. dealing with insatiable appetite days .

by Amanda @ .running with spoons. on September 10, 2012

I have no idea what it was, but my appetite was off the charts today. Nothing seemed to satisfy the beast that decided to take up residence in my belly – I even had to break into my emergency, emergency stash just to get through work…

I’m not going to lie – days like today still throw me off. No matter how far I seem to come in healing my relationship with food, the days where I get hungry basically every hour still make me somewhat anxious; especially since I’m not doing the hardcore workouts that are notorious for amping up the old appetite. I mean, I did go to the lake yesterday…

… but I wasn’t exactly running laps around it. You would have thought I was, though, by the way my stomach was behaving all day. It all started in the morning…

Plain Greek yogurt –  blueberries – nectarine – Puffins – Kashi Honey Sunshine – trail mix – almond butter.

Continued into the afternoon…

Sour cream & onion Popchips.

Annie’s Mac&Cheese – hummus – hardboiled egg.

Banana – almonds – Enjoy Life caramel apple chewy bar.

Came home with me after work…

Another banana, this time dipped into chunky almond butter.

And appears to have settled down after dinner…

Pumpkin chili Mexican scramble buried under cottage cheese, avocado, salsa, and Annie’s cheesy bunnies.

… but I’m sure that it’ll be checking in multiple times before the day is done. Talk about mentally exhausting. I can’t stand the way I feel when I’m hungry (I turn into a cranky/anxious crazy person who can’t focus on anything other than food), so I do my best to honor my hunger cues, but that doesn’t mean that all the extra food doesn’t make me uncomfortable sometimes – it does – and I think it’s because I have a hard time believing that I could possibly need more food when I don’t really feel like I’m doing anything that would warrant it.

But I obviously am doing something if my body is telling me that it needs more. Our bodies are smart – they know what they need better than we [read: our minds] do. And more importantly, they’re not influenced by outside sources in the same way that our minds are. Our bodies don’t care about the latest 1200-calorie, low-fat, low-carb, what-have-you diet that’s out there. They don’t care about what other people are or aren’t eating. They only care about getting what they need so that they can operate at the most optimal level.

The problem is that our minds do care. We read the magazines, we watch other people, and we trust them more than we trust ourselves. We begin to tell our body what it needs, ignoring its protests and requests until it throws its [figurative] arms up in the air and doesn’t bother trying to talk to us anymore. There we go; we’ve just screwed ourselves over. We’ve abandoned our best source of information for one that knows nothing about us and is doing nothing but leading us astray. Win? Not really, especially because re-establishing that trusting relationship takes a lot of time and effort.

I gave up on calorie counting and measuring my food quite some time ago; the only tools I use now are my eyes and stomach. Yes, it was terrifying, and yes, I slipped up and went back to old habits on several occasions, but I eventually came to realize that my body wasn’t trying to screw me over and that it was perfectly capable of taking care of itself if I would just hand over the reigns… Now I just have to be sure to remind myself of that on days like today.

. – . – . – .

Do you have days where you feel like a bottomless pit? How do you handle them?

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah @ Feeeding the Brain and Body September 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I definitely have bottomless pit days, and they always come on the most unexpected days (like rest days). It’s great that you are listening to your body and your using your eyes and stomach as a guide to your eating, because you are so right: are bodies are smarter. Unfortunately our brains have a mind of their own (haha.) and like to think they are smarter. I love that you topped your scramble with cheesy bunnies! :)

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2 sarah September 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Oh , just another typical Amanda post, that I ADOOORE! I think its been a few days since I told ya…I’m so so happy you are blogging again:). Reading blog entries like this ,really does help me feel less alone , & that others are sharing things I experience too.

I have days of insatiable hunger all.the.time. I really try to think of it is a very good thing( metabolism like a well oiled machiiine!), even if the media, & some other people, make me feel like I’m 4X the amount I should be. Acting on the hunger & actually eating more, can bring bring up a lot of unsettling/uncomfortable feelings, for me anyway. Its probably best to not overthink things & just eat! I know, easier said than done.

You definitely munched on some delicious food anyway. The little flask of mac n’ cheese= adorable! And I’m totally a multiple-bananas-a-day typa gal too:).
Xxx

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3 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 11, 2012 at 7:45 am

Thinking of it in terms of metabolism definitely helps! My mom always said that hunger is a sign of health and a good metabolism. I remember when I was in the depths of my ED, I never felt hungry; my metabolism basically slowed down to a standstill. It wasn’t until I started eating more that my hunger started coming back as well. Gotta keep feeding the fire :)

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4 Cait @ Beyond Bananas September 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm

I always find that I have to give in to what I am truly craving. If I want chocolate.. I may eat 5 other things.. and eventually have the chocolate, too. Eating what I want.. when I want it.

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5 Alexandra September 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm

“Our bodies don’t care about the latest 1200-calorie, low-fat, low-carb, what-have-you diet that’s out there. They don’t care about what other people are or aren’t eating. They only care about getting what they need so that they can operate at the most optimal level.” TRUTH!!!! :D You put that SO eloquently. I loved this post!
The insatiable hunger days bring up a little anxiety for me as well, but I feel like I’m getting better at shutting off those thoughts and realizing I need to fuel the machine if I want it to run at its best. Since I stopped mearsuing and counting cals, I have never felt so free– like you, it was EXTREMELY hard at first, but the hard journey has been worth the feeling now. Why do people even care about such stupid little numbers anyways?! Crazy, I tell ya!
PS– those lake pictures are FREAKING STUNNING!!! I think I need to make a trip out there with Kovu to see you and Kaiah and we can go have a picnic at that lake :D

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6 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 11, 2012 at 7:47 am

Deal! I’ll bring the marshmallows and corn on the cob! :D

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7 Aimee September 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm

It took me a while to finally trust my inner self but it has been so so worthy it! I try and think of my body as a machine – it won’t work properly without fuel. Food is fuel and when it needs fuel the gas light goes on – my gas light is my stomach growling for food! There are many days when I’m simply amazed at how much food I really need. I also find its easier to eat what I’m craving -. I believe our bodies will never steer us in the wrong direction. :)

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8 Katy September 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm

The way I deal with it? I listen to my body :) It’s easy for me these days considering that I don’t really struggle with guilt anymore when it comes to food. Our bodies know more about what we need than our minds do. That’s how I like to look at it.

But I also find that when I’m extremely hungry, it’s because I need food that’s high in iron such as red meat. I haven’t had a bottomless pit day since I really upped my red meat intake. :)

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9 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 11, 2012 at 7:49 am

Hmm that’s actually really interesting. I’m going to have to try experimenting with that a bit more!

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10 Teagan September 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Oh how I wish I could get over this hurdle. But unfortunately with days like that I’ll restrict afterwards. Such a vicious cycle. I’m an all or nothing person – but I’m working on it, amongst the other hundreds of little food rituals I had (have). You’re such an inspiration.

On a side note, your posts go up at 9am Australian time and it’s a great way to start my work day ^_^

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11 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 11, 2012 at 7:55 am

I definitely know that vicious cycle. Recovery is such a slow, gradual, and multifaceted process… have patience and don’t lose hope; even when it feels like you’re not getting anywhere, you are :)

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12 Nicole @ 'Just Live It' September 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Hmmm, I totally have hungry days! But you’re right, our bodies are smart, and they know when we need extra food! :)

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13 lindsay September 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm

oh yes, i get days like that. Our minds try to control it, saying no. But thats when i try to disconnect. Ya know? Our bodies know true hunger, thank goodness! Lots of making up to do there.
;-)

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14 debbie September 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm

oh this really throws me off too. I tend to eat around the same amount of food almost every day — I mean, that’s usually just what my body asks for — but some days, for no particular reason, my hunger is just off the charts, and to be honest, as much as I’ve made peace with food and my body, it still really makes me nervous. But you’re right, bodies are smart, and if you don’t give them what they ask for, it’ll really come back to bite you in the ass sooner than you’d expect. I’ve definitely learned that.

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15 kris September 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm

YES – i have them alll the time. And i have to say it definitely makes me feel uncomfortable sometimes. But then i just have to understand that maybe my metabolism is working a little faster that day than other days. I’ve learned it’s better to satisfy it, especially since i end up feeling more energized the next day.
Delicious looking foods btw!

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16 Laura September 10, 2012 at 8:47 pm

This post couldn’t have come at a better time. 5 minutes ago, I hung up with my boyfriend after tearing up because I was “so hungry today” and “ate so much” and felt so “out of control”. Today was one of those endless hunger days, and it scared me. I cried, because I didn’t know what else to do. But I keep reminding myself that I need to listen to my body and give it what it wants in order for it to begin trusting ME again. I’m trusting it, now it needs to start trusting me.

Plus, I refuse to feel guilty for taking care of myself.

<3

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17 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 11, 2012 at 8:16 am

“I refuse to feel guilty for taking care of myself.” < — wonderfully put :) Don’t forget that! Would you tell anyone else that they couldn’t have food if they were hungry? My guess is no. So what makes you the exception? You deserve to be happy and healthy just as much as anyone else does.

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18 Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie September 10, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Those bottomless pit days are the hardest for sure. I also hate those days when my hunger is non-existent, because then I worry that I don’t really need to eat, which isn’t true. I’m starting to realize that I just need to give in to my cravings, in moderation, instead of avoiding them and feeling unsatisfied. When I ignored my body, I still ended up eating what I wanted, and then feeling incredibly guilty. Our bodies are so smart, if we can listen to them instead of just our minds, we’d be so much happier…and healthier!

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19 Emily September 10, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Every single one of your posts blow me away, Amanda.
I can completely relate to the anxious feelings that arise when my hunger just won’t go away. And, in reality, I think every woman in the world can. We’ve been told over and over again how many calories we ‘should’ be consuming, how often we ‘should’ be eating, which foods are ‘good’ or ‘bad’, etc. And those thoughts begin to cloud or judgement and take the place of honoring our bodies.
I always try to channel my inner-child when it comes to these things. If you think about it, we never had to worry when we were young. We ate the foods that we were craving when we were hungry and stopped when we were full. It was simple and our bodies took care of the rest. Letting our brain get in the way is what causes all of the problems.
I am so proud of you for listening to your body and honoring the hunger cues it was sending you. Even though it isn’t easy, it’s just a matter of reminding ourselves that there must be a reason for it.

PS: Almond butter + banana = heaven (:

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20 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 11, 2012 at 9:10 am

I love the idea of channeling your inner-child :) I find that if I’m really struggling with something, it helps to think of my 10-year-old self and ask: “Would I say no/do this to my younger self?” If the answer is no, which it usually is, then I find it a lot easier to do the right thing… it helps put things into perspective.

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21 Sarah September 11, 2012 at 12:02 am

It took watching my husband to help me deal with these sorts of days. He matter-of-factly just calls them “eating days” and the first time he announced “I’m having an eating day today” whilst polishing a loaf of bread off….I was a bit stunned. I guess I hadn’t realised prior to that that other people experienced days when they were just always hungry. Even more than that, I hadn’t realised that it was much more normal to just eat more on those days. What a simple concept! I find the men in my life have always taught me the best lessons about food. When I was in recovery, I realised that almost every female I know had “issues” with food in one way or another. I think observing and learning from people who don’t have issues with food is one of the best ways to learn how to cope with little hangups like this.

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22 Ellie@Fit for the Soul September 11, 2012 at 12:07 am

Wow everything you stated couldn’t be more spot on Amanda! It’s soooo weird because for the last 3 days my appetite has been goin’ through the roof! Today I had an in n out burger and was sooo delish~but I was going and going even with fries, but felt perfectly satisfied…and you know what? it was just what I needed. My body knew it was okay to have that and felt good! Just a bit achy from the bread but great! :) Thanks for opening up girl~I think my appetite is from being on a heavy period though! tmi, I know. Maybe that’s the case for you? maybe not :P

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23 Laura Agar Wilson (@keephealthstyle) September 11, 2012 at 12:08 am

I absolutely have days like that and I also feel uncomfortable about them but for me I have to make sure that hunger is real hunger and not just boredom. Luckily I am so much better at figuring out which of these it is and when I am genuinely hungry now I eat! I thinking establishing that relationship with your body is so important :-)

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24 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 11, 2012 at 9:25 am

I thin that trying to determine if something is true hunger or emotional eating is a big part of the reason why so many people struggle with eating more on certain days… It’s great to hear that you’re having an easier time figuring it out, because it’s definitely not always easy!

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25 Sara @ Nourish and Flourish September 11, 2012 at 12:37 am

Oh, bottomless pit days. Sometimes I love them, and other times they terrify me beyond reason. I’ve noticed that on the days that I enjoy them, I’m fully embracing my journey. Its on those days that my head and heart are at peace with my body; I’m proud of things like my unruly hair, big feet and dumbo ears because they make me *me*; I ‘m gratified when I nourish myself because when I do, I feel GOOD both physically and emotionally. I *like* feeling hungry because I know that my body is trusting ME to feed it (when I was restricting, I stopped feeling hunger). But then there are those days (now quite infrequent, but still there) when insatiable hunger is nothing but a pest–something to be ignored; something I try to quiet and fool with carrots and celery. The more I resist that hunger, the more pesky it becomes! It’s on those days, that something else in my life is usually off-balance. Turning off those societal messages that X amount is the right amount, or that eating a certain food is praise-worthy while eating another is sinful, is SO SO hard. But you’re right–only our bodies know us; a diet book certainly does NOT!

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26 Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli September 11, 2012 at 2:27 am

I never understand those days! And it’s so weird when it comes out of nowhere…like not having done anything really “strenuous”…I’m always left wondering if I really AM hungry or if I’m just having one of my “cravings days”. You ever get those? Where you seem to crave everything that is “bad” for you…pizza, cookies, cakes, chocolate! I don’t indulge much, because honestly, I only THINK I want most of these things. Usually, if I DO go for them, the sweets are too sweet and the grease makes me feel horrible. I just try to make sure I’m drinking plenty of water AND stay as FAR away from food blogs as I can! Lol

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27 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 11, 2012 at 9:32 am

Yesss I definitely my craving. But I find that I usually have to give in to them or they build up over time and start driving me crazy… and THAT’S when I have days where I’m just craving everything that I shouldn’t be. As long as I stay on top of them, they tend to be pretty manageable.

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28 Khushboo September 11, 2012 at 2:47 am

Firstly, I should probably start off by saying that I am SO glad you’re back to blogging…your posts are always so insightful & hit the nail on the head. After calorie/point counting for a LONG time, I’ve started to rely more on my hunger signals rather than what I should/shouldn’t eat…some days I would just eat despite being full whereas I’d continue to eat small portions on hungrier days! Like you said, our bodies are smart- if they’re grumbling, it’s usually for a good reason. I used to hate those growls but lately, I kinda like ‘em- if anything they indicate my metabolism is up & running! That being said, I do loathe the times when my stomach starts to grumble in the middle of the night…not because of the eating bit but more because it means getting out of my cozy bed!

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29 Ksenija @ Health Ninja September 11, 2012 at 3:40 am

I know those days!

Totally a post where I can underline every single thought as being thought by me before. And it is so nice that you respect your bodys signals and give it food when it cries for it. I guess this thoughts will take a lot time to disappear, as long as the healthy voice is the louder one, everything is alright.

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30 Jess September 11, 2012 at 3:41 am

Like Laura above it’s hard to figure out what genuine hunger is for me – major peril of binge eating disorder in my case. If I ‘listened to my body’ I would eat non-stop, day in and day out because my mind is powerful enough to convince me that there is no purpose in life other than to eat, and eat relentlessly. I can’t afford to eat outside of a schedule on that basis because one extra bite will turn into a full-on binge.

It would be nicer if even on my worse days I didn’t get through so much food – objectively speaking you actually didn’t eat that much anyway, so perhaps it might be reassuring that from an outsider’s perspective your ‘eating days’ are still quite small (I appreciate it’s more than some daft 1200 calorie magazine diet but it’s still nowhere near excessive, active or not).

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31 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 11, 2012 at 9:47 am

Well, I ate dinner at around 5 and was awake for another 7 hours, so this definitely isn’t a full day of meals. I know that it’s not excessive by any means, it’s just the feeling of “why can’t I get satisfied??!” that’s really off-putting, you know?

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32 Tessa @ Amazing Asset September 11, 2012 at 5:01 am

Oh yes for sure.. I used to hate them too. I was frustrated with myself and that my body was betraying me by being hungry all day long.. trying to make me gain weight and such. But umm YEP maybe that was the goal because at that time it was necessary! Now when I have them, I take it as a sign that for that day, I simply need more and it’s normal, fine and shows my metabolism is working once again :)

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33 Floey September 11, 2012 at 5:05 am

Those bunnies just floating around in your dish made me smile.
What type of job do you work at? Maybe it’s the job’s stress/activity that sparks your appetite?

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34 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 11, 2012 at 10:00 am

They make me smile too, especially with their cheesy goodness :D

Right now I’m just working at the family business and volunteering at the hospital. The work isn’t too stressful, but the volunteering definitely can be… so maybe that’s it. Or maybe it’s the excitement/stress about my upcoming trip. Or maybe the fact that the weather is cooling down. Bah! Who knows!

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35 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin September 11, 2012 at 5:16 am

I definitely get those bottomless pit days too. A few years ago whenever I was hungry at an “incorrect time” I would just put off eating until meal time. But now I eat. Even if I just had a snack 30 minutes ago. Even if I plan on eating a meal in an hour. If my body is hungry then it obviously needs food so I just go with it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that I am not smarter than my body! I’m not going to lie and say that it’s easy though. I’ve been told many times that I have a really crazy appetite for my size (I’m only five feet tall)… and it really confuses me why I eat so much when other people like my sister and roommate, who are bigger than me, eat so much less than me! Sometimes it makes me question if I really need to be eating so much. But obviously comparing myself to others is silly because our needs are all so individual. And hey, if I get to eat more, I’m not complaining. ;)

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36 Tayla @ She'll Be Free September 11, 2012 at 6:36 am

These days usually get the best of me but I’m so glad you wrote a post on them because this really helped me. I try my best to listen to my body but sometimes I just don’t and I end up regretting it. I love your words about how our bodies know what is best for us and they don’t care about any fad diets or what anyone else is doing, just as long as they are getting food. Thanks!

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37 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm

It took me a long, long time to fully give up the control and learn to trust my body, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re struggling, but have hope and keep fighting. I know it’s a terrifying thing, but I promise you that nothing bad comes from giving your body the amount of food that it needs. The energy, health, happiness, and freedom that you gain are worth the fight.

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38 Tiff (@LoveSweatBeers) September 11, 2012 at 6:45 am

I had one of those days yesterday. Two hearty afternoon snacks helped, but I was still like WTF???? Hopefully the week will even-out a bit, and today won’t be so bad. (stupid pms…)

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39 Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes September 11, 2012 at 9:52 am

I have lots of days like this but I think I have become better at knowing when enough is enough. Essentially it’s all about giving my body needs, but not to the extent where I’m just eating for the sake of it. :)

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40 Debbie (Accidently Delish) September 11, 2012 at 9:54 am

one thing i have learned is EVERYONE has these types of days and it’s perfectly ok. It’s normal. Our bodies are so amazing in telling us what it needs. i still get anxious too, but what i do is think back to days where i had no hunger and honored that as well. so it’s a balance. there are days we eat like birds and there are days we eat like elephants, but in the end it all BALANCES out.

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41 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Very true! Ever since I stopped counting calories, I know there are days where I eat less, which is probably why there are also days where I eat more. It’s definitely important to look at the bigger picture instead of trying to analyze every day one by one.

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42 Kat @ a dash of fairydust September 11, 2012 at 10:21 am

Oh,I know those days as well,they are… difficult. But still,I find it even more difficult to deal with days I have no appetite at all as these bother me a lot more actually. It’s hard for me to force myself to eating something despite my lack of hunger; I hate the filling to be stuffed and well… It scares me,you know? :/

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43 Missy September 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm

This is church right here —–> “Our bodies are smart – they know what they need better than we [read: our minds] do.”

My body knows what it wants better than I do. Why did my brain have to go and get disordered and complicate things. Sigh. LOL.

Yup, re-learning what we knew institutionally at the age of two is a long process. Change takes Change. Time takes time. So meanwhile we just keep handing over the reigns like you said and tell ourselves “Girlfriend? You need to shut your face cuz you ain’t know nothing. Psst.”

Lol. Well, that’s how I talk to MYself but you get it.
Thanks for being an example and inspiration.

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44 Missy September 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm

*instinctively (not institutionally)

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45 Lisa September 11, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Oh yes, the ol’ insatiable days. These kind of days still freak me out quite a bit. And I definitely hesitate to eat extra. Especially since I’ve been easing on the exercise, but I just need to realize I’ve put my body through A LOT and it needs rest and rejuvenation. Exactly, our bodies are SO much smarter than our minds, I wrote a post about this. But its just that we don’t trust our bodies and our minds take over with thoughts and comparisons from others. Eventually the body will need to rebel though, if we keep denying it. And our bodies aren’t calculators either, they don’t run on specific calorie amounts like a computer. I guess its just a long journey to be able to actually listen to what our bodies are saying.

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46 Emily September 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm

First: LOVE your blog. I only recently starting reading, but I’m so glad you’re back and really look forward to your posts!

Second: I’m finding more and more that my rest days are my hungrier days. The need to eat more on a day when I wasn’t working out used to cause me a great deal of anxiety, but I’m getting a lot better and realize that the hunger is from my body working to repair itself.

Looking forward to lots more from you in the future!

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47 Amanda @ .running with spoons. September 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Thanks for taking the time to say hi, Emily! I always found that I was way hungrier on my rest days too. I definitely think it has something to do with the body repairing itself, which is why we need to eat up to get stronger!

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48 Shannon September 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm

I have a lot of trouble with bottomless pit days because I still struggle with listening to my hunger on normal days to be honest. I still go by an eating schedule and that is needed in times of high college stress. But I also have a love hate relationship with hunger. I love it, I feel (read: my old ED) good. But I know I need to eat now. And I love that my body is well enough now to tell me “hey I am hungry so feed me!” but I have a hard time complying. Working on it. But I hate being hungry. headache, cranky witch with a B is who I turn into. Not nice!

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49 Irina @ Chocolatea Time September 12, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Ahh all your posts are so great! I’ve had plenty of days where I feel like a bottomless pit for no apparent reason. You’re right – sometimes it’s difficult mentally to accept these days as “normal” but the only way to get through them is to simply trust your body. In fact, I would say that one of the biggest (and most important) lessons I’ve learned is to trust my body without question. If I’m hungrier one day (usually rest days), then my body needs more fuel for a reason. In the end it all balances out – our bodies are sooo much smarter than we give them credit for. It’s important to not over-think this – there are much more interesting things to spend our time thinking about anyway!

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50 Lisa September 19, 2012 at 10:39 am

Agreeing with several of those before me, I also tend to see a pattern in which ‘Hungry, Hungry Hippo’ makes her presence known on rest days. As if it isn’t hard to accept that we’re taking a rest day for ourselves, we then have to conquer the idea of resting with increased appetite!! Not cool. Gone are the days that I can believe that activity level=hunger level – perhaps it’s best, anyways, that I finally do face that fact! I clearly am still fighting this battle (what – no one else nicknames themself ‘hungry, hungry hippo’?) but I am gradually turning the bend- trying hard to believe in my self-worth and seeking ways to change from this viscious-cycle. They sure weren’t kidding when they (appropriately) titled this crazy cycle as viscious, were they?! Thank you for your supportive and honest post :)

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