The Mental Hunger Tug
Similar to how it is impossible to truly describe what an eating disorder feels like to someone without lived experience, I believe it is impossible to find the exact words to describe mental hunger. Constant food obsession? Torture? These are understatements! The best way in which I’ve been able to explain what it’s like to live survive with an eating disorder, is through metaphors…as metaphors give me the power to break down a really complex idea and bring it in parallel with something that most people DO understand.
When it comes to mental hunger, a metaphor I recently came up with is tug of war. Mental hunger isn’t as simple as thinking about food 24/7 or constantly planning every next bite; mental hunger feels like an invisible force that’s constantly tugging at you…
The worst part of mental hunger is that the more you try to resist it, the stronger it becomes. Because someone with an eating disorder (no matter how badly they may want to fully recover!) has such an aversion to change (a main reason why eating disorders are so common among autistic individuals!), they try to do everything they can to bypass the possibility of eating more food.
So you distract yourself from the mental hunger.
You justify it by saying that “thinking about food has simply become a bad habit”.
You load up on fruits and vegetables and everything else you deem as “healthy” instead of honoring what you are really craving, because at least feeling physically full seems to be a valid excuse for not eating anything more.
Yet all of these “safety mechanisms” are ways in which you’re playing tug-of-war with your hunger, causing your hunger to tug back even harder. This can be explained by Newton’s third law of motion:
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Your extreme mental hunger is simply the equal and opposite reaction to your extreme restriction. You may think that skipping breakfast will compensate for last night’s extreme hunger “episode”, or that filling up on steamed broccoli will prevent you from eating the entire pint of ice cream. In reality, these behaviors – this tugging towards restriction – is the very cause of your mental hunger to tug harder in the opposite direction.
So if you truly want the mental hunger to go away – if you truly want it to stop torturously tugging at you – stop tugging in the other direction. Let go of the damn rope. You will feel lost at first (like you’ve literally lost a game of tug-of-war!), but it’s not you who’s losing – it’s your eating disorder. And isn’t your eating disorder the very thing you want to lose?
If you're committed to WINNING the war against your eating disorder, bEATing extreme hunger, and are ready to get rid of mental hunger for GOOD, my course Extremely Hungry to Completely Satisfied guides you every step of the way! It's designed for you to go through it at your own pace, and I even now have the option to pair it with 1:1 coaching sessions with me! Learn more by clicking here <3
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