Defining Mental Hunger And Why It Is Important In Anorexia Recovery [Podcast]

In this Podcast Tabitha talks about mental hunger. We look at:

– What mental hunger is

– What mental hunger represents

– Why responding to mental hunger is important

– Why physical hunger cues are not reliable in Anorexia recovery

– How mental hunger will naturally reduce during the refeeding process

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What do you think?

  1. Hey Tabitha,

    I just read your book and I have been an avid follower of your blog for the past few months. I have been in “recovery” for about 8 years now but I’m currently pretty underweight in the general sense and also for my bodyframe. I’ve always been a normal sized healthy girl growing up who loved eating until anorexia caught up on me at 16.

    The eating part has been easier as I push myself to challenge my fear foods and eat bigger higher calorie meals! It’s honestly liberating.

    The only thing that is really truly bothering me daily is my irrational anxiety and panic attacks. I’m constantly anxious and angsty but I can’t find a source. I feel like I need to be productive all the time, moving around and finidng the next ‘project.’ It makes making social and academic demands so hard and it’s debilitating. My question is if this is related to anorexia? I find that the phenomenon is the strongest after my meals. My whole head hurts and I have physical manifestations from the anxiety and fear.

    Will this get better with weight gain or am I just doomed for life..? It’s gotten me very depressed lately and worried. As a 23 year old, I feel like I’m just not mentally apt for stepping out of my comfort zone ever. I never am able to go out or do funa ctivities.

    • It should all get better EJ
      If you think about it, your body and brain are under a lot of stress due to malnutrition. Keep up with that liberating eating and you should find that with time, things even out both physically and mentally.

  2. Tabitha, have you ever thought about posting videos on youtube? Don’t get me wrong, your podcasts are amazing, but I just feel that with videos you could reach a larger audience!

  3. What if you are always thinking about food but your stomach is full and in pain all the time, even through the night? This happens to me and I struggle to follow my meal plan. I wish I could respond to mental hunger. Do you have any advice? Thank you.

    • Stomach being in pain is common in recovery. If you keep eating as much as you can this will alter. Do your best – that is all you can ever do.

  4. Re-learning hunger cues is a wild ride. I’ve found that if I want to start watching cake decorating videos, it’s a sign I should go eat (preferably, eat WHILE watching them, they are fun to watch). I also tend to get the hazy/hangry/low blood sugar kind of hunger cue BEFORE any kind of stomach growling cue, and while I used to ignore it, I think my coworkers are happier now that I make a point of feeding myself and nipping that in the bud. So many thing I’m learning!

  5. Hello Tabitha,

    I found your website a couple of days ago in a fb group and I’ve listened this podcast and has helped me a lot.

    However, I wonder if this idea of mental hunger applies to a different ED. I suffer from a mix of orthorexia and “bulimia athletica”. My brain creates thoughts of sweets and processed carbs a lot -which I’ve heavily restricted since I was 18-20 y/o up to 24-25 y/o and recently if they didn’t “fit in my macros” (I’m in my mid-thirties now)- and I have an inside battle between the “healthy thing to do” and surrender to the cravings.

    I’m trying to get my period back, so I’m eating freely and more quantity than I used to do 3 months ago when I was into my latest kind-of-heavy restricting period -because I’ve suffered from this intermittently, now my guess is that it’s never been gone- and I say “kind of” because I allowed myself “treats” when they fitted in to my macros, as opposed to previous times in my life when I restricted every sugary-fatty food. Still, I ask myself if these thoughts of sweets and processed carbs are a sign of energy deficit or a mere food obsession due to al that time that I “couldn’t have them”. I get physical hunger cues and I’m weight restored, that’s why I have this doubt.

    I didn’t expect to write this really long comment. Just trying to explain myself as better as possible.
    Thanka a lot for sharing your knowledge and experience here!