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Thread: Is it Bad to Eat until You're Full if You Don't Eat Enough Calories?

  1. #1
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    Default Is it Bad to Eat until You're Full if You Don't Eat Enough Calories?


    I used to only eat until I was full and I never had a problem or worried about eating. Now I'm in college and food is always RIGHT there and cookies and cakes are always in the common room... I just would sometimes eat like 10 cookies in a day, an entire box of cereal, or just constantly eat ALL day.. and I just decided that was gross and unhealthy and a bad habit so I'm going back to eating until I'm full and limiting my sweets (yes one serving of ice cream, no an entire tub of ben n jerrys).

    However, having started this a few days ago I've been keeping track of what I eat and my calories are not high enough. I'll give you what I ate today for example:
    Breakfast: whole wheat bagel thin with laughing cow cheese spread (150), 2 eggs with one zuccini (200?)
    Snack: what I didn't finish from breakfast
    Lunch: wheat quesadilla and laughing cow cheese (150)
    Snack: plain oatmeal & honey (200)
    Snack: edamame (100)
    Dinner: steamed brocolli and mushrooms (50-100?), mashed potatoes (not sure what is in it cause it's dorm food, but I looked up cals and it said about 300)

    That totals to like 1200 calories (this is all estimated). Considering I'm 18 and I go to the gym 3 times a week (40 mins-an hour, usually run/stairs/elliptical), run 6 miles once a week, and swim 2000 yards twice a week with 15 minute abs that is NOT enough. I still ate when I wasn't hungry (ex I was full after like half of the dinner). I don't know, my body is weird I am full after 2 bites of food but I usually eat anyways. I have no problem eating I just want to know maybe what I should aim for in calories? I love almonds which are high calories, but like I said I have a problem with eating just one of something if its like my favorite food. I can easily eat 1500 calories in almonds in one sitting, and I don't buy peanut butter anymore since I will literally eat the whole jar in a day or two..

    I guess I'm just looking for advice on what to do, I am also working on not eating a ton of food at once so I can keep things like almonds and peanut butter. I'm just looking for some advice on what to do. For reference I am skinny and athletic, 5'6.5" and I have no idea what I weigh. I got weighed at the doctor like 8 months ago and I was 125 and I think I have gained muscle weight since then but I don't think I'm any fatter.

    Sorry this is so long! Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    WH Super Moderator Array Hopeless Dork's Avatar
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    Its not a good idea to KEEP eating until you are full unless it takes you 30 minutes to finish a meal... it takes 20 minutes or so for the stomach to report to the brain its had enough... so you continue to eat past the point of your meal until you have that 'full' feeling could wind you up eating way more than you should.

    Are you counting the calories of oils and condiments? Those things REALLY add up... a couple tablespoons of oil (even extra virgin olive ) is going to add a good 300 calories to the eggs, quesadilla etc... so be sure to factor those in. What about your beverages? Soda pops are pretty much 200 a can or so, juice... a cup can run you 200 cals, coffee drinks... can really rack up the cals .. and what about servicing size... are you paying attention to that when you are totalling your calories?

    Also think about healthy choices... 1 egg with the yolk included provides more than your daily reccomended amount of cholesterol so eating 2 of those a day plus whatever else you eat with those can really add up as well.

    Eating til your full, eating whole boxes of cereal ... it makes it sound as though you are eating for more than just hunger, stress? boredom? While you may have the metabolism to maintain poor eating, it won't always be the case so you really don't wont to ingrain poor eating habits that are very very hard to break once all those indulges start adding up.

    I'd suggest adding more fruit if you feel you are undercutting your necessary calories, fruit can solve your sweet tooth and add calories, along with a PORTION of nuts... or a SERVING of peanut butter... etc.

    Also tofu is a great way to add some healthy protein to your diet, that with some rice and seaweed and soysauce makes for a great high protien snack thats low in fat.
    Last edited by Hopeless Dork; 03-12-2011 at 11:25 PM.
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    Yes I am paying attention to serving size, it's like one bagel thin, one cheese, one cup potatoes, 1/2 cup oatmeal (I measure it). I also do not drink soda or coffee or any other drinks (just water, sometimes soymilk or milk but I'm out currently). I do not use oil since I have a george foreman grill in my dorm and it doesn't need oil. I also hate salt and pepper so I never add that, and the veggies are just steamed with nothing added. I googled calories for the mashed potatoes with whole milk and butter which I figured was added. I eat really slowly sometimes it will take 45 minutes to eat oatmeal in the morning..

    I forgot to mention I had a banana too and two slices of mozzarella cheese (50 cal each) on my eggs which I just remembered. I eat out of boredom and because food is RIGHT next to me (which I never had before) but I've decided to stop that now and I'm pretty good about following through with things.

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    I love tofu so I will get that at trader joes next time. I love brown rice too and I get the long grain cooked stuff from tj's and seaweed (but I never thought to buy seaweed!). I don't like sauces or soysauce but I don't think those are healthy anyways? Aka I never have ranch, ketchup, mayonnaise, etc. I do have ceasar salad dressing on my salads but that's about it. Lol I guess I'm lucky I just don't like unhealthy things. I never eat fast food, sodas or sugary drinks, salt, or condiments.

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    WH Super Moderator Array Hopeless Dork's Avatar
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    Even healthy things though ... in too large of portions can be unhealthy unfortunately... I also don't eat fast food, I don't eat anything fried, I don't eat meat, I don't eat junk food of any sort, no ranch or mayo or any of that... but I can still go over cals EASILY just by eating a few extra things in the day... what will be important for you is getting comfortable with food being around 24/7 and not gravitating towards it when it isn't time to eat.

    Have you tried doing 6 small meals a day? This will have you eating pretty much every 3-4 hours... so you're never starving, by never being overhungry you are way less likely to make poor choices or eat too much.

    Soy sauce isn't unhealthy in small portions, especially if you use the low-sodium and just a tad... i love having seaweed, brown rice, tofu and just teeny tiny dab of soy sauce -- its like a sushi casarole - minus the fish of course

    It sounds like you are at a healthy weight for your height and that you do the appropriate exercise your body needs... but its crucial to try to develop a healthy relationship with food -- using it for nutrition rather than entertainment, etc..

    For me I use to use food when i was bored, eat just cause it was there, cause it was something to do and tasted good and became severely overweight. It took me 2 years to lose all that weight and while I still enjoy eating... I've had to learn that food can't be crutch.

    If you know you are a grazer, someone that likes to pop food in your mouth frequently, stock up on very low calorie/high volume veggies... like bean sprouts or celery, you can pretty much snack those all day with nothing to worry about.
    Scars remind us of where we've been...they don't have to dictate where we're going.

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    APRIL 2011 POSTER OF THE MONTH Array ItsASecret's Avatar
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    About the celery I know I have a fixation on eating celery with peanut butter lol. Just line the inside of the celery stick with the peanut butter but level it off with the celery so that you have your portion control of it, and then you can even add some raisins on top of it all for the sweet taste. Cut up a few pieces and you have a quick snack and you can still have your peanut butter in moderation.
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    Yeah I will definitely work on not snacking out of boredom or because it's so easy. I guess I have the question should I be eating more if I'm not hungry? Or should I just eat higher calorie foods? I don't want to slow down my metabolism or not give my body enough nutrients!

    Another side question is I eat a lot of fruit, like two bananas, melon, and an apple in a day. I think this is a lot of sugar, so is that ok or should I stick to like 2 fruits only?

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    I think this is a lot of sugar, so is that ok or should I stick to like 2 fruits only?
    Sugars from fruits are different from the synthetic sugars processed in junk food. You want the natural fructose, sucrose, and glucose sugars from fruits. There is not really an overload point to eating too much fruit. As long as you are not covering it in things like brown sugar or a ton of yogurt you are fine. Eating 2 bananas, an apple and some strawberries or such things over the coarse of the day is very highly recommended. Maybe not eating that amount all in one sitting several times a day but spread out it is not an issue.
    There are those who believe that dictionaries should not merely reflect the times but also protect English from the mindless assaults of the trendy.

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    I don't think you should relate calories directly with being healthy, your metabolism or nutrients. The "jury is still out" as it pertains to caloric intake and it has been "out" for decades. Just because a branch of the U.S. government "suggests" a 2000 calorie per day diet for the average american does not necessarily mean YOU. This is an average recommended daily caloric intake and like any average, has lots of factors that impact it.

    I would "ignore" the natural sugars found on the fruits you are eating, as the benefits of the natural vitamins, minerals and fiber far out weigh any down side of the sugars - IMO.

    Only you know your body and what it needs on a daily basis to function in a healthy manner within the confines of the life you lead. So unless your weight has tremendous shifts from month to month, I wouldn't worry about it.

    Eat as much from the farm and as little from the factory as you can, eliminate salt consumption wherever possible, not only the shaker but as an ingredient in what you're eating, drink plenty of water, get a good night's sleep and you should be fine.

    I commend you for taking control of your dietary habits at such an early age. You are YEARS AHEAD of most of your peers.

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    WH Head Moderator Array WildChild's Avatar
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    It sounds like you are getting some empty carbs with things like mashed potatoes. There is a lot of difference between boxed mashed potatoes (which is what you will get away from home cooking) and a baked potatoe. The mashed potatoes have been highly processed and have butter or shortening added along with milk fats. If you put gravy or butter on top, you've just upped the unhealthy fats.

    If you can choose a whole baked potato, fill it with your steamed veggies and a little drizzle of olive oil (which is a good fat) and dig in.

    Eggs aren't a problem really, years ago there was some erroneous info that they were a heart attack waiting to happen but that has been largely discredited now. It would better if they were boiled or poached rather than fried. Of course of you look at how the egg "industry" runs and how the animals are treated, you will never want to eat another egg and you would be fine if you didn't.

    Tofu would be a good addition and things like quinoa, more whole fruits and veggies, split peas, lentils and whole grains. Dorm food can be a challenge, you have to be very conscious about your choices. My daughter who became a vegan after years as a vegetarian, was sometimes frustrated. She was home every week end and did have a microwave (some controversy there too) and little fridge, so I sent some good stuff with her to get her through the week. Check on campus, I bet there are some groups of people who are concerned about food choices, of course some of them may be a bit strident about it but they may at least give you some ideas and support in healthy choices.

    Oh and counting calories or weighing stuff is the worst way there is to guage your eating and health so don't get too carried away with that, use it as an occasional check point not a life guidence thing.
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