Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Hunger Files

Recovery is an endless state of hunger, I swear. My appetite is out of control. Like today, I was sitting in a meeting for my internship when a sudden wave of hunger hit and I literally could not focus. We were working on an interesting project and I actually had lots to participate, but all I could think about was when the meeting would be over so that I could scarf down my Clif bar.

This has happened in classes before, too - where suddenly, I'm inexplicably starving and start counting down the minutes until I can bolt. And I can't even describe how angry this makes me, because I absolutely love my classes and my professors and it frustrates me beyond belief that I can't sit still for ninety minutes without dissolving into a hunger-induced haze.

My metabolism is still doing wacky things, but it seems more intense lately. Even if I don't feel particularly hungry (no tummy rumblings or anything), I'll get sort of light-headed, short of breath, my pulse quickens, and my whole body feels heavy - like my limbs are filled with lead and every movement takes a tremendous effort. It's this weird sense of being keyed up and antsy but exhausted and weighted down at the same time. And I've also been getting that insane sensation of having a full stomach that starts growling thirty minutes after a meal.

The baffling part of this is that I've actually upped my intake over the past couple of weeks. Very slowly, and not by much, but definitely an increase. Also, I'm still not running so it makes no sense to me that I'm so hungry! PLUS I've lost weight. Huh?

I'm becoming more and more afraid of my hunger. Timing of meals and snacks has always been a big deal for me (I will eat at 1:00 and not a minute earlier), and now I find myself micromanaging even further to make sure I never go too long without food. Because I am terrified of finding myself starving at a "non-meal time." Oddly, I'm not really afraid of overeating or binging at all, because I know that the chances of that actually happening are slim to none. But I am afraid of that weak, shaky, fuzzy feeling that can totally knock me out.

Anyway, this has been on my mind since I'm filling out my food records for R tomorrow. I hate writing down my intake. It makes me self-conscious. Although I'm actually eating less than what R wants, I still get horribly embarrassed to write it all out. And then to have to admit that I'm STILL hungry. I don't know how to explain that even though I realize an increased appetite + weight loss means I should eat more, I have a hard time justifying that to myself.

The point of my rambling, I think, is to show that Body Knows Best. I can't account for the fact that abruptly stopping all exercise and upping my food intake has lead to increased hunger and weight loss, but the fact is this: regardless of what I was eating a month ago, the current plan is not enough.


  1. This is an aspect of recovery that has annoyed/confused/pissed me off periodically also. The last sentence of your post is the most important, though. Even though we like to calculate and measure and formulate everything, the body has its own algorithms and adjusts them without warning or explaining it to us. How rude. I think realizing that weight restoration/management is way, way more complicated than a "calories in vs calories out" model is important (and is sounds like you've got that, which is awesome).

    Hang in there, this too shall pass! Are you getting hot flashes also? When I'm in hypermetabolic mode I feel like I'm menopausal with the appetite of a teenager, it's crazy. And the only way to get your body back in balance is to give it what it needs, even though I know it's frustrating and hard sometimes. I think sometimes even doctors underestimate just how complicated it is for a body to bounce back during recovery--there's a ton of rebuilding and restoration that is going on in addition to adding the weight back, and sometimes it takes a certain amount of weight gain for those processes to kick in, suddenly revving up your body's demands again. Plus, I think that if you've lost weight recently, your body is probably sending the "feed me feed me" signal as a partial result of that...all of which I'm sure you're aware of, cutting off the ramble now.

    Plus you deserve HUGE kudos for upping your food even though you've been on exercise restriction. maybe this will be a good lesson for future reference, that skipping exercise won't necessarily make your weight shoot up?

    I hope things go well with R. Take care!

  2. Hey, I've definitely been where you are now in terms of feeling hungry much more often than I want! However I found that once I really stuck to the meal plan laid out for me I was rarely ever hungry. So try to increase your intake based on when you normally get hungry during the day, good luck, it'll be ok I promise :)

  3. This is what happens when your body is undernourished and underweight. People who are at an appropriate weight for their bodies and who eat enough for their bodies rarely (if ever) feel like this. This shows you you are still in a very critical part of physical recovery. No time to take this lightly. These symptoms you describe are very anorexic and should be taken seriously by eating more. And, if you can't do that on your own, then I do suggest you do IP or go home and let your mom do maudsley with you.