Thursday, March 12, 2015

Appetite Musings, Take 2

My appetite is puzzling me (again) lately - I seem to be randomly starving all the time, even with upping my calories a little bit and trying to eat more meat. My meat intake had unintentionally gotten really low—mostly because it's expensive and I hate touching raw meat, not for any ED reasons. But I've been consciously trying to eat more of it lately because I think it fills me up better... Anyway, that was a tangent but my point, in spite of deliberately upping my protein, I'm still so hungry all the time. This morning I woke up to my stomach growling....made myself go running anyway, ate my usual breakfast, and then was starving within two hours. Like, legitimately starving, with my stomach growling and my mind getting fuzzy. So I ate lunch (scrambled eggs with cheese and a side of roasted cauliflower - not typical, but I'm on spring break) and now, about half an hour later, my stomach is still rumbling! I am on my period, which sometimes seems to increase my appetite, but not consistently and not usually this intensely. I've also started weight lifting again in the past few weeks, and I do notice that my appetite is OUTTA CONTROL on the days I lift, even though I always assume weight training burns far fewer calories than running or biking. Yet somehow on the days I lift for 20 minutes (and I do not lift particularly heavy....) my usual intake leaves me weak and dizzy with my stomach roaring ferociously. It's a bit of a mindfuck.

It's a bit demoralizing that still, after this long, I cannot figure out my appetite, cannot follow hunger cues to save my life, do not even really trust my own hunger cues, and have to find a million reasons to "justify" eating instead of just fucking EATING.

Bizarre, shameful, and a bit surreal that I am writing a blog post about how I can't feed myself as I am sitting here at my kitchen table, putting the finishing touches on my master's thesis.


  1. You know, I'm one of those people who loved her RD. I worked with my RD for 8 years. I think she was far more helpful than any group or therapist. But then again, she didn't educate me about nutrition or give me food ideas ever. She worked with me on the process of learning to trust my hunger cues, the thoughts that come up when I'm starving and don't know what to do because it seemed like I already ate enough, etc. All of that - like the psychology of the eating part of the eating disorder. I don't know if it'd be helpful for you to work with someone specifically on that (whether it be an eating disorder knowledgeable dietitian or just a therapist - but someone you can trust to guide you, to care for your weight and your food, etc.). Just thought I'd share my experience in case it helped you figure out your next steps.

    I relate SO MUCH to your experience with your appetite when I was working on my recovery. It's not my experience at all anymore; it can get resolved!

    1. Laura, I was actually thinking of you as I wrote this because I thought I remembered that you had found your dietitian to be super helpful. And it's interesting that she was most helpful with the head stuff rather than the nutrition stuff - because the nutrition stuff is where I totally lose faith. I have come to the conclusion that nutrition and metabolism and bodies are SO complicated and SO individual that probably no one, and definitely not a random CNS, has a full handle on it. This most recent N I saw talked like she had all the answers, spewing stuff that sounded like it came out of Shape Magazine or something, and I was totally not buying any of it. I am slowly realizing that it is not worth my time to try to track down as much info about nutrition as I can and try to micromanage my way into the perfect diet because the information is just not out there, and it may be more productive to work on the mental part of eating/appetite etc.

      Sorry to write a comment longer than my post...still working this out in my head, obviously. Thanks! And how are you?? Is my memory correct in that there was a wedding? or will be a wedding?

    2. Oh yeah, if recovering from an ED (and knowing other people who have done or are working on doing the same) has taught me anything it's that the calories in-calories out formula is not applicable to most people. Metabolism and weight is SO complicated.

      In response to what you wrote to Alie... yes, I think all good ED RDs are therapists in disguise... and in a smiliar way, I think all good ED therapists have to be part dietitians in disguise. RD and Therapists aren't that different when it comes to ED treatment.

      Your memory is correct. I got married 7 months ago! It was one of the best days of my life :)

    3. amazing! congratulations!!!! so so very happy for you :)

      and thank you for validating my doubts about all the "my calculator tells me you should be eating this many calories, trust me I'm an expert" dietitians out there.

  2. I'm really sorry you're struggling with this right now. Sounds like N wasn't a good fit at all. I've been fortunate to work with a good RD, and my therapist actually helps a lot in that department as well. They both really work with me on trusting my hunger cues, and how our appetite isn't some mechanical thing that will be the same every day, or is based on some mathematical formula. My RD doesn't give me nutrition advice at all, actually. Consequently, I really don't work on having a perfect meal plan or count calories at all (no kidding, I haven't known my weight or counted calories since I went into treatment almost two years ago). I just try to give my body what it wants. It has really helped me through their encouragement and experiences as non-disordered people to understand that my body will tell me what it needs and if I feed it accordingly, my life is a lot easier with less noise in my head. Obviously this is easier said than done, and I still have some WR to do, but I'm so much less stressed without the noise of the numbers.

    I really hope you're able to figure out what works best for you to listen to your body, honor it, and feel less stressed about it. Would this be something you could talk to Dr. P about? Could you work with her on the obsessive thoughts around food and try to increase flexibility with her help? Hang in there!

    1. hmm this is very curious. Are all good RDs just really therapists in disguise? That's great that you are able to not give into the numbers like that - counting/tallying has probably been the most dominant element of my eating disorder for quite some time now, and I'd wager a guess it is really more of an anxiety/ocd/habit thing at this point. Also interesting because I'd gotten so used to ignoring hunger signals while starving, and then being told to ignore them again when I was getting WR because I needed more than I was used to or comfortable with, so paying attention to what my tummy rumblings are telling me is still totally counterintuitive.

      Thanks ALie - how are the eyes?