Diet culture teaches us that “eating less = better” and that our hunger is something to restrict, suppress, distract from and not to be trusted.
This was the exact mindset that kept me bingeing on large amounts of food and why I eventually developed bulimia. I thought there is something wrong with me and my body was not working as it should because I could not eat normally.
I thought bingeing was the problem to stop and to be able to eat normally I had to control my hunger with some form of restriction.
But what actually worked to fully overcome bingeing and bulimia was to stop restriction and to give myself unconditional permission to eat – the one thing I was so afraid of and was trying to avoid all those years was the thing that led me to full recovery.
Why many people still struggle with bingeing, overeating or simply feeling out of control with food is because they still restrict on some level – whether physically depriving themselves of food or still having the diet mindset (read more HERE and HERE) that at its core is very restrictive.
Binge eating happens because of food deprivation. And food deprivation can mean a real deprivation (calorie restriction) or just perceived deprivation (diet mindset).
To fully recover from binge eating, overeating, “food addiction”, “emotional eating” you must make peace with your hunger. When on some level you still do not trust your hunger, your body can’t trust that all restriction is completely over.
See my video “Are You Still Afraid Of Bingeing?”
I recovered from bulimia by fully responding to my hunger and stopping labelling it as “bingeing”, “food addiction” or “emotional eating” that all imply my hunger was somehow bad and wrong. And instead, I started to call it what it really was – extreme hunger.
I also learned about the Homeodynamic Recovery Method and the recommended caloric guidelines for eating disorder recovery. I learned that I needed to eat 2500-3000 calories per day as MINIMUM to provide my body enough calories. And these were only minimums, not maximums.
See my video “What About Caloric Maximum?”
There was nothing wrong with my hunger, never was. The reason I was bingeing and felt out of control with food was because of restriction.
For years even before my full-blown bulimia I was a typical dieter. I tried Weight Watchers, Atkins Diet, Intermittent Fasting, water fasting, eating only apples for many days in a row, even tried diet pills and other nonsense ways to lose weight or control my weight.
None of it worked, of course, but it worked great in terms of getting my hunger out of control. Each time I dieted my appetite, cravings, and hunger got more out of control. I was not addicted to food, it was my body’s biology fighting against food deprivation.
If you want to develop binge eating – start restricting! Food restriction is the recipe for binge eating.
After many years of bulimia, orthorexia, overexercising, extreme dieting, feeling like a food addict and emotional eater, I was so desperate to find the answer on how to recover. At that point, I was willing to do ANYTHING to get better. I was even willing to ditch my old thinking that any kind of hunger or weight suppression will ever work and I was ready to just let go and do whatever it takes.
And this is when I was finally open-minded enough to try a completely different approach to heal myself from bulimia. This is when I discovered intuitive eating, letting go of all restriction and giving myself unconditional permission to eat. This is what started my path to full recovery.
If you want to know exactly what I did to fully recover from my eating disorder you can read my book “BrainwashED: Diet-Induced Eating Disorders. How You Got Sucked In And How To Recover”.
And another key factor to healing myself from bulimia and getting back my normal hunger cues was to also understand that our hunger is not only physical sensations like growling stomach, feeling low energy, or craving something particular, but it also has mental signals like food obsession and food thoughts that come in a form of mental hunger.
Mental hunger is real and it is a valid hunger cue especially in eating disorder recovery. Many people think that the food thoughts are them just “feeling crazy addicted to food” but in reality, it’s just another form of hunger cue and is as valid as other types of hunger signals.
Responding to my mental hunger with unconditional permission was another key element to heal my mind from the diet brainwash, to make peace with my body and my hunger.
See my video “Mental Hunger Is a VALID Hunger Cue”
Our body is extremely smart and it has hunger signals for a reason. But we are told to ignore our hunger and not trust it. This is why we develop so many problems with eating. Our body does not care if you want to “lose a bit of weight” or “feel better when thinner”. Our body does not give a damn about our society’s “ideal body” standards. Our body wants to maintain its set point weight by regulating its own hunger cues and metabolism. But if we restrict and diet all this system goes out of whack and we can develop disordered eating or even serious eating disorders.
But luckily our body is also resilient and reaching full recovery from an eating disorder is possible for you. But it starts with first stopping all restriction and making peace with your hunger.
If you want one on one help for your recovery then please apply for my 12-Week Recovery Coaching Program where I will be your support and accountability. You will get step by step recovery approach with weekly goals and homework assignments to reach your full recovery. Read more and apply HERE.