Obeying Hunger

whatever_clockWhen it’s that time of the month, I crave chocolate like most women. But I also tend be hungrier in general, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

I think this explains why I tend to wake up during the middle of the night during my period; I’m genuinely hungry due to wacky horomonal changes. It’s not mindless, it’s not emotional. It’s hunger.

(I’ve heard before that during mestruation a woman burns an extra several hundred calories a day; not sure how true that is, but if so, it explains a lot!)

The rest of the month, I’ve no real excuse for my midnight wake-ups. My loyal readers know I’ve pondered the “why” for months and not come up with any specific answer. But I can assure you that when I wake during my period, it’s usually for a good reason.

And when I woke the other night and found myself in the kitchen, I went for 2 T of PB.

Yes, I spent 5 points on PB at 2 a.m … but it was well-worth it. I just docked them from Tuesday’s meal plan.

Another observation I’ve made is I don’t tend to “sit out” my period. I tend to up the length/intensity of my workouts during it, mostly because it feels so good to move.

Lounging on the couch might be what my head wants, but my body just feels so much better when it’s active. My cramps are less intense and my overall monthly bitchiness-factor dips when I’m active — another plus to the stepped-up workouts!

So there could, too, be a correlation between hunger and a little extra gym-time. That night, my cramps were pretty bad, so naturally I worked myself pretty hard.

I got in a kick-butt cardio workout (7 APs!) and that could have contributed to the actual hunger that woke me, too. (Yes, I realize I could have stopped sooner, but I just wanted to go, go go and felt on fire; when I get that way –and it’s not in an obsessive way — I tend to ride it since it doesn’t happen every day).

Whether it was the intense workout or the monthly guest, I felt good obeying my real, true hunger when I woke.

For a moment I stood there at the fridge and, not being on autopilot or in a sleep-induced fog like I usually am when I wake (I had been sleeping unsoundly all night — a bad dream) I questioned myself … and decided that I not only wanted but needed something at that moment.

Something healthy and filling, and with some fat. 2 T PB was the perfect solution. (I started with 1 and went back for round 2).

The best part? I felt no guilt, nada, when I woke up the next day. I think Dr. G. would be proud. It doesn’t really matter when I eat something, so long as it’s accounted for … and if it’s a healthy choice (as PB is, in moderation, of course!), all the better.

I mean, if I were eating a gallon of ice cream at 2 a.m. … ok, maybe that would be a bit of a problem. But two measured Ts of PB that are just counted towards Tuesday’s meal plan anyway? No biggie.

All it meant was I altered my breakfast a smidge (though I did include flaxmeal and 2 crushed walnut halves to my oats to get that healthy fat/Omega 3s!!).

Reframing my midnight eating, especially during my period, really helps me mentally cope. It’s not “bad” to wake and eat unless I make it “bad;” in that sense, I am listening to my body.

Just seeing it that way really opened my eyes; it’s ok to obey my hunger. And I think this is especially true since I am so diligent with my journaling, weighing, measuring.

So midnight clock, to you I say … “Whatever!”

How about you? How do you obey your hunger? Do you find it hard to do it at non-meal times?

10 thoughts on “Obeying Hunger

  1. I find that I have started to ignore ‘meal times’ per se and eat when I get hungry. I do notice that I get hungry at regular intervals (around 5 hours) so, knowing that, I eat at 7:30 am, around 12:30, and I usually hold off dinner ’til around 6:30. But if I’m really hungry for dinner at 5pm, or not hungry for lunch until 2pm, I just go with it. It is so much more pleasant to eat when you’re hungry πŸ™‚

  2. Good for you. I find it hard not to eat at my planned times, but I know I’ll probably feel better if I do. Eat if you are hungry. Sounds so simple. Nut butter is the perfect snack! The combo of fat & protein – so satisfying. Definitely my favorite go-to snack food…anytime…well, really all the time πŸ™‚

  3. Way to go, Rachel! Sometimes we DO need to listen to our bodies . I agree too that it’s better to wait to eat til we’re really hungry. I’ve given up on “defensive eating” (making sure I ate something before going on a road-trip or eating when just a little hungry so I wasn’t hungry later … I used to fear hunger. I still do sometimes, but fasting for Yom Kippur each year always reminds me I will be ok πŸ™‚

    Thanks, Heather!! I thought it would be a good option. I hope not to wake tonight, but if I do … it’ll be PB calling my name πŸ™‚

  4. Ok, let’s talk about this whole myth of “eating at night makes you gain weight.”

    I don’t buy it. I have been a midnight snacker for years, my preference – strawberry poptarts. Now granted, I am not on weight watchers, but still, my body is telling me I am hungry – so I eat.

    Why all the guilt about this? Can’t the points or calories just be rolled into the next day?


  5. Part 2: Sorry just read the whole post and see the part about rolling the calories over to the next day.

    Still- I think this is a mindset, we have been told “don’t eat after X time of night.” So if we do we are guilty.

    So, keep up the late night snacking…its just a part of you so why fight it?


  6. Thanks MamaV — yea, I just count it towards the next day — I am really glad to be working on ridding myself of the anxiety tied to it. It’s just food. Still, it’s an annoying thing to not sleep through the night.

  7. Hey Missy — sounds like that was just the cure you needed. I’ve seen your posts about eating in the middle of the night. It’s such a frustrating habit and I’m so mixed about it. If one is genuinely hungry, yes, we should eat. But all too often I am waking without being hungry — just going to pee, and then ending up in the kitchen. Sigh.

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