How To Overcome Your Fear of Food and Overeating

Let go of fear of food

Overcome your fear of food and overeating might be as easy as talking to somebody without them laughing

There is a fear in us all, and our own fear of food seem more dangerous, frightening, and insurmountable than the fears of others. Yet embarrassment of our fear of food often leads to silence, and silence leads to being locked into a fear for years, if not a lifetime.

 

Fear of food spiders web Only yesterday I watched a friend’s hysterical reaction to a small spider, she was terrified. This friend has never been bitten by a spider or suffered in any way, but after being teased about spiders all her life she now feels there is no way back, no way to ever overcome her fear of spiders. I asked her why she was afraid of arachnids and she said it was so long ago that she questioned the fear she’d forgotten why they frighten her.

 

At times it’s easy to confuse a fear with a habit or defense mechanism. You are overweight, but you call yourself fat (motivational!) and because of this you don’t like to eat too much in front of people, you may even fall into the ‘secret eater’ category…So you are invited to a  party with a buffet and you don’t want to appear a pig so you eat a sandwich before you go to the party, fill up on some carbs then pick at the protein. People may even comment that you don’t eat very much…At least not in front of people.

Perhaps your fear is feeling fat but you translate any excuse to not to go to a party or event because you have to squeeze into your clothes, you feel fat and you don’t want people to perceive you as fat, so you ‘create’ a fear of…This may sound harsh that you are creating fears but the same stories are repeated with people we work with. I would of gone to the party if…

Ask yourself why you fear buffets at parties?

 

I asked my friend if she if wanted to talk about her fear, not her fear of spiders, but fear itself.

I asked her these questions about fear (not about spiders!)

 

  • Why do we place value on fear and allow it control our movement, decisions and thoughts?
  • Why do the fears of others come across as amusing yet ours so terrifying?
  • Why can we not distance ourselves from our fear?

 

 

Fear is perception and if we can shift our perception we can overcome our fears. Click To Tweet

 

A high number of people we speak with have a fear of food, clothes and buffets. We have to gently coax out their fears, normally this is because they feel silly and embarrassed.

 

fear of food face

 

There is a time and place for talking with a professional stranger and with family. Too many years of being teased by friends and family over fears different to theirs leads to closing down, to being locked inside the fear.

 

How can you overcome something if it is always greeted as insignificant or easily surmountable? Why should fears be compared and graded? My friend’s fear of small spiders is as real as a parents fear for the safety of their child, or someone else’s fear of food.

 

Why do so many people have a fear of food and the lifestyle they desire?

 

“I’m afraid if I don’t finish all the food on my plate I might be hungry later.” – Anonymous.

 

 

Terry McCarty, 29, who is originally from Hawthorne, Nevada, suffered third-degree burns, lost part of his fingers and thumbs, and required 58 operations after his entire body was engulfed in flames at the age of 6 as the result of a childhood accident.  He was bullied as a child and called “Freddy Krueger,” but their was something in Terry McCarty that made him push on and confront his fear.

 

McCarty applied to become a firefighter in Washington State. In order to achieve his goal, he had to confront fire for the first time since the incident as part of his training. He says that, at first, he was unable to move and felt the way he had when he was six.

 

Are McCarty’s actions in overcoming his fear any more courageous than leaving food on your plate when you feel full?

 

Without detracting from the efforts of a courageous young man, if you align these fears and make yours seem silly in comparison you will be stuck in a cycle of inaction and forever popping that last mouthful of food that makes you feel bloated.

 

When you kick diets to the curb and embrace a lifestyle you can eliminate your food fears through admittance and action.

 

Telling somebody to put less food on his or her plate is easy and patronizing. Educating people on portion sizes, food preparation, shopping, and delicious alternatives takes effort and willingness by the client to embrace the change.

 

McCarty would of known when training that his fire retardant suit would protect him from the flames, but that does not mean he simply jumped into the fire without a care. Instructing someone to create a healthy meal, to embrace slow eating and taste their food does not remove the fear of food; it offers a platform for recovery.

 

Fear is not going away by itself, but confidence erodes fears, the more you do something the more you respect what you are doing. McCarty ‘overcame’ or ‘embraced’ his fear by cultivating a healthy respectful fear of fire.

 

Each time you stop eating when you are full you chip away at the power you have given fear.

 

fear of food skull and boozeYour body is the consequence of the extra mouthful, the first and last drink of alcohol you have at the party, the fast food on the way home. MacCarty’s body is the consequence of horrific accident and he learnt that he would be afraid his entire life if he did not take charge of his fear. You will be overweight your entire life if you do not embrace and welcome your eating fears.

 

 

Attempt this short exercise.

 

  1. Take a pen and write down on paper some things that you fear.
  2. Cross off all the fears not related to food.
  3. Ask yourself how you would feel sharing this food fear with a relative or friend?
  4. Make a connection between your fear of food and your other fears, don’t grade or compare them, see how they fit together.

 

“I am afraid to show my body by the pool on vacation.”  – Anonymous.

 

 

The fears you have when you are overweight such as showing your body in public are a side-effect of your fear of food. You are trapped in a cycle of fearing to show off your body because of overeating. If you addressed the food issue your body issue would soon evaporate as you stop believing the lies of your mind.

 

 

For each person who overcomes a fear like McCarty’s there are thousands if not millions of people trapped inside fear that keeps them locked in patterns. These patterns will never be broken because the fear is double; there is the fear itself and the fear of talking about the fear!

 

Overcoming a fear is not easy, and we do not claim that each individual with a fear of food can just ‘snap out of it’, what we claim is that a high percentage of people we speak with are trapped in fear because of the way their fear has been managed by themselves and others.

 

Some people suffer terribly with food and their plight is not to be made light of whether it is overeating or under eating.

 

A large portion of people can breakthrough their fears simply by admitting them and taking action. Click To Tweet

 

The free one-hour breakthrough call we offer has helped many people that have not continued to work with us. People we speak with have different fears and are at different stages of their life, some close to achieving their goals some seemingly lost unable to even remember what their goal is. Speaking with a professional stranger about our fears can be enough for some people, just letting it go and not being laughed at. Others seek more information and take courses and benefit from the guidance we offer. The breakthrough phone call might be the best freebie you ever had!

Resources:

1 Minute Budget Help Video to Improve Your Finances

“Budget First Spend Later” is a 1 minute budget help video highlighting a common mistake and explaining how to instantly improve your finances.

I will share my personal strategies to help you improve and maintain your financial health for life Click To Tweet

If you want to start making some real changes in your financial life and  GET FINANCIALLY FIT  then ask yourself one question…What is stopping me doing this today?

 

 

The key to improving Your Financial Health – Step 3

As promised, here’s the next instalment in my guide to achieving Financial Health.  If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend reading the previous 2 steps, before you continue with this article.

Improving Your Financial Health – Step 1

Improving Your Financial Health – Step 2


Improving Your Financial Health – Step 3

To have choice

In “Step 1″ I mentioned a number of phrases that encapsulate what “Financial Health” or “Freedom” meant to me, I have included them below.

Full awareness – (of my Financial Position)
The ability to be open and honest – (with my family)
To have choice – (where we spend our money)
Ability to handle “surprises”
Guilt Free Spending

In this post, we are looking at the 3rd phrase, To Have Choice – (where we spend our money)

Grasping this idea, is one of the most single most freeing things you can do for yourself and your financial health situation.  Take your “choice” back when it comes to finances & spending.

I have personally found it invaluable and see the amazing effect it has on others, as they get to grips with the concept and implement it over time.  The truth is, you can have most anything you want, but consciously knowing what you REALLY want is key.  The choices you then make come from a more balanced place.

Let’s face it, it is rare, unless you are in the top 1-5% financially, that you can have everything!  Having to make choices is inevitable, what I want to be sure of is that we FEEL we really have a choice.  That’s the freedom side. Having choice is aligned very closely to peoples idea of happiness, for many it’s seen as rite! Often, particularly with financial decisions, we feel bound to take a particular path.  We feel there is no choice!

Some things we want are pure fantasy right ?  Some things are a necessity, I HAVE to have it/do it/spend it.  NO! I want to share with you an example from my own life.  One which shaped a number of decisions I’ve made since, and not just in my financial health planning.

Say hello to your inner child

Children's financial health
Start financial health checks at a young age

I’ll talk about my “inner child” here.  It’s a concept a number of people are familiar with, in this case it’s that little part of you that says “I want xxxxxx“.  I’d always tried to quiet that voice, to shut it up or ignore it, saying, “you can’t have that!”, “don’t be ridiculous!”, “how can we afford that!” etc etc etc.  What I found was that voice just got stronger, “I really want xxxxxx” or “I’ve just got to have xxxxxx“, and on and on, the cycle went.  I would feel dissatisfied, I never had enough, life wasn’t “fair”.  Any of this sound familiar ?  The more I tried to push that voice down the more I would want to do whatever “it” was, and the more dissatisfied I became.  I had to break the cycle.

When it happened for me, it was a revelation, and I’ve been grateful for it every since.  The concept was introduced to me by my Guru, in the UK, about 8 or so years ago.  I kept saying “I really want an Aston Martin DB9”,  I had pictures of it on my computer wallpaper, I knew the stats, I was even upset when I heard they TRASHED 6 or so of them making the remake of the Bond film – Casino Royale.  They could have given me just one of them!  Although I had this dream, it didn’t make me happy, I didn’t believe I would really ever be able to get it.  I DIDN’T HAVE THE CHOICE.

My guru challenged me to fully accept the desires my inner child had.  To “work with it” to help it FULLY investigate the actuality of having an Aston Martin.  I was uncomfortable with this approach at first, but I went with it.  I truly looked into what it would take to have one.  What would it cost, insurance, purchase, lease costs, fuel, maintenance etc.  I got quite excited, I was taking this seriously and you know, it turned out I COULD have an Aston Martin. It did come with some choices. However, even before making any decisions, I noticed something…

My desire to have an Aston Martin had diminished significantly

The more of a possibility it became, the less strongly I felt about getting one.  To this day, I still like the idea of owning the prestigious Aston, but I am totally at peace with whether I have one, or not.  In fact, I would go as far as to say I rarely think about getting one.

Now I had a choice… I could actively choose one thing over another.  Once I was fully aware of all the facts, the need diminished, I could make a decision I would be at peace with.

The other thing that happened at the time, was I realized I no longer resented the things I felt were holding me back.  I was no longer trapped by the life I had, by the restrictions I had felt were placed on me.  It became clear, although I could have had the car, I would have to sell the house & live in the car. The house was our family home, I love my family, therefore (and this is important) as my desire had subsided, I could fully understand and enjoy the life I already had. No resentment, with full ownership for the choices I made.

financial health is freedomI have reminded myself about this example many times in my life, and eventually it becomes an ingrained attitude.  Your car is off the road, you feel like you have no choice but to spend all this money to get it fixed. Do you feel angry? “NOW I have to spend $$$$ getting this car fixed.”  Truth is you don’t.  You can not get the car fixed! You can walk, take public transport, ask friends for a ride.  But you want the convenience of driving yourself… so now you WANT to get the car fixed.  There is a huge difference, a difference in how you feel.

The multi pot budgeting approach, then helps further with this concept.  You put money away for things you need/want and are a priority for you.  Then when they happen, you have ALREADY made the choice to spend the money, after all, you saved specifically for this situation.  Even less stress.

In summary

  1. You always have choice, you just have to be at peace with the outcome
  2. Always pay attention to your inner child, ignore it at your peril
  3. My Multi pot budget approach is built on choice, on understanding what is important to you & then working to provide it

Budgeting and Forecasting: Dealing with Nasty Surprises

Budget and Forecasting: Dealing with Nasty Surprises

This article follows on from some questions that arose out of my article on Multi-Pot Budgeting, and what to do when something turns up that I DON’T have a budget category for  ?

Today, I’m going to share what has worked best for me. This approach has single handedly given me the greatest financial stress relief.  It’s enabled me to move from feeling

like this…man-budgeting and forecasting

to this…  budgeting and forecasting

Welcome to My “Oh Sh!t” pot for Budgeting and Forecasting for nasty surprises

Simply put, create a separate budget category just for this type of situation.  In our family we’ve affectionately dubbed it the “Oh Sh!t” pot.  You are planning for when you don’t have a plan 🙂 sneaky huh!  Makes sense right ?

This new forecasting pot follows the same rules as ANY other budget pot, set the goal, putting money in each month until you reach your goal amount, track deposits/spending for the pot.

It’s not your savings!!

IMPORTANT.  I do not class the “Oh Sh!t” pot as savings of any kind.  It is a specific pot, with a specific purpose.  Any savings for any other purpose should have its own category.

Budgeting and Forecasting a ‘goal’ amount

To start, I recommend guesstimating the kind of amount that could hit you out of the blue within a 12 month period, You can always increase it year on year as you get used to the approach…. for me in the 1st year this was $500.  I’ve increased it over several years to now stand at $2000. It should be a figure you are comfortable will cover a few unknowns. The bigger the goal amount the greater the peace of mind.

When the storm hits

relaxation budgeting and forecastingThe power to budgeting and forecasting, as always, is in the execution of the approach.  What you do when a situation comes up or in this case AFTER we’ve settled the bill/situation.  The key is to learn from each circumstance that presents itself and take action based upon what we have learned.  Here’s my recommended approach.

  1. Pay the bill from our buffer pot
  2. Create a new budget category for the situation that has just occurred.
    Understand that this situation can happen again, it’s now no longer unexpected, even if you think it could only happen once every 2,5,10 years etc.  PLAN FOR IT

    1. Set the goal amount at the level you have just encountered
    2. Start saving monthly to this new category for when/if it happens again

At the end of the year

  1. Adjust the goal level of the “Oh Sh!t” pot to match the demands from the year.  (usually only move the goal upwards)
  2. Ensure you have new categories for all the spend you made from this pot for the year
  3. Allocate the appropriate budget to these new categories

Peace of mind

The buffer the “Oh Sh!t” pot provides, means you are far less likely to have to dip into some of your less critical pots to pay unexpected bills. Because of this, the pot gives me one of the greatest stress buffers.  I know that if I get a unexpected bill, or problem occurs, I can handle some or all of it without affecting any of my other plans/pots.

Are you ready to feel on top of your budget, with reduced stress and importantly successful in your budgeting plans? After all it is, as always, All Just Choice.

Thanks for reading in, I’m really looking forward to hearing your comments and experiences on how you have implemented this approach.

Improving Your Financial Health – Step 2

As promised, here’s the next instalment in my guide to achieving Financial Health.  If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend reading Improving Your Financial Health – Step 1 before you continue with this article.


Improving Your Financial Health – Step 2

In “Step 1” mentioned a number of phrases that encapsulate what “Financial Health” or “Freedom” meant to me, I have included them below.

Full awareness – (of my Financial Position)
The ability to be open and honest – (with my family)
To have choice – (where we spend our money)
Ability to handle “surprises”
Guilt Free Spending

In this post, we are looking at the 2nd phrase, The ability to be open and honest – (with my family).

Open & Honest

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about suddenly going from keeping a closed book on your finances to proudly standing on top of a podium in your busiest mall, announcing to the world your latest financial health check report.  That’s a little too open, even for me.   That said, I gave the subtext in the phrase “The ability to be open and honest” as “with my family“, which is true for me, but there is more to it than that.

We’ve already covered being honest with yourself , in the first article (link is at the top of this post), I talked about finding out the reality of your current financial health, as we covered, it’s not an easy step.

Who to be honest with ?

I think the simplest answer is ideally anyone who has influence over the spending of, or allocating of a budget category.  For example, in the “full awareness” step, if you are jointly responsible for the household budget (ie, flatmate, spouse or significant over) then it’s pretty much everything.  I wholeheartedly advocate a completely open financial book for you and your significant other.

If you share any kind of dwelling, and some of the bills/budget with your cohabitants, then it’s openness about all of those specific areas which you share or take joint responsibility for.

Kids is a little trickier, you need to choose the right time to introduce financial planning help, but once you do, again, learn to open up with them about any budget areas they can have an influence in.  Also to understand the full picture of your financial position, it can help them understand what they can do to help or get involved.

For example, when we brought together our families, we sat down with all of our teenage children in one of our family meetings (another useful topic in a parenting section we may start to include), we discussed ways in which as a family we can reduce our spend.  We were honest about our financial health situation and what issues we faced, from our perspective.  Then asked the kids what their perspective was, what issues they saw, and what goals they wanted.

We looked at categories such as Groceries, TV/Internet/Phone, Cell Phones, Electric/Water etc, anything that we all had use of or influence over.  We made decisions as a family, that EVERYONE could understand and get behind.  We reduced our cable TV monthly costs, monthly grocery budget, increased awareness regarding electricity usage (which had both a financial and importantly environmental impact).  Actually resulted in over $400 per month saving on our monthly outgoings.

Whats so important here, is that the conversations around these topics, were not only carried out with openness and honesty, they were also inclusive.

The bottom line

Being open to a financial analysis can reduce your financial stress.  The old adage, A problem shared is a problem halved, rings true here, but its much more than that.  Being open ensures your own honesty, it enables others to understand and get on board with any changes that are required to achieve our goals.  It ensures accountability, once you have shared your goals and commitments with someone else, you are much more likely to stick to it and make it happen.  Essentially you are putting your positive intent out there, here’s my current situation and here’s what I want to do differently.

Whatever your current financial situation, you can make a difference to your financial health and reduce stress.  It can start now, it’s all just choice.

 

Types of Budgeting: The Multi-Pot Approach

Forget Other complex Types of Budgeting and keep it simple

I mentioned on Facebook, that I would put together a post on my Multi-pot Budgeting approach, so here it is.

This approach is one of the cornerstones of the budgeting system I have put in place for myself, my family and others over the last 7-8 years.  It requires a some thought, some discipline and is how I ensure I have money for when non-monthly bills hit.

Some groundwork

Budgeting 1-0-1

Budgeting is pretty standard and straight forward right ?  It’s a well known approach.

  1. Know what you have (see my post on Improving Your Financial Health – Step 1)
  2. Know what you need
  3. Allocate a weekly/monthly amount for those category,
  4. Either save it until you need it, or spend it if its in the “living expenses” budget
  5. Stick to your budget!

piggy-bank-Types of budgetingI like to split budgeting into 2 different types.

The first budget type, is the standard monthly “living expenses”, stuff that you KNOW you will spend every month. Gas, Groceries, Utility Bills, Snacks, Drinks, Eating out etc.   This takes up a large chunk of most incomes.

The second budget type, my “budget pots” are the items you need to budget for on a 2 to 12 month or longer basis.  Categories that don’t come up each month.  Some will have known dates/intervals, others will occur randomly depending on other factors, but you know they will happen.  For example, car maintenance, household repairs/maintenance, education etc.

The latter, is the area that you can more easily implement the multi-pot approach.  It’s the budget type that I will focus on here for my examples.  It can be applied to “living expenses” but not as easily.

Lets get started….

We’ll use an example to take us through the key principles.  We’ll just use 3 budget categories for illustration…

  1. Car Maintenance
  2. Household Maintenance
  3. Birthdays/Gifts

I will also use easy numbers for the budget, so the actual values are unlikely to be realistic for your budgetary needs.

We’ll begin by looking at each category, how much we need for a year, and how much we need to put into the pots each month to achieve that goal.

Annual Budget
Multipot-1-Types of budgeting

For our purposes, lets say that we have an account that has a Zero balance to begin with.

On month 1, we deposit our monthly budget amount of $225.00, the same on month 2, 3 etc

That money builds up, and after month 3 we have a total in our account of $675 and it keeps going up (provided we don’t need to spend it).

Rolling Budget Totals
Multipot-2 copy-Types of budgeting
Nothing new about that, so what am going on about ?

My big focus on budgeting is reducing stress, for better health.  Having money allocated, knowing what its for is all part of reducing that stress, as is how to spend it and the mentality around doing that.

Time for some expense

Types of budgetingWhat happens when you need to spend money on one of the categories… back to our example.

We get to month 2 (we have $450 in our account), and we have a leak in the bathroom.  Plumbers are expensive, but it’s got to be fixed.

  • Plumber comes and goes, leak fixed but we had a $300 bill.
  • Good news, we have a household maintenance budget.
  • Bad news, the home maintenance budget pot only has $150 in it
  • Good new, overall we have $450 in the budget account, so at least we can pay the plumber

Now we have paid the plumber, lets take a look at our budget “sheet”…

Post Plumbing Payment Budget Sheet
Multipot-3 copy-Types of budgeting

In the table above, our household maintenance, shows as $150 over budget. Overall the total of our budget pots is still $150 to the positive.  For many people this image is where we feel we have failed, we are over budget, even in just one pot, often it makes us feel like giving up.  But not for me, not when you change your thinking.

If we look at the overall Annual Budget in the image below.

Annual Budget Sheet
Multipot-4 copy-Types of budgeting

The annual budget for Household spend showing $600 still available.  When we are looking at our budget “pots”, we need to consider what we have available in our account now, and, this is IMPORTANT, our annual budget.

There is the issue that if everything hits at once, you may not have enough in the budget pot to cover off the immediate bill, but once you have been running the system for around 6 months, it will start to really come into its own.

I want to fast forward 6 months, and add some expenses to the pot so you can see the overall effect.

Multipot-5 copy-Types of budgeting

 

In Summary

8 Months in and the budget pot is performing as planned (no surprise for an example right), we have paid the expenses that we have needed and have some left over.  We see a scary moment in month 4, where our budget pot was wiped out, and that can be stressful.  Although I have a secret weapon for that kind of situation, but that’s the subject of another blog post to come.

You can see that pots effectively “borrow” from the overall budget if they need to, as its unlikely that all your budget pots will have a major expense at the same time.  The more budget pots you have, and the larger the amount you save each month, the less the chance of you getting to the month 4 situation.

There are times, as is shown in month four, where we had a spend of $600 in one month, which wiped out the budget account.  Ultimately the overall budget WAS able to cope.  In his post about our programs (link to Joe’s post) and his take on them, as my son says his experience when starting up the budget pots was pretty difficult.  For the 1st 3 months, every time Joe put some money into his account, he would have something crop up that would wipe it out.  He does say that at least he could pay for the expenses he had.  Wa are 12 months in, and Joe has a VERY healthy budget account, that can now afford almost anything that could hit him.  He’s 18 and has an exceptional financial start.

Some notes on the example, its much more simplified that the full budget approach I have in place, but the principle is the same.
Just for reference, we now have built up to around 60 “budget pots”, this gives incredible flexibility, but starting with around 10-15 is a good beginning, you can add as you have more money available for allocating.

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts/comments on this approach, and would be happy to answer any questions you have on it and other areas, so please drop me a comment in the section below