Have you ever felt yourself feeling a bit lost? Bored? Lonely? Fed up? Wondering what the point is to all of this? (I know that’s a bit deep to start off with but hear me out!)
Maybe you find your hand in the biscuits far too often telling yourself you’ll start the diet again on Monday (never mid way through a week, that would be crazy!)
What about opening a bottle of wine at the end of a busy day and before you know it your one glass turns into 3?
Now before you convince yourself that the solution is a new diet, an eating plan, a 6 day a week exercise regime, more willpower, discipline or motivaton, have you ever considered that perhaps the problem is that you have a hungry soul which isn’t being fed in the way in which it is craving?
Let me explain.
I believed for 14 years that I wasn’t good enough until I lost weight. I wasn’t happy enough until I lost weight. I wasn’t this enough or that enough
I spent 14 years of my life being a diet obsessed insecure individual who suffered from low self esteem, feelings of not being quite good enough and debilitating anxiety with panic attacks thrown in for good measure. I was hungry for so much more in my life, yet I didn’t know what and I didn’t know how.
I thought food was my problem.
I thought my body (her weight, size and shape) was the barrier keeping me from my happiness
I thought my lack of willpower was my issue
I thought my inability to stick to plans, programs and regimes was the reason I felt like I did.
It turned out that my struggles with food were symptomatic, symbolic and metaphoric.
Unbeknown to me, I had a hungry soul.
A real deep hunger which left me starving for much of my adolescence and 20s.
Stuffing down an entire cake fed me momentarily but the hunger returned. Always returned. And so did guilt. Shame. Disgust.
Without realising it food had become my only source of pleasure, happiness, contentment and satisfaction. It had become the replacement for the job I felt bored in, the relationship I felt unsettled in and the country I felt disconnected to.
“To a hungry soul food is an obsession, to a satisfied soul food is just food”
Trying to fix the ‘food stuff’ got me nowhere except down a path of food obsession, body hatred and weight fixation. My happiness didn’t improve. My self esteem didn’t get better. Ultimately nothing changed.
I was still lost, stuck and disconnected.
My own personal journey has taken me on some crazy experiences but it’s been one of the most exhilarating, if not scariest at times, which I am so truly grateful for.
I now work with women to help empower them as they work on listening to their soul, trusting their hungers and feeding themselves what they are truly hungry for.
So let’s get back to this.
What is a hungry soul?
An insatiable appetite for something. It’s an emptiness, void and permanent hunger for something. A feeling that something is missing but you can’t quite put your finger on it
When our souls are hungry, they are starving for something. It could be adventure, travel, meaningful connections to people, joy, pleasure, passion, excitement and so many other things. All the things which we, as humans, have a right to experience and have in our lives. Yet sadly many of us don’t, which leaves us feeling unsatisfied and empty feeling hungry more often than not.
These are non-physical hungers which will never be found in the places you might be looking at the moment
So how do you know if you have one??
Here are 11 signs and symptoms which a hungry soul can display and manifest. You don’t have to identify with them all to know that there is something which is wanting your attention. I suggest you make a mental note of how many you resonate with and drop any judgement or criticism as you read through them.
So one of the main symptoms which I had, although at the time I didn’t know it, was symptom number 1…..
#1 FOOD STRUGGLES
This is probably one of the most common symptoms of a hungry soul amongst women. Any kind of food struggles or dysfunctional relationships around food and eating. Emotional eating, binging, food obsession, food cravings, over eating, restriction, rules around food and all symptoms.
Something which many of my clients over the years have been shocked to realise is that any kind of struggle or issue around food is just a symptom. It’s surface layer stuff. It’s superficial stuff in many ways and that is why trying to fix the food stuff will never result in transformation as you are trying to fix a bullet wound with a plaster. It will never heal.
How often have you tried to be strict with yourself when it comes to food choice?
How often have you try to tap into some unknown and willpower when it comes to eating or rather stopping?
How many times have you told yourself that you won’t ever overeat again only to find yourself doing it again within days?
That’s simply because you were trying to address the symptoms of the real issue. Let’s take a look at this in a bit more detail.
When we turn to food for any other reason other than physical hunger, it is simply a substitute for something else. Chocolate becomes a substitute for relaxation and a moment to just breath in-between the monotonous yet busy day which has now become your life
Cake becomes a substitute for switching off from the overwhelm and the 1001 bubble gum thoughts in your mind which stick and won’t disappear (no matter how many times you write them down or try and ignore them)
Wine becomes a substitute for self care after you’ve been rushing around like a mad ass women all day and only had chance to sit down now (and it’s almost your bedtime!)
We end up feeding our feelings without truly recognising it.
Dieting, restriction, deprivation and beating ourselves up WILL NOT HELP you feel better about yourself.
Remember that fighting food is the surface level sign that underneath all of that, your soul is hungry for something (and we often inadvertently connect the ‘something’ to weight loss i.e. I will feel better, have more confidence, be happier, go out more….when I am 10lbs lighter)
I mentioned it already above but just the same that we compensate and substitute things using food, we can do the same with alcohol. Many women with a hungry soul can display binge bahvious with many of these symptoms and drinking isn’t an exception. Binge social drinking is not uncommon, is it? It might not even be in a social situation, it could just be at the weekend at home with your husband or partner and you get through a bottle (or two) of wine as ‘it’s the weekend’
There is absolutely nothing wrong with drinking alcohol, however, if you feel that you are doing this as a substitute for something else which you are really craving, then this is your opportunity to step back and to start digging deeper. What are you really hungry for?
#3 COMPULSIVE SHOPPING
You try and resist the temptation and the urge to walk into the shop but you can’t. The buzz you get from just buying stuff, spending money, handing over your card is insatiable. Despite the bags of things (clothes, shoes, bits for the house) there is always more to buy. Despite the guilt, despite the shame, you cannot resist buying stuff.
I hear this often. Many of my clients are compulsive shoppers, sometimes blowing $1000+ in one go on clothes they will never wear, as once they get them home the adrenaline has gone and the buzz has died off and they are back to feeling the same again. Empty. Flat. Bored.
Just like food and wine, shopping is yet another sign and symptoms of having a hungry soul.
The buzz, the thrill, the adrenaline, the excitement temporality fills the hungry in the same way that a huge bar of chocolate or slab of carrot cake does. Yet it is just that. Temporary.
Nothing permanent changes or shifts as yet another pair of shoes, dress or jumper is really not what your soul is starving for. So next time you max out your credit card or feel compelled to buy something new, what if you could stop and ask yourself whether this is your soul crying out for something else (which can’t necessarily be found in the shop you are about to walk in to)
#4 FEELING FRANTIC + OVERWHELMED
Overwhelm is a horrible energy to be in isn’t it? It might present itself in the physical size of your ‘to do’ list (every time you cross one off, you add three more!), or perhaps it’s the washing machine mind which never quietens down.
Juggling everything which life throws at us can be tough and challenging, but how much of the overwhelm do we create and actually cause?
With only 24 hours in a day and during which time we have things which are non negotiable (work, eating, children, school, partners, family, pets, appointments, sleep) is it any wonder than more women then ever feel like they can’t do it all anymore. Something has to give. And that something is often ourselves. We get to breaking point where other symptoms begin to appear (keep reading!) and the more we try and carry on and tick off the things on the ‘to do’ list, the more overwhelmed and frantic we feel and the hungrier our soul. I personally don’t feel like a soul fed women when I am up to my eyes in house hold chores everyday, what about you??
I lived for 14 years in a state of overwhelm. Living in a state of ‘I need to finish this yesterday’ and ‘I haven’t got enough time to get all this done, what am I going to do?’ The answer is I did food. I stuff the overwhelm down. I pushed it away, or so I thought. Yet the overwhelm was still there and the frantic state of existence was still very much there too.
Can you relate to that? If so, it’s yet another symptom of a soul which is hungry for something else
#5 SHORT + SNAPPY WITH PEOPLE
This carries on nicely from the point above. When we are overwhelmed and feeling franctic, it’s easy to start getting snappy and angry at others. We’ve all done it. I’ve had days when I feel that everyone wants a piece of me and by the end of the day I feel there is nothing left to give so I lash out.
It’s an inappriate response. It makes me feel terrible. But it’s something that I watch out for now as I know that when I’m snapping at the children as they are asking for a drink (terrible mum!) or snapping at my husband as he can’t find the car keys (why does that always happen??) it’s actually not about them or their requests, it’s my soul starving for something else.
99% of the time I’m in overwhelm at that point and it’s a red flag to do something about it
#6 HAMSTER WHEEL OF MONOTONY
I remember saying to my husband a while ago that being a grown up was rubbish. The days were the same. I went through a period at the end of 2016 when life had become so dull and repetitive that it was like waking to groundhog day, all the time. The monotony was stripling my soul. The boredom was eating me alive. The hamster wheel of life was something I wanted so desperately to get off but I didn’t know how. The schedule of our 2 small children, the structure of my business and the routine of also being a wife and mum, meant there wasn’t much scope for spontaneity and adventure, something which in the past I have fed off. I wrote a BLOG POST ABOUT IT HERE
#7 LACK OF INTEREST, ENTHUSIASM OR MOTIVATION
I remember a little while ago, it felt as if someone had stolen my mojo. No matter what I did, where I was, who I was talking to, I had no enthusiasm for life in general. I blamed my weight. I thought my mood was because I was eating too much sugar so tried to stop eating sugar (and as predicted ended up craving and binging on it even more!)
Feeling a lack of enthusiasm or interest in life could be an early sign of depression so be sure to get yourself checked out if you suspect that, but it can also be a sign that you are being unfed when it comes to your soul hungers.
I know for certain I was hungry for adventure, I was starving spontaneity and I was craving more excitement (all three things are still very important to me now)
So take a step back from your seemingly lack of motivation and ask yourself if you could feed your soul whatever it was craving in this moment, what would it be? (and how would feeding that affect your interest and enthusiasm?)
When I worked as a clinical and cognitive hypnotherapist years ago, insomnia was one of the most common issues I worked with. People from all walks of life who struggled with sleep. I released, early on, that for all of them this was just a surface layer symptom of other disturbances. I very rarely helped them with sleeping (although that was the symptom which improved, they started to sleep better!)
Instead we focused on the stress of the jobs they didn’t like, the anxiety of the relationships they were in, the loneliness and sadness they had from their recent seperations, the boredom of doing the same thing everyday, the melancholy of believing their best times were over…and I could go on and on.
ALL of these are hungry soul symptoms.
So if you are struggling with sleep at the moment, what are the underlying hungers which are not being satisfied, as it’s within those answers you will find a peaceful night’s sleep
#9 ANXIETY + STATE OF PANIC
For about 6 months when I was 20 I started suffering from panic attacks. They were debilitating, scary and incredibly overwhelming. I would have them sat on the bus, in my house, in a cafe with friends. It made no difference where I was or what I was doing, they would happen. At the time I thought I was going mad, I felt totally out of control and I didn’t know what to do.
Unbeknown to me at the time, the panic attacks were years of suppressed and accumulated anxiety. I’ve learnt a lot about people and myself over the years and anxiety is incredible common, certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Yet why don’t we explore it further? I never did. I knew I was an anxious person, I knew that I would feel anxious in certain situations yet I never felt compelled to understand why. I just accepted it as truth. But it wasn’t the truth. It wasn’t the real me.
How do I know? Well for the last 15+ years I haven’t had anymore panic attacks and anxiety is something which affects me once in a while (rather than every hour of the day). I learnt to understand myself better and recognize where the anxiety was coming from and what it was about. Being anxious is your soul’s way of bringing something to your attention. Something which it needs from you. Something is out of alignment
I was hungry for feeling like I was on the right path, that I was aligned with my truth and my purpose.
I used to be anxious about my relationship (turns out it wasn’t the right relationship and the anxiety in my chest was the little red flag, telling me to trust my instinct)
I used to be anxious about the future (turns out my degree and dream job were not for me after all, once again the anxiety was telling me to listen to my inner wisdom of what felt right)
So I invite you to have a think about your own anxiety and feeling panicky. What’s it all about? What things are you avoiding at the moment? What things would you have to face if you were being honest with yourself?
#10 SOMETHING IS MISSING BUT WHAT?
When you know that something isn’t quite right but you don’t know why and you don’t know what.
I’ve had periods in my life when I had this, some lasted longer than others. And even though they happened at different times and during different circumstances, they were all indicating that my soul was hungry for something. Something else. More of something. Less of something. What could it be?
#11 LOST, DISCONNECTED AND DETACHED
In 2015, myself and my family moved back to the Uk after having lived in Dubai for close to 3 years. It was an adventure which I am so grateful for having had the opportunity of experiencing. I learned so much about myself being there, especially in the last 12 months. I had a very busy hypnotherapy clinic, often booked up with back to back clients for 10 hours at a time, I had been on national TV and featured in the press, yet I wasn’t loving it. I found myself sat on beaches or by the swimming pool, with this idyllic picture postcard view and feeling completely detached from it all. I started to feel lost in my own life. On paper I ‘had it all’ (whatever that means) yet I didn’t feel that way and, once again, blamed myself and wondered what the hell was wrong with me. But nothing was wrong with me. My hunger for connection, nature, the mountains, fresh air, a change in professional direction and seeing my family more frequently were growing bigger by the day, my soul was starving to leave the middle east. And that was scary. Throwing away my clinic, my reputation I had worked so hard for, leaving the picture postcard perfect lifestyle. But Dubai no longer fed my soul, instead I could feel my soul becoming starved of the things which were of the upmost importance to me and no amount of beaches and swimming pools could feed that. Feeling disconnected and lost were showing me that something was out of alignment. Thankfully my husband was feeling the same (he’s my soulmate and on the same page as me which is wonderful), so once the decision was made, we were packed and heading home within 6 weeks. No idea of the future. No plans other than the village we wanted to live in and we put our trust in the universe and ourselves to make the move. 18 months later it is still one of the best decisions we have ever made together as a family. No regrets.
So there you go, 11 signs that you may have a hungry soul. How many did you resonate with? Tell me below, I’d love to hear
Next week’s blog post is how to feed a hungry soul once you know you have one!
Want some extra help with feeding your Soul Hunger?
I’ve created a beautiful meditation for you which will allow you to start figuring out what your soul is really hungry for. (Remember it’s not about the food, the wine, the shopping or anything else which you THINK is the problem. All of that is symptomatic and symbolic of a deeper hunger)
To get started, get the meditation here: http://www.rachelfoy.com/soulhungermeditation
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