anonymous said:

I study psychology A-Level and we're learning about eating behavior. What I've learned so far is about leptin + body fat levels, ghrelin and other hormones that control hunger and fullness. Basically EVERYTHING I've learned supports MM! It just makes sense, scientifically and biologically. I've been following MM for 2 months, I'm just coming out of the extreme hunger stage - knowing that it's natural is just such a relief. Anyone scared of it: your body is trying to save you, let it.

I’m so glad that you’ve written in to say this. Thank you.

Extreme hunger:

So you know how if someone without an ED doesn’t eat enough on monday, on tuesday they’ll probably eat more to make up for it because their body didn’t have enough energy the day before?

Now imagine that on a much larger scale. For months or years you’ve restricted and overexercised or purged. Now you’re eating again, but suddenly your body realises that it works better when it has energy. 

So you get hungry. Really, really hungry. Waking up twice every night to eat hungry. Three breakfasts, two lunches and and two dinners hungry. Ravenous ten minutes after a meal hungry. And you think, ‘this is my worst nightmare. Why is this happening to me?’ 

This is why: you have thousands and thousands of calories to make up for. Your body has has a calorie deficit for a long time and it all adds up and now it’s caught onto your recovery and it wants in. ‘Let me heal, I’m HUNGRY’. And it’ll try and get all those calories and nutrients it’s missed out on as fast as it possibly can, thus squeezing months worth of hunger into a couple of weeks.

You’re not greedy. You’re not binging. You’re hungry. And that’s okay.

New articles by Gwyneth Olwyn

I seriously, seriously (always) recommend the stuff she writes. Here are the latest ones that you may not have seen and really should read, if you have the time and interest to.

For more, here is her FAQ (which is an excellent FAQ - please read it). There are also some Gwyneth Olwyn ‘essentials’ in our Resources page. For her entire blog index, click here.

There’s tons of materials here, guys - use it well. Gwyneth has saved many lives, continues to do so, and her articles always reassure those who read them properly (i.e. with an open mind). 

I’m going to link to her FAQ just one more time to really emphasise how important it is that you look at it, if you don’t have the time or energy for all-out scientific, serious (in a good way) articles.

Gwyneth Olwyn’s Most Asked Questions

I hope that these will be read by people, because, well, this is writing that really does need to be read. I hope that reading the site will really, really help you.

- Kate

The brain does weird things when you deprive it of food.

And I don’t mean just calorically. Even if you’re eating 2000, 3000 calories a day in recovery, if they’re all safe, you’re still going to be obsessed with food and what you “can’t” have.

(AKA a friendly reminder to challenge yourself today.)

Binging

"I ate an extra apple and a piece of chocolate, is that a binge?"
"I ate xxx calories more than usual because I wanted it, did I binge?"
"I ate so unhealthy today and I feel like I have been binging"
"I wanted 2 pieces of cake instead of one like everyone else and I feel like I binged"
"I ate even though I wasn’t hungry and didn’t need to eat, but I just felt like having something, did I binge?"

I get so many messages about binging.
The funny thing is that 99% of the time what someone has experienced is not classified as a binge.
Instead it is often their eating disorder trying to make them feel bad for eating something, by making them believe they have binged.
So to clear this up, this is what binging is:
Binging is:
Consuming a large quantity of food in a short period of time.
Feeling out of control and not being able to stop when you are full.
Binge eating to cope with feelings, memories, traumas, etc.

If you are recovering from a restrictive eating disorder, you may experience extreme hunger which in some cases can be confused with binging.

This is what extreme hunger is:
The best way to describe extreme hunger is the feeling of being full but hungry. 
When you go through a period of extreme hunger you can find yourself eating anywhere from 6000-10000 calories in a single day. 
Yes, you will be eating more than you are comfortable with, you will eat till you are uncomfortably full, you will feel like your body keeps wanting food even though you are full to the brim.
But that is not binging. 

I hope you see the difference now and will never allow your eating disorder to trick you again.
Stop using the word “binge” or “binging” when it is not appropriate.

5

I have very few photographs of me at my lowest weight because I refused to be in any pictures.

The first two are of me in July 2012, I had literally just began my recovery journey, see for yourself…

The last three are taken of me in the past month or so, I am happy, living life to the full and yes I do still have bad days but they are NOTHING compared to the hell I was living in when I let anorexia have control.

I keep the top photograph so that I can look back on it. When my head says ‘you were never that ill’, ‘you don’t need SOO much food’ or ‘life was better before recovery’. I look it. And I’m like: dear god get me some hobnobs!!! No wonder I am so hungry, I starved my body EXTREMELY so why is it wrong for my body not to want food back EXTREMELY.

Go with the hunger, it leads to true freedom. Don’t remain partially in the grips of the anorexic mindset or to a half-living, half-recovered, quasi state.

The body pictured below has CrAvEd food: tonnes of it! And you know what that food has done? Dragged me back to my fabulous self!

Re-blog to spread the word that EXTREME HUNGER is OK!!! and in fact… pretty awesome really ;)

I love you all… keep on going!

Binging in Recovery / Reactive Eating / Extreme Hunger / WHAT IS NORMAL?

Recovery can be a tough process when it comes to relearning how much food to eat, when to eat, trusting your body, relearning hunger, honouring your cravings, etc. It can be a terrifying experience for someone to have to completely reform their relationship with food to find normal. During recovery, I often found myself asking “WHAT IS NORMAL?” both physically and mentally.

REACTIVE EATING

Most people are used to thinking of it as “bingeing” but to use that term in relation to a restrictive eating disorder is wrong.
Reactive eating occurs when the person is still restricting or eating a sub-optimal amount for what the body really needs to recover and repair. The issue is not the reactive eating, it is the restriction. The focus must be on eradicating the restriction and eating as much as the body is demanding.
You’re genuinely hungry for this food, even if it’s only mental hunger (feeling weak or focusing on food or wanting food even if not fully physically hungry, because hunger cues are messed up but you still have a massive calorie deficit to fill). It may feel like a ‘binge’, but it isn’t. You need everyone one of those calories.
Reactive eating is a symptom of ongoing restriction, so address the restriction and the reactive eating evens out. As long as you never goes below the daily minimum on any given day, then responding to the reactive eating is very good and moves recovery along.

EXTREME HUNGER

Many in recovery find the extreme hunger very scary and they assume they will just keep going and that it is a sign that things are out of control. Instead, it is a sign that the body is reversing damage and restoring weight and it desperately needs a lot more energy to complete the process.
Extreme hunger happens because your body is not just addressing the need to restore weight to the optimal set point, it also has to repair a lot of physical damage that occurs when you create energy deficits within the ecosystem that is your body. 

As you begin eating to refeed your body, the digestive system has quite a bit of catch-up. And if that coincides with the cells throughout the body demanding a massive infusion of energy to repair damage, then you end up experiencing fullness and hunger at the same time, which can be disturbing. The digestive system is frantically sending messages to the brain “I’m going as fast as I can here” and the cells throughout the body are screaming at the brain “More energy now!
Respond to the hunger always; never allow any restriction to creep in.

  • To deal with a digestive system still getting up to speed, eat very calorie-dense foods (lots of ultra-processed, fast food options are great for this phase), snack on nuts and seeds constantly and eat tons of small meals to help the digestive system cope as it gets back to normal.

image

"BINGE EATING" (n.b. in recovery from a restrictive eating disorder)

Re-frame the word bingeing. It is not bingeing. It is an energy requirement your body has defined for itself.

If you feel like you are “binging” in recovery: begin by eliminating the most obvious. Has the definition of “weight restored” been determined by experts who have helped you through your recovery process? If so, then it is highly likely that while you may have reached the healthy BMI range (18.5-25) you are still not at your body’s optimal weight.
More often that not, patients are advised to stop gaining weight when they reach BMI 20. They are told they need to watch that they don’t over shoot.
However, BMI 20 will be a fully-recovered weight for only 2% of all patients striving to recover from the restriction eating disorder spectrum. That leaves 98% of those who have been told to stop gaining weight fighting the body’s absolute necessity that they gain more in order to reach their own optimal weight set point.

NORMAL EATING 

image

Resources:
Your Eatopia
FYOURED

"WHY AM I BINGEING AND HOW DO I STOP?"

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk about bingeing recently, so I thought I should clear some things up.

Firstly, if you “binge”, that does NOT mean you have Binge Eating Disorder. It could mean one of several things:

A. You are restricting your intake (if even only a little bit) and your body’s reaction is to scream out for more energy. This is called reactive eating. You need to increase your intake and listen to every hunger cue in order for the urge to binge to die down.
B. You are not restricting your intake yet still want to eat more, and are hungry for much larger amounts of food than usual. This is called extreme hunger. This is actually great news! It means your body is in active recovery and is calling out for large amounts of energy to finally do the serious repairs in your body (organs, bones, tissue repair). Do not try to suppress your hunger. Extreme hunger will go away with time.
C. You actually do have binge eating disorder. But remember this: BED only counts as such if you never restricted your intake in the past. If you are trying to diet, lose weight, or maintain a weight below your naturally healthy weight, you are reactive eating. See point A.

Here are some truly excellent articles I found on YourEatopia about bingeing, please have a look.
1. Why Bingeing is not Bingeing when you are recovering from a Restrictive Eating Disorder
2. "Weight Restored" and still Bingeing
3. Extreme Hunger: What Is It?

I have had some of the exact same concerns as many of you out there, and thought my “bingeing” was a bigger problem than my restricted intake, which I infact chose to completely dismiss. Those three articles (and the comments sections) were very helpful in explaining what was really going on. I promise, you’ll be fine. :)

4
Just a rant about ED recovery blogs.

First of all, possibly the most damaging of all to anyone with an ED, “water weight”. I’m very sorry to burst your bubble but there is NO SUCH THING! It’s just a crutch someone made up to make themselves feel better about gaining weight. As an A-Level biology student, we learn about what happens with malnutrition. Your body holds onto the food (that’s everything, fat, sugar, minerals, vitamins etc). It stores the food until it trusts you that you’ll give it a constant supply of food. IT WILL NOT JUST GET RID OF IT! Think of it this way, if you had a child, you won’t let them out of your site until you trust them not to get killed. It’s the same with your body, it won’t let the food go until it trusts you to give it more. Once it trusts you, it will digest the food as normal and the weight will even out (you may find it will all go to one area). You may have gained 10lbs in 2 weeks, but it’s what your body needs.

Water weight will only occur if you’ve water loaded and even then your body just gets rid of it through perspiration and bowel movements. So you need to trust your marvellous body that it knows what it is doing and doing what it needs to do. So yes, the weight you’ve gained is actual weight and won’t go away next week unless you stop eating. So stop worrying and just go for recovery and accept you will gain weight quite fast at first.

Second of all, what’s this about extreme hunger. It’s not extreme hunger, it’s just hunger. Your body is craving the fat and sugar that it needs but it’s craving bad days because they get into your body the fastest. So eating that pint of Ben and Jerrys is pointless, all you are doing is raising your blood pressure (I know your BP will be low but it will naturally raise with healthy weight gain) and your blood sugar levels (which you don’t need to do). You are much better off eating healthy fats during recovery and not raising your bad cholesterol levels. You’re also better off eating fruit rather than lots of cakes and ice cream which contains artificial sugars, which is bad for your health wether you’re in recovery or not.

I am by no means saying some foods are worse than others, but you do need to accept that food with a lot of artificial sugar and saturated fat is bad for you when eaten in large quantities. It will still have the same effects on your body during weight restoration as it will when you’re healthy. They will cause you to gain fat, whereas healthy fats and sugars will help to build muscle and fat. You’ll still gain weight, but you’ll look slimmer because it’s muscle as well! You’re much better off eating the majority of healthy foods during recovery and eating a normal amount of ‘junk’ food. Recovery is all about gaining normality, normal people don’t eat a pint of B&J everyday, I’m sorry to burst your bubble but they don’t. Normal people eat healthy foods and occasionally eating bad foods!

So please, listen to your doctor and not ED recovery blogs. I’m sorry but the majority are only relaying false information and making it okay to eat a bag of biscuits and a pint of B&J every day. This will only make you gain weight faster. If you go to IP, they won’t feed you this.

N.B: I’m not saying that if you crave sweets to have an apple instead. If you want a bag of sweets go and fucking eating it and eat whatever your body wants. But you guys need to understand that being unhealthy is not going to do you any favours at all and eating large amounts of refined sugar and saturated fat, is unhealthy for anyone, wether you’re recovering from anorexia or not. And healthy fats will help gain muscle (with protein obvs). And if water weight is meant to go away, then why didn’t my 2 stone? Yes you will have a small amount of water weight from waste products but your body WILL hold onto food, no matter what you say.
'Hey, Effie, watch this!' says Peeta. he tosses his fork over his shoulder and literally licks his plate clean with his tongue making loud, satisfied sounds. Then he blows a kiss out ot her in general and calls, 'We miss you, Effie!'
—  Moments I hope they keep in The Hunger Games film
Extreme hunger/bingeing: it does end.

The worst moments in recovery for me were during the weeks of extreme hunger/bingeing.

Especially because I was already a borderline overweight BMI I really struggled to see that my desire to consume upto 10,000 calories in one day was not really greedy/disordered, and actually something to do with my extended starvation.

During my eating disorder I was so hungry I could EASILY eat 5,000-10,000 calories in one sitting. In fact, I would dream of fantasy days I could just be eating all day and not gain weight. Eating was like… something to be fantasized about.

The reality of honoring your hunger when your hunger leads you to ‘binge’ is HORRIFIC. The anxiety and the pain in my body was tremendous. However, I am proud to say I honored the desire to eat that much every time my body asked me to. Sometimes I might delay for a few hours just to really check my body wanted it. And it always did.

But, after a few weeks of extreme hunger popping up frequently.. it disappeared. It has never returned other than twice after a three day relapse. Knowing extreme hunger will come back is an extremely good motivating factor for me never to restrict again. Bingeing is not pleasurable.

I am now completely binge free, and it is not an effort. I have zero desire to binge. EVER. This is a miracle for someone who has spent ten years fantasising about being allowed to binge. I couldn’t binge if I tried. Food does not hold that magic allure, it does not give me pleasure to eat vast quantities of food. My body does not need it, my brain does not desire it.

I thought I would always want to binge. It just wasn’t true.

I can have cakes, cookies, bread, butter, whatever the hell I want in my house and it does not ‘call’ me or tempt me. I eat it when I want, in quantities that are normal. This is LIBERATING. Also, when I eat a meal out, I just eat and enjoy rather than shoving it in my face and hunting for more. The binge monster is not always lurking behind the floodgates every time I eat something that isn’t a ‘safe’ food.

This was my experience of extreme hunger and how honouring it ended my desire to binge for good. Turns out, I was just hella hungry all along.

pumpkinpancakes said:

Hi Amalie! I was just wondering how you split up your calories/meals in recovery? Thanks so much!

Hi! In recovery I ate like more or less like this;

Breakfast 08:00; 600-700 calories
Most oftenly; oats w/topping (my favorite was chia seeds and berries), bread, cripsbreads, fruits (both fresh and dried, often 1 apple and some dried figs) and chococoffee with milk and chocolate covered nuts. Yes, often all of these in one meal.

Snack 11.30; 500-600 calories
Most oftenly; nutrition drink or 1/2 full fat milk, nuts (yoghurt nuts or almonds) and banana OR a smoothie of bananas, pb, chocolate powder, milk, chia seeds,

Lunch 14.30; 600 calories
Here I varied more, but it was often cereal w/raisins and milk (obviously), bread, crispbreads, nuts, fruits (often mango or grapes), some dark chocolate, a glass of full fat milk or smoothie etc.

Dinner around 17-00-17.30; 600 calories
In most cases 1/2 plate with rice/pasta/potatoes, 1/4 vegetables, 1/4 proteins (seafood, Quorn vegetarian ”meat”, beans, chickpeas etc) and some sauce or dressing on the side, often ketchup, quark, butter or soy sauce. After dinner I usually had a snack of hot chocolate w/milk and some dried figs/a microwaved banana with cinnamon.


Supper around 20.00-21.00; 600 calories
Lots of rice cakes with all kinds of spreads (avocado, butter, salmon, pb, macerel, jam etc), dates, 1-2 eggs, fruits. 

= 3000 calories

I ate like this because it was simple and fit with my schedule. Sometimes I ate 700 calories for breakfast and 500 calories for snack, for example, but always 3000 in total. Oh, and obviously no exercise, I stayed mostly sedentary.

I planned all my meals the day before, but they were usually pretty much the same. I needed a very strict and detailed plan here because I was underweight and my main priority was to gain weight because so many of my symptoms, especially the extreme rigidity and obsessive behavior, were side effects of being underweight and undernourished. I was scared that I would make it a habit to be so obsessive around my meals, but I gradually got less rigid and obsessive the more I ate and gained. 

In the beginning I weighed everything, even cucumber. Awkward but true. I gradually stopped weighing and counting down to every single digit. For example, one week my goal was to stop weighing vegetables. Then I stopped weighing oats, and measured it by tbsp or dl instead. Then I stopped weighing bread etc.

So when did I stop eating after a 3000 calorie meal plan, and how? My psychologist wanted me to keep on eating this way until I reached bmi 20, and then gradually start eating after hunger cues. She said that a bmi of 20 or above made the risk of a relapse lower. Just like so many in recovery I had this little period where I though I could maintain bmi 17-18 and be ”healthy”. Yeah right. At that bmi I was still obsessed with food and body, I was extremely rigid and disordered in every way. No period and no wish to do anything besides analyzing my body and counting macros. It was hard to let go of my ED, and I kind of wanted to choose a ”lifestyle” where I could stay obsessed with food and body. I was actually close falling into the *scary music* .. Fitness trap!!!! Luckily I was surronded by a psychologist and family members who convinced me to recover. This could have gone so wrong, as society sees orthorexia and fitness as healthy. 

I gradually started eating after hunger cues at bmi 19. Risky indeed, but I was so close to mentally recovered as possible and my period was back. I did not made a goal of ”cutting down my intake”. I started to eat one meal on hunger cues, for example I followed my 3000 plan except for lunch, where I ate xxx calories. Then I did this with more and more meals, and suddenly I ate freely. It was amazing! Such a relief. What happened to my weight? I gained around 2 kg by eating after hunger cues, and then the gain stopped. I dont weight myself anymore, but I see that my weight is pretty much the same as half a year ago. If I had started eating after hunger cues early in recovery, I would probably not have recovered (I did not have much appetite) unless I got hit by extreme hunger.

A common mistake is that people think that when they are recovered they have to stop eating 3000 calories. Some days I eat way more than 3000 calories, and that is ok. That is normal. We are not machines who need exactly xxxx calories a day. If I sit on my ass all day I tend to eat less than if I move around a lot, not because I think ”gosh I dont need much food today, I dont move”, but because my body does not crave as much food as if I was active because I dont need it. And lets not forget my ovulation-extreme hunger! 2 weeks before my period (though my impression is that some get it right before- or during their period) I get extreme hunger that lasts for 1-3 days. It is scary, but I follow it because I know my body needs extra energy then. The EH passes. Everytime. My body does not magically change. My body is smart and I will listen to it.

Now I probably answered more than you asked for, but we get so many questions about when and how to eat after hunger cues etc, that I decided to write a longer post about it.

- Amalie

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