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Eating Disorders If you or someone close to you is struggling with an eating disorder, reach out here to ask questions or to receive support for recovery.

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Not_here Offline
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biological hunger or emotional hunger? - May 10th 2015, 09:01 PM

Hey all,

I'm not one who posts in the ED, as I do not have an ED and I don't think my case is severe enough to be considered as one or to see a professional. However I do believe I have disordered eating, or elements of problematic habits and relationships with food.

I don't know exactly when this started but I know that even when I was younger, I wouldn't know my limits with food. I would think just because an adult told me to eat that I should be eating. I didn't know how to say no basically in general but with food in particular- which I still don't quite get the hang of yet but I'm working on that.

The way my family is, they think if I say no it means I don't like their cooking or I'm being "shy with them"
Also because my dad was not allowed into my grandparents' home (his parents in law) and my mom wasn't around, so I would go with my siblings to my grandparents' and see all my aunts and uncles there and they'd basically boss me around in a very intimidating way and I formed these beliefs about pleasing them. I think that's how it started and I must have been age 6 and it developed through the years.

Well since then, I've been known as the one who is least picky with food and who has a "big appetite". I think underneath though I eat out of anxiety and out of emotions and addiction and impulse.
I know that my grandma made fun of me for this. She would push me to say yes to more food and when I give in and say yes to her pressure, she laughs and says I eat too much and tells me to go wash my hands and go to bed. I was pretty young at the time and was just a confused crybaby but my dad never found out about these incidences. He would ask if anyone mistreated my siblings or me when we came home from sleeping over their house and I would say no. Not even to the much bigger things that they did. I don't know why.

In front of people I wouldn't eat much like at school and ate much less at my grandparents' home or social events. But at home around my siblings and dad I would eat a lot. I would also eat things like dried fruits and nuts that could easily be overeaten because they're so small and done unconsciously/impulsively. But I also have this idea in my head that I'm super fat. I would skip meals when I was depressed or sad and overeat when I was stressed out or anxious. This especially came into play for things like school work and making friends. I would literally skip meals for good luck -_-
I also starved a bit in 8th grade. And I've thought about going back to that at times. But this never lasted much. In part because of how I'm aware of eating disorders and the damage it causes so I try my best to resist. I wrote diary entries "in the mind of someone with an eating disorder" when I was in 8th grade and several people told me they were surprised at how accurate my diaries were. I have many beliefs about how I'm fat, ugly, undeserving, worthless etc. I wear baggy clothes a lot. I buy sizes that are bigger than my real one and my sisters had to tell me that these clothing are way too big and falling off.

I also had these moments where I told myself I had to eat exactly x amount of things. Sometimes I would eat that amount and then wait some time and go back and eat more. Then I'd feel guilty. I had all these kinds of moments with different instances. I still do, that's what led me to writing here.

I can't tell if I'm hungry because I'm physically hungry or emotionally. It feels like no amount of food I eat will give me enough energy to get through the day and no amount of sleep either!
Even when I eat till I'm full, I'm still "hungry". It is so confusing. I feel like i have to eat every 20 minutes and I can't concentrate because I am thinking about how food is like a portal that helps me escape my problems.

It doesn't always get this bad, it really doesn't. When asked about food by the few professionals that I saw in the past, I always told them I'm good with my eating. I eat mostly healthy (if not all). I don't eat candy or chips. I'm a vegetarian but I have been for 7 years so this is not new to me. I don't get why I physically feel compelled to eat so often but it seems like I'm trying to fill something emotional. I cannot tell anymore.

I never tell professionals about my "mini-binges" though. I don't really wake up at night or am sneaky about it. I don't plan it. I just do it when I'm stressed or bored and/or overworked. I also eat very fast in general and was called out on this by my dad but especially during these "mini binges" which is usually when no one is in the kitchen.
I also feel like my youngest sister has some problematic eating habits and sometimes it influences me. Which means I might be influencing her and I feel guilty if she picked up on it from me in the first place
Maybe it is a lot worse because i've been resisting SHing for like 22 days now and am trying to stop skin picking.
I've also been drinking a lot more water and going out for walks a lot more.
The other day there was a birthday party at work and I kept being pressured to eat cake and/or ice cream. My supervisor is upset with me because i never join them when they have food. I managed to like get busy with something and they got sidetracked but she brings it up a lot. I wouldn't even take a lunch break because everyone eats their lunch IN the costume shop and I feel like i have to eat alone. But then when I'm at home I'm told I eat a lot, and it's like they don't even see how much I really eat. They just see me at the meals we eat together which for the last few years is much less frequent. We have much fewer family shared meals. I laughed it off and said it's because I'm going to get my period soon so I'm extra hungry. I don't know if that's the case or not. But I think my immediate family members have come to accept that I have a different sense of what a "normal" meal is for me? I usually eat slightly more than everyone else. I am at a healthy weight, as told by my doctors but I still feel fat and lately it's been glooming over me more and more but I can't even control things. And i feel like I'm eating even more than what my normal is now.
Any ideas what it could be?

Last edited by Not_here; May 10th 2015 at 09:26 PM.
   
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Re: biological hunger or emotional hunger? - May 12th 2015, 09:04 PM

People eat for more reasons than biological hunger: food is a comfort to us, it's rewarding and it activates pleasure responses in the brain. That's why the stereotype of eating away your feelings, comfort eating, "here-have-ice-cream-because-you're-upset" kind of thing comes from. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you and it certainly doesn't mean you're weak or less worthy of the food just because you're not biologically hungry.

This becomes a problem only when it's affecting your life or is creating negative thought patterns. You describe a lot of problems with your family causing stress and negative feelings toward eating and that's not fair to you. A lot of what they've said and done has obviously left a lasting impression and although you stress not wanting to, I think it would be helpful to see a counselor just to discuss this with them. That's not me saying you do or do not have an eating disorder. It's just I think you could benefit from overcoming the maladaptive thought patterns you have around food and your body. When ignored things like this can easily develop into a full blown eating disorder. It's better to be safe than sorry right? Take action, please, don't let it get that far

Don't let other's opinions influence your actions around food. If you're hungry, eat. Some people just need more food than others, that's the way it is. If you still have the urge to eat after eating what would constitute as "normal", maybe you're missing out certain food groups. That or this could be an emotional thing. As ever my advice is to seek help, but know that eating for other reasons than biological hunger is normal, although if hunger is a constant thing analyse your diet for missing food groups. Are you getting enough energy, for example



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