I am afraid of hunger
Yes you read it right, I’m afraid of hunger. If you’ve heard this before and know the story then I apologise for repeating myself but I want to make sure that everyone who follows me on whatever platform gets this important message. Being afraid of hunger, by far, has been the number one contribution to my weight loss stall and, yes, even my weight regain. This is a long one so go grab a tea!
At my lowest
When I stalled at around 71kg it was August 2017. I was a year and a half into my keto journey and I had lost more than 100lbs. Knowing what I know now about the body and metabolism it was a perfectly normal reaction for my body to stop losing weight and regroup for a few weeks or months to make sure it was safe to continue losing.
Unfortunately for me, this stall coincided with a huge life changing event and the massive stress that this brings.
In October 2017 my family and I moved from Ireland to France (right on the border with Switzerland) with very little notice considering how big a move it was.
We had just 6 weeks to catch the last ferry crossing directly from Ireland to France.
Up until then I was doing a lot of intermittent fasting, intuitive eating and basically being strict keto. I think the last day I skipped a meal before the end of June 2019 was the day before we moved to France.
Me at my lowest weight
What I was doing was working but I stopped doing it
For whatever reason I stopped doing regular intermittent fasting and began to eat 3 to 4 times a day. Yes, it was all keto food but I was overeating massively. I wasn’t tracking my food and I was consuming far too many calories. My stall continued (obviously) and I started to gain weight. I was skipping breakfast a couple of days a month but even on those days, my calorie intake would have been the same because I ate more during the other meals.
Then I started to suffer with really low energy and my hair started to thin. I was getting really worried at this point because the scale was going up and up too. I went to the doctor and got some bloods taken because I suspected it was my thyroid. I was right. My TSH was 8, optimum levels for good health are 1 or below. I went straight back on my meds but the weight still continued to climb. Frustrated and scared I decided that I needed to go back to basics and that meant tracking.
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Getting back on track
First step was to eat as normal but track everything. Boy was I in for a shock. Instead of seeing the numbers I expected I was WAY over! I was eating a whopping 2000 to 2500 calories a day. If I was metabolically well then my metabolism would simply have risen to compensate but I’m still not metabolically well so I put on weight instead. Lesson is more fat doesn’t equal weight loss for anyone with metabolic issues. We, unfortunately, gain weight. You can read about it HERE on Diet Doctor’s blog.
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I knew I had to get back in control immediately. The first thing I decided to do was to implement some fasting and here is where I got the biggest shock. Bigger than my massive calorie intake. As soon as I felt hungry I got really anxious and went to the kitchen immediately to “get rid of the feeling”. It made me so uncomfortable that I feared feeling it. I was afraid of hunger. I knew that I had a fear of hunger previously when I started keto because of horrible hypoglycemia symptoms when I was a carb burner
Seriously I used to have to eat every 2 hours or I would feel shaky and faint. I thought I had broken through that fear because I used to be an IF superstar. Clearly I hadn’t so I had to start again and work through the fear. The only way to do it is by feeling it, sitting with it and letting it dissipate. Actually, as I write this blog post I’m feeling hungry and I still don’t like it. Now, however, I’m not afraid it no matter how much I dislike it! I needed to remind my body that I won’t go hypo by skipping a meal. I’m a fat burning machine and I have AMPLE fat stores to use so let’s use them eh?
Learn my lesson
The lesson here is that you might not be immediately aware of why you are stalling. You too might be afraid of feeling hungry on some level and, like me, unconsciously sabotaging yourself to avoid it. I feel annoyed when I think of how long it took me to realise it and now I have more weight to lose than I did before (about 30lbs to goal) but I can’t look at this as a setback because I’ve learned a huge thing about myself. Now that I’ve recognised it, named it and sat with it, I’ve taken the power back. Yes I am afraid of hunger but I’m learning that it’s not something to fear. It comes and goes just like every other feeling and there is nothing sinister there.