When your Body Tells you its Hungry.
Constant hunger can be scary because the person may feel that it will never go away and they will gain weight excessively. It is helpful to reassure the person that their unusual hunger will decrease as their body returns to healthy state. It is also important to encourage the person not to initiate any purging behaviors. Reviewing some of the physical challenges (in the Bulimia section below) may help to discourage those behaviors from starting
Please find below an incredible video by Tabitha Farrar on ‘when your body tells you its hungry’…. This video is about why it is not a good idea to ignore your body when it tells you that it is hungry. People in recovery often experience extreme hunger pangs and this feeling of being very hungry is very painful for them, this has resulted in many relaps and has become a hindrance to achieving full recovery.
There’s a brilliant article by by Rebekah Mardis, RD, CD on Eating Disorder and Hunger:
This is an archived article. Although much of the information contained within this article will likely still be relevant and helpful, there may be some content that is outdated or written by a former employee of Center for Change.
The scale described below is as follows:
0 =no hunger
2.5 =minimal hunger
5 = moderate hunger
7.5 =moderately intense hunger
10 =intense hunger
A person, who has a normal relationship with food, may fluctuate on the hunger scale between a 0 for no hunger and approximately a 5 for moderate hunger. This person may eat approximately five times a day.
Hunger in Anorexia Nervosa
A person with anorexia nervosa may stay between a 4 and a 10 on the hunger scale. To avoid eating, this person may drink low calorie beverages, eat low-calorie foods or take stimulants, gum, etc. The avoidance of food usually occupies the entire day at frequent intervals. Sleep is disrupted secondary to intense hunger and food related dreams.
When a person with anorexia begins to monitor their hunger it can be difficult because they are accustomed to ignoring body signals and talking themselves out of hunger. Also, if this person is at a low body weight (malnourished) they may have an insatiable appetite even while giving themselves full permission to eat. Therefore, they may feel they are obsessed with food but in reality it is their bodies natural response to starvation.
Constant hunger can be scary because the person may feel that it will never go away and they will gain weight excessively. It is helpful to reassure the person that their unusual hunger will decrease as their body returns to healthy state. It is also important to encourage the person not to initiate any purging behaviors. Reviewing some of the physical challenges (in the Bulimia section below) may help to discourage those behaviors from starting.
Hunger in Bulimia Nervosa
Hunger, in a person with bulimia, will fluctuate between both ends of the scale because the person avoids eating throughout the day, using food avoidance behaviors, bingeing and purging. Before the person binges they may have extreme hunger at a level 10, when they eat they may drop to a 0. Then if they purge, their hunger rises quickly to a 10. It is likely that the person will continue to cycle their bingeing and purging and their hunger will travel up and down the scale repeatedly.
Someone with bulimia may be very afraid of food and any eating episode because they have experienced a hunger that is insatiable. Sometimes they are able to continue to eat to their stomach is full capacity without ever feeling satiated.
Purging behaviors in a person with bulimia may be triggered by stressful life events. Also, a person who binges and purges often will experience physical changes that make stopping the cycle extremely difficult.
When a person binges, their body is able to absorb some carbohydrate, it will not absorb fat or protein (which both increasesatiety). The body may learn that a large amount of food is necessary in order to adequately meet the body’s energy needs. For example if someone binges on 7,000 calories and the body absorbs 700 before the rest is purged, the body may initiate eating 14,000 calories in order to meet a 1,400 calorie energy requirement.
The body will also become accustomed to living on a high carbohydrate diet and will release high amounts of insulin into the blood in order to use the food. If the person purges, the insulin remains in the blood and will drop the blood sugar level. This causes an intense hunger and the person may continue the cycle. This practice always keeps the body in a low-blood-sugar state, some persons are misdiagnosed with hypoglycemia. Also, the body may get into the habit of releasing a large amount of insulin whenever the person eats. Consequently, if the person tries to eat a normal size meal there may be a higher level of insulin in the blood, their blood sugar will drop and hunger will still be present after eating. This may cause the person to initiate another eating experience.
It is helpful to let the individual know that their extreme hunger is a physical consequence of past behavior and not just a mental obsession. It may take several months of normal, regular food intake for the body to relearn the metabolic consequences of eating food previously purged. It can be helpful to let the person know that within six weeks the intense hunger may be at a more tolerable level.
Thank you so much Mira for sharing this video with us. We hope you’ll find the information provided here useful in your journey to recovery and healing.
When your Body Tells you its Hungry
About Tabitha Farrar
Tabitha coaches adults and family of adults in recovery from eating disorders with a food first approach.
Tabitha Farrar grew up in Wiltshire, England. She developed an eating disorder at age 17. At the age of 25 she started her recovery journey. She has successfully recovered from Anorexia Nervosa and the complicated matrix of obsessions and habitual eating disorder behaviors that came with it.
Since Recovering Tabitha has
- Been a founding member of International Eating Disorder Action
- Been a founding member of World Eating Disorders Action Day
- Authored Love Fat, an educational memoire on eating disorder recovery and insight, and Rehabilitate, Rewire, Recover! — a recovery guide for adults.
- Written numerous eating disorder recovery guides for adults
- Peer mentored adults with eating disorders and parents/partners of adults since 2009
- Advocated for FBT for adults in eating disorder recovery
- Set up two forums for adults with eating disorders in active recovery
- Been selected to be a Coordinated Specialty Care Grant Advisory Board member
- Hosted of the Eating Disorder Recovery Podcast
- Founded Active Eating Disorder Recovery for Adults (AEDRA) Meal Support Service.
Please Visit her Website.
Tabitha provides Support:
Please visit her blog archives for in-depth information on varies eating-disorder specific topics.
Adults in recovery there is a peer-support forum for you –> info on that here.
Partners/parents of adults in recovery there is a peer support forum for here –> email me if you want an invite.
Tabitha provides coaching for adults in recovery and caregivers/partners/parents of adults in recovery. More info on this here.
Some of Brilliant Downloads by Tabitha Farrar visit her site for more downloads: