Feeling Good About Being Hungry

Food-Related Thoughts in Eating Disorders

Joanna Blackburn, Andrew Thompson, John May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives
This study explores the relationships to food and hunger in women living with anorexic type eating difficulties and asks how imagery-based elaborations of food and eating thoughts are involved in their eating restraint, and recovery.

Design
The qualitative idiographic approach of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used. Four in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with women self-selected as having experienced anorexia or anorexic like behaviour.

Methods
The data was analysed using IPA and an audit of the analysis was conducted to ensure that the process followed had been systematic and rigorous and appropriately considered reflexivity.

Results
Hunger was perceived positively by participants as confirmation that they were achieving their goal of losing weight, or avoiding weight gain. Hunger conferred a sense of being in control for the participants. Intrusive thoughts about food were reported as being quickly followed by elaborative mental imagery of the positive aspects of weight loss, and the negative consequences of eating. Imagery appeared to serve to maintain anorexic behaviours rather than to motivate food seeking. However, negative imagery of the consequences of anorexia were also described as supporting recovery.

Conclusions
The finding that physiological sensations of hunger were experienced as positive confirmation of maintaining control has potentially important clinical and theoretical implications. It suggests further attention needs to be focused upon how changes in cognitive elaboration, involving mental imagery, are components of the psychological changes in the development of, maintenance of, and recovery from, anorexia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-257
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology
Volume3
Issue number2
Early online date5 Feb 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Imagery (Psychotherapy)
Emotions
Hunger
Anorexia
Food
Eating
Weight Gain
Weight Loss
Maintenance
Feeding and Eating Disorders
Interviews
Psychology
Weights and Measures

Cite this

@article{ea0c0b84c19c4151b526efbe8cfc1627,
title = "Feeling Good About Being Hungry: Food-Related Thoughts in Eating Disorders",
abstract = "ObjectivesThis study explores the relationships to food and hunger in women living with anorexic type eating difficulties and asks how imagery-based elaborations of food and eating thoughts are involved in their eating restraint, and recovery.DesignThe qualitative idiographic approach of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used. Four in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with women self-selected as having experienced anorexia or anorexic like behaviour.MethodsThe data was analysed using IPA and an audit of the analysis was conducted to ensure that the process followed had been systematic and rigorous and appropriately considered reflexivity.ResultsHunger was perceived positively by participants as confirmation that they were achieving their goal of losing weight, or avoiding weight gain. Hunger conferred a sense of being in control for the participants. Intrusive thoughts about food were reported as being quickly followed by elaborative mental imagery of the positive aspects of weight loss, and the negative consequences of eating. Imagery appeared to serve to maintain anorexic behaviours rather than to motivate food seeking. However, negative imagery of the consequences of anorexia were also described as supporting recovery.ConclusionsThe finding that physiological sensations of hunger were experienced as positive confirmation of maintaining control has potentially important clinical and theoretical implications. It suggests further attention needs to be focused upon how changes in cognitive elaboration, involving mental imagery, are components of the psychological changes in the development of, maintenance of, and recovery from, anorexia.",
keywords = "mental imagery, UK, eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, craving, hunger, intrusive thoughts, interpretive phenomenological analysis",
author = "Joanna Blackburn and Andrew Thompson and John May",
year = "2012",
month = "4",
day = "1",
doi = "10.5127/jep.018711",
language = "English",
volume = "3",
pages = "243--257",
journal = "Journal of Experimental Psychology",
issn = "0022-1015",
publisher = "American Psychological Association Inc.",
number = "2",

}

Feeling Good About Being Hungry : Food-Related Thoughts in Eating Disorders. / Blackburn, Joanna; Thompson, Andrew; May, John.

In: Journal of Experimental Psychology, Vol. 3, No. 2, 01.04.2012, p. 243-257.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Feeling Good About Being Hungry

T2 - Food-Related Thoughts in Eating Disorders

AU - Blackburn, Joanna

AU - Thompson, Andrew

AU - May, John

PY - 2012/4/1

Y1 - 2012/4/1

N2 - ObjectivesThis study explores the relationships to food and hunger in women living with anorexic type eating difficulties and asks how imagery-based elaborations of food and eating thoughts are involved in their eating restraint, and recovery.DesignThe qualitative idiographic approach of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used. Four in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with women self-selected as having experienced anorexia or anorexic like behaviour.MethodsThe data was analysed using IPA and an audit of the analysis was conducted to ensure that the process followed had been systematic and rigorous and appropriately considered reflexivity.ResultsHunger was perceived positively by participants as confirmation that they were achieving their goal of losing weight, or avoiding weight gain. Hunger conferred a sense of being in control for the participants. Intrusive thoughts about food were reported as being quickly followed by elaborative mental imagery of the positive aspects of weight loss, and the negative consequences of eating. Imagery appeared to serve to maintain anorexic behaviours rather than to motivate food seeking. However, negative imagery of the consequences of anorexia were also described as supporting recovery.ConclusionsThe finding that physiological sensations of hunger were experienced as positive confirmation of maintaining control has potentially important clinical and theoretical implications. It suggests further attention needs to be focused upon how changes in cognitive elaboration, involving mental imagery, are components of the psychological changes in the development of, maintenance of, and recovery from, anorexia.

AB - ObjectivesThis study explores the relationships to food and hunger in women living with anorexic type eating difficulties and asks how imagery-based elaborations of food and eating thoughts are involved in their eating restraint, and recovery.DesignThe qualitative idiographic approach of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used. Four in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with women self-selected as having experienced anorexia or anorexic like behaviour.MethodsThe data was analysed using IPA and an audit of the analysis was conducted to ensure that the process followed had been systematic and rigorous and appropriately considered reflexivity.ResultsHunger was perceived positively by participants as confirmation that they were achieving their goal of losing weight, or avoiding weight gain. Hunger conferred a sense of being in control for the participants. Intrusive thoughts about food were reported as being quickly followed by elaborative mental imagery of the positive aspects of weight loss, and the negative consequences of eating. Imagery appeared to serve to maintain anorexic behaviours rather than to motivate food seeking. However, negative imagery of the consequences of anorexia were also described as supporting recovery.ConclusionsThe finding that physiological sensations of hunger were experienced as positive confirmation of maintaining control has potentially important clinical and theoretical implications. It suggests further attention needs to be focused upon how changes in cognitive elaboration, involving mental imagery, are components of the psychological changes in the development of, maintenance of, and recovery from, anorexia.

KW - mental imagery

KW - UK

KW - eating disorder

KW - anorexia nervosa

KW - craving

KW - hunger

KW - intrusive thoughts

KW - interpretive phenomenological analysis

U2 - 10.5127/jep.018711

DO - 10.5127/jep.018711

M3 - Article

VL - 3

SP - 243

EP - 257

JO - Journal of Experimental Psychology

JF - Journal of Experimental Psychology

SN - 0022-1015

IS - 2

ER -