As a person who's been overweight since childhood, I've eaten a lot of meals for reasons other than hunger, the real, physical hunger by which the body signals that there aren't enough calories on board. Studies have shown that many obese people have lost understanding of what actual hunger even feels like: this is true of me, mostly. I was on a program once that asked participants to rate hunger on a one-to-five scale before and after each meal. I found this a real struggle.
When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I was put on Metformin. From the day after the first dose, my fasting numbers dropped to within or near the target range. For the first time in who knows how many months, my blood glucose level was normal.
But nobody had told my metabolism that.
This is my understanding of what happened next: after many months of continually elevated blood sugars, my body had grown to consider those elevated levels to be normal, what it expected, where it would work to keep me. And, when my BG dropped, my metabolism sent out the signals that the level needed to be raised.
I got hungry.
This was real hunger, physical hunger, body-in-need of nourishment hunger. Not boredom hunger, not emotional-emptiness hunger, not boy-that-looks-good hunger. Hunger that I had only occasionally experienced.
I may appear to exaggerate. Obviously, this was not the hunger of starvation. But it was brain-says-FEED-ME hunger, and I didn't handle it very well. I ate, and ate, and the Metformin and whatever's left of my pancreas diligently worked to keep me from getting too high, and, well, let's just say I ate a lot.
As it happens, I was a Weight Watchers member at that time, and I'd been losing significant weight. (Ironically, having changed my diet and lost some weight, I was symptom free at diagnosis. Heaven knows what my A1c would have been if taken a month earlier.) But within two weeks of beginning treatment, I had regained almost all the weight I had lost. And, even though the feeling that I could clean out a buffet subsided after a few days, it was quite a while before I again felt in reasonable control of what I ate.
The reason I share this is because I know I'm not the only T2 that's experienced this when beginning treatment: perhaps some Type 1 folks experience it as well.
So, although I often forget: yes, ma'am, I do know what physical hunger feels like.
(Next-to-last paragraph edited for clarity.)