Are you scared of being hungry? Does it lead you to overeat? If so, you're not alone. In today's episode Dr Orlena thinks about how we can change our fear of hunger so that we can stop overeating.
This episode will answer the following:
Hello, and welcome to Fit and Fabulous with me, Dr. Orlena Kerek. I hope you are feeling fabulous today.
Just a little update of how we're doing. If you've been listening for a while, you'll know that I have been cycling to school with my children since just before Christmas.
To begin with, it was challenging for my children and it was cold in December and the beginning of January. I have to say, we've really got to a stage where we're on a roll. I totally love it. I now think I'm so lucky to have this cycle through the wood as my journey every morning. Isn't that absolutely amazing?
So just a little bit of a mindset shift and really just persevering, and suddenly it's amazing. On Monday, we couldn't go because it was raining and I was really disappointed. We went on Tuesday, so that was absolutely fine. On Tuesday, I think it was amazing for me to go. I really appreciate cycling particularly that I don't have to get stuck in traffic in our tiny town at rush hour.
So just a little note to keep persevering until it becomes amazing.
Today I want to talk about overeating again. Last week we talked about how to stop overeating. We talked about reframing things, reframing failures to think of them as golden learning opportunities. If you haven't listened to last week's podcast, go back and listen to that.
I want to talk a little bit about fear and this can be applied to all kinds of things, but we're going to apply it to overeating. Then we're going to have a look at a few specific areas or times when I see people really trip up.
I have to say this was something that I talked about in one of my coaching sessions and with one of my trainers. I have coaches too and I absolutely love being coached as well as coaching people. I went to this training session which was about fear and how fear holds us back from doing things.
My initial thought about this was, "I just do things anyhow." I know that I'm scared and I just do them particularly.
Having trained as a doctor, there are also many things that you feel scared about doing and you just have to get on and do them.
Part of my training is to just get on and do things, but it is interesting that it's almost like numbing out the fear. During this training session, I realised that sometimes I do just numb it out. I know that it's there. I'm aware that it's there but it's still kind of affecting me even though I am aware of its presence.
What I don't do is really examine that fear and sort of blow it all away.
One thing that came up in this training session was that we don't set boundaries because we are scared of something. That for me was a big aha moment.
It doesn't matter whether this fear is in relation to overeating or in something else. I see it turning up in my parenting life. I could say I don't set strict boundaries with my children because I'm scared of their tantrums and I want to avoid their tantrums.
Have a think about where in your life are you scared of something that you aren't setting boundaries.
Another interesting thing is that if we examine fear, the other side of fear is a desire, and what is hiding behind that fear?
If we take the example of my children, what I really desire is a calm and relaxed family life where my children just automatically do what they want. That is being masqueraded in that fear of, "If I don't set boundaries, they're going to have tantrums" and that's going to take away that thing that I am looking for.
What I see a lot of people who talk about overeating saying is "I am scared of hunger."
Is that something that you are scared of?
Is that something that is driving your overeating because you're scared of hunger?
Examining hunger is really interesting. A lot of people are scared of hunger.
What happens when you are hungry?
One of the big things I would say is that there are different types of hunger and the way the foods that we eat really affect our hunger. So if you're eating lots of refined carbohydrates, they are going to lead to a different kind of hunger than if you are eating fruits and vegetables.
What do I mean by that?
The reality is, those junk foods really spike our glucose levels. That leads us to get into this habit of always wanting that glucose from an external source so eating. So we get this idea that "I'm hungry, I have to eat something."
Really and truly that is not the case when your body is calibrated properly, working properly, or it's just designed to do this.
You're hungry, you eat, you wait a little bit, you don't eat. Your body goes, "Hey, can we have some food, please?" and you go, "Sorry, I'm busy. I'm running after a wildebeest. There isn't time for me to eat now" and your body goes, "Oh, okay. I'll just go and get some of that sugar from inside me."
Your body is perfectly capable of doing this. Yes, it sometimes feels like hunger.
It comes in a wave and it goes when your body starts creating that glucose, and how does it create that glucose? It starts breaking down at stores of glucose.
You have stores in your liver and in your muscles and then it starts breaking down fat.
If you want to lose weight, this is what you have to allow your body to do.
There are different types of hunger and different types of cravings. We see this all wrapped up in cravings and emotional eating. It's one of the reasons why I recommend doing a reboot.
When I work with my one-on-one clients, I walk them through a two-week reboot of looking at healthy foods. Part of it is you've kind of set up this expectation for foods to give you a quick glucose release. What you need to do is train your body to say, "Okay, it's not quick, but there's still glucose there. I can get that glucose, I can get that energy."
A big part of it is eating healthy foods that are going to sustain your body all the time, but there is still this idea of, "okay, I'm still scared of hunger."
I would add a caveat to this. If you are breastfeeding, then hunger is a different kind of hunger because your body is busy creating lots of milk for your baby. I think it's slightly different. So if you're breastfeeding,
I would still tell you to eat the healthy foods. You can still eat as much as you want of those healthy foods and they will nourish you. They will give you the things that you need to.
Really and truly, what we need to do is have a look at those fears and think about them in different ways. Some questions that we can ask is:
You can use this question in any time. It doesn't have to be about overeating. If I go back to my idea of my children and not setting boundaries, what's the worst that's happened going to happen?
Well, they're going to have a long tantrum because they don't like whatever boundary I have set. If you're thinking about overeating, what's the worst that can happen? I'm going to feel hungry.
I'm going to have big emotions because I'm going to get hungry. That's going to lead me to perhaps snap at my kids or other people. I'm not going to be able to focus.
That's the worst that could happen. You can think of the worst-case for you. The reality is your body's going to kick in and start giving you some glucose.
What is the worst that happens if I leave things as they are? I would think about my children and boundaries, and my desire. My desire is to get to a place where my children are calm and relaxed and family life just happens easily.
If I don't set that boundary, what happens? Do we get there?
No, we don't.
The cost of inaction is not getting to where I want to get to.
If you think about the same thing, what's the worst that happens when you are constantly scared of being hungry? You're constantly overeating. You're not getting to where you want to get to. You're not getting to the weight you want it to be, not strong, not exercising and all of those things. That fear is keeping you in place.
A few little ideas are to just really having a look at our fears, facing them and thinking about them and almost getting friendly with them. You don't always have to get that fear to disappear entirely, but being aware of it is really useful.
It's almost like you're driving along and you're in charge and your fear is in the passenger seat. You can say, "Hey, hello fear. I know you're here but this is the route we're going. Anyhow, I'm in charge. I'm driving. This is where we're going." That is the first half of overeating and fear.
After I recorded this, I decided that I would talk about overeating and dinner and how to not overeat in a separate podcast which I will release next week. The week afterwards, we will have a look at mindful eating which we have addressed before, but it's super interesting.
Now, if you would like to come and chat with me at the moment, I am offering a 30-minute stop overeating chat. That comes with your own personal stop overeating roadmap- a plan of how you can stop overeating.
"Some things I've noticed over the past few weeks since we worked together: when I feel the urge to grab chocolate or another treat just because I'm feeling emotional, I'm choosing other kinds of self care instead and it's working! I'm also no longer overeating since we talked about overeating and fear - now consistently eating smaller portions, not feeling any urge to go back for seconds, and I'm excited to meet the version of myself with a normal BMI! Thank you so much for your help Dr Orlena." Kara
I'm going to bombard you with chats but I'm super excited because I've found a new exercise to do with people. It is about taking your likes and your dislikes. Turning your likes into your dislikes and your dislikes into your likes. You think how on earth can that be useful? Say, for example, you find that your weakness is chocolate and you can't stop overeating chocolate. You just kind of wish you didn't like chocolate.
I'm experimenting with this exercise. It's a thought exercise, seeing if we can change your likes into two dislikes. The opposite side of the coin is you might think, "Oh well, I know that I really need to eat more vegetables, but the problem is I don't like them." So it can be either way I like to dislike or dislike to like.
I wanted to experiment with my children on this, my older children, at least not my younger children. I have to say that there is a caveat to this. You have to want it back to change. So when I talk to my children right now, and my oldest one says, "I don't like aubergines I don't like them and I don't want to like them either." So if you're in that state of, "I don't want to change whether I like something or dislike something" it's clearly not going to work.
If you're thinking, "Okay, well, I'm prepared to look at that possibility" then come and reach out. We will have a 30-minute chat. You can book it at the same on the same link that I've sent you. As I say, I just want to test this out and see if it works, but it is super exciting. I am looking forward to being able to offer this separately as a service. So grab it now whilst I'm still experimenting.
If you want to do either of those chats, it's either a stop overeating chat or changing your likes and dislikes chats, reach out to me on one of my emails or you can book on the link that I have left in the show notes.
Note: Since recording this podcast, I was overflowing with people wanting to do the free experiment. I couldn't keep up. I'm now offering this amazing exercise at $299. (Or, if you sign up for the "Overeating quiz" you can get a huge discount!
Next week, we will be discussing how to stop overeating at dinner. Perhaps boredom is another one. I'm not sure if we'll have time to fit that all in. Remember that tomorrow's office hours are all about overeating as well. So come and sign up. I will see you hopefully tomorrow, if not on the podcast next week.
Dr Orlena Kerek (MBChB from the University of Bristol, UK) trained as a pediatric doctor. She is now a family health coach. She helps families create healthy habits they love so they can all feel fit and fabulous without having to think about it. If you'd like to chat to her about how she can help your family, book a 30 transformation call here.