Sunday, May 6, 2012

Let's talk about satiety and food

I googled "lots of food" and found this gem of an illustration.
One of the benefits of Symilin is that it is supposed to give the user an increased sensation of satiety after eating. In fact, Dr. Bernstein really only prescribes it for patients that struggle with overeating at a particular meal, or over-snacking at night.

For me that didn't seem like a big deal. I eat protein and fat in quantities that are supposed to guarantee satiety. But did it work for me? For the past several years I thought it worked... but, looking back, I rarely felt totally satisfied after eating. Even after feeling full I'd snack at the table, finish things off my kids plates, and sometimes eat more as I cleared the table and packaged up the leftovers. I thought the feeling of being painfully full was "satiety" and also somewhat normal.

Now that I'm taking Symilin I'm feeling a new sensation at meal times that is totally new to me. It's not pain, or nausea. It's just feeling like I don't need or want to eat another thing. My stomach may not be bulging with discomfort, I just don't want to eat more.  I'm gaining a new understanding of what satiety might feel like and it's pretty interesting. Amylin is the hormone that sends satiety signals to your brain, and I think I've been missing them for a long time.

As I thought back through on my personal history, I remember being the wirey diabetic teenager that could put away an immense amount of food. My friends used to comment on how surprising my food intake could be for a 140 lb. skateboarder. I think I had a hard time feeling satisfied, and could always eat more. One time I told my own kids that if they ever caught me with leftover food on my plate at the end of a meal, I'd give them $5. I thought I was such a model citizen. Well, the only reason I could give that guarantee was because I was always hungry for everything, and more. These days I could not make that deal*. It's strange... but, I'm getting used to it.

*our daughter Ellie has learned the effects of Symilin, and now every time I announce that I can't eat another thing, she sings the "Sy-mi-lin!" jingle she created for those moments. It's become our dinnertime joke.


  1. As soon as I read the title, I thought "Yes, let's!" I have a lot of self-discipline, have always been aware of my weight, and have always been able to stop eating or not eat when I was not supposed to, or fast, etc. But the truth is that I feel hungry all of the time. I am totally wishing I could try Symilin for many reasons, but feeling satiated would be really amazing. I am just used to being hungry... I have had times in my life when I had no appetite, but it was really a negative thing, rather than feeling satisfied. I'm happy for you, though!

  2. This is such an honest discussion and I SO appreciate it! I remember when I was more into watching my weight (before my wedding because of ya know-the wedding dress) I was hungry all the time. I was proud of myself for my 4.7 A1c and I was proud that I ate healthy low carb foods and maintained discipline and tested often and exercised. But I saw how my husband could just eat, feel full, stop eating, stay thin, be happy, etc and I would feel so jealous. I think that I never lost the 10-15 pounds I gained after my kids were born because part of me feels like "well...the pregnancy ruined my stomach (google "twin skin" to see what I mean) and I'm stuck at home where no one sees me so I should at least not have to deal with hunger, too!" A doctor I was emailing recently told me that so many type 1's deal with this because of what we're missing (as you mentioned) and it's unfair to those who want to keep their numbers in check, their weight in healthy range, and feel satisfied after a meal. I'm fascinated by how this feeling of satiety is new to you. I never thought of how this might happen to someone (who didn't lack access to food). It could almost be an entire book because food is such a big part of a type 1 diabetics life. It's like we play Twister with food all day long. Ugh. lol

  3. I feel like my experience with satiety and lack thereof probably can be explained by a combination of my pre-existing neurological issues (ie sensory integration disorder) and the complications of my gallbladder disease.
    But for whatever it's worth, I stayed hungry for over a year after being diagnosed with diabetes.
    In recent years, I have had a lot of early satiety where (like you described) I feel too full to eat anything more even when I'm still halfway through a meal. That scares me.

    I seem to have more hunger when my blood sugar is over about 150, which is inconvenient because that's exactly when it's not good for me to be eating. But being high- especially having been high for hours- seems to promote hunger in me. Although I have the unfortunate ability to be both hungry and too full to be willing to eat.