Do You Have a Fear of Hunger?

Do You Have a Fear of Hunger?
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If you have ever tried to diet before, and chances are you have, you may have come across a type of anxiety called fear of hunger. This occurs when you get anxious in between meals and snacks, fearing that feeling of hunger in your stomach. People with a fear of hunger often live a life of restriction, followed quickly by binging.

This is something intuitive eating can help you with quite a bit, since it teaches you to trust your body, and trust that food is always there when you need it.

Figure Out Why You Are Afraid to Be Hungry

The first thing you need to do is figure out exactly where this fear of hunger comes from. For some people, it is related to their generalized anxiety disorder, though most people have a history of hunger and famine periods. This could be from regularly having to go without meals as a child due to your family’s financial circumstances, or from a long period of dieting.

A fear of hunger can be very complex, rooted in mental health and emotional issues. Start writing down how you feel when you are hungry or get close to being hungry, and try to find the root of it.

Are You Not Eating Enough?

Another thing to consider is whether or not you are eating enough, prior to these feelings where you fear being hungry. The problem with being afraid of feeling a little hungry, is that it often leads to overeating. If you feel more comfortable with that full, sick feeling, you will still have issues with intuitive eating, because your hunger and fullness cues are completely off balance.

Start by keeping a food journal, and not counting calories or macros, but just looking at what you eat and how much. Maybe you are low on protein or fiber, or you aren’t eating enough between meals. If it looks like you are restricting, that might be where this fear of hunger is rooted.

Let Your Body Learn There are no Famines Coming

Since most people with a fear of hunger have a history of dieting or restrictions, you need to let your body know that there is not another famine (diet) coming. You are not going to restrict your food, you won’t go through long periods of time without eating, and you won’t remove any foods or food groups.

Keep eating intuitively, follow your cravings, and honor what your body is telling you to do. If you feel true hunger, eat. But if you think it is emotional, try to find other coping mechanisms without having to ever restrict food when you feel hunger.

Listen to Your Body’s True Hunger Signals

Finally, start listening to your body and really honing in your hunger and fullness cues. You don’t need to obsess or stress about this. That is an area of intuitive eating that can often be frustrating for people. Instead, just write down your different physical sensations and how hungry you think you are, on a scale of 1-10.

“If you’re actually hungry, you’ll experience true hunger cues, such as stomach growling, low energy, shakiness, headaches and problems focusing.”

Dr. Janice Hillman

With 1 being starving and 10 you’re too full to eat another bite, this will help your better gauge if you’re truly needing to eat, or perhaps you’re just bored and eating out of habit. With a rating of 5, for example, that means you’re comfortable and could probably wait a bit to eat again.

What’s your experience? Have you ever developed a fear of hunger and what did you do to deal with it?

Comment below!

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