Do you deserve extreme hunger?

Do you deserve extreme hunger?

Do you feel trapped in the Mental Hunger Games?

Perhaps you think about food SO much of the time that you can barely concentrate on anything without being interrupted by food thoughts. Or maybe you’re well aware that you’re restricting and you know that you’re actually really hungry, but you fear that if you actually honored your mental hunger you’d swing to the other side and won’t ever be able to stop eating. Or maybe you resonate with this: you’re really far along in your recovery and you’ve gained weight and maybe you’re even weight restored, yet STILL, you can’t stop thinking about food! If this sounds like you my friend, you need to watch my online training How to Win the Mental Hunger Games!

I created this training because I know how confusing it is to be surrounded by all this contradictory recovery advice. Some people are saying, Food freedom! Intuitive eating! You have to honor all your cravings to recover! While others are saying you need to eat mindfully and you need to relearn what hunger and fullness is so that you’ll come to realize your cravings for junk food are just trying to fill an emotional void. No wonder you’re confused, I was too! But thankfully, I found my way to food freedom and my training is here to help you do the same.

It teaches you exactly why you’re experiencing mental hunger – regardless of your weight or size – explains how to know if it’s really hunger and not emotional eating or binge eating, and lastly, you’ll learn the #1 mistake most people make that actually keeps them stuck in mental hunger. The best part of all is that this training is 100% FREE, all you have to do is head over to to watch.

It's time for another Q&A Tuesday!

Welcome to another Q&A Tuesday! As I mentioned a couple episodes back, this Q&A podcast series is a time where I will answer your questions, so if there’s anything specific you ever want me to answer on the Liv Label Free Podcast, do be sure to let me know by either sending me a DM on instagram or sending me a message at!

Today’s question comes from Victoria, who writes:

Hello Livia! I struggled with disordered eating (non medically diagnosed), and I am now dealing with extreme hunger and I have kind of a hard time honoring my extreme hunger because I never completely stopped eating (I was still eating at meal times). She says: I was definitely restricting but I have a hard time feeling that I "deserve" extreme hunger ever since my family began not supporting me. I am not trying to change their beliefs (because I've tried) but I am trying to see if even if I still ate it is possible to experience extreme hunger. Thank you so much for all you do. I admire you A LOT.

Oef, so much to unpack here! Basically, what Victoria is saying is that, well, there are two things. First, she acknowledges she has been restricting, but she was always still eating meals, so what I’m immediately sensing here is that she feels she doesn’t fit that ED stereotype of someone who can somehow survive on just a carrot stick everyday. I mean, I think we all know that image way too well, and I personally resonate with it a lot. I was always eating three meals and a few snacks a day, even when I was my sickest. But I simply wasn’t eating enough in total to support my health. We’re gonna come back to that in just a moment, but first let’s finish unpacking Victoria’s entire message.

So she’s been eating meals but knows it’s not enough for her body and from her message I’m definitely sensing that she also knows having extreme hunger is a totally normal response to that restriction. However, and this is the root of the fear, she feels she doesn’t deserve EH, or in other words, her extreme hunger is not valid enough because she was never completely starving herself. And then she talks about how this fear is amplified because not only is she struggling with this, but now her family has also stopped supporting her.

To answer this question of whether or not it’s possible to experience extreme hunger even if you still ate, I want to tell you about the core philosophy of Liv Label Free. As the name obviously suggests, living label free is all about letting go of labels that limit you from living the life you were born to live. Of course, this is very simply put and I have a whole module in my course Extremely Hungry to Completely Satisfied all about the dangers of labels and teaching you how to break free from them, but in essence, labels truly are the root of restriction. And when I say restriction, I don’t just mean food restriction, I mean restriction in every sense of the word, so also in the metaphysical sense.

The impact of labels

When you believe you cannot fully recover, what you’re actually doing is labeling yourself as someone who cannot fully recover. By attaching this label to yourself, you’re taking on the identity of a person that will never fully recover. And the thing about our beliefs, which ultimately form our identity, is that our unconscious mind will act in alignment with those beliefs. So in this example, if you believe you will never recover, you will take actions that confirm that belief, which translates into having the identity of someone with an eating disorder!

Or to give another example unrelated to food or exercise: say you believe you’ll never be able to write a book. By believing this, you are labeling yourself as a person who will never be able to write a book! So then what’s the consequence of this, if you actually really want to write a book? It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; as long as you believe that you’re not able to write a book, you won’t. I mean, what’s the point in writing if it’s never gonna be a success anyways?

When is extreme hunger valid?

Now, you may now be thinking: Livia, thanks for sharing this. I get it, labels are dangerous and restrictive, but how the heck does this tie back to whether or not I deserve extreme hunger even if I still ate meals? Well, lemme tell ya! What Victoria portrayed in her message was that her extreme hunger isn’t valid. Now, I’m sure you can guess what I’m gonna say now, and that is that that word – valid – is a label. A label that is restricting Victoria – and perhaps you – in every sense of the word. Because what defines whether or not extreme hunger is valid? Is it someone’s past eating behaviors? Is it how “severely” – which note, is again another label – one restricted? Or is extreme hunger – or any type of hunger for that matter – defined by someone’s unique needs?

To make this a bit more tangible for you, let’s unpack the definition of hunger. As defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, hunger is: a craving or urgent need for food or a specific nutrient. And the word extreme can be defined as reaching a high or the highest degree, i.e. very great. So, when we put these two terms together, the resulting definition of extreme hunger is a very urgent need for food or specific nutrients. Note here, that nowhere in the definition of hunger does it state that someone’s hunger is only “valid” if they haven’t eaten for a certain amount of time, nor is it based on the amount of food or the amount of meals someone consumed prior to the onset of said hunger.

Hunger is simply a way for humans to acquire food to meet a survival need. Tying this back to eating disorders, restriction, and Victoria’s original question, it doesn’t matter how long you restricted or how much you were eating, all that matters is that you’re hungry NOW. If you’re experiencing high levels of hunger it’s simply because your body needs high levels of food! Even if you were still eating 3 meals and 3 snacks every day of your ED like I was, if your body was not getting enough energy to support optimal health, you went into energy deficit. And if you are in energy deficit, you will need to consume a lot of food to achieve energy balance.

The only reason you find it difficult to honor your hunger is because you have labels and beliefs that clash with doing so. Whether you believe you didn’t restrict long enough, you aren’t underweight enough, the types of food you’re craving are too “unhealthy” … the list of labels goes on, continuing to attach your identity to these ultimatums will never make honoring extreme hunger any easier, because your unconscious mind, a mind that is always seeking to support your current identity, will go against the actions that are necessary to overcome extreme hunger, which as you know, means eating and resting!

Shifting your mindset

I know this is probably a lot more philosophical than you may be used to from me and maybe recovery content in general, but shifting your mindset to let go of labels really is the key to full recovery because you can’t take the necessary recovery actions if your mind is prohibiting you from doing so. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase: you can’t control your thoughts, but you can always control your actions. I believe this phrase is highly invalidating, because it isn’t that simple. If your beliefs are so strong, they will inevitably influence your actions. And that’s why you can’t recover from disordered eating or anything that goes with that without doing the necessary mindset work. Eating disorders are mental illnesses meaning they’re about shifting your mental state. In the end, the only difference between someone with an eating disorder and someone without an eating disorder is their mindset. It’s how they think. It’s their thoughts.

Speaking of thoughts and beliefs, I wanted to touch on one more aspect of Victoria's message and that is what she said about her parents' beliefs and them no longer supporting her. I get a lot of messages from parents about how to best support their child or children struggling with eating disorders so I’ll save that topic for another episode, but I did want to address this difficulty with extreme hunger when your loved ones don’t understand or don’t support you. Honestly, just as honoring extreme hunger is difficult because you believe it’s “wrong” or “invalid,” believing that honoring extreme hunger is more difficult if you don’t have your parents support is because you believe that! To explain what I mean, let’s go back to the example I gave earlier about writing a book. Just as it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy of impossibleness if you believe it’s impossible for you to write a book, believing that you need your parents' understanding or support to recover will make it impossible to recover if you don’t have that. Not because that’s a fact, but simply because that’s what you believe.

Your beliefs around support

Of course, I’m not saying that support doesn’t mean anything – I mean, I don’t think I could have recovered if it weren’t for the incredible support and help I had on my journey – and it’s the reason I’m a coach! Because recovery is easier when you have someone walking by your side, cheering you along the way. It is easier when you do have support. Humans are social creatures, meaning we crave connection and it’s what motivates us to keep moving forward. However, only YOU can shift YOUR mindset. My family was a massive part of my recovery, but they couldn’t do the work for me. My course and what I talk about with clients during coaching sessions are all really helpful tools, but they cannot do the work for you. And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, the truth is that no one will truly understand what you’re going through if they don’t have lived experience.

So often, I hear my clients say their parents or partners have stopped supporting them, and I don’t think it’s because they don’t care, it’s because they don’t know how. And the reason they don’t know how is because they don’t understand. As hard and frustrating as it is, you can’t make them understand and you can’t change their beliefs. You can only change your own. So, now go out there and do the work to change your beliefs! Do the work to let go of labels so you can finally take the actions you know you need to take. My course Extremely Hungry to Completely Satisfied guides you step by step through the entire journey from feeling stuck to feeling free, which you can learn more about on my website at Or if you want to work 1-1 with me and get that individualized support, click here to learn more about coaching. If you want a completely free resource to get started, remember there’s always my free training, How to Win the Mental Hunger Games! I hope to see you there soon, or otherwise, I’ll chat with you in the next episode :)

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