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hungry or craving?

by anonymous
(south africa)

Hi shaye

I love the site, I have been on so many, and they all seem to be medically orientated doctors posing unempathising opinions and facts . I love the personal touch and i think i will bookmark it and keep checking up on a regular basis to remind myself and inspire myself simultaneously.

I've tortured myself with an eating disorder for most of my life, I can never really say when it started, I remember always being conscious about my weight since I can remember, I actually questioned my sexuality during puberty because I found myself staring at beautiful woman more than men. I eventually figured out that - yes - I stared at woman, but I was attracted to men, I simply was infatuated by the beauty of a woman, and I craved that, I wanted that, I was always a bit chubby, then I gained alot of weight, I got to about X kilos and I'm short about 1.6m maybe shorter I was huuuuuuuuuuuuuge. Then the action began. I had always felt the want and need to look like a super model before this time, and always felt terrible after a huge meal, but I'd always tell myself - right, tomorrow I'm on diet! - but naturally given the nature of an eating disorder I'd wake up and the day would seem hell without the comfort of food. so eventually once I had put on all this weight, the beast began to surfaced.

I dieted and starved and binged and purged and went vegetarian and excersised, and after a year I weighed Xkg...

I battled with drug addiction too, went to rehab, did the 12 step program, and put on more than 10 kilos

It's been a year since I went to rehab now, and I'd say I'm at a healthy weight - about Xkg - its fluctuated (as it always does) I've been clean off drugs since February (after bunches of relapses) but after my last drug binge in Feb I weighed X kilos.

So in about 2 and a half years I've gone from Xkgs to Xkg to Xkg to Xkgs to Xkg, with loads of ups and downs inbetween obviously.

so my body and metabolism are definitely not healthy!

And I never feel happy with my weight, I literally cant leave the house without baggy clothes and long tops on covering my legs unless I can stand up straight and have a pure gap of air inbetween my thighs

Yesterday I binged and purged a few times (as its part of my daily routine) and I noticed small sandy stones in my mouth almost like I was chewing sand...I knew it was my teeth, I've noticed discolouration and a bit of erosion but they still look acceptable, but last night I flossed and there was blood everywhere like ALOT

I've had such bad toothache today, and I reckon its time for me to kick it, I'm desperate now, I dont know how i'll do. I did it before in rehab and put on 10 kilos in 3 months, if I put on 10 kilos from now I will be about 60 kilos and I will shoot myself in the effing head!

I need to know how to differentiate hunger from cravings, if im hungry I know I must eat, else im just gonna get fatter, and people generally say that you sould listen to your body and listen to your cravings, but I'm sure anyone who is on this site knows that if we do that - it won't prove sucessful...

How do I know what to eat and when to eat and when I'm hungry and when I'm just craving, or if I'm craving carbs for energy, or just craving carbs because I love sugar and bread and pasta etc, if I eat a bowl of branflakes and I still feel like more, should I have more? Coz then I will tell myself its healthy and I need the fibre for my poor metabolism, but theres 100cal to one cup plus the milk and sugar etc, and am I acting on cravings or does my body associate the taste of branflakes with the intake of fibre (because I used to eat a bit of branflakes before every binge so that I knew when I was at the bottom of my stomach, coz bran is so heavy I know I wouldn't have digested anything exept the bran, and some carbs that I had soaked up during eating)

I ate so much sometimes my binges could go on for an hour before I was full enough so that way I could reach the branflakes at the bottom so I knew not much had gone in, and so on, anyway thats psycho.

But how will I know when my body is actually craving something, or its the beast just telling me to feast. Where do I draw the line between listening to my body and listening to the beast?

Shaye Says

Hi there!

I am so glad that you like my website and get inspiration from it :)

I am sorry to hear about your long battle with bulimia amongst other things... I want to promise you thought that it does not matter how long you have been bulimic for - you can beat it!

Interestingly enough, I also had an infatuation with beautiful women when I was in my early teens. I think this is to some extent quite normal - it's when we start trying to mould ourselves into their image that things can get dangerous... Which is obviously something that both of us did.

You have definitely lost a significant amount of weight in the last 2.5 years... I wonder if this isn't one of the key triggers of your bulimia... You see sometimes when the human body looses too much weight too quickly, our bodies can go into what I call primal mode - and they are unstoppable in their search for food - hence the massive binges that bulimics often go through. This is not just a crazy theory of mine - it is backed up by medical studies - I wrote about one of them here: How do you give a healthy MAN bulimia? I write a lot more about this and how to eliminate primal hunger in The Bulimia Recovery Program -

In brief, the only way to stop this primal hunger is to give our bodies the food they need - and to allow our bodies to settle at their natural weight. The best of of doing this is to eat 6 small meals a day spaced 3 hours apart. Plan your meals on paper so that you are more likely to stick to them. It is a possibility that you gain some weight in early recovery - but try not to panic, most of this is your cells rehydrating!

With your question about hunger and cravings - again, the best way around this is to follow a plan of structured eating. Early on in recovery, our natural signals of hunger and fullness have been disoriented by years of bulimia... Stick to structured eating for as long as you need until these natural instincts come back :)

I hope this helps!

Remember, keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will get there!


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Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community

The Bulimia Recovery Program