Malnourishment/starvation

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Jazzy

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Malnourishment/starvation
« on: October 30, 2018, 12:21:46 AM »
I just found this category, and I'll go through it in more detail when time allows in the near future. I was wondering if any one is out there that has a story similar to mine, if not, that's okay too. I know I'm in the minority being on the "under" side of the weight problem, which makes me really hesitant to talk about it, but it has bothered me all of my adult life.

I expect it came from my childhood being told "eat what your given, or eat nothing at all". People don't seem to understand, but I really can't eat things I don't like. It's more like my body rejects it rather than "I don't like it"... so most of my childhood I ate "nothing at all". So, of course, this is what I/my body learned was "normal" growing up.

As an adult, I really don't get hungry for the most part. I get tired/cranky/low energy, but rarely hungry, and I've had to do a lot of work to associate those feelings with lack of nourishment. Even now, every day, I eat because I'm supposed to, not because I want to / need to / feel hungry.

Anyway, it's left me scrawny and small, in a body I don't like, and with no feelings of hunger, it seems impossible to fix. It just seems so basic, eating is a requirement of living... how can I not "get it right"? The reason this bothers me so much is because it feeds my self esteem/personalization problems, which I'm really trying to improve. There seems so many pieces to the puzzle. If anyone has similar story/good info on the subject, I'd really appreciate it.

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Boy22

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Re: Malnourishment/starvation
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2018, 03:29:19 AM »
Hey Jazzy,

Because I had so many epic meltdowns from inadequate food intake ages 4 - 7 yrs my parents learnt to make sure I regularly ate meals and prior to any significant physical exertion have a good sized snack. Even so my BMI remained below 20 until after I met and moved in with my partner.

Now, the meds I am on have totally killed my apetite. I eat breakfast because I know I need the fruit and fibre to help regulate my problematic GI tract. No lunch. I have no apetite when I sit down to dinner but the food seems to evaporate from my plate at quite a rate. And then late in the evening soon before my next dose of the drug of cause I get ravenous, so we have bags of nuts and other snacks ready for me to eat. My weight fluctuates depending on how much I exercise each week.

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Dee

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Re: Malnourishment/starvation
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2018, 03:30:14 AM »
I struggle with anorexia.  Right now I have zero interest in food.  I went to the store yesterday because I promised to and it was only for survival.  It has been a roller coaster for me.  I'm good, then I get triggered and struggle, then eventually, maybe, good again.  I am so so tired of this.  Right now, I am underweight.  The only thing I don't like about it is my therapist tells me that unless I can maintain my weight we can't work through trauma.  I also get subtle threats that if I can't do better I need to go to the hospital.  The hardest part for me is, I have never really had eating disorder treatment.  I have a dietician who has never worked with eating disorders.  I have a trauma therapist who is great, but we don't really work through the disorder.  I am suppose to just do it and my motivation is threats.  I am really being cynical right now, I apologize for that.  You just happened to post when I am at a low.

I don't know how similar my story is.  I never had to eat it all or nothing.  I did have a mother who was very critical about my appearance.

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Jazzy

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Re: Malnourishment/starvation
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2018, 05:10:15 PM »
Thanks for sharing, I know it is tough.

Sounds like we're in a similar situation Boy. Have you found that just keeping healthy food on hand, and eating works out okay? I never really know what my body needs, and I couldn't imagine eating so much as I'm "supposed to". I know what you mean about dinner. It is my biggest meal. I'm not really sure how I eat it every day... it just happens.

Sorry to hear you're having a rough time Dee. Roller coasters are really tough, but I've learned to appreciate the fact that another up will come along the track. It's good you went to the store too. Even though it doesn't always feel like it, having nourishment helps with everything else going on I think. I don't really like what I'm reading about your therapist. Threats are just going to make a bad situation worse. Maybe you should let them know how you're feeling about it? I'm guessing they are only trying to look out for you (the hospital will keep you nourished), but there has to be a better way.

Traditional therapy has never done much for me, so I'm wondering what your expectations are if you were to get some eating disorder treatment? I'm just trying to imagine what that would entail? Maybe it would help some if you thought about it and explained a bit more? I'm not sure behavioral therapy can fix lack of hunger... I always thought it was a brain chemistry thing. I'm not even sure who would really know though, maybe a GP or psychiatrist?

For years I got most of my nutrition from meal replacement drinks, as it was far easier to put down, and stayed down better too. Maybe that's something your dietitian can help you with? Maybe its just me, but I find it far easier to drink when I'm not thirsty, rather than eat when I'm not hungry.

Anyway, hope things start looking up soon.  :hug:

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Boy22

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Re: Malnourishment/starvation
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2018, 06:58:05 PM »
Hi again Jazzy

Believe it or not I am a bit of a foodie (& much more of wine thank you). Even as a teenager left on my own for the weekend my older brother would ring and ask what I was planning for dinner and could I make it for two?

And then my partner got work for a publisher and through him I met specialist food editors and writers. I could name drop but don't feel the need to right now. With their encouragement I learnt more. Because of our love of eating out (back then, not now - too much noise!) we made friends with restaurant owners and chefs and would host them out our house for meals (and vice versa).

So my diet is full of good food, great tastes and again too much wine. I enjoy spending at least an hour preparing dinner. We have a boarder who when I was away for a month greeted me with "Welcome home, I have missed your cooking".

My other half consequently has a BMI approaching 35 and is jealous of my reasonably slim figure. Easy enough to understand now I am on the drugs that kill my appetite, but back when I did have an appetite (of sorts) I was easily "filled up". I have even lost weight while on a two week cruise ship vacation! He put on 8kg.

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hypervigilante

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Re: Malnourishment/starvation
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2019, 06:14:15 PM »
I just found this category, and I'll go through it in more detail when time allows in the near future. I was wondering if any one is out there that has a story similar to mine, if not, that's okay too. I know I'm in the minority being on the "under" side of the weight problem, which makes me really hesitant to talk about it, but it has bothered me all of my adult life.

I expect it came from my childhood being told "eat what your given, or eat nothing at all". People don't seem to understand, but I really can't eat things I don't like. It's more like my body rejects it rather than "I don't like it"... so most of my childhood I ate "nothing at all". So, of course, this is what I/my body learned was "normal" growing up.

As an adult, I really don't get hungry for the most part. I get tired/cranky/low energy, but rarely hungry, and I've had to do a lot of work to associate those feelings with lack of nourishment. Even now, every day, I eat because I'm supposed to, not because I want to / need to / feel hungry.

Anyway, it's left me scrawny and small, in a body I don't like, and with no feelings of hunger, it seems impossible to fix. It just seems so basic, eating is a requirement of living... how can I not "get it right"? The reason this bothers me so much is because it feeds my self esteem/personalization problems, which I'm really trying to improve. There seems so many pieces to the puzzle. If anyone has similar story/good info on the subject, I'd really appreciate it.


Jazzy,

I'm grateful you're sharing your experience. In no way is your experience illegitimate because there's a cultural approval of "thinness". I intimately understand your struggle with your body's response to food, your lack of weight gain, and the feeling of being "small".

My experience is slightly different, but the effect feels similar to what you describe. Money is a huge trigger for me, as I would go hungry as a neglected child and have bouts of meals that were routinely never made and complaints of money always piling up. (In retrospect, it seems more of an equation of value, but these are things I haven't exactly found and mastered yet.)

I actually have been gluten free for 8 years now because I used to have terrible stomach pains with any meal I did have. A lifetime of this, and I can't tell when I'm hungry or when I'm full... I just can tell when I'm cranky and need some calories.

Here's note number one that helps me decide to eat sometimes; the first place your body saves calories when you're hungry is your brain. Functions are naturally more difficult when done on little-to-no food. If you find yourself having a difficult time with something, see if you can recall that little mantra/idea and try a snack to get your gears firing. See if the break takes you to a new place when finding a solution to whatever it is you're working on.

I will buy food and skip meals or stretch them for fear that I will not be able to replenish it. I experience shame spirals with my portions based on the financial aspect of consumption. I notice that when I'm most triggered, I am the least likely to eat food or I'm upset at myself for being wasteful.

So when I'm the most stressed, I'm the most thin. And it's a counter-equation because people would comment on my thinness as if it were on purpose but really it's a trigger for me in the other direction as it tends to comment on my lack of security.

I hate when my body shrinks or I start to wither away. I am still gaining weight back from a dramatic triggering event last fall. It's hard to not have a positive relationship with food intake, and it doesn't have to do with the way you look. But listen, it's perfectly acceptable for you to address this problem and try to understand the source of it, so you can begin to nurse it. It is no less important because someone else experiences a negative relationship with food in another direction. Keep your heart healthy and beating; that's the goal. You have a right to be nourished by your food and supported by your eating habits. You're only in this body, what, every day for the rest of your life? Try to experience food intake that you DO like with practicing gratitude. Maybe that can fire helpful synapses to begin practicing a relationship with the food you eat that starts to become habitual, and maybe grows to new outcomes.

I don't have the answers, but I do know I'm always asking questions to better understand the root cause, as awareness always feels like the most helpful first step toward untangling the tape. Once you're aware of triggers and start to observe them by slowing down your body's response to them, you're more likely to find more opportunities for positive or neutralizing self-talk.

Taking any questions if any of my words came out abstract! I have this tendency.

With love and solidarity,
-Hypervigilante

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hypervigilante

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Re: Malnourishment/starvation
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2019, 06:15:47 PM »
A "P.S."

I think I experience problems with food and my belly, including the reasons I'm gluten-free, have some sort of relationship with the fact that I'm prone to internalizing my problems.

I think that gets in the way of my body's full understanding of a hunger trigger. We repress or control our natural instincts for certain needs and it manifests to us in very interesting ways.

Something to consider!
-HV

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CheshireCanary

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Re: Malnourishment/starvation
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2019, 03:28:15 AM »
Hi Jazzy
I was glad to see your post on this topic, and hope you're doing well.

I also have a recurring problem with being underweight. Like Boy22, I actually LOVE food, love cooking and eating and dining out, when things are going well. The problem is during really rough periods, and when I'm triggered, I can not eat. It's like my stomach shuts down. If I eat, it will come back up. The anxiety and mental crap I go through apparently burns a ton of calories as well, since I can drop pounds overnight from worry during bad spells. My problems with this started during the early days of my CPTSD, and I felt like I didn't deserve to eat. 

For years I've done better with this problem, focusing on not letting it get the best of me when I'm triggered. THis past winter was rough, and I didn't even realize I was at my lowest weight in a decade until I met my BFFs for lunch and they remarked on how much I'd lost. THen I stepped on the scale and confirmed it.

I have an awesome therapist and I'm getting better again, but I totally relate to your post.

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Three Roses

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Re: Malnourishment/starvation
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2019, 04:49:15 PM »
(Sorry to interrupt - CheshireCanary, I see this is your first post and wanted to welcome you.  :wave: )

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Regret

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Re: Malnourishment/starvation
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2019, 07:32:38 PM »
I also have a recurring problem with being underweight. -- The problem is during really rough periods, and when I'm triggered, I can not eat. It's like my stomach shuts down. If I eat, it will come back up. The anxiety and mental crap I go through apparently burns a ton of calories as well, since I can drop pounds overnight from worry during bad spells.

Interesting in that I'm the opposite. My "pleasure" response to "pain" is to eat and eat and eat and gain weight not wanted or needed. My lack of will power to stay out of the kitchen when anxiety hits me contributes. I don't ever get hungry but always feel the need to eat comfort/junk foods all of the time when triggered or in a bad period.