Real hunger vs fake hunger

Real hunger vs fake hunger

If you graze and snack all through the day, it's easy to be confused about whether you are physically hungry or just fake hungry. Grazing and snacking can be such an embedded habit that some people have no idea what real, actual physical hunger feels like.

Are you so used to eating without thinking that you find it hard to stop even when your stomach is full?  Some people go even further and don't stop eating until they feel bloated, uncomfortable and completely over-stuffed.

Your eating can feel even more out of control when it happens in a sort of absent-minded way while busy doing other things like watching TV, surfing the net, driving, or at work.

Maybe you do this?

Do you find yourself back in the kitchen searching for something tasty shortly after eating a big meal?

Do you buy yourself ‘treats’ as part of the weekly grocery shopping that is a secret that no one else knows?

Are you ashamed of what you secretly eat and try to be clever at covering up your tracks and hiding any evidence from family or friends?

Well, you’re not alone!

If you recognise yourself in any of this, you too could be an emotional eater who confuses physical hunger with fake hunger and uses food to swallow down your uncomfortable feelings such as anger, sadness, boredom, loneliness or even just feeling fed up. 

I’m right here for you with everything you need

For nearly twenty years I have worked successfully with thousands of people to erase the triggers that make them want to eat when they are not physically hungry. They are people from all walks of life who blamed themselves for being overweight or for failing to stick to the latest fad diet. They thought their excess weight was because they were greedy or that they had no will-power but nothing is further from the truth.

For emotional eaters, the drive to eat it is not ever really about food and never, ever about a lack of willpower.

Even NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) who provide national guidance and advice to improve health and social care in the UK recognised a momentous shift in how the medical profession sees the future of adult weight management in their 2016 guidelines.

It recognised for the first time the need to include ‘talking therapies’ to tackle obesity, and this marked an acceptance that psychological hunger is as powerful, and as important to tackle, as physiological, or real hunger.

Dr Matthew Capehorn said, ‘We can make anyone lose weight (lock them in a cupboard and don’t feed them!) If we don’t address the underlying reasons why they became overweight, they will face precisely the same psychological problems they had at the start and are more likely to put the weight straight back on’. (Ref: Foreword to 7 Simple Steps to Stop Emotional Eating, Hammersmith Books, London)

The underlying reasons you put on weight can be resolved too so that you are no longer triggered by your emotions to eat when you are fake hungry.

Once your emotional triggers to eat are successfully erased you too can lose weight by eating only when you are physically hungry, stop effortlessly when you have eaten enough and enjoy feeling completely calm and relaxed around food.

I work with the most powerful therapy tools that have already transformed the lives of thousands of other emotional eaters to end their fake hunger so that they can eat for nourishment instead of swallowing down their emotions.

Contact me if you recognise yourself as an emotional eater and are ready to get the help you need to transform your relationship with food so that you can eat for nourishment instead of self-punishment.

Just click on the button at the top of the page to schedule your discovery call with me.

Emotional Eating Q & A Session

Emotional Eating Q & A Session

Emotional Eating Q&A

Emotional Eating Q & A with journalist Betty Russell poses her questions to therapist Sally Baker about her work to transform emotional eating into successful weight loss.

Why do you have a passion for helping people lose weight?

The mind-body connection informs my work as a therapist, and when working, I am working with a client I tend to focus on the signals from their body to reveal and often, in turn, resolve their sub-conscious issues.

Carrying excess weight for many people is the outcome of a survival decision they made when they felt powerless to defend or define themselves in any other way. Being overweight is never just about food or lack of willpower.

Can you describe the tools you use to help people change?
I work with three main therapy tools. Originating in the US, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has been around now for over 25 years. It is easy to learn as a self-help tool and can be applied to alleviate a myriad of negative emotions. The technique involves tapping with two fingers on various points mainly on the face, and upper body. It works on the same energy lines, or Chi meridians as acupuncture, the traditional ancient Chinese medicine.

The second core therapy involves listening and interacting with a selection of short audio tracks. The listener taps with the fingers of both hands to a complex sequence of three rhythms.

Due to how the brain processes information, and in particular memory this therapy works wonderfully to reduce and even erase the emotional connection between negative feelings from memories, or events from the past whether they are real or imagined.

The third technique is Hypnotherapy which during a period of intense guided relaxation allows the subconscious mind to accept positive suggestions to support change and to help align the subconscious mind with the weight loss success that a client desires for themselves without triggering self-sabotaging behaviour.

How did you arrive at using this combination of therapies?
I came to use this combination of therapies with my therapist colleague and co-writer, Liz Hogon. We initially began working with EFT, and then hypnotherapy.

It feels as though we have had to explore a lot of modalities and techniques that are out there to ultimately find the most powerful and effective tools for successful weight loss.

What are the seven steps people can take to control their weight that you mention in your book?
We view the seven steps for people to resolve their emotional eating to be similar to the layers of an onion. We recommend people begin at step 1 in the book and work through to step 7 without skipping steps, or tackling them out of order. In this way, the journey begins with the present and unfurls the multi-layers leading to letting go, acceptance, and stepping up to a new way of living and loving oneself.
The seven steps are:
Acknowledging the present
Comfort and stress eating
Body image
Setting and achieving your goals
Breaking through
Digging deep
New day, new dawn

What do you have to say to anyone who thinks this is just another thing that won’t work for them?
By the time a person seeks help with their weight loss from a professional therapist, they are already experienced at every diet from Atkins to The Zone. They already understand that their overeating is not about an insatiable appetite for food but more an attempt to fill a bottomless void inside of themselves or to quell their often ever-present anxiety.

Clients who come to see either Sally in London, England or Liz in Melbourne, Australia feel over-whelmed with years of yo-yo dieting with failure inevitably following success.

Intellectually people understand how to lose weight, and are tired, and frustrated with their occasional weight loss success triggering a whole range of sabotaging behaviours that puts the weight back on, and keeps them stuck.

We begin the work by acknowledging the present, and that includes their fears that this won’t work for them as so many other things they've already tried for themselves haven’t worked either.

We gently explore an individual’s belief system to shift their perspective with the techniques we use so that the client can begin to embrace, and believe that there is a different way and that they deserve it to be their story too.

Anything else you want to add?
All the techniques we use in our therapy practices are simply explained in our book and in our new online course 'Overcoming Emotional Eating.' With the book and the course we have put together a compelling self-help resource for people to tackle their own reasons for emotional eating, and to facilitate their successful lose weight, once and for all.

7 Simple Steps to Stop Emotional Eating is available from Amazon as a paperback and as an e-version. For more information about Sally and Liz's online course 'Overcoming Emotional Eating' checkout

Contact me if you feel overwhelmed with years of yo-yo dieting and emotional eating. You can schedule an obligation free discovery call by clicking on the button at the top of the page.

Emotional Eaters over-think about food. Do you?

Emotional Eaters over-think about food. Do you?

Do you overthink about food?

​To understand the mindset of an emotional eater, it is vital to understand that their sense of self-worth is directly linked to the numbers on their bathroom scales.

A pound lost, or a pound gained can set the tenor of their entire day.

Foods are also never neutral. They are forensically studied, and determined to be good or bad.

Emotional eaters battle with their own body’s hunger, and cravings.

They know there have been times when they have succumbed, and eaten just one forbidden food for it to start a tsunami of bingeing, and sometimes purging with all the accompanying feelings of shame, and self-loathing.

An emotional eater’s attitude towards themselves and food isn’t logical. The extent of their preoccupation with the axis of food, and their weight is often a private source of great personal distress and shame.

The reasons for this over-thinking about food, body weight, and how they define themselves and feel about being themselves in the world are varied, and inevitably complex.

Liz Hogon and I specialise in resolving issues around emotional eating so that people who have struggled with weight loss for years can finally successfully lose weight.

We are also the co-authors of 7 Simple Steps to Stop Emotional Eating (Hammersmith Books, London).

The clients we see are mostly people who feel over-whelmed by the challenge of losing weight, and they can also often have other long-term health issues to contend with.

Non-emotional eaters have a different relationship with food. They also come in all sorts of physical shapes, and sizes and some may decide they are heavier than they would like to be.

With this realisation, they now have two main choices. The first would be that they now decide to lose their excess weight.

For non-emotional eaters, this would mean setting; reducint portion size, and maybe even incorporating regular exercise until they have reached their goal weight.

Unlike emotional eaters, they do not totally define themselves by how much they weigh. Therefore for them losing their excess weight is no more of a challenge than any other aspect of their lives such as learning conversational French, or taking up painting with water-colours as a hobby.

They often successfully lose weight, and even if they eventually pile on some extra pounds, they have the option of just applying their tried and trusted methods until they are back again at their goal weight.

Their second choice is to accept their expanding waistbands and buy bigger clothes sizes.

Anyway, most of the people they know are like them and are increasingly larger versions of their former selves.

Non-emotional eaters find it hard to feel their weight gain is that important when the trend of increasing pounds is a familiar trait with their partner, members of their family, and their friends.

They simply get used to buying a size, or two larger in their clothes, let out their belts another notch, and ultimately pay it little mind.

This feature was first published online by the Talking Health Partnership.

Contact me if you are feeling overwhelmed by your weightloss challenge. I can help you to target your body by changing your mind to end your emotional eating. Just click on the button at the top of the page to schedule a free call.

10-minute challenge to end your mindless eating

10-minute challenge to end your mindless eating

Changing just a few of your eating habits can help you lose weight without resorting to the four letter D**t word. All it takes is just a few moments.

Are you eating more than you think without even realising it?

Mindless eating is snacking while you are distracted doing something else such as watching television; driving; at your desk; surfing the net, or occupied with your smartphone.

Liz Hogon and I have found that many of our weight-loss clients share a similar trait of eating their food while engaged in other activities.

So, if you are not sure why your clothes are feeling tighter follow these simple guidelines.

Turnoff, or move away from electronic devices to focus on what you are eating.

Keep meals simple. More choice equals eating more.

Put the portion you intend to eat on a plate. It’s easy to overeat from a packet, or carton when seeing only one biscuit at a time.

‘Mouth full, hands empty’ means put your cutlery down between mouthfuls to slow your eating.

Eat at regular meal times of two or three times per day. Mindless eaters never know whether they are hungry or full.

This is an extract from ‘7 Simple Steps to Stop Emotional Eating’ from Hammersmith Books, London co-written by Sally Baker and Liz Hogon.

Contact me if you already know that your eating feels out of control and you want some help in transforming your relationship with food you can book a 30-minute discovery call with me with the button at the top of the page.

Your eating secrets revealed

Your eating secrets revealed

Your eating secrests

​Some people are confused and amazed at their excess weight as they are barely aware of how often they eat, or even what they eat.

Increasingly people eat as a secondary activity while walking, driving, watching television, or surfing the net so that their food consumption barely registers with them.

It has been proven that keeping a food diary can be a useful tool to help encourage a greater awareness and even an enhanced sense accountability. For some people, knowing they have decided to log everything they eat makes them less likely to binge or make poor food choices.

Food diaries are popular with slimming clubs who focus on calories or counting points or general food restrictions but emotional eaters already understand it's not about what they put into their stomach it's about what's going on in their heads

The food diary Liz Hogon and I created in our book 7 Simple Steps to Stop Emotional Eating (Hammersmith Books, London) is more illuminating as it makes the connection between your hunger levels and your emotional triggers to eat.

Our food and mood diary asks you to note your hunger level each time you eat using a quick zero to ten scale - where zero is not hungry at all, and ten is ravenously hungry. The food diary also asks you to write a brief appraisal of how you are feeling when you actually eat. For instance, if you are feeling angry, frustrated or bored.

It will only take a few days for you to be able to see a pattern in your own eating and your personal emotional triggers.

From keeping a food and mood diary you may be surprised to find that you are accustomed to grazing on food for most of the day. You may discover you only ever allow yourself to experience low levels of hunger before you eat. For some people, even a slight feeling of hunger can trigger strong feelings of anxiety so they regularly eat with only small gaps between meals.

Alternatively, you may discover from your food and mood diary that long stretches of time go by when you do not eat at all so that by the time you do you are over-hungry and ravenous in fact so that you feel completely out of control around food and overeat or make poor food choices.

Here are some examples of trigger emotions from clients. See if you recognise any of these triggers in your own patterns of eating.

After dinner, I feel panicked knowing there is no more food until tomorrow.
The children are in bed and I am alone downstairs feeling lonely with my crisps and soda.
When I drink alcohol all my good intentions around food just go
In the car after work, I am so angry I eat biscuits the whole way home.
I park the car around the corner and eat ice cream because he thinks I’m dieting.
I go without food all day and eat in front of the TV all evening.
I buy my binge foods from different shops so the shopkeepers don’t know how much I eat.
I take a tray of my favourite things to eat to bed with me — it’s my comfort.

Start keeping a food and mood diary yourself just for few days and play detective with the evidence you collect.

Consider what could you be missing or what would you like to have in the life that could be triggering you to eat?

You can download our Food and Mood Diary pdf for free in the members only area of See Therapy Tools

Contact me if you already know your eating is out of your control and tired of struggling on your own you can schedule a discovery call with me on the button at the top of this page

How your mind creates your weight loss

How your mind creates your weight loss

  • Your greatest wealth is your health and wellbeing.

    The excess weight you carry, or your disordered eating habits are simply a consequence of you rewarding, and commiserating with yourself with food; stress and comfort eating; sugar cravings, and a myriad of old habits and beliefs that are no longer helpful for you to lose weight, or be as healthy as you can be.

    Your mind plays an enormous role in how your body is allowed to manifest health, and slimness together with the ability to make the right choices to ensure you eat for nourishment instead of self-punishment.

    Carrying excess weight is never about being greedy, or about a lack of willpower. That’s why diets simply do not work - but you already know that!

    As therapists, Liz Hogon and I target your body by changing your mind.
    Your mind is where you will create your weight loss and wellbeing.

    An isolated surgical intervention...won’t do it.
    Any "step-by-step approach"... won't do it.
    "Forcing" yourself to go without... won't do it.
    Any preconceived ideas... won't do it.
    It is time to finally explore, and release your mind of old, unhelpful beliefs, and negative thinking so that you can become a manifestation of good health and well-being so that you can achieve a slimmer, happier you.
    If you resolve the issues in your mind that keep you stuck, and overweight, then you can be successful.
    Your mind has the power to make you slim, and healthy.
    And your mind has the power to keep you overweight, unhealthy, and stuck.
    It's your choice to free yourself.
    If you understand this, just whisper "yes" to yourself. It is time to acknowledge it out-loud to make it real.
    The underlying reasons for emotional eating are similar to the layers of an onion, so it’s important to peel back those layers in the most effective way releasing, and resolving deeper, and deeper issues as you progress. One effective way of approaching this work is chronological.
    Tracing your past
    Focus on increasing your understanding and insight into your own life events, and memories around your weight. Write down times in your life when your weight and your eating have felt more in balance, and times in your life when your weight escalated or dropped for that matter and you felt your eating was out of control.

    This exploration is called The Time Line Protocol.

    It’s useful, to begin with your earliest recollections and go right through to the present day. What was happening to you emotionally around those key times in your life when you experienced your weight increasing or decreasing, and most critically what judgements do you make about yourself from those memories and events?

    Blaming yourself is exhausting, and keeps you stuck. “It’s all my fault,” and other negative self-talk is dispiriting and undermines your self-esteem. Many people who struggle with losing weight think very poorly of themselves so making changes to how you think about yourself can be key to effectively clear negative self-beliefs.

    Gaining insights and a-ha moments about your relationship with food are the first step you can make in taking back your power and bringing your life back into balance. Look for the connections with weight loss or weight gain with events that took place in your life.

    Your relationship with food and your weight is not accidental. It is most likely in reaction to life events and judgements you make about yourself so be your own detective and find out the source of your disordered eating.

    Make contact with me if you feel overwhelmed and out of control in your relationship with food and eating. Use the button at the top of the page to schedule an obligation free 30-minute discovery call.