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 am...so 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.

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