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How to deal with extreme hunger

Updated: Aug 23, 2022

In a nutshell; extreme hunger is your body trying to heal itself. Extreme hunger is characterized by eating large quantities of food in a relatively short amount of time. You might be thinking this is binge-ing, but trust me; it's not.

Extreme hunger is not something everyone recovering from an eating disorder will experience. However, my experience is that most will. I was completely shook when my extreme hunger popped up a few months in my last succesful recovery attempt. When you’ll experience it and for how long differs, but I can tell from experience: I only got extreme hunger when I mentally was like "okay, let's try this recovery thing for the last time. I'm going to give my body and mind everything it needs." If you're mentally still in this restrictive mode it'll less likely happen.

Why do you experience extreme hunger?

Hypothetically speaking, your body needs a certain amount of calories everyday to live and sustain itself. Imagine you’ve only been giving your body 1/3 the amount of calories it truly needs for a couple of years. When you finally start fueling it properly (listening to that mental hunger as well), it’s going to try to make up for lost time. That poor body of yours has been in starvation mode for so so long. That's why people who are dieting or even slightly restricting are thinking of food all the time. Your body is like. "what the fuck. Just give me what I need already"

When I was recovering for the last final time, I was one big bottomless pit.

Sometimes I was bursting at the seams and my my stomach was overly full, yet I still felt an innate calling to keep eating. I couldn't stop, so I didn't. I would consume huge amounts of foods at once. My intake ranged from 4000-8000 calories on an average day.

I felt like a I was some sort of poor child who hasn't been fed for years. That's kind of what happened though. This would happen over and over again, day after day. My body was screaming for food, mentally and physically.

Tabitha Farrar as a great example of why this all happens.

'How to prove to your doubting self that you need to eat a lot. Let’s say I need 3000 calories a day (I don’t count calories, but this is just for sake of example). That’s around 1095000 a year. Let’s say I only ate 1000 calories a day for a year. That comes to 365,000 in a year. That is a deficit of 730,000 calories a year. (!!) Let’s say I did that for 10 years. That is a 7300000 calorie deficit I have to make up for!'

Will extreme hunger ever stop?

Yes it does. I think it lasted for about 2 years in total for me personally, but having said that; I've been coaching clients who have had it for longer. It depends on the amount of restriction, years, exercise, weight and so much more.

The only thing you can do is: ride it out and please: LISTEN TO THE EXTREME HUNGER AND EAT WHATEVER AND WHENEVER YOU WANT.

Take this as an opportunity to give back to your body. If you're not going to listen to the extreme hunger, that's your choice, but know this: it will only prolong the situation.

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