Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"

But I’m Not Hungry…

7 Comments

But are you REALLY not hungry?

why-am-I-always-hungry

My friends, a post I read the other day a la My Little Tablespoon struck something in me. It inspired me to discuss the topic of hunger signals because it has been something I have learned over time as well. Her post was quite interesting for me as it explains some of the weird things that come along with recovery. She spoke about how sometimes you feel as if you are back to being a child and feeling vulnerable and fragile. When you choose to move forward against the ED is when you feel fear like a child who is facing a monster.

You come to realize that as you grow you are bigger then that monster and have to use your voice and your strength to shrink the monster into the small bully it really is. It was quite the thought provoking read to say the least, so, Cora, I thank you for that.

The other thing that stood out to me was this line

I don’t get the typical physical hunger ques of a growling stomach, but I knew I was hungry because I was having the hardest time focusing and felt extremely lethargic.

Maybe this thought hit me harder because of what happened yesterday during my restaurant. Yes, hell day was yesterday (my groups day to run the restaurant at University) and although it turned out pretty good in the end, there was a hiccup for my own health that really just did not sit well with me.

So heres a quick run-down of yesterday.

You see, I’m not allowed to eat during service (i.e. between the hours of 10:30 and 2:30 basically). I asked my prof/chef about eating and he said if you ever need to step out then it’s fine but yet the one time a manager of the restaurant day sat down to have a quick bite after working away for like 7 hours, she immediately got harped at.

You know it doesn’t look good for a manager to be eating while others are working….

Basically us managers don’t eat until everything is done (despite everyone enjoying ‘staff meal’) and if you don’t get up now your mark will suffer. So after one bite and a flush of embarrassment across her face, she ran back in to the kitchen until shift was over which was more then an hour and half later.

This is what happened to me yesterday, except, those feelings of lethargy are so much stronger for someone who is underweight and I actually began to get concerned for myself. Long story short, I had been prepared, I did eat a meal before service (despite it being secretly done in the bathroom and woofed down so fast I don’t think my body recognized it was food..), but after running around the kitchen for 5 hours I was left feeling very hungry around normal staff meal time (1:30)…The hunger pangs stopped but then on came the light headedness and tunnel vision.

I need food, like now…

So this brings me back to the topic of hunger signals others then physical hunger feelings.

So yes, this may be an extreme example to start with to explain my thoughts on this topic, but it was just the other effects that occurred besides the actual hunger feelings that got me thinking about it.

So physical hunger aside, there are times that you think you’re not hungry but your body fails to agree. It is getting low in fuel and is ready for some food and if for some reason it can’t growl at you, other signs begin to surface that show a lack of sufficient energy.

feed-me-right-meow-feed-me-plzzzzz.jpg

So what’s with the lack of physical hunger you ask?

In many cases of disordered eating or even dieting, natural hunger signals may become skewed or non-existent and thus cannot be something to rely on. For me, despite generally feeling that hunger almost always, there are times where I don’t feel hungry and instead, I just feel sleepy, unmotivated and unfocused. Often for me, that is the result of gas and such (sorry TMI) due to the increases in food and my IBS kicking up a fuss.

I used to wonder why I didn’t feel this insatiable hunger all day long on some days because I work out so hard. Now I know that perhaps my hunger cues still need time to come back around 100% in addition to the fact that my hunger may be masked by other things. I have also come to learn that there are other obvious cues that I need food and that I just need to be aware when they start to present themselves.

You don’t need the tummy grumblies to signal you to eat.

This hopefully isn’t a forever thing but unfortunately when you restrict at some point in your life, this throws your hormones off balance and thus those triggers may be absent. So instead, it becomes vital that you cue into your other signs in order to keep your body humming away. Some of these include:

Sudden tiredness

Tunnel vision

Unable to process information

Lack of concentration

Sudden irritability 

Sudden cravings

Feeling snacky

Etc.

Etc. 

I say time and time again, your body is smart. If your main cue of hunger is screwed up, your body comes up with other methods BUT most of us are just not in tune with our body enough or unaware that these are cues of hunger.

So what to do if your hunger cues are not so loud?

Listen to your body more. Sudden drops of blood sugar (aka I’m fasting right now and feeling hungry) can manifest themselves in those above symptoms. Try to practice and learn to dissect your feelings rather then waiting for hunger pangs. This takes time and practice, but becoming in tune with yourself will come.

Eat more often. If you’re on the go, have some snacks (remember balance! Not just a piece of fruit here unless you really have no other option) and eat one if you are coming on 3-4 hours after a meal unless  you’re stuffed.

Get on a schedule. I know this seems like a weird tip considering I just said to listen to your body but hear me out. If you have lost your hunger cues then a schedule may be what it takes to regulate your feeding enough for it to start to signal you again. If you actually get hunger signals then by all means EAT but when you are still in the stages of trying to regain your bodies natural patterns, you may need to consider this.

Finally, you need to be patient. Your body isn’t an elastic band that can just return back to normal. If disordered eating (or another disease/illness) had mad those signals silent, give your body some time to come back around. It needs a lil wine’in and dine’in before it will show you some love back.

So think about it. Do you always feel hunger or do you eat sometimes because you know you should?

This is important for me to know especially now that my stomach may put up a fuss more often due to the caloric increases so frequently.

What would you do if you had a very long class but wasn’t allowed to eat. Do you think that is right?

-Chelsea

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7 thoughts on “But I’m Not Hungry…

  1. Wow. Chelsea, I am so humbled that you took something from my post. It always floors me – though I suppose it shouldn’t – that someone can relate to and understand so fully what I am feeling, or trying to say. Though I must say, I think you worded it all much more efficiently than I did. Your words about growing and beating the “monster” into the bully that it is… this is just so true. Thank YOU.
    These are also such excellent tips for someone lacking/struggling with hunger cues (aka me). Getting yourself into a routine and schedule I think is huge – it eliminates the potential of severe blood sugar drops as well as the anxieties of planning when/what to eat. I’m really struggling with my cues. As in, they really aren’t there. I have to trust that my drops in energy and massive loss of focus are my signs that I need to eat.. even if my stomach could care less. It’s really hard. But you just have to get yourself into the groove of doing it, then it becomes a little easier. Thank you again. ❤

    • aww thank you so much. I’m glad you liked it as I loved your post. I tend to get hunger pangs pretty quick, like they go from 0 to 100 (feed me right now!) and so I think I need to also cue into my other signals because maybe they would show up before it gets to that extreme.

  2. I loved Cora’s post about this. For me, I’m trying to become more fat adapted for running and general health (long story). I really love how I feel and all that, but I also don’t get hungry as much anymore. Eating a lot more fat is satiating and because I still eat carbs, I feel stable energy most of the time. However, I enjoy eating and taking a break to veg out on the computer. So I do that every morning regardless if I’m starting and when I get a break at work and at night when I get home. I know I need to eat and I like it, so it’s more a habit.
    Of course, I still get hungry sometimes and then I have a bite of PB or something until I can have a good lunch. I think it’s weird that your teacher was mad at you for eating, but I get it. Sometimes when one person is suffering without food they think everyone else should too.
    Stupid stupid.
    Great post 🙂

    • Interesting, how is fat adaptation going? If you’re going to switch to a higher ratio of fats then running is definitely the place to do it (endurance running) because that is what your body eventually taps into as it’s a longer term source of energy. Weight training and sprints it’s not recommended but I would be interested to see how you feel energy wise and speed.

      • I feel pretty good. I don’t get energy surges or crashes, I just feel smooth. It has been nice with running because I only need to drink water instead of relying on carbs. I do eat more carbs than recommended because I can get away with it due to the running. It’s going good, but it’s not permanent or something I am religious about. If I’m with friends or something, I still eat pretty normal. The best thing that’s happened is that I stopped eating so much processed sugar. That made a huge different in my running and energy and how my stomach felt after eating.

      • Thats great! I’m glad it’s going well so far and it’s always good when the tummy is happy too because when tummy is mad, I’m normally mad too lol

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