Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Hunger cues

I hate how I don't feel hungry most of the time. It makes me frustrated! It's annoying to have to 'know' when to eat by looking at the clock. I've been recovering for a while, but I still depend on the time to eat.

This is probably one of the things I hate about recovery - my hunger cues are all messed up. Do I ever get hungry? I don't know! Maybe I do, but I'm not used to saying that I I don't verbalize it or think about it. It's almost as if saying that I am hungry is wrong - I think this is ED.

You see, ED convinced me that I was never hungry, even when my stomach hurt so much and I felt the pain there. He told me I could not possibly he hungry, because only I was special enough not to need food. He told me that getting hungry was a sign of weakness because that meant that I was not 'strong enough' to last without food.

And part of this is actually a protective mechanism by the body. When normally we don't eat for a while, our bodies have less energy and signal to our brains that we need food. Naturally, this means that you will feel your stomach growling, you might feel tired or dizzy, and you will do the normal thing there is to do - go find food and eat.

But with prolonged starvation - I mean LONG starvation (as was my case), the body loses this adaptive function. It needs to protect itself - what good is it for you to feel hungry and tired if your brain knows that you aren't going to feed it anyways? Not very helpful, is it? So the brain shuts off its hunger centre and you no longer 'feel' hungry. Does your body still need food and energy? Of course! But it'll trick itself into thinking that you aren't hungry because feeling grumpy and hungry when you aren't going to eat anyways would not feel very good.

Hunger cues take a long time to return. The body needs to know that it will continue to get food on a regular basis. I'm not talking a couple of months - studies have shown that it can take anywhere from six months to five years! And it varies from person to person.

So in the end, I'm left with an absolute lack of hunger. I'm dealing with this better than I thought - I don't have to he hungry, I'll just eat when I know that it's time to eat. I think my hunger cues are still not normal because my stomach doesn't rumble, I never get 'excited' to eat, and I'm often surprised that the next meal time has come so soon. It's frustrating, annoying, and kind of weird. But at the same time, it's something that I have to deal with if I'm going to defeat ED. I'm not particularly enjoying this part, but it too shall pass. And even if I never feel hungry for the rest of my life, it's better that I still eat at my times than give in to ED and let him win again.


  1. I do not feel hungry at all when I am stressed .So may be working on stress managemnt makes you feel better ,less stressed and then hungry


  2. When i am busy ,I forget hunger and enjoyment.
    I suggest making time for yourself and continue eat by hour till things better


  3. We all eat by the hour.We all have a routine .That is o k


  4. You are right about Ed policy of No hunger,hunger is a weakness,never say it ,feel or admit"
    You see how ED thoughts are corruptive ,rob victims from basic feelings and needs.
    I glad to read always that ED is a past and has no place in your current and future life.
    I am sure gradually you will regain normal feelings ,including feeling hunger and happy ,normal interpretations of your thoughts and feelings .
    All this take time
    Keep up

    K W
    Therapist,Toronto ,ON

  5. That is a girl
    I like your way of explaining the lack of hunger cues when your body in starvation mood.
    I like your determination to finish off of ED and send him to death sentensce with any chance of parole.
    I credit you for being a role model to all ED
    This is a great blog for all ED victims and for all those who are looking for healthy tips about body feeling and its normal interpretaion.

    Medical student

  6. Marina
    I am glad that you write about hunger.
    Here is my recollection several years ago when I was struggling with my Ed and swinging between recovery and relapse till my last one and I has had no relapse fore more than 5 years now.
    As you said and I loved your explaination,Ed loses their sense of hunger(among other feeling lost also,They become NUMB) and so basically do not eat and ignore the grumpy rumbling stomach and in fact their stomach shrink in size among all other organs .
    So when you start eat ,at first you eat like a baby and if eat more you have feeling full stomach ,not moving and so burp and so force .I had to use ensure in my recovery.
    Good news I pushed my self with team support and recovered and I did use timely schedule a meal every 3 hours and if I am busy take ensure.
    After some time about a year of my complete recovery I regain my feeling of hunger ,,satiety,happiness,rest ,satisfaction,self esteem ,hope ,love and be loved etc.
    What a blessing to be liberated from abusive monster that screwed up many years of my life.
    I admire you for challenging Ed and continuing your recovery while at school.I admit I lost at least 5 good years of productive life while I was struggling with my ED.
    If I have to mention one achievem,ment I am proud of ,it will be my recovery from Ed
    Now I am my self and free to enjoy life without Ed restrictions,demands and slavery

    Keep up

    Recovered ED victim

  7. very good blog

  8. Oh Marina
    Tell me about hunger cues
    You know if I do not remind my daughter with her meals ,she will never tell me feel hungry but I make her meals and We sit and eat together when she is home and I send her text and chat if she eats her snack and I tell ehr I did
    I hope one day she is able take her own responsibility for cure and do it seriously as you do.
    I admit she is much better since I learnt lots of info about ED from your blog.
    I hope her sense of feeling hungry come sooner and she can listen to her body cues and needs
    Thanks again

    Thankful mother

  9. I do not have Ed but when I am busy ,either I eat more or forget my meals ,so I learnt (like politicain0 to have my meals and snacks at fixed hours.
    Actually it is a regalarity in my life to eat my meals and snacks by hour and my doctor said it is healthy

    Political science student

  10. Eating by the hour ,that is a terrific idea.
    I will try it


  11. When i was depressed ,I had no appetite ,motivation to eat or go out
    So my family taking turns with meal time and perpare the food I liked before and keep encourage me till I eat it all.
    They saved my health till I recovered from depression
    Now I have my hunger cue ,appetite and enjoy what I do
    You are going there my dear
    Keep on the track

  12. I was born in London(England) and my parents are traditional British.
    As far as I recall ,we all have fixed time to have our meals and snacks and after noon tea.Also we have our sleep and wake up time.We have our time to get together and go on vaccation .
    I still keep this and I like it as keep me punctual and easy to remmeber and give me regualrity in my life.
    I know when you at work ,may be that easy but I always have easy to eat meals when I am at work ,so I do not have to cook ,use microwave

    Keep the best job.

    You are unique in doing a lot of work while you are mainatining your recovery


  13. I will try myself to have shcedulled time for my meals and snacks and my sleep and wake ,why not be regular and organized


  14. My love
    If you agree to meet me face to face ,you will have all the good feeling of happiness,hunger and joy.
    I like the way that you have regular time for meals.
    Please keep your health and wellbeing high priority in your to do list so that you will not forget yourself in a busy hectic day.
    I love you always


  15. Marina
    You elognatly explained the pathophysiology of hunger feeling during starvation and when refeed.
    I am very pleased with keeping your schedulles for meals
    In my culture we do have strict timing for meals,snacks and prayers.
    With my humble respect

  16. I do have sckedduule for my meals and sleep too but the one thing that I will never forget is eating a good breakfast.It does not matter what is going on,late ,lent ,church ,school or a vistor coming in,I eat my breakfast.I also happy to stick to my meals and snack and my fun time

    Social science student

  17. I agree with all of you
    I stick to my regular timing for my meals ,snack ,school and on top time for my self and only for ME to please ME(as you said Marina in the other blog)
    having time schedulled for my feeling good ,helps me to keep sane in this insane world


  18. I have a question,
    You know I need to eat a meal or snack every 2-21/2 hours inoder to be able to concentrate and focus on my work.Do you think is it o k or not.My weight has been same since I was 19 and no change and I feel greet.

    IT manager

    1. I'm not a doctor, but if you are asking me if this is 'okay' to eat every 2-3 hours and that is what you need - I say 'why not'? Your weight is good, you are haelthy, you feel great, and this is working for you. If this is what you need, then go for it. Live your life!

  19. ...Just wanted to say another THANK YOU to all my readers here! Again, I might not reply to every single comment, but I read ALL of them and I appreciate all of them. God bless you all! :)

  20. I have the same problem. Just recoverd, and I often do not feel hungry when snack/mealtime comes around. Sometimes I do, but when I even when I do I cannot say it outloud. I don't know why. I wish I would feel hungry so I wouldn't ave to feel guilty about eating when I feel my body doesn't nee the food. Also, I love the feeling of feeling hungry, which is weird. I think I've conditioned my brain to think if I feel hungry, then I should be happy becuase it means I cannot possibly be gaining weight.

  21. Hey congrads on your recovery !!I am going through the same thing, has your hunger cues come back or improved any bit ? :)

  22. Hey I am going through the same thing have your hunger cues got any better or improved :)

  23. I stumbled across this while looking for info on why we need calories. I had throat cancer and could not eat for a year. I mainly relied on Ensure because I knew I had to have calories and protein. I didn't realize until today that I had developed a eating disorder. That explained why I have no hunger cues. Fortunately I have always been into fitness and forced my nourishment in. It is good to know that one day those cues will return. I enjoy watching others enjoy their meals, but it is just a job to me. I am up to 190 from 168 in March of 2013, so I am on the right track. Thanks for the article.


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