It was a subtle disruption, a slight gnawing in the pit of my belly that disturbed my concentration. I was sitting at my desk at work and checking off the three items that I really needed to complete that day when hunger came knocking.
I smiled as I looked at the clock. It was nearly 2:30 pm. My breakfast had been about seven hours earlier and these were the first twinges of hunger that I had felt. Instead of feeling weak or faint or fighting mad with hunger, I had just a pleasant little knock on the walls of my stomach, followed by a polite, “We could use a little food in here.”
High carb and constant snacking
My desk drawers and credenza have always been full of snacks. In my high-carb heyday I had more packages of crackers and granola bars and low-fat packaged snacks than any respectable corner convenience store. Along with that I always had chocolate or hard candy in case I had a bout of hypoglycemia.
My daily routine was breakfast before leaving home at 7:30 am. The first snack was between 9:00 am and 10:00 am. I would work hard to avoid eating again before lunch, but would often eat by noon. By 2:00 pm, I was having a second snack and often I grabbed one more snack before leaving the office at 5:00 pm so that I could wait to eat dinner with the family at 6:00 pm. The entire time I was cooking dinner, I was also eating. By the time our family ate dinner and the kitchen was cleaned, I was thinking about a bedtime snack, which I ate dutifully by 10:00 pm. On a typical day, I ate six or seven times each day.
Not only did I eat frequently, but I did not eat small meals. After all, there were two Pop-Tarts in a package in spite of the single serving nutritional guide telling me that one pastry was a serving. Eating two granola bars for a snack was not atypical.
I bought them four boxes at a time. Regardless of serving size, I didn’t know that those packaged, processed, high-carb, and low-fat foods were not really feeding me. If anything, they were making me hungrier because they kept my blood sugar in a constant state of highs and lows. They fed my insulin resistance and metabolic disorder, but they did not feed my body the energy it needed. Those foods fed the inflammation that limited my mobility and put me on pain medications and epidural steroid injections for my back. I was hungry, obese, and sick.
No more worrying about snacking
Four years later my desk drawers typically house coconut oil, coffee, canned salmon, pork rinds, and coconut vinegar and avocado oil in case I need a fatty salad dressing. On that day that my work was disrupted by hunger, it was 2:30 pm, so I had a decision to make. Stop and eat or push through to check off my list before I had to leave the office early to pick up my children at 3:30 pm?
It was only another hour and I could eat a real, full meal at home with my family at 6:00 pm. My blood glucose was stable because I have been eating high fat and low carb for so long that I am truly fat adapted. I didn’t need to worry about hypoglycemia. I grabbed a bottle of water and pushed through.
I am grateful that I am no longer desperately hungry nearly every hour of the day. When life is more hectic than usual or plans get disrupted, my focus is not on getting food. When your body is fat adapted, you have easy access to energy in your fat stores. My thighs can feed me well for quite some time! I finally know how true hunger feels, and I am not tethered to food sources nor am I tethered to eating by a clock.
My checklist was mostly finished by the time I walked to my car in the parking lot. The sun felt good on my face. My tummy had stopped grumbling as I considered making dinner for my family, and I looked forward to hearing about their days as we ate together.