T Nation

Fluctuating Appetite

A problem I’ve been having is that I can’t seem to eat the same amount of calories everyday. One day I’m ravenous and can’t keep food out of my mouth. Another day, I have to force myself to eat. Right now, I’m trying to lean out a bit, so on the hungry days, I seem to lose too much weight, while on low appetite days, I seem to gain back the fat. I work out four days a week with some cardio on the off days, so my activity level is pretty steady. I just can’t seem to find a calorie level that I can stay consistently. Anyone else have this problem?

did you try keeping a food log? that way, if you’re hungry, you know when to stop eating, and if you’re not hungry you know when do eat more. if you don’t always feel like eating the same amount everyday, keep a log.

That exactly is the problem. I keep a food log and I can’t seem to stay on schedule. I either get too hungry before my alloted meal, or I’m not hungry at all when it’s meal time.

Question: do you get regular amounts of sleep? I ask because I’ve been noticing an inverse correlation between the amount of sleep I get, and my appetite. When I’m sleep deprived, I need more food. And it’s not because of the extra energy I expend while awake. I think it’s the brain looking for extra glucose, since cognitive functions are impaired. If you get enough sleep, I would monitor your mental exercising. I don’t mean stress, either. I mean how much you think. Hyok, you’re a frigging smart guy. How you use your brain will directly effect your appetite. I find that on days I meditate, I can eat as much as 300-500 additional calories while maintaining physical homeostasis.

Mike, thanks for the insight. I do get varying amounts of sleep. I sleep a lot on weekends and much less on week days. I’m going to keep at this calorie counting method for a while. Maybe if I start to record the amount of sleep I get, I may see a pattern. I may just transition to instinctive eating after after that. I found that I can stay pretty lean even if I eat to my heart’s content, as long as I stick to low GI carbs. Also, thanks for the compliment. You’re no slouch in the intellect department yourself. Peace.

Hyok, I just wanted to second what Mike said. A former training partner and I noticed the inverse correlation between sleep and food way back in high school - and we theorized that if your diet were perfect, you wouldn’t need to sleep at all! Of course, if you have both it’s best… I make sure I get 7.5 to 8 hours a night, every night, and I don’t have much fluctuation in appetite. For what it’s worth.

I agree with the sleep depravation theory. The only thing I would add is temperature. My appetite really drops off in the summer,or whenever I am in a place that is hot and sunny. I am just not that hungry, and tend to eat “lighter” foods in smaller amounts and less frequently, to the point where I have to force myself to eat something with a high fat content. Peanut butter seems to work and is not that filling. Hope this helps:) stay cool.

Hyok, I can understand where you’re coming from. What I do is this: using an Excel spreadsheet, I calculate my caloric requirements for any particular diet, along with the specific macronutrient ratios that would go along with the diet, or with my current diet/training goals. By utilizing past food logs, I use the spreadsheet to layout a SPECIFIC daily meal plan. I type the food, calories, fat, carbs, and protein, and total up everything for the day. By always keeping track of the time, I make sure I eat every three hours, no matter what. If I get hungry I eat a sugar free popsicle or something equivalent. For variety, I combine different foods together to create meals with specific macronutrient totals. By printing this all out on a single sheet of paper, which I bring with me, I can always control how much, when and what I’m eating. Oh and if you know you’re going to be hungry at a certain time every day, then plan your meals around that time instead of when you wake up. You can do it!

Someone on another post mentioned that B12 increases appetite. Anyone have a protocol for taking B12 for this purpose?