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Thread: How long does it take you to digest a regular meal? page

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    iniQuity's Avatar
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    How long does it take you to digest a regular meal?

    Primal Fuel
    For some reason I feel as though this week it's taking me a lot longer to digest than it used to. I don't think it's a case of me not noticing it previously.

    I fast almost daily, I used to fast from 8-9pm till 1pm the following day, I started extending that till 5-6pm for about two weeks. I would have a regular meal, be it meat and eggs, meat and vegs, etc and I noticed it was taking me up to four hours to fully digest a meal, meaning I could still "feel" the food in my stomach four hours after eating.

    Today I ate at 1pm and it's currently 4:30 and I'm still feeling the meal in my stomach. It's not uncomfortable, energy levels seem fine, I'm not sleepy or anything like that, but I wonder, is this a cause for concern? Maybe I'm just eating way larger meals than I was previously used to... I've been consciously trying to eat more veggies at least, as I think I was maybe a little too VLC and that was causing me to plateau. I understand that in a Warrior style diet a large meal should take considerably longer to digest, especially if it's your only meal of the day, if I eat twice a day my second meal is typically a lot smaller, but sometimes I just eat once a day. I don't want to get carried away with fasting but I just find it an easy way to live. I had to almost force myself to eat at 1pm today since I honestly wasn't hungry but I don't want to consistently under-eat even though I'm still trying to reduce my BF% which I estimate at high teens. I've been around the same weight for a couple of months, not freaking out about it, since I'm still making progress in my fitness, but I would like to start seeing reductions in body fat for sure, especially going into the winter months where I might not be as inclined to workout as much ...

    Thoughts?

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    doghead's Avatar
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    In my opinion, it largely depends on what you are eating. I also eat only once or twice a day most of the time, but I tend to eat mostly meat. I can eat a huge meal, but within 30 mins or so it will all be gone and I'll feel pretty light again.
    - If it was cute and cuddly at some point, eat it. Ignore everything else. -

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    iniQuity's Avatar
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    That's why I'm a bit worried. It's now been almost 5 hours since I ate and I still feel like I'm not done digesting, but definitely getting close.

    I had a grilled ribeye steak (not grass fed) approx 10-12 oz I'd say. I sauteed a head of broccoli, about two fist fulls and a fist full of kale (or cup-full, if that makes things a bit easier) in water and butter with some seasonings. That's it. Other than that, I drink a ton of water at work, and typically finish my meal with some fish oil and more water... maybe I drank too much water?

    I guess I'll watch it for some time and see what's going on. I'm supposed to eat dinner with family in about an hour, I think I should be good by then, hopefully.

    Doghead, how big are your meals typically, the ones you digest under an hour?

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    I have to ask, how do you know how long it takes you to digest a meal? I eat, then don't eat again until I'm hungry, but I'm not consciously aware of digesting my food. It goes on behind my back, so to speak. I don't feel my digestion, it just happens; I have no idea how long it takes, or when it's "over." Eating is a conscious process for me; digestion is not.

    What sensations/feelings do you experience that tell you your meal is being digested, that let you know how long it's taking?
    Last edited by liza; 10-04-2010 at 04:49 PM.

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    Maybe it's the amount of veggies mixed with meat? I had heard (and don't know if this is accurate or CW crap I read previously) that you use different enzymes to digest veggies than you do meat and sometimes they can kind of cancel each other out. This may be total crap, but just a thought... maybe trying to digest soo much veggies and meat at the same time is too much. Or maybe it's just the types of veggies. I know that a big salad sometimes digests a little different than a hunk o' meat.

    Interesting question, though...
    "Boy I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

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    I, too, am curious as to what feelings you experience that queue you in on your body's continued digestion of your meal. Not saying it's BS, quite the opposite, in fact. I'm intrigued, perhaps it can be learned? (by me, hehe)

    As far as your question goes, hunger is very random for me; although I try and follow semi-regular meal/snack times. If I eat a high concentration of fats between breakfast and, say, a morning snack, I often don't get hungry again until 2-3pm, maybe later. But if I just load up on protein, a few veggies and moderate fat, I often feel a little hungry around lunchtime. So to more accurately answer your question, I'd say between 3-5 hours, depending mainly on fat content.

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    @iniQuity - varies from half a pound to a pound and a half of meat. Usually ground beef with bacon/organ meats/beef fat/eggs mixed in some way.

    @liza - I can tell from the way my stomach feels. Most of the time I feel pretty light, like I could sprint at any moment and not have a problem. When I just ate a big meal, I can feel the extra weight for a while, and definitely do not feel like I could sprint randomly.

    @W1ld - Not sure if what I am feeling is "digestion" exactly, but that is the best word to describe it. It is just a matter of becoming more aware of your body - close your eyes and go through each body part, concentrating on what you feel/why you have that sensation. Experiment - drink a lot of water, and see what sensation that causes. Slowly you start realizing what goes where. This I have found is also a good way to develop running technique - making minor adjustments to gait/arm swinging/head position/foot position, etc. until you find what is easiest to maintain with the least effort.
    - If it was cute and cuddly at some point, eat it. Ignore everything else. -

    - Food is first, and foremost, nothing more than fuel. -

    - The body is animal. The mind, however, is not. -

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    iniQuity's Avatar
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    Like doghead stated, it's about feeling how empty your stomach is, I think everyone can do this... I was going to have a light workout yesterday but I felt the whole time I was too full to attempt it and my abs felt like they were protruding (only the top half) and it was a bit uncomfortable. I'm going to keep monitoring this to see what's up. I had a big meal again last night and I went to bed still feeling full, but this morning I'm just fine and about to have a quick fasted workout.

    Maybe my abs are just too tough, bros ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by iniQuity View Post
    Like doghead stated, it's about feeling how empty your stomach is, I think everyone can do this...
    I understand about feeling full after eating, feeling food in your stomach, or feeling how empty your stomach is, but that's only the beginning of digestion.

    I misunderstood what you meant when you asked how long it takes to digest a regular meal; you weren't asking about the time it takes to fully digest the meal, rather how long it takes for your stomach to not feel full, or for your stomach to feel empty.

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    iniQuity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by liza View Post
    I understand about feeling full after eating, feeling food in your stomach, or feeling how empty your stomach is, but that's only the beginning of digestion.

    I misunderstood what you meant when you asked how long it takes to digest a regular meal; you weren't asking about the time it takes to fully digest the meal, rather how long it takes for your stomach to not feel full, or for your stomach to feel empty.
    I didn't put things right I guess... but yeah I'm sure full digestion takes much longer than what you can "feel" ..

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