But what happens when you experience hunger outside of those prescribed times? Well, typical diet culture says you must not actually be hungry. Maybe you did something wrong because people who follow the diet correctly seem to banish their hun…
Their nice way of suggesting you fight not to eat during these periods. That's what it sounds like to me - and how it has been in my experience. I think many of us struggle now with proper hunger cues. We're told we might just be thirsty. Drink a lot of water instead when you think you are feeling hungry. Then see if you feel. Um, well, I get drinking water is great, it too will falsely fill you up. Basically, if you are not dehydrated, you're just pushing off the hunger cue for a few extra minutes with a no-calorie beverage.
All of this general misinformation is very frustrating. To your point, when the hell do we eat? It isn't a one size fits all situation. Like certain people need to avoid intermittent fasting at all costs because it wouldn't be beneficial for their body type. I'm talking ectomorphs or people who are naturally very skinny, who struggle to keep on weight, muscle, and fat (think most supermodels). Their higher metabolisms require a larger number of calories & macro-nutrients. Endomorphs, people who easily gain fat with slower metabolisms don't. But the diet industry wants to sell us all on the idea this one food eating guide is applicable to everyone when it just isn't.
Our bodies all have similar but different needs. We all need calories, nutrients, etc. But we don't need the same - depending on our activity, lifestyles, body-types, age, hormones, etc. It is challenging to figure out what works for each of us with all of this diet fog hanging around, giving us generalized advice.
Unfortunately, I require very little calories to function (due to age, hormones, somatotype, etc.) Most people straddle the spectrum between somatotypes (body-types). I'm a curvy endo/meso, which means in an apocalypse, I'll be the one eating the least amount of food, physically doing just as much as everyone else, and still be the same weight a month later. I gain fat way too easily, hard for me to lose it, but I can also easily pack on the muscle. You just can't see it unless I starve myself down to nothing. Which isn't realistic or healthy.
Ectomorphs (those who are naturally thin, think of a lanky supermodel, body types with narrow limbs and little body fat), for example, would require more food/calories to survive, and wouldn't be able to keep on fat or muscle. They burn through it too quickly, even when they are not very active.
Mesomorphs are those people we see in magazines who don't really have to work out, eat what they want, and look fantastic anyway. They are genetically blessed unicorns with their trim muscular builds. Yet, we're all told we need to look like them. It is impossible given the amount of work we'd have to put in to remotely look anything like a mesomorph. Or we're told we need to look like a lean ectomorph. That's like telling a rhino it needs to look like a unicorn. It is a ridiculous unattainable beauty standard. Whatev's. I'm a rhino, and I'm happy to be one, thank you very much. But rhinos need some love too.
When I was married to my ex, he was a true mesomorph who could basically eat anything he wanted, when he wanted and never gained a pound. He had 6 pack abs and tight arms no matter what he did. He would run every day, or stop for 6 months and still physically look the same. If I tried to follow his diet, I'd gain significant weight. It was hard to eat how I needed to eat while living with someone who could hoover thousands of yummy calories a day and stay athlete-looking healthy. That isn't to say he was any healthier. He was simply genetically blessed with the right hormones, genes, etc. And I was frustrated watching him get to chow down on things I knew would just make me feel worse.
Anyway, sorry for the long ramble. Thank you for sharing your struggles and experience. It is helpful.