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WIAW: Hunger Signs - mylittletablespoon

WIAW: Hunger Signs


a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.

a strong or compelling desire or craving:

a craving or urgent need for food or a specific nutrient 

(merriam-webster; dictionary.reference)

Stereotypically, hunger is defined as a physical sensation – a feeling in our stomachs – that we recognize as a desire for food. Sometimes this feeling is celebrated, sometimes it brings anguish. However, our bodies have many different ways of telling us we need to eat, and many of these are not physical.



Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun (stashed away from my glorious  farmers market haul

+ raspberries (on sale!) + le coffee


A great strategy when I don’t have an appetitive but know I need the calories is to have 

cinnamon bun with my name on it nearby… no turning down these babies

Of course, hunger is also extremely affected by varying circumstances – sickness, fatigue, metabolism/exercise – and is never constant from week to week or even day to day.

When one is recovering from any sort of disordered eating, and/or is underweight, and/or is in a re-feeding process and working to gain weight, then hunger cues become all that much more complicated. Generally, one who is recovering from disordered eating has lost their ability to have normalized hunger cues. Hence why being on a meal plan with specific timing is very helpful/necessary for this part of the recovery process.



Roast Beef + regular mayo + dijon + iceburg lettuce + baby carrots

November what!? Enjoying as much of the outdoors as long as I can.

Sadly, I still have not regained normal hunger cues. I longingly await the day where my mind and body and stomach re- introduce themselves to each other and decide to join forces. In general, my appetitite is low… which seems ironic (and which makes keeping up with a higher intake hard).  I say appetite because my stomach almost never tells me it wants to eat. My body doesn’t often feel hunger. I rarely hear my belly making that beautiful grumbling that I hear coming from other people. My stomach never feels hollow (rather more so on the bloated side… oh the beauty).

My stomach may be telling me “nope no more,” but its like my mind is working on a wholllee other playing field.  And it wants to be heard.

My body tells me its hungry in many other ways.

Irritation and lack of patience……When I notice myself getting grumpy or easily perturbed…. it almost always means I need to eat. Once I do, my irritation goes away (and I go apologize sheepishly for whoever had to receive it).

Anxiety…….. When I notice myself rushing super quickly and fleeting from one thing to the next…. I need to eat. After I do, my whole ora slows back down.

Afternoon Snacks:

Gluten free carrot cake  + pear 

Lack of focus and preoccupation with food. When all of a sudden my thoughts cannot stay away from meal planning or my meal ahead, especially during class or seeing a show etc…. my body is telling me it wants food. This one is so frustrating. Focus, woman, Focus! But chances are I won’t be able to until….. food.

I’ve had many experiences, lets say at my past work (good old Starbucks) where all of a sudden I started feeling very annoyed with customers, irritated with co-workers, and simply just one huge grump. Maybe it hadn’t been that long since I last ate, and maybe I physically really was not feeling hungry, but in these moments I have learned I need to rely on my brain and not my body to tell myself that maybe I just need food.



“Thai pumpkin and eggs”

(still going off my massive kabochascrambled with eggs, fish sauce and sugar – my favorite 

meal while traveling in Thailand)  + sautéed spinach

And then there are the rare times I feel super super hungry… consistently. This happened a couple weeks ago. Like I said, I’m used to not feeling a lot of hunger, but somehow my appetite sky rocketed and I found myself a bottomless pit. Honestly, I think it was mostly due to my mood. I felt really good, I was excited about some new projects, things with the boy were wonderful, I had lots of energy… so as a result, my hunger felt non stop. I think being in a positive mind space and feeling energized by your passions just helps you feel more intune with your body… so really I was probably just allowing myself to feel the hunger that is always there. It is so fascinating how our mental state affects our hunger, no?

Now having this kind of bottomless hunger can pose quite a scenario, especially for one who has a history of, or is currently dealing with disordered eating. Hunger can be great because it makes eating justified (rather than forcing yourself when you are “not hungry”), but it can also be difficult as then you must battle the notion of eating more. If you are needing to gain, I hope this can be something to be celebrated. It will just make the process easier and so much more enjoyable. If you feel hungry… it is your body telling you it could very well use up some food. So why not!?

Evening Snack:


Typical dark chocolate + pear (x2) + tea

It may take time to learn how you, yourself, feel hunger…. regardless of a history with disordered eating, or not.  There are many different ways our bodies and minds tell us we need food.  Whether it is irritation, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, or the stereotypical belly grumble… it it is our job to learn these messages… trust them… and listen to them.

Nobody wants a grumpy gus!!

Linking up with Jenn for this week’s WIAW!! Go on over and join the party!


Tell me,

How do you tend to feel your hunger? 

Any signs other than physical sensations that tell you you should eat? 

Do you listen to your body in these times, or do you wait until you actually feel it in your stomach/body?


  1. Melissa (I Crashed the Web) | 11th Nov 15

    I wish I were better at picking up hunger cues — so often i eat bc it is “time” to eat or I feel like I should be eating! Some days it is easier than others to tell when I am truly hungry. Btw you have me craving pears now!

    • mylittletablespoon | 11th Nov 15

      It definitely changes day to day… but eating just bc its “time” or you feel like you should is really really awesome. That’s what we need to do! Even if the “cues” aren’t happening.

  2. Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me | 11th Nov 15

    That pumpkin cinnamon bun sounds absolutely amazing!!! I need to frequent the farmer’s markets around me if that is what is offered.

    I struggled (and still do) struggle a lot with my hunger signals. Some days (like yesterday), they were utterly nonexistent. It’s only then that I rely on eating when I know I should be. Now that I have been in recovery for a substantial amount of time, it’s gotten a lot easier to “go with the flow.” Stick with it, girly! The longer you’re in recovery, the easier it gets. <3

    • mylittletablespoon | 11th Nov 15

      Thanks, lady. I sure hope my belly and mind start working together soon, but till then, I’ll keep relying on just knowing what is right. And that cinnamon bun WAS amazing… nothing beats farmers market home baked goodies.

  3. Kate Bennett | 11th Nov 15

    I’m loving the looks of that pear & chocolate plate!
    Hunger for me = hangry! I do what I can to prevent that from happening.
    “If you are needing to gain, I hope this can be something to be celebrated.” —> I reallllly wish I would have embraced weight gain when I needed to. I could have really enjoyed it! But the ED was too strong. I love seeing some girls who are in recovery eating ice cream, fries, and burgers. I enjoy those things now that I am recovered, but I made things hard on myself during recovery eating safe foods. I guess I’ll just have to save the fun weight gain for pregnancy 😉

    • mylittletablespoon | 11th Nov 15

      I doubt many people post recovery can look back and feel like they truly embraced and enjoyed the ability to eat more… even with the ice cream and burgers. The bullying thoughts are still there making it a less than enjoyable experience. So you are most definitely not alone in this wish. But…always just moving forward and YES to pregnancy! We’ll have another chance yet 🙂

      • Kate Bennett | 12th Nov 15

        Such a good point. I think it is easy to compare ones recovery to another’s and think one was easier or harder (something I do sometimes). The brain is a lot more complex than that.

  4. Torry @ A World Without Wheat | 11th Nov 15

    I can get REALLY crabby when I am hungry. My fiancé knows when it is happening too and is just like go eat something and then come back and talk to me!

    • mylittletablespoon | 11th Nov 15

      Haha! Well I’m glad he’s learned the signs. Hanger can be scaaarrrrryyyy stuff.

  5. GiGi Eats Celebrities | 11th Nov 15

    My biggest hunger sign = ME TURNING INTO A GRADE A BIIIIOTCH! lol!

  6. hungryforbalance | 11th Nov 15

    I notice that I start to get spacey and irritated too. And dizzy. Then hangry. No good!!
    Chocolate is always the best way to end the day!!

  7. Stephanie Leduc | 12th Nov 15

    Although you have troubles with hunger cues, it’s good that you’ve come to a point where you can read your body and understand when it wants food, even though it might not be in the usual grumbly stomach way. That supper looked so delicious, might I add!

  8. Ellie | 12th Nov 15

    When I am hungry I sometimes get tired or irritable too. I think that’s how most people are because I can tell when my coworkers need lunch 😛 I do get hunger pangs when I need to eat and I feel fortunate for that. It’s not like I would forget to eat though so I’m not too worried about it. I eat lunch when my boss tells me to go on break regardless of when that is.

  9. thejoypursuit | 12th Nov 15

    Ok going crazy with the comments today. It’s been seemingly sooo long and still, my hunger cues aren’t really where they should be. I have a love/hate relationship with the ‘bottomless pit’ days- love because I enjoy eating, and hate because of the mental side of things- that all-too-familiar feeling of shock and disgust and shame at how I’m eating ‘so much’, even when I can feel my body needs it. They’re pretty tumultuous days, but good challenges for my brain!

    • mylittletablespoon | 12th Nov 15

      Ugh… that feeling of “shock and disgust and shame” I wish would just take a freaking back seat already. Probably, we aren’t even eating “so much,” but just more than we (the ED) is used to …in its own spoiled little ways. One day our hunger cues will give us some more help, but even if not, it’ll just up to us and our own intelligent brains to do whats right.

  10. chasetheredgrape | 12th Nov 15

    It’s still taking time for me to realise and acknowledge hunger cues – I’m 2 years into recovery now and still struggle. I can so easily ignore these cues and not realise I need to eat – I’m getting better though, it’s only really an issue on days I am stressed or tired. Irritation, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed = when I need to eat!

    • mylittletablespoon | 12th Nov 15

      Stress and being tired can change absolutely everything – and it can be so hard to realize (or just admit) that this is what may be happening in the moment. You are obviously very smart and have your priorities and health in the right place – thanks for the inspiration!

  11. cookiesnchem | 14th Nov 15

    Scrambled eggs with squash look incredible. I’ve never thought of trying that! Can you share a recipe?! 😀

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