Are You A Fellow FOH (Fear of Hunger) Sufferer? Find Out How to Break the Need to Eat!
Yesterday one of my clients came round for a final Biosignature check in before she is off to compete in the ‘World’s’ of her chosen sport, bodybuilding. Both she and her husband will be competing at this incredibly high level and both have clearly done some super hard and disciplined yards to have worked their way through the previous competitions they’ve been required to win in in order to be eligible for the world’s.
After we measured her super-lean bod, we got to talking about how so many women after competing let themselves blow out. My client is rare in that she’s one of the few women on the bodybuilding or fitness circuit who stay in great shape year round. Most women who compete seem to get super lean and then they go completely in the other direction, and I have to admit that back in my on-stage days I was the same.
It’s one of the reasons I’m sort of hesitant to ever go down that path again, and to be completely frank with you it’s something that has been niggling as a little ‘what if’ in the back of my mind ever since embarking on my photo shoot diet.
I mean it’s all very well to work toward a goal that takes your physique to a new level, and it feels awesome to watch my body slowly but surely morph into the ‘full on’ bikini body I want to achieve for this shoot but at the same time –
What if I get there and then lose it?
The old ‘binge-eater’ me would have lost it in as little as a week!
In some ways it’s almost worse to get there and then not be able to hold onto it as opposed to just not ever fully pushing myself in the first place!
What if I go from clean eater to completely taking the reigns off, and can’t seem to pull myself back in?
And what if I can’t even hold it together completely to actually reach my goal in the first place?
Are You Suffering From FOH (Fear of Hunger)? You’re Not Alone!
One of the biggest things I had to deal with in starting my bikini body prep was the knowledge that it’s not okay to eat my way from dinner through to bedtime.
And not just not okay for this goal but in general I know it’s not a great thing.
Don’t get me wrong, my days of bingeing in secret on sweets are long behind me. It was one of the hardest battles of my life and I yo-yod back and forth for fears, but I got through and I am incredibly proud of myself for having done so.
If you’re still battling the intense pull of emotional eating I understand more than you could possibly imagine. And I have so much respect for you for being willing to face up to that stuff, willing to do something about it.
Here’s the thing though.
One of the biggest and probably least spoken about aspects of emotional eating is that fear of an empty stomach.
It’s so weird, isn’t it?
I suffered from FOH for years and I definitely still do.
When I kicked into photo-shoot prep I knew I had to take things up to a higher level, and I knew that I already ate pretty darn clean. But let’s be honest – my clean eating and daily tough training was keeping me ‘in shape’ but not ‘sexy bikini body’ lean in the way I wanted.
And boy did I want it. Not just for the photos for my website although of course I will use them.
But really what it came down to was pride. Wanting to feel proud of myself for how I’d treated my body and what I’d achieved. Knowing that creating that sense of daily pride would empower me in a massive way to reach for other stretch goals.
So if I was going to get there (and I knew that I WOULD!) I was going to have to make a change nutritionally.
The most obvious culprit?
Overeating. Of clean foods, sure, but hey – I think we all know that going through 3 or sometimes more jars of nut butter in a week does not a bikini tummy create!
You see I have this thing where after I eat dinner I just have to …. graze.
I’ve learned to push myself toward the healthy stuff which is certainly a huge improvement on years gone by.
But it is so damn tough to tell myself to just stop after dinner.
No little bowls of raspberries with almond butter.
No homemade sugar-free chocolate.
And definitely no eating nut butter in bed with a spoon while reading on my iPad.
I know right?! I’m not a robot, I’m not a perfect paragon of fitness and nutrition! I am, in fact, a woman who just like you as strong emotional ties to food and who has certain little ‘musts’ that she finds really really hard to let go of.
FOH – What’s It All About? And How To Quit the Endless Eating!
FOH can stem from many things.
FOH from being a girl on the go:
FOH can be a physiological reaction to a stressful life in which you’re always switched on, never have time out to wind down. Your stress response hormones will tell you that when life is always ‘on the go’, you need to keep grazing; to ensure you don’t starve to death. It’s survival instinct stuff.
Quit that FOH! If you know that you have a really ‘on’ life and rarely stop to acknowledge yourself or take time out to just ‘be’, this will trigger a need to eat. Start taking at least 10 minutes a day just for you, in which you do nothing. Build up to 30. Stop and smell the roses.
Tune in to yourself.
FOH from not being in alignment:
Yesterday one of the girls on my Look Great Naked Bootcamp forum asked me what the ‘main thing’ was that helped me to break free of binge and emotional eating.
The main thing was starting to let go of the shoulds and do what I really wanted to do with my life and my business, despite perceiving massive financial and personal risk in doing so.
Which kinda brings me to where I am now, here and writing for you 🙂
Quit that FOH! Are you in alignment with the ‘you’ you want to be? Are you pushing down your true needs, dreams and values in a quest to try and live the life you think you have to?
What can you do today to start moving closer to the real you, and finding true satisfaction from within?
FOH from beliefs about who you are.
I grew up with this running joke from my Mum that as a 2 y.o. I looked like I ‘was 6 months pregnant’. It was just a joke (and when you look at the pics it was true!) but one I heard a LOT growing up. The concept that I was ‘all long arms and legs with a fat tummy’.
Funnily enough, if I look back to how I’ve always talked and thought about my body I’ve always said I have long lean legs but that my tummy is my problem area.
Is it possible that my sub-conscious took this concept so far that I created a need to never feel like my stomach was empty or flat? I think it is. I know that for as long as I can remember I’ve always felt a need to eat and eat and eat when I can. I feel anxious when I get really hungry, anxious about even the idea of it!
Mum, I know you read this so please know I’m not accusing you of messing with my head! But the truth is we all have beliefs we’ve developed from a young age about who we are, how we have to be in our bodies, our finances, our lives. And of course much of that comes from our parents. It’s true for all of us. And often it is the most off-hand or innocent stuff that implants itself into our brain and forms ‘rules’ that we hold for life.
That’s okay. It’s nobody’s fault. But it is definitely interesting to observe and then do something about.
Quit that FOH! Do you have beliefs about who you are that contribute to your FOH? It might be similar to what I just wrote, or it could even be comments your parents or others important to you made about you getting ‘podgy’ at a certain time in life or about you ‘not being the pretty one’. What jumps to your mind?
Once you can see where your beliefs came from it is easy to then choose to let go of it. Journalling can be very helpful for this.
FOH from a sense of missing out.
I grew up in a very healthy household. McDonalds and lollies and treats were rare and much looked-forward to and enjoyed.
When I started earning my own money, the first thing I started doing was buying insane amounts of chocolate. And binge eating it. I became bulimic. It lasted for 10 years, off and on. It still haunts me.
I’m not saying that everyone who grows up eating healthy gets an eating disorder or struggles with emotional eating! God forbid. And it is certainly something I think about when I consider how to feed my daughter, what balance to strike.
But for me – and perhaps for you also – I developed and still have an incredible FOH to do with missing out on treats. It’s like I have this in-built mechanism to eat while the going is good in case I later can’t.
This is actually partly survival based as well, as we are programmed to gorge on sugar until it runs out.
Quit that FOH! You can train yourself out of this by eating clean food very regularly and never skipping meals. If you struggle with FOH or any sort of emotional eating then any fasting type approaches to getting in shape are a HUGE no-no for you and will only result in backlash binging.
Remember – you’re a woman not a robot! And what’s more, you will reassure your nervous system that there’s no need to gorge when regular good food is coming in.
I could quite happily go on and on and on here. There are so many more facets to this. Another one is simply re-training your sweet tooth, switching the sweet goodies for cleaner versions. But as I said with myself that can still result in overeating from FOH; albeit in a cleaner way.
So, like everything on this ‘change your body, change your life’ path, it’s a process.
And it’s one that you CAN come to enjoy, and feel proud of.
Today, I am giving myself permission to eat as much protein and greens as my body desires. I’m giving myself freedom of FOH by knowing that I will nourish my body all through the day, not just nutritionally but also emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.
I’ll eat food that fuels my body and my mind, and fires up my metabolism.
I’ll give myself allowance to eat after dinner but to make it more lean protein, maybe some more greens. Rather than the ‘clean’ binge-y type foods like nuts.
I’ll take time out today to do nothing. To nourish my mind. To be still, and just be me.
I’ll do my journalling, tune in to the inner Kat. To who I really want to be and how I’ll live my life.
And maybe I’ll crack but probably I won’t.
You see I’m learning that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
I can be happy just being me.
But it requires me to take the time to tune in. To do at least one thing each day to create my version of my incredible life and business.
And to realise that the food will still be there tomorrow 🙂
Don’t forget –
Life is Now. Press Play.