The Strange and Unusual Absence of Hunger

Dr. NiStarred Page By Dr. Ni, 6th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Personal Development>Self-awareness

What causes a die-hard compulsive binge-eater to suddenly stop binging and eating every sweet within fifty yards? The story of how I left that pattern behind and replaced it with something far more powerful.

Criminal Minds Yields A Breakthrough

God answers prayer, even the minor prayers we, in our limited conception of Him, do not think He hears or gives attention. The abundance of God’s determined answering of prayer regularly astounds me, and fills me with the type of gratitude Mark Gordon Brown, also of Wikinut, advises us to keep track of in his column on Gratitude Lists.

I prefer to be bold and upfront in my gratitude to my Maker, and thus, when my therapist put a question to me this evening during her usual overstay at the end of our session, I resolved to ponder it in my quiet moments, never thinking God would weigh in well before I finished guiltily watching television when I should have been writing. How can you resist three episodes of Criminal Minds back to back? :-)

I was sitting there, watching Morgan torture Dr. Reid with yet another practical joke, and then it hit me: the hunger was different. It was truly that simple.

The First Boyfriend: Is Love The Answer?

A longer sufferer of binge and compulsive eating, I attended the 12-step program for exactly that problem with food, yet could never quite get the hang of losing the weight. I attended for almost 20 years, yet never lost the weight, and eventually just assumed it was another one of my failures.

Two and a half years into living with my first boyfriend I noticed something: I would fill a plate for lunch or dinner, the way I had habitually filled a plate for myself (substantially, as I was over 400 pounds) and I would only eat half or a third of it and would find myself full, wrapping up the remains for a future meal. I noticed this slowly at first and wondered what was happening to me. I jokingly told my boyfriend, “I don’t know this chick; who is she?” meaning myself.

Self-reflective by nature, I thought and studied the new behavior until it hit me: I wasn’t hungry in the same way anymore. Raised in a home plagued with violence, I was no longer alone, unloved, and starving for a safe place and a love I could feel without pain or punishment. I was being loved in a way I could feel in my soul, and thus my need for food to fill a spiritual hole was decreasing. I thought, wow, kissed my boyfriend, and prayed we would never separate.

Yet separate we did, and initially I feared a return to the old binge and compulsive eating. I gradually learned to pay attention if I downed two bags of peanut butter M&Ms in one evening in front of the television between 8 and 11, but otherwise, no return to the old behavior. Life was chaotic for me from 2007 to very recently, and there was much abuse and maltreatment while I experienced homelessness, yet and still, no mega-return to binge eating.

Depression Takes The Floor

The second client not showing up for an appointment with this new hopeful launcher of an intuitive counseling practice pummeled me into a deep depression, but I still didn’t binge eat during that weekend; I ate abstinently though I stayed in bed the entire weekend, not rising on Sunday until 5 p.m.

Today I discussed this new and odd behavior for me with my therapist. I had pizza and ice cream bars in the house. They lasted the entire week. I had not binged once, and I was depressed. What had changed about me, about my spirit that the binge eating was not returning? I was stumped and my therapist encouraged me to journal my little heart out and discern the secret.

I sat there watching Dr. Reid resentful that Punky Brewster had returned to the cast (sorry, she just looks so much like she did as a child) and it hit me: I was hungry in a different way. Actually, I was not hungry in the same way.

No Longer A HoneyMooner--Love and Trust On A Whole New Level

The difference was that I was no longer the starving for solace, succor, and affection three-year-old I had been hiding in my closet from a torture-determined stepfather and older brother. I was no longer alone in that closet, and I was no longer alone in life: I had learned to trust others, others had begun to show up for me, especially in the social service agency that brought me out of homelessness, and more surprisingly, I was learning to trust myself all over again.

I’d suffered not one, but two evictions, and here I was in a 1,000 square foot apartment with beautiful furniture, crystal, stoneware, and the rent paid two months in a row—without my having to ask a friend for help or being late with the phone bill, electric bill, or cable bill. I have balances on all three, except the electric, but I am not seriously in arrears, and I have no collection agencies calling.

I’ve made out budgets for three months in a row, and though my disability check doesn’t last me the entire month, it is mostly food banks until I get paid again, and I pray to get through the month this month able to buy my own food. The greatest thing was getting my locs done and my facial hair removed on the 2nd so that I no longer look like the woolly mammoth; getting my hair and facial hair done always makes me feel beautiful and accomplished, and if I keep up my track record, I will be able to do both once a month every month.

Homelessness taught me to trust God and myself, all over again, and that has added another level of love and trust of God and self to the love I experienced when living with my boyfriend. So to an even greater degree I am not hungry in the same way that I was as a child or a young adult feeling alone and terrorized by the world.

This sense of peace and safety has, daily thanks be to God, assuaged my need for sweets, candies, and compulsive and binge eating. Contentment with myself and God has replaced my need for foods that would send my diabetes “to the moon, Alice!!!”

God answers prayer and brings us through growth and change, even when we don’t think to ask Him. And for that I am indeed grateful, grateful for the awareness as well. He loves when we praise Him and tonight I do; oh, tonight I do!!!!!

###

Tags

Abstinence, Binge Eating, Compulsive Eating, Creativity, Faith, Food Addiction, Love, Overeating, Recovery, Relationships, Spirituality, Surviving Trauma, Trauma Survival

Meet the author

author avatar Dr. Ni
Dr. Niama Williams is an intuitive counselor, poet, memoirist, and essayist whose work focuses on recovery from trauma and the emotional work of recovery.

Share this page

moderator johnnydod moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar Stella Mitchell
6th Aug 2013 (#)

dear Dr Ni, it is so good to read your article and hear how God is helping you to become an Over-comer . He is so good to those who reach out for Him in their times of need , and I pray you will go from strength to strength , and are able to help many others on their road to recovery .
God bless you
Stella ><

Reply to this comment

author avatar Dr. Ni
8th Aug 2013 (#)

Thank you so much, Ms. Stella; I read these four comments with tears in my eyes and shouting praise to the Lord! He is carrying me daily and for that I am immensely grateful!!!! May He reside with you always.

Love and blessings,

Dr. Ni

Reply to this comment

author avatar Johnny Knox
6th Aug 2013 (#)

A very interesting story. Thanks for sharing.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Dr. Ni
8th Aug 2013 (#)

You are most welcome, Mr. Knox!!! Thank you for stopping by; comment any time.

:-)

Love and blessings,

Dr. Ni

Reply to this comment

author avatar Ken Painter
6th Aug 2013 (#)

Dr Ni, You're a wonderful writer, and on a topic that hits close to home for me. Between the childhood physical & emotional abuse I suffered from my mother and the self-loathing I heaped on me from being gay, I finally topped out at 321 lbs. before I finally began to wrap my head around the issue. As they say, it ain't easy! But I'm down to a much healthier 215 and still slowly shrinking. I really appreciate your take on the issue. Most intuitive. May God continually bless you and ALL you efforts.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Dr. Ni
8th Aug 2013 (#)

Mr. Painter, before I respond to your loving comments, I must say this: I love your writing and your perspective. You are humane, honest, forthcoming, and very, very creative. I truly enjoy your work.

The heap you've praised on mine and the good wishes you've sent with the praise only makes my smile bigger and bigger and bigger.

May God walk with both of us as we seek to enlighten and share through our pens.

Blessings to you,

Dr. Ni

Reply to this comment

author avatar Connie McKinney
6th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks for sharing your inspirational story, Dr. Ni. I think you've helped a lot of people today. Take care and keep up the good work.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Dr. Ni
8th Aug 2013 (#)

Thank you, Ms. McKinney!!! That is always my aim: to help others with my writing; to let them know they are not alone; to share my struggles so that hopefully it helps someone else. Those are always the goals.

May the wind be ever at your back, Ms. McKinney!!!

Love and blessings,

Dr. Ni

Reply to this comment

author avatar Rose*
24th Dec 2013 (#)

This was a very moving article. Of course part of the reason we overeat is to compensate for other things we need being absent. It's becoming self-aware that's the hard part

Reply to this comment

author avatar Dr. Ni
26th Dec 2013 (#)

You are very correct, Rose; we do indeed overeat--at least I used to--to compensate for what is not in our lives currently.

It was so nice this Christmas to listen to my "full meter" and not overeat. I could do so because I value being able to tell the difference between being full and being hungry; I have actually loved learning to tell when I am really hungry!!!

Plus I have an adorable twelve-year-old neighbor who when I said to her this afternoon while she was playing games on my computer, "Ashanti, you are good for my self-esteem; you make me feel better"; her response was, without even thinking about it, "That's my job." Period, end of story.

How can you overeat with a wonderful child like that in your life? I am blessed, and she made my Christmas, as did all of my neighbors this year.

Thanks be to God in the Highest. He has truly blessed my year.

And so have you with your feedback, Rose; so have you with your feedback. :-)

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password