The Psychology of Eating Podcast Episode 87: Follow Up – Fear of Being Hungry
Holly has a fascinating challenge with food: she’s afraid to be hungry and afraid that there won’t be enough to eat. She hoards food in the fridge, and she finds herself worrying that she’ll go hungry even though she can well afford what she needs. Holly knows she could be coming from a much better place, but doesn’t quite know how to get there. In Holly’s first session, Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, helped Holly discover the brilliant reason behind her fear of being hungry, and how she can use this challenge to make herself a more empowered woman. Tune in now as Marc does a follow-up session with Holly. You’ll get a chance to see how she’s progressed since her first session, and the results are uplifting!
Below is a transcript of this podcast episode:
To see Holly’s first session with Marc, click here
Marc: Welcome, everybody. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. And here we are in the Psychology of Eating podcast. I’m here once again with Holly. Welcome, Holly!
Holly: Thank you. It’s good to be here.
Marc: Yeah! Good to see you. And this is our follow-up session. So for those of you familiar enough with the podcast, Holly and I met a bunch of months ago. And we chit chatted a little bit about sugar, your attachment there, a little bit about checking out when you eat and definitely a concern that, “There’s not going to be enough food. I’ve got to stock up,” kind of an inner fear that, “I’m not going to have enough.”
And it was a fascinating conversation, at least for me. And I’m just wondering how has it been for you since we’ve spoken?
Holly: Oh, my gosh. Well, first of all, that session was so incredibly important and terrifying because it was so important. I didn’t realize until I voiced it how much it really did impact me every single day and that I had been running from it.
So just putting it out there, I noticed shifts immediately. The anxiety that I had around not being prepared or having my schedule interrupted and therefore having to experience and feel that hunger, I’d say within four days afterwards it was gone, just completely gone. The intensity is gone. I’m sure there’s something still there. So, yeah, I’m blown away just how important, how impactful that was.
Marc: Wow. Isn’t it fascinating how, on the one hand, as you said, just speaking it and saying, “Hey, this really impacts me…” There’s just a down and dirty level of authenticity and honesty in there because, I don’t know, it seems like we’re supposed to walk around this world and not necessarily share what’s really driving us and what I’m really afraid of and what I’m really obsessing about all the time.
And a lot of times we have to keep that stuff in and pretend it’s not there. And we’ve got to look good, whatever looking good means. And sometimes just
being able to say it and be witnessed, that starts a process that’s really good.
Holly: And I also recall your suggestions about dialoguing with my inner child, who was stuck with the four or five-year-old coping strategies around hoarding food, making sure there’s a lot around. And I felt like by that fourth day when I was in…Another situation had come up that would triggered an anxiety response. When I checked in with that inner child, it felt like she was a teenager. It felt like she was growing up. And her strategies were changing.
So I could have more of an adult conversation with her around what’s going on and have more of it back and forth, rather than consoling a small child, not that there’s anything wrong with that. That was really powerful itself. But that was a significant part of the experience was being able to see this wounded child, this inner child, I guess, start to grow up.
Marc: Yeah, I think we’ve all got it. So many smart people say that. We have these different archetypes inside of us. And one of them is the inner child. And that child, it’s beautiful. It’s sweet. It gives us our childlike nature. It keeps us young. And at the same time, let’s pay attention to it and see how much air time it gets and the places where it’s not so childlike and innocent, but it can be very childish and hold us back.
And sometimes it just takes noticing that like, “Oh, there’s the places.” Certain places in my life I am really mature. And there’s other places, it’s embarrassing how I regress so quickly in those few areas. And it’s just good to be aware, “Oh, here’s where I become like a 12 year old.” And a lot of times I think with food, food kind of transports us back to certain times in our life.
And as you were speaking, I was thinking how if previously the main kind of worry or fear was, “Oh, my God. I might be hungry. I have to hoard food,” it’s almost as if, “I can’t really flow into my life because I’m bracing against this thing that’s going to happen. So I can’t really flow. I can’t really relax. I can’t really beat me because I’m bracing against this problem that I think is going to occur.” And when we’re not bracing against it, there’s a beautiful flow. Life is a heck of a lot easier.
Holly: Absolutely. That bracing, that whole feeling, that anticipation, I can feel
that anxiety when I think of those two together. There’s definitely a connection.
Marc: So what else have you noticed in your life that’s shifted at the same time that this eating piece has transformed?
Holly: Oh, I feel like I can go farther. Instead of having like a one-hour, two- hour time limit and always having to go back, run back to the base and look at the schedule and plan it all out and have it all figured out, it feels so much more freeing. And that in itself has allowed me to do other activities and just feel relaxed that I know I’m going to take care of my body. And I will feed it. There just will be times where I’m going to have to experience the discomfort of hunger. And it’s okay. And that was humongous.
Marc: Yeah! It’s almost like letting the child in us know, “Yeah, you might get hungry. And it’s okay. We’ll find some food. It’s going to be all right. You ain’t going to starve.” And sometimes we literally just have to connect the dots with those voices. “Oh, there’s this part of me that just wasn’t okay with this feeling that might make me think, ‘Oh, my God. I’m going to die!’” almost, which is irrational. But it still lives in us.
And I also want to say—and I don’t think we talked about this last time—but it’s a very rational fear that, “I will not have enough food.” It’s extremely rational because if you look around at the animal kingdom and in nature, that’s the commerce. The commerce is, “I need to eat.” There’s creatures outside your house looking for food right now. On my property here in Colorado, coyotes are out every night. And even during the day sometimes, they’re looking for food.
So we have to survive. And there’s this legitimate place where, “If I don’t have food, I might not survive.” So a lot of that is in old programming. It’s a legitimate wiring in our system like, “Oh, my God. I’ve got to make sure there’s enough food.” And it lives in our DNA somewhere.
And sometimes those are just those survival instincts then become more active in us. And they kind of take over because the fact is if you have a little bit of money and you have a grocery store down the street, you will be okay. It’s really not a survival situation. But somewhere we think it is. And we have to much more out of that. And it sounds like that’s what you’ve done. You’ve taken really on one level a primal fear that was sort of operating and like, “Okay, let’s just give this its rightful place.”
Holly: Definitely. Yeah, I see where you’re going for sure. Yeah, this is more like a first world problem. This is not a logical…
Marc: Exactly, exactly. But it shows you how the mind can be so insane. Our own minds can be so crazy as to think that we are starving when we have a house full of food. Our own mind can be so crazy to think that we’re these terrible people because maybe we have five more pounds than we think we should have. The mind could be a pretty torturous character. And we’re just learning how to harness it better and control it a little better.
Anything else you’ve noticed in your life where things have expanded or opened more?
Holly: I guess going along with all that freedom and that being released from all anxieties just the overall confidence boost. I overall just feel happier and shinier.
Marc: You kind of look at. I’m a little biased here. But I feel like I’m talking to a different person. It feels like the woman factor in you has really kind of increased. Is that true for you?
Holly: I would think so. Yeah, it’s all that confidence. Yeah. The whole archetype of the Queen has come up over and over and over again in the last year. And I’m 39. So I know I’m on my way to queendom. So I love the idea of stepping into my queenly power and all that confidence that comes with it and not caring what other people think and the perspective and the wisdom.
Marc: Now, remind me again. You’re in relationship? Or you’re married?
Holly: I’m married, yes.
Marc: How long now?
Holly: Almost 13 years. 13 years in a few weeks.
Marc: Has your husband noticed any difference in you?
Holly: Oh, probably! I’ve seen shifts in him, too.
Holly: Definitely mirrors. When I’m feeling confident and happy, then he seems to reflect it back.
Marc: Isn’t that interesting how that works? One person in the system changes. And the other people change. I’ve noticed that, too. It feels like a mystical process. Sometimes I’ve noticed in relationship when I’ve hit a wall or there’s an impasse, when I make an internal change, my partner will make an internal change that day, too. It’s almost like we’re invisibly catalyzing each other on some level.
Holly: Mmm hmm.
Marc: So congratulations! I’m really happy for you. What do you see as next steps for you in terms of where you want to grow into in relationship to food, in relationship to your body, just your sense of self? What’s next?
Holly: That’s a loaded question. I feel like I’m just still in the afterglow from this discovery. But that is a great question. Yeah, I’m really enjoying this comfort I have around eating and knowing that I can take care of myself. But sharing the experience with others, whether it’s a friend or a client or someone else, just knowing that you can survive this. It feels really trapping, with your completely enclosed at the time and just have no idea what to do next is definitely how I felt. I really didn’t know what to do before. And now I feel like there’s just so much open to me. There’s just a lot of options. So I think I’m just going to play and see how it goes.
Marc: I think that’s the perfect answer. Sometimes that is the highest next expression for us is to just play in this new place. It’s like, “Oh, I have this newfound freedom. I have this newfound expansiveness. Let me play. Let me create. Let me see what happens.” That, to me, is A+ in my book.
Holly: Oh, good! It feels right. It feels right.
Marc: Yeah, good for you.
Holly: Thank you.
Marc: And congratulations in really making the effort to break through. You are at where you’re at right now because you took some risks. And you’re at where you’re at because you invested your time and your energy and your life force and your money. You’ve invested in yourself to better yourself.
And it’s nice to connect the dots that you’re experiencing those dividends now some hard work.
Holly: Definitely. I knew, like I said, I was terrified when we had our first session.
Marc: Yeah, I remember.
Holly: I was terrified what we were going to uncover. And I’m just blown away by how much has shifted and how quickly. I did not see that at all. So I am definitely very happy that I’m on the other side of it now.
Marc: Yeah, and look how easy it is to talk about it now, right?
Holly: Oh, I know. Crazy!
Marc: Yeah, yeah. And I think that’s how life keeps working. So the next time we hit the place where we’re like, “Oh, my God. Here’s this piece that’s really hard for me,” wouldn’t it be great to remember, “Oh, yeah. The last time I hit a place like that, wow! When I came to the other side, it was like it had never happened.”
Holly: Yeah, exactly. It’s definitely crossed my mind. If any obstacle comes up in the future that I should definitely be leaning in, not running from it for years and years and years.
Marc: Beautiful. That’s a great way to put it. And, again, it’s just such a great reminder that our internal world, no matter how crazy it seems, it has such a big impact on our expression and how we do life. And when we really attend to what’s going on inside of us and the crazy habits and the crazy language that we speak to ourselves, when we begin to really break that down and notice, “Oh, wow. How do I turn these things around? How are the impacting me? Oh, look at this fear that I have around food,” when we really embrace those and look at those, whew! Powerful learnings happen. So I’m thrilled for you.
Holly: Thank you. Thank you so much. Yeah, wow. Thank you.
Marc: You’re welcome. Thanks for being brave. Thanks for sharing your journey publicly. What a cool thing that we could do that because there’s a lot of people that get impacted. We all get impacted by each other’s story.
And for those of you tuning in and listening and right now who didn’t hear Holly’s first session, I highly recommend you check it out just so you can see the difference in these two ladies because I’m remembering very clearly. I took a peek at the other session before we got on the phone before we started talking and like, “Wow!” Big difference. So from over here, again, work well done. And I hope you feel good about yourself and proud about yourself.
Holly: Oh, yes, I do.
Marc: Thanks so much, Holly.
Holly: Thank you, Marc.
Marc: And thanks, everybody, once again for tuning in. I’m Marc David on behalf of the Psychology of Eating podcast. As always, there’s going to be lots more to come. Take care.
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