Eat When You're Hungry Stop When You're Not


It’s the predominant advice here and I’ve said it many times myself: eat when you’re hungry stop when you’re not. The implication being that ketosis results in normalized hunger and satiety signals and it’s better to heed your own internal signals for when, what and how much of it to eat than follow some arbitrary rules. I suspect for most folks it works… and if so carry on!

However, I’m curious. It does not work for me and I wonder how many others are in the same boat. I’ve been in continuous ketosis for 5 1/2 years and I almost never feel either ‘hungry’ or ‘satiated’. So instead of hunger and satiety, I use overall weight and body composition as my signals. As long as I eat to maintain my +/- a pound and a % body fat I know I’m doing OK. Whether or not I ever feel hungry (seldom, hardly noticeable and fleeting) or ‘satisfied’ (I suspect I could browse all day).

Comments? Your experience? Thanks.

Losing weight but very slooooooooooowly
Not losing my gut!
Not losing my gut!
(Bacon is better) #2

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, it took a few weeks of eating my usual pre-keto quantity of food on keto before my appetite hormones started working, but they did kick in, and suddenly, in the middle of a meal, I was done. I had to put half a plate of food away for later. That never happened to me as a carb burner. I later came to the conclusion that during the period when I was eating a lot on keto, my body must have needed that quantity of food in order to get started.

Moreover, if I am remembering correctly, my fat loss didn’t really get started for a couple of months after I started experiencing satiety. It’s difficult to say, because my mother died in April of that year (2017), and I spent July and August packing up to move to a different state, so my attention was on other things. I can say for sure, however, that the lost fat happened without any conscious effort on my part, except to keep carbs low. I certainly got no exercise during that whole time, except for the physical activity of daily living.

I also found that, between December 2017 and December 2018, I lost more fat, while my weight remained stable. So obviously I was putting on some lean mass while my fat loss continued. By December 2018 I could comfortably fit into trousers that in 2017 were too small to fit over my butt, yet my weight had not changed.

(Joey) #3

5+ years is a long time at this. I’m surprised by now you’ve grown ambivalent about eating … or not. Not what I might have expected, but you are you. :+1:

My only concern with deciding how much to eat based on your weight and % body fat is that neither may really be what your body needs.

How much the earth tugs on us (water weight, muscle, fat, bone density) is largely irrelevant to our body’s ideal composition. Scales are often more dangerous measures than helpful ones - especially if you’re not eating crap carbs.

As for body fat %, yeah, if you’re obese that’s an important focus to start with. But once you’re “fat adapted” and back within a healthier range of muscle/fat composition, we ought not to get too invested in some % of our culture-driven choosing.

As we age, the healthier body composition proportions evolve. I wouldn’t try to decide on my own numbers ought to be for me. There are strong arguments to be made that being too lean at advanced age leaves you more vulnerable to illness, not less. And so on, and so on.

If I were in your situation, I’d continue to try to more fully engage by hunger and satiety signals. They’re hormonal and they’re real - whether you’re simply not as strongly driven by them (as you once were pre-keto) puts you in good company. Most of us found ourselves relating to hunger and fullness signals differently (and far less intensely) once we cut out the carbs.

Hopefully, you can relearn what they’re trying to tell you without looking to scales and arbitrary fat percentages to drive your otherwise natural instincts about your food portions and timing.

Best wishes :vulcan_salute:


I don’t want to give the wrong impressions. I’m not ambivalent about eating keto. I’m a strong proponent and recommend it to everyone I meet. :heart_eyes: I enjoy what I eat and attribute my continued overall good health to what and how much of it I eat to maintain ketosis. But eating is not the center of my life, nor even a major portion, the way it appears to be for many. My overall attitude about eating has not changed from my pre-keto lifetime - eating is the pitstop not the journey.

Pre-keto I had what I would call ‘normal’ hunger and satiety - for a carb-centric eater. I would get very hungry pre-meals, and generally stuff myself during meals. Then go for a few hours and repeat. All that went away with keto. And I’m happy it did so!

I’m fortunate, either due to dumb luck or good genes, that I’ve never had a serious illness or injury during my life so far. I was always in pretty good physical shape, never gained any serious weight and remained fairly fit. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere I gained about 35 pounds of ‘excess’ during the decade of my 60s then lost it quickly and easily the first 6 months of keto.

I agree that scale, tape measure and calipers may not be the best indicators of overall well-being. But without hunger/satiety to say eat/stop I have to use something. Then again, my current overall weight and body fat percentage are almost exactly what they were at the age of 18. So I’ll take it. I’m no longer the middle-distance runner I was then, but I remain an avid cyclist.

PS: I’m really hoping that others talk about their own experiences.


This advice doesn’t work for everyone. Not even to me and I do have hunger and satiety signals. They are just not correlated very well with my needs or my ideal decision about eating or not. It’s not nearly that simple for me. I need to eat even when I don’t have hunger and sometimes I know my body had enough and I stop even while hungry or at least not satiated (usually the latter, it’s unfortunate when I must stop when hungry but it’s still inevitable sometimes). It’s okay. (Satiation eventually arrives, sometimes it takes hours.)
And I better eat way, way after satiation sometimes.

I am very different from the OP, food joy is major to me :smiley: And I ate in every few hours on high-carb and I continued it on keto. On carnivore, it’s sometimes 1 hour between meals but those are very miserable times… I go for OMAD now but that is loads easier with carbs :frowning: But nothing else works (or just occasionally) so I keep going…
For OMAD, I must ignore not too bad hunger (and other not serious enough urges. I must eat when I feel the need to eat even if I have zero hunger and even less appetite) and probably satiation too. I need to eat my right macros, if I have hunger or satiation, doesn’t matter. Ideally, things align but I am not that very lucky. As far as no force happens, it’s fine. I can choose my food and that helps.
(And I don’t bring appetite into the mix, it’s another factor, extremely weakly or nowadays rather not at all correlated with my hunger or need for food. But hunger alone is complicated…)

I can’t use my body composition as that basically never changes, no matter how I eat (inside the limits how I actually can manage to eat. I could lose quickly or gain very slowly if I was forced on certain types of eating).
I do use my body signs but hunger/satiation? That isn’t enough.
(And if I always ate when hungry until satiation, I would never lose fat, I suppose. But I surely would be super miserable and hungry a lot. I want my perfect satiation for a loooooooong time and I need to eat big meals for that. I can’t do that with that advice at all.)

My hunger/satiaty signals are pretty similar to the old ones on high-carb, actually. My hunger got softer but that’s about it. Satiety changed on carnivore, it got crazy, sometimes it kicks in way too early, sometimes not at all… I hope it will normalize. But when it works well, it’s pretty neat. But I MUST eat the right food, just eating very low-carb doesn’t mean I don’t mess with my satiety. Wrong items can do that (added fat, for example, not my friends most of the time).

Sometimes people act like it would be so simple and maybe it is for them. But not for everyone. I went beyond my energy need today and I would gladly eat a bunch of more food. No regrets, it’s a relaxed weekend day but I will go back to try to eat zero added fat if possible… But definitely not a ton like today :slight_smile: (Cream and similar stuff counts like added fat in my case. No satiation, just overeating fat even easier than I normally do and I am great at it anyway.)

So there are other factors and personal oddities. My SO says appetite and hunger are closely correlated for him (and he don’t even have the “need for fuel” completely separately from them). I barely can even imagine that.

(Bacon is better) #6

I often wonder whether some people who think their satiety hormones are broken are simply afraid to “overeat” for as long as it takes to find out otherwise. The CICO model of weight loss, which hasn’t really worked all that well during the century since it was first proposed, has been deeply indoctrinated into everyone’s mind, so it takes a certain amount of courage to experiment and see if the keto researchers are correct and hormones really do trump calories where food partitioning is concerned.

(Bob M) #7

Personally, I’ve started to stop eating before I’m full. What happens then is that I’ll get “fuller” over time, and “become” full over that time. CICO-phants would say this is restricting calories, but I think it’s more like my feedback mechanism (whatever it is - hormones?) not working correctly. And I’ve been doing this since 1/1/14, so I have plenty of experience with it.


Me too. I often stop when I think I ate enough and don’t want any of my food and I trust I will get satiated eventually. And I do. Sometimes it takes 2 hours but it happens and it’s not like I am actually, annoyingly hungry during that time, it’s fine.

I think my body works just fine, it has its quirks though and different food items act differently anyway, not according to the macros… There are way too many factors at work, surely, I know about some but can’t possibly understand the whole super complicated system.

(Bacon is better) #9

Interesting. Not wanting any of my food is precisely what satiety is, in my experience.

(Bob M) #10

I think Shinita and I are on the same page, but perhaps with different ways of describing it. If I were to eat until I was “full”, I would eat more. I stop before then, while still technically hungry. But then my “satiety” catches up at some point, and I feel “full”. Not initially, but within an hour or so.

The problem is this works really well for my first meal of the day, when I’m eating sometime between 10-11 am normally. For dinner/my second meal, it doesn’t work as well. This may be because it’s so late normally (usually after 7pm every day).

For the second meal, I’ll eat, but then get a delayed hunger. This may be partly due to what’s going on. A few days a week, I leave work, eat something, leave to drive my daughter to dance. I either drive home after dropping her off, or stay out for the entire hour, then drive her home. Both times, I seem to get hungry again and will eat a bit more after getting home.

If I had time to eat a little more, it might work. But I’m generally eating a quick meal, then leaving.

(Bacon is better) #11

Interesting. I, on the other hand, stop when I am no longer hungry, and remain (so far as I can tell) no more than about half-full. Plenty of room for more, but I no longer want it. Supper is almost never before 7:00 p.m. in our house.


Oh no, I can be starving while having a very negative appetite towards all my food…

These things are very strongly correlated in some people and not at all in me. It’s odd but I have this.

It’s more complicated for me as sometimes I stuff myself to consume all the food I need and sometimes I get my food and still stay hungry.
I usually get satiated, thankfully but I often could eat more. As long as I am not really hungry, it’s fine. Stopping while truly hungry is very uncomfortable for me (I have an instinct and quasi rule about eating when hungry. not only then and not necessarily until satiation but if I am really hungry, I want to get rid of it) and I only do it when I already ate twice my energy need for the day, I am eating since hours in vain and I just give it up as I see nothing helps. (Rare days, I call them “Insatiable Hunger” days. I thought I don’t get them on extreme low-carb but I do, they are usually softer though, I need bad food choices to reach twice my energy need…)

I don’t want to be full, just satiated. I am not fully sure what “full” means, I wrote about it before on this forum. Satiation is fine, I understand that.

I see timing can mess with you too… It’s very important for me. Today I ate only dinner, this is the best. I can eat a substantial meal and that should be enough for a day or almost. With multiple, smaller meals my satiation is short-living and I easily overeat. If I eat earlier, I typically get hungry again (either because my first meal is too small or because too many time passes after it. even a big meal can’t last for more than 12 hours without sleep).


I find hunger and satiety feelings very clear on eating very low carb. Heeding them is the next step.


I had the stop sign from meat in the beginning of my flirtation with carnivore (though it seems to be more serious than that already…) but it was short-lived. Sometimes it still happens, kind of? But it’s more vague and normally I just wonder when I should stop eating… It’s not clear to me at all.
It’s best for me to plan a proper sized meal where I know I can eat it all and it’s not too much but if I only eat half, it’s horribly little… Something like this. (Not like I often do that but maybe I should. But it’s so not natural. But natural keeps me fat. Maybe established carni OMAD will work automatically?) I do OMAD and it’s tricky if I just stop whenever I guess I should. I have some wriggle room, fortunately. I was always good at eating several hundreds of calories after getting satiated and not getting more satiated at all. It depends on the food items though. It’s harder on carnivore but I have skills and interesting items. And I can wait a few minutes, that’s effective too… And quite annoying when I feel satiated despite I barely ate so eat more meat and eggs and some minutes later I am kind of hungry as my body didn’t get its proper sized meal yet. My meals often end with me waiting for a while in the kitchen to figure out if I ate enough. It can be spared with planning as my body is illogically obsessed with numbers and typically obeys them. So if I eat the proper macros, it should work. Immediate, after-meal satiation isn’t that reliable. And it’s a bit sad. Oh well.

I really trust this will get better eventually. I only had 2 OMAD days.

(Kirk Wolak) #15

I am much more like you. My hunger/satiety signals are mucked up.
A key point from Dr. Fung. You can usually “Surf” the hunger wave by keeping busy.

Now, from the Food Addiction Reset Community. I now recognize that MUCH of my hunger is a TRIGGERED brain chemistry response to various stimuli. Including Stress.

If I get pretty stressed. Or program for a few hours straight (in the zone, losing time). I come out of that craving a Diet Coke. The Craving is because it was quite normal for 30 years for me to come out of that state, and HIT my soda like a drug. But once I start, it can take weeks to get it back out of my diet.

The strength of those cravings are INSANE. Just finished a book on the Addicted Brain, via Audible. Wow. It’s the same response seeing a favorite bar has for an alcoholic, or seeing a glass pipe for a crack addict. Your brain sees this, and turns DOWN the control center of your brain, and turns up the Monkey Brain. The monkey brain, seeing the situation, and realizing that this is it’s chance for NIRVANA… Starts Screaming, and Jumping around… Until you give in. Or you call someone, do something else. Hit the gym. (The reason my LOOP for walking is 45 minutes… That shuts down the monkey… It gives up when it sees the start of the walk!)

But back to meal size and fullness signals. I have overeaten for so many decades… As long as I digest my food, I can hit it again. Having tested this with 3lbs of hamburger patties for lunch. Then 4lbs of Prime Rib for Dinner. And 4hrs later, if I am not in bed… I could easily put away another 2lbs of meat. (Basically, only my stretch receptors are shutting me down).

So, recently, I have been messing with things, to shrink my stomach. Including drinking L-Glutamine (to help close the leaky gut) in warm water, 8x daily. I am NOT 100% certain how this is working. The water alone could be filling me up a bit. But my eating quantity is way down. And side-effect inflammation is down.

I am now on an 8 week body building cycle. (Week 1 started Sunday).
I am having multiple meals of 300-600 calories. If I consume them quickly after drinking the water+ supplements… I feel full… My largest meal since starting has been 1/2 of my 3lbs of burger patties. And it felt like a lead balloon. In fact, I immediately got the Meat Sweats!

I will check in after 8 weeks. I have decided to lift hard (Slow-Slow, 4hr Body, DrBen) style. ONCE a week. It took until tonight for me to not be sore from Sundays workout.

But by giving this 8 weeks. I will learn something.

In the end, you have to find what works for you and your body. Every Body is Different!

(Omar) #16

Once upon a time I lost my apatite. I was carnivore then.

I was so worried about the loss of apatite that I stopped the carnivore and eat lots of yoghurt to regain my apatite and did.

Since then I tried to repeat that situation with no luck. (It is not a push button thing :smiley:)

I think in my case the diverticulosis and inflammation derailed me away.

Still trying


Carnivore can take away my appetite too. It’s fine, I don’t need it. (I couldn’t eat little enough to lose with zero appetite and zero hunger. Eating is my superpower or something.)
The problem is when my appetite is so negative I can’t eat even when super hungry (though that state eventually raise it to zero and it’s better. not fully okay yet, I may get bored of my food too early, still very hungry…).
And I hate getting zero joy from eating for too long. I think joy and appetite is correlated in my case, not super strongly but somewhat?

I don’t really believe in stomach stretching or shrinking but I really don’t know. I image the stomach has a maximum capacity (it seems mine is 2 liters) and that’s it. It is originally smaller but it gets bigger when needed? I should read about these things. I don’t care about this capacity as it has nothing to do with my eating. I eat until I get satiated or I can’t stomach more food or I decide it should be enough. My stomach is probably way below its half capacity at that point most of the time but my stomach state has no control in my eating unless I managed to fill it to the brim and well, I just don’t eat 2 kg very dense carnivore food at once.
Hmmm but it’s possible that tiny food triggering hunger has something to do with my stomach., The food is there, after all… But an empty stomach is very fine and I don’t need a big volume to get perfectly or even too satiated. I don’t even feel how full my stomach is except when it’s totally full and I can’t even drink anymore. But that happens once in a decade. I definitely feel “full” after 18-24 hours after my last meal… So I just don’t use this word often.
Now I have “stomach hunger” too, it’s new but it doesn’t urge me to eat and it’s very different from my normal hunger that I feel a bit lower but basically just inside. The center of my body wants food, who cares about my stomach? Does it sound silly to you too?