopped buying anything 'low fat', 'reduced fat', anything of the sort. I've read somewhere recently that if you eat potatoes without fat they are converted straight away into sugar in your blood-stream, but if you eat potatoes with butter this doesn't happen and you're able to metabolise the potatoes more slowly.

  • You're welcome.

  • Thanks :)

  • Excellent, as far as it goes. I'd just like to point out that Shredded Wheat, Weetabix, jacket potatoes and cornflakes, to name just a few, are high-glycaemic carbohydrates that give even more dramatic swings in blood glucose (as described in the video) than table sugar.

  • Luckily I don't tend to eat any of those, but I will have to keep an eye on what other carbs have that effect too. I have quite a bit to learn!

  • I find I don't do at all well on conventional cereal and milk breakfasts. I don't believe I have an intolerance to any individual ingredient - and the same happens regardless of the type of milk I use - oat, almond, soya as well as dairy. Porridge though is fine and very sustaining. I wonder if something similar is happening with you?

    My meals tend to be equally calorific whereas most 'plans' seem to assume what to me is a very small breakfast.

  • That's interesting. The only grain in the muesli I eat is oats and it has plenty of nuts and seeds BUT it does have a lot of dried fruit and I'm wondering if that is part of the problem. Perhaps I would just be better with porridge and maybe a handful of nuts and seeds. I think too many cereals, even the better muesli-type ones, have too much sugar looking at it now, even when they don't have added sugar.

    I shall have to pop to the shops tomorrow and get me some oats :)

    I don't feel as bad in the morning as I do in the afternoon so maybe a better breakfast and a little more fat at lunch might help :)

    Do you put anything in your porridge to sweeten it?

  • Most mueslis on sale contain added sugar. I believe Jordan's do one without added sugar. We get one made by Shire Foods at a farm shop locally and that contains no added sugar.

  • Hi CarolynB,

    I can't help but wonder - possibly wrongly - if perhaps you're eating your meals too quickly and not giving your body time to register the food. It's not a myth - you DO eat with your eyes too!

    Basically, stretch your meals out to last for perhaps 20 minutes or more and usually by that sort of time you'll feel reasonably full. Even simple tricks like having a small starter and then going off to cook the main bit, spreads the eating time. And, of course, do avoid "mindless munching" in front of the TV screen or the laptop. If you eat on automatic pilot, you're not very likely to feel satisfied by it.

    To quote a very old idea, eating? Then 'make a meal of it' so as to speak.

    That's not in eating vast amounts, that's as in giving it your attention.

    Good luck with your weight loss journey.

  • Actually I may have been eating a little too quickly. I don't eat in front of the TV normally because I have kids so we all eat at the table together. I do eat my lunch and then my pudding later but sometimes I am eating far too quickly. It's more that I get hungry too soon afterwards although that is not so bad as it was at the beginning. It's just the exercise thing I'm trying to get my head around. If I eat to soon before, I feel nauseous; if I eat a long time before exercise, I feel nauseous. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it soon :D


    Carolyn x

  • As someone who is also losing weight while on Thyroid meds is it crucial that you take your thyroid meds one hour before eating so that it is on an empty stomach.

    It is also extremely important that you do not eat or drink any soya products. I did and it made my meds ineffective and I gained weight rapidly even though I did multiple gym classes a week and ate well. Once I came off the soya I was using daily my meds started working and now I am finally losing weight.

    The Thyroid forum here on Health Unlocked is one of the best most informative forums I have ever been a part of :-)

    Good luck!

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