This week for my heart-to-heart blog series about some of the most common struggles women (and men) face with food and their body. Because let’s face it, the way we relate to food can really be a reflection of how we live our lives.
I think I’m afraid of feeling hungry.
I rarely feel hungry. I make sure I don’t.
I graze all day long and my days are all about food. I can’t stop thinking about food and I make sure I’m never in a situation where I won’t have access to food. I’m not sure why but the thought of not having enough food terrifies me.
I know this isn’t good for me but I don’t know how to get out of what seems like an endless meal.
Thank you Forever Full for your question!
I recognize a bit of myself in there. There are days and weeks when I haven’t felt hunger (and didn’t let myself). I wouldn’t even be done with a meal that I would already be thinking about the next time I would be able to eat. And I would inevitably find myself get some food, just in case, before even feeling hungry again. Sometimes every hour. Or multiple times in the same hour. I can totally relate to your letter and know what it means to be afraid of feeling hungry too.
💜 Here’s my reply back to you:
Dear Forever Full,
Thank you so much for writing. First of all, know that you are so not alone.
Here are some of the five most common reasons I noticed people fear hunger.
One. Sometimes, it can be scary to be hungry because of past deprivation, whether involuntary (i.e. food insecurity) or voluntary (i.e. dieting or intermittent fasting).
Two. Sometimes, it can be scary to feel anything in your body, whether it’s hunger, sadness, anger, shame or disappointment, and disconnecting from your body and numbing yourself with food might seem like the best alternative.
Three. Sometimes, you might feel that hunger is like a betrayal from your body that hasn’t been cooperating with you in the past when you tried to control your food, your weight or how your body looks. “How dare you to feel hungry, body? You’re so annoying and needy. Can’t you work with me just for once?” Sometimes you might even want to eat when not hungry just to punish it.
Four. Sometimes, food is the only break or fun you have in our life and is the only thing that makes us feel slightly better… and you never want this feeling to ever end.
Five. Sometimes, it can be scary to feel hungry because it feels so empty… and you are afraid that you might be empty too.
💜 Do any of these 5 reasons resonate with you?
Forever Full, I wish there was one quick fix to help you deal with your fear of hunger but there isn’t. What I want you to know though is that understanding a bit better where your fear comes from is not a magic bullet but it can help you grow some roots to make you feel more grounded and ready to take another step on your healing journey.
The solution really depends on the cause that is fueling that fear.
This is what you need to address, not your fear of hunger.
Here are a few things to consider to tame your fear of hunger:
- Stop any kinds of restrictions around food
- Make sure you never ignore your hunger
- Reconnect with your body and its physical sensations
- Slowly learn how to be more comfortable with feeling your feelings
- Trust your body and knowing that she’s doing the best she can
- Add a big dose of self-care and fun to your life (at least 15 minutes a day!)
- Consider what you could do to feel more fulfilled
I know each of these bullet points are far from an easy fix. They’re just a beginning of your journey towards finding peace with food and your body.
Here’s what I suggest to help you find the cause of your fear of hunger:
- grab your journal (or get one if you don’t have one),
- set a timer for 10 minutes, and
- write without stopping (don’t overthinking or censor yourself) for that period of time starting with this sentence stem:
I am afraid of feeling hungry because…
Let yourself be surprised by your answers and be curious as to where this exercise of shining light on the cause of your fear of hunger might be leading you.
Let me know how that goes for you!
Your non-diet dietitian and heart & soul nutritionist, 💜
p.s. if you feel like you could have written this letter, you should check out my free online training “The Whole Batch Syndrome.” Click on the link to find out if you have the symptoms and how you can start healing your relationship with food and your body. ♥♡♥