As you start to eat more, you can feel full to the point of bursting one minute, and empty and hungry the other. It’s something I’ve tried to explain to my parents when I’m so full after dinner, but 10 minutes later feel like I could eat another whole dinner.
But, yet again, it’s unsurprising our bodies send us mixed signals, they probably haven’t received a regular and constant food intake for a while. This fluctuation in signals is mostly to do with our endocrine system and the hormones that regulate feelings of hunger for anyone interested in the sciencey bit. Educating myself on the science behind what is happening in my body and why, really comforts me- I know what’s happening to me is natural and I’m not going crazy!!
I’m not going to comment on things I haven’t experienced and the feeling of fullness or lack of hunger isn’t something I’ve struggled with too much. I do sometimes finish meals and feel physically full, but am still mentally hungry. I know from reading around the subject, that while your digestive system tunes up as you increase your intake, you have spend a lot of time having to eat when you are not hungry, or when you feel full.
How to make eating more comfortable:
- Eat at regular intervals regardless of discomfort. A stomach ache can’t be a reason you don’t eat. Train your system up.
- Eat foods that are easy to process. Vegetables take a long time to break down and so can cause digestive issues. Foods which your body really wants are high in fat.
- Drink through out the day.
- Use techniques to attempt to reduce anxiety.
Feast eating and extreme hunger:
Extreme hunger is what a lot of people with AN experience in recovery. I definitely have. It’s terrifying. With every individual however, it is different. Some (rare) don’t experience it at all. Some experience it at the very start of recovery. Some experience it much later on. Likewise, some only experience it for a few days; for some it can last for months.
During this time you will want (and need) far more than 2500-3500 calories a day and could potentially eat anywhere from 6,000-10,000 calories per day. Enter anxieties that you have developed binge-eating. What you have to understand it you are not alone in experiencing this, it’s entirely natural. It makes total sense that it’s happening. As a cave man, after a period of starvation and lack of food, when a heard of buffalo wander past, you feast! Why have 1 buffalo leg when you can have 4?? You don’t know when the next heard of buffalo might wander past again!
This is exactly the same as how your brain reacts to food in recovery. Binge eating seems like a horrible word to call something so natural. I therefore call it ‘feast eating’ like my many therapists suggest. I find it’s a less self-judgmental word. And self judgement has absolutely no place in eating disorder recovery.
I find extreme hunger hits me the day after I perhaps haven’t quite hit my calorie minimum. My body suddenly panics that I’m restricting again and so does everything it can to force me to eat and eat and eat. Yet another reason to keep a high intake constantly and not revert to restriction.
Will it ever stop?
Will it last for ever? Sometimes it feels like it. After 3 bowls of cereal I think, how is it even possible to be still starving? And start to feel bad for being ‘greedy’.
When your body realises that you are providing it with a constant, adequate amount of food, you won’t desire to eat all day anymore. And I can’t wait for this. People who are recovered don’t feel the desire to eat a whole pack of bagels, but I occasional do feel that I could. You will feel content with one. Your brain won’t think for hours about what you’re are eating next and what you can allow yourself, because it’s nourished and doesn’t panic that restriction is going to occur.
As Tabitha Fararr says, food will eventually become unremarkable. Fancy that! You won’t think about it constantly and you won’t feel you can eat and eat and eat forever. But for now, you need to if that’s what you’re body is telling you. Don’t judge yourself. You’re not crazy. Eat as much as you can and desire.
I hope this was useful and comforting for some of you to read.
Always keep fighting,
P.S. Absolutely no reason for the pug theme whatsoever.