Today we’re going to talk about extreme hunger in eating disorder recovery. I received this question on our Facebook group a couple weeks ago . And if you haven’t been on wholistica wellness group and come hang out with us, what are you doing? You’re totally missing out on a lot of fun and give-aways. Have I told you there’s lots of giveaways?
But the question is, is it normal to have extreme hunger after restricting? Since I started eating ‘normal’ again, I have been super hungry. I googled it and it says that it’s normal and that you should eat until you’re not hungry anymore. So I’ve been doing that for almost a week, but I’m scared that I’m going to gain a lot of weight. Am I doing the right thing? I know for sure that it’s physical hunger, because I wake up between 4 and 5 AM, because I am so hungry.
Even after eating a lot the day before. I don’t know, I’m just scared that I’m going to gain so much weight if I keep eating this much. Thanks! I get a ton of questions like this and I don’t think we’ve actually talked about it before, but the video above that discusses this subject matter in detail.
But I know that no matter how much I talk about this, no matter how much I tell you that this is okay and it’s going to be okay, your eating disorder is going to fight back. And it’s going to tell you, even if you read this right now:’ Well yeah, I’m different, I probably weigh more than the girl who asked that question or the guy who asked that question. They don’t understand what I’m going through.
My eating disorder isn’t bad enough. I’m really going to gain a lot of weight.’ It’s going to tell us all this garbage, and so just notice, think about it. Is that what’s happening? Because I’m talking right to you eating disorder! You’re full of BS and what I’m telling you is the truth, okay? So listen up, it all depends on how much damage was done to our body.
That’s the truth. That tells us how long we’re going to have this extreme hunger, because the reason that we have extreme hunger is because our body has to replenish all of the things that it was missing for so long. And we don’t know how much damage is really done And we can’t really compare ourselves to someone else, because their body is going to be different and a lot of it has to do with how healthy our body was to begin with.
How long do we restrict? How long do we binge and purge? How often? How severe? Were we also deficient in other things before this even got started? There are so many reasons and so many things, it can make our body different. And so your extreme hunger may last longer, may be different than someone else’s.
It honestly doesn’t matter how much you weigh either. I know you’re going to argue and be like: ‘Well, I’m not as thin as her. I didn’t under eat as often or restrict as much.’ It actually doesn’t matter, we can be overweight, we can be underweight, we can be healthy weight and still struggle with extreme hunger. This is because what our weight is doesn’t tell us much. for example, how much damage was done to our nerves, to our muscles, to our bone structure, to the cellular level of our body, to any portion of ourselves that makes us who we are. We don’t really know that.
The only way we can get to know that is if we got an extremely intensive physical; bloodwork. All this stuff at the hospital. Which maybe you’ve done. However, our body is still going to tell us when it needs more food. Now let’s end by talking about what you all probably came here for, which is the question: will I keep gaining weight forever? Ah, I worry so much! And the truth is: no, you won’t keep gaining weight forever. That’s the amazing thing about our bodies, is that they tell us when to stop. They tell us when we’re hungry, and when we’re full.
I have talked about intuitive eating and intuitive eating workbook, and that’s why I love it so much. It’s because it tells us to listen to our bodies. I actually love watching toddlers and young children eat, because they’re the most intuitive eaters. We don’t know exactly how much they need, but they do. And as soon as they’re, even if they’re loving something eating eating eating, and then they walk away, and mom will be like: ‘hey, are you done with that?’ And they’re not interested anymore, because they’re not hungry. That is because their body told them that they’re full.
That is an intuitive eater, and that’s what we’re all trying to work our way back to. And so no, you will not continue to gain weight forever. Your body will tell you when it’s done repairing itself and it doesn’t need that extra energy, but your body is always going to need energy. It doesn’t mean you go back into your eating disorder.
This just means that all that extra food you feel like you had to continue eating and eating, that extreme hunger will come back down into a normal hunger, fullness kind of regimen. You will feel better and you will have more energy. One of the things that is interesting, is when we usually go into extreme hunger, we will crave carbs, sugars and fats. Why? Because those are the easy energy sources to our body. They’re so easy for our digestive system to process through and get that energy going, so that we feel better faster, because it needs easily digestible and useful energy.
One of the most difficult parts of recovery for those of us who have been in a restrictive type of eating disorder, is that when we start gaining that weight back, we tend to hold it in our middle, in our body. Not on our limbs, but in our torso area. That can be really triggering and really hard, but just hang in there with me. Talk to your doctor, talk to your dietician. They will tell you the exact same thing. The truth is, if you think about it. We can survive without our limbs, right? We can’t survive without our torso. That’s where we house all of our important and useful organs, muscles, things that keep us alive. That’s where they all are. Therefore, because our body really doesn’t trust us and also it’s trying its best to like heal all of the damage, it holds weight around our middle for a while. Sometimes six months to a year in order to finish that healing process,.
Learn to trust your body again and then it starts dispersing that weight. So know that even if you feel like you’re gaining all your weight in your middle and all over your torso, know that that’s not what’s really going to happen at the end of all of this. That’s just your body’s way of protecting itself from the damage that was done before. And our body has to learn to trust us again too, because we’ve kind of you know, taking advantage of it and hurt it and so it holds that weight there as a way to protect our organs and to keep us alive.
So thanks body. Maybe take some time to write a little thank you letter to your body for keeping you alive, and making sure that you made it here today to read this article. There are so many things in place that we don’t really realize that our body does to keep us warm, keep us safe, keep us going, even when we’re maybe not giving it what it’s asking for. So if you have been working on recovery and you find yourself having extreme hunger, waking you up in the middle of the night, making you want to eat again after you’ve had your last snack for the evening, listen to it. It’s not lying to you. It’s not going to make you continually gain weight. What it wants to do is heal you, so that you go back to being the wonderful and amazing and energetic and strong you.