April's CR Diary

A diary of a 30 year old woman following CRON, or Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition, for health and life extension.

Friday, September 10, 2004

April's Hunger Management Strategy

If you've been following the blog for awhile, you'll know that I don't talk much about being hungry. People who are new to CR might find this surprising, especially because the popular press likes to protray us CRON folks as always hungry. I rarely deal with hunger, in spite of my relatively low calorie target, because I'm a very small person and when I'm hungry, I eat! Aside from the occasional misadventure with cream cheese, I manage to maintain or go slightly under target most days, then go out for a bigger dinner about once a week.

However, for the five days that I'll be on prednizone, I think hunger will be an issue. Sterroids make one hungry, and this particular one has always had that effect on me.

Last night, after I got home from filling my prescriptions, I got hungry again. This was scary to me, as I had already gone over target with the tuna fish. And it wasn't that kind of mild, "I could eat but I don't have to" hunger. It was "I want to order a pizza" hunger.

Of course I did not order a pizza. Please.

But I did eat five tablespoons of grape nuts. They're 1/2 cup for 200 cals, so I could figure out how many calories that is, but I don't feel like doing the conversion.

Anyway, it wasn't that much, they're good for one I suppose, and they were satisfyingly crunchy. But I was over target and my weight was up one pound this morning.

I'm not too worried about the weight... CR is not about weight loss, and eating over target yesterday won't take that many minutes off my life. Besides, it would be unbecoming to whine about weighing 111.

What I am worried about is losing the zen effects of CR that are extremely important to me. I am moving next week, and in the midst of dealing with massive stress at work. I can't afford anxiety of any kind. This morning I was definitely feeling more like my old pre-CR self, and I don't need that.

So I'm going to try to take my calorie level down to 800 again, a level with has never failed to have drug like effects on my mood. And with the prednizone, I suspect that this will mean dealing with hunger. I shall look at is as an opportunity to experience greater admiration for the people who deal with hunger all the time.

So here is my strategy:

1) Skipped breakfast. There may be whacks of evidence that skipping breakfast makes you wacko and stupid, but I am in more danger of eating too many calories than becoming all that stupid in one day.

2) Am planning to put off eating at all as long as I can. I always do better if I go a long time in the morning without eating. To that end, I have promised myself that if I can make it till 1 pm, I will take myself to my favorite salad bar at the grocery store up the street from work. There, I will eat a giant salad of spinach, tomatoes, celery, red onions, vinegar, green peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, and any other low calorie vegetable I can pack into my bowl.

3) I'm taking a half a day at work today, so I'll go home, walk four miles while blasting old pop music into my ears, work on the house packing and drink a ton of water infused with unsweetened cranberry juice. Put off eating again until the last possible minute.

4) Then I will eat: eggwhite scramble, and a big plate of steamed broccoli and cauliflower, with lemon squeezed on top. A girl needs her protein, and steamed cruicferous veggies fill one up.

5) Then I will take a shower to get ready to go out to the Fringe festival play I'm going to tonight.

6) After getting out of the shower, I will practice ballet turns in the mirror while listening to Duran Duran's "Tiger Tiger" on a tinny old mix tape I found while cleaning out a closet. I tried this last night and it really helped me focus. In the fresh from the shower, still up in a banana clip, my hair resembles a ballerina's at rehearsal. And the ballet poses help me focus on wanting to keep the body I have for years and years to come. If I get desperate, I will dig out some old pointe shoes for this exercise.

7) While I practice my ballet moves and listen to Duran Duran, I will repeat to myself, out loud if necessary, various inspirational lines from the CR Society archives.

For example:

"Simple avoidance of obesity may prevent an early heart attack, but that isn't progress, any more than the avoidance of paraplegia through the non-jumping-off of cliffs is a victory for neurosurgery. Simple weight maintenance isn't going to significantly impact long-term health and longevity. "Normal" behavior leads to "normal" aging, disease, and death. "Moderation" merely "moderates" aging, disease, and death...

No, if you want MORE health, MORE life, than you can already expect by just getting your flu shots, not becoming obese, covering the public health "authorities'" guidelines, and living in a society with a functioning sewer system, you're going to have to do more -- a lot more. You can't further square a square! If you want to get anywhere in terms of health or longevity, you'll need to EXTEND THE CURVE. Only CR has a reasonable chance of doing this -- and, when initiated in adults, only a SUBSTANTIAL, UNNATURAL, EXTREME change in lifestyle is going to have an impact...

There are 2 responses to these data. Get depressed, and reach for the donuts -- or reach down, find your resolve, and discipline yourself to adopt a lifestyle in which you may be hungry, freakishly skinny, have social struggles, and lose your libido (see comments appended as footnote 4).

--- Michael Rae, Sept. 5, 2002

If that won't kill your appetite, I don't know what will! And in the context of staying below 800 calories on prednizone, I need all the appetite killing fire and brimstone I can get!

After I repeat this exercise for about thirty minutes, I should be ready to go out. I'm seeing a play, which is not as good as seeing a dance performance, since being around dancers always makes one less likely to eat crap.

If my friends want to go for dinner after the show, I will suggest a place where I know there is a good salad. I will put some vinegar and a measured amount of olive oil on the salad. If they suggest splitting an appetizer, I will say, "You go ahead, I'm not quite that hungry." I will not even eat one bite, because when I am hungry, eating "just one bite" can be fatal.

If they think that's weird or give me any trouble about it, I will talk about CR, and then they'll do anything, anything to change the subject.

I think I will also throw a small zip lock of a measured amount of grape nuts into my purse in case I am genuinely hungry, so that I will be able to fill up on crunchy things and not be dependent on the food supply. With the prednizone in my system, I can't count on my usual imperviousness to hunger.

If I get really desperate, I will conjure up one of my favorite CR visualizations: a picture of me looking smashing on the cover of Vogue in the year 2074, with the caption that reads, "This Is What 100 Looks Like."

As you can see, I have tremendous faith in our friends the scientists' ability to get the Pill (That's the Immortality Pill, not the birth control pill. Sorry for any confusion.) to market in time to get me on the cover of Vogue. Besides, I will have managed to worm my way into the early clinical trials long before then. The pitch goes something like this: "Pick me! Pick me! I don't know anything, but I'm a fanatical record keeper and a pretty good cook!" (I am having a bit of lab rat envy right now, having been informed that one of my CR friends got asked to be in a really cool study.)

And all of this will come to nothing if I let this prednizone make me eat too many calories. So there. I will not exceed 800 today.

[BTW, don't try this at home if you're taller than 5' 1.75" and haven't been dropping your calories over a period of months. I got a little nutty when I did it too early and for too long, and losing weight too fast (at the risk of turning into a broken record) makes you a dead rat. I am making up for yesterday and fighting prednizone... this is not a normal situation.]

And I'll try to write as early as I can tomorrow so that the suspense won't kill you.


  • At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    5 Tablespoon equals 0.3125 Cups, which comes to 125 calories of Grape Nuts. Not too bad.

    On all that tuna, here’s a reason not to eat it. Keep in mind (& correct me if I'm wrong) that protein cannot be absorbed all at once (at one sitting), for the whole day or for several days. You need to space it out among meals, keeping in mind that no more than amout 25-30g protein, max, (or so I'm told) can be absorbed at a sitting. (If that's true, I wonder if the warrior diet is flawed.) In any event, the pesticides & mercury in that tuna probably have a much greater efficiency of absorption in high-dose servings.

    I'm with you, zen sister, CR is all about keeping that drug-like peace-thing going on! What an incredible gift to be able to pass through the valley of stress with one’s tranquility force-field at full power, compliments of CR (which, oh! ~ btw, happens to be life-extending, to boot). You know when you're in the zen zone, & when you're not.

    A tip: When I get that gnawing kind of hunger (aka, the munchies), I pre-plan exactly what I want to eat for my meal and arrange it at the table. The quality/quantity has to be a fair "deal" so that my dog brain and my tummy will both feel (once the feeding frenzy is over & they come to their senses) satisfied & like everything they needed was provided. I then place a cup of water and a toothbrush (with toothpaste already on it) right there on the table with the meal. Then, I vow to take a swig of the water immediately after my last bite, swish & swallow, and to then shove that toothbrush in and start brushing. It's an incredible appetite annihilator -- highly effective even against a case of the munchies. By the time I’m through brushing, my dog brain & tummy feel satiated, full, and eating-mood free. Give it a shot. Kenton

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