The try freedom newsletter

Tryoholics Anonymous

Welcome to the Try Freedom newsletter!

Edition 1: 12 August 2021

In this edition:
Why “Try Freedom” and “Tryoholics”?
Latest Try Freedom blog post – “Discomfort Hunger”
NEW – Free Weekly Intuitive Eating Support Group

Why “Try Freedom” and “Tryoholics”?
Because everyone needs to know who are the ones using all the willpower. The people who struggle not to overeat are the ones using all the willpower.

And you deserve to know how easy other people have it with their eating. They use no willpower at all and you are having to use an unimaginable amount just to keep some semblance of control over your eating. You aren’t addicted to food (this is impossible), you are addicted to using willpower with your eating. The good news is being addicted to willpower is totally curable (being addicted to food wouldn’t be).

The reason you are addicted to willpower is that as soon as you start being conscious about your eating, you lose your eating instinct – your protection against overeating. So you can only overeat and are forced to use willpower to control it. It’s a vicious cycle, more willpower less instinct, more enforced overeating. 

THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT! You started trying, you lost your protective instinct and you became dependent on willpower.

You could have not stopped your parents/carer-givers, teachers, peers, health professionals, fitness trainers or medics from telling you that you must be careful with food to prevent gain. Whatever age you were when you were led onto the willpower train (I was 5) you could not have prevented this happening.

Conscious eating leads to willpower addiction and an impossible driver to overeat. 

Willpower kills our eating instinct and we must rehabilitate from willpower to gain back automatic control of the eating. We must go cold-turkey on the willpower. We cannot even keep a little conscious control and become a willpower dabbler. The instinct needs your full attention to develop.

Come with me on the journey to free you from trying once and for all. Try Freedom are in the business of normalising appetites so you feel as though you are eating just the way you want (we just change the want).

I hope to increase the frequency of the newsletter in the future.

My sincerest best wishes,



Are you triggered by food around you and feel as though you could ‘always eat’?

We are all born with a normal relationship with food. A normal attraction to it driven by an in-built motivation to only want to eat the amount of energy and kind of nutrients the body physically needs. This physical ‘eating instinct’ is powered by the natural ability to feel and respond appropriately and automatically to our physical hunger sensations. This is normal eating.

Genuine Taste

But, to be a normal eater, the eating instinct requires us to NOT think about our eating in any way except to make sure we are eating what we genuinely like to TASTE. Luckily, when we are using only instinct to eat we are made to prefer only the taste of foods which contain the exact energy and nutrients the body physically needs! It’s total genius.

The Conscious Eating Brain Invasion

So, when we start to listen to a whole variety of people, including parents/caregivers, health and fitness professionals, diet and health food companies and even medics telling us to be more conscious about our eating, trouble ensues. Trouble ensues because conscious thinking about eating takes up the brain space the instinct needs to function.

The result is we lose the power of our eating instinct. Our natural drive to only want (ie prefer) to eat only the foods which contain the energy and nutrients the body physically needs dwindles. So, when we consciously control our eating we end up needing to eat more and nutrients other than those the body physically needs.

We have become Artificially Attracted to Food. This conscious eating takeover can happen at an extremely young age depending when the consciousness began.

Restrictive Eating Causes Overeating

Being Artificially Attracted to Food means we are forced into a habit of consciously restricting our eating because we no longer have an in-built drive to restrict it for us.

But science tells us that restricting the eating leads to overeating and binge eating (and therefore weight gain). We are stuck with overeating, binge eating and the inevitable gain weight (unless an eating disorder takes over). Either way we are forced into restricting even more.

You can see the pattern created. A vicious circle of being Artificially Attracted to Food and  enforced restricting causing even more attraction to food.

Downward Spiral into Deep Discomfort

This article is about how it feels to be stuck in this never evening downward spiral of Artificial Attraction to Food and trying to restrict only making it worse.

Being be stuck in this never evening downward spiral of Artificial Attraction to Food and trying to restrict only making it worse feel absolutely bloody awful. Excuse my French.

The Science

The main cause of this very uncomfortable feeling is down to being in a psychological state called ‘reactance’. Psychologists call reactance a ‘motivational’ state. Bear with me, this is going to help you (if you are suffering with Artificial Attraction to Food) or your clients (if they are suffering with Artificial Attraction to Food).


A state of ‘reactance’ is when a person is prevented from doing as they would freely choose to do. In the case of having Artificial Attraction to Food you are constantly being prevented from eating the food and the amount that you now need to eat because you don’t want to eat like that (for a number of reasons including not gaining weight). You are depriving yourself and you are reacting to the deprivation you are experiencing. Reactance is still created even though you are restricting your own eating – it doesn’t have to be someone else restricting you – you still are producing reactance each and every time you don’t eat what or how much (or indeed, when) you – your real appetite – genuinely wants to.

The Brain Knows

Be honest, how many times do you have to have a pretty stern conversation with yourself about why you should do the ‘right thing’ with your eating – trying to resisting eating, choose the healthiest option and control your portions – instead of following your deep down desires? Even using exercise to ‘burn’ off food will add to the reactance building up inside you (a topic for another day). You cannot trick your brain into believing you genuinely prefer to eat the way you are ‘choosing’ to eat. No matter how many benefits there are to eating ‘right’, the brain always knows you would always choose the taste of something different if it didn’t make you gain weight.

Cravings and Compulsions (I need to taste the food now!”)

Reactance feels like a very unpleasant sensation pressuring you to eat. It pressures you to eat because you know that eating will immediately take the discomfort away. A craving would be an example of reactance building up. This pressure builds and builds until you are force into eating. This would be considered a compulsion to eat. It’s like the first taste of the food will bring you relief you need.

Ah Food – what a relief!

The reason only eating to your artificial attraction to food will bring this sense of relief is because you NOT ALLOWING YOURSELF TO EAT THIS WAY created it! You are depriving yourself and it’s highly uncomfortable. Simple reactance is in play.

Discomfort Hunger

This is why, for anyone suffering from Artificial Attraction to Food, all their eating is ‘comfort’ eating. Eating to get rid of discomfort. So it’s discomfort eating really when you think about it. The person – understandably – mistakes their discomfort of the deprivation as their version of hunger. Discomfort hunger. This kind of hunger certainly serves the same function as instinctive (physical) hunger by driving us to eat. But in discomfort hunger’s case it drives us to eat whenever we are uncomfortable – which is practically all the time when you are trying to resist your Artificial Attraction to Food.

Snowballing into Deeper Discomfort

There are many other sources of this kind of ‘mental’ discomforts created because of this incessant state reactance due to deprivation discomfort. The other sources of discomfort and how they occur are beyond the scope of this article but suffice to say that the other discomforts created are also perceived as ‘hunger’ and will make you eat.

Normalising Your Attraction to Food

The solution is to normalise the attraction to food, by restoring the eating instinct. A bonus is you also get rid of that awful – sometimes anxiety-like – feeling that only eating can get rid of. In fact, we have to get rid of this feeling first so that your real physical hunger can be felt and the instinct can be reborn.

Welcome to Try Freedom – Intuitive Eating counselling – normalising your attraction to food. We are in the business of normalising relationships with food to leave you free from the need to taste food just to make you feel reasonably ok.

Alison Hall is an Intuitive Eating counsellor and owner and founder of Try Freedom.

THE SCIENCE – for the skeptics, read the science here:

Appetite Effects of Restricted Eating

Inefficacy And Harm From Weight Loss Interventions

Interoceptive Awareness – the Science

Intuitive Eating – the Science

Reactance – the Science

Weekly Intuitive Eating Guided Support Group

FREE (or Pay What You Can Afford)

Try Freedom offer a free weekly Intuitive Eating support Group.

Payment is not mandatory and it is up to the individual to decide if they can’t afford to pay anything. £5, £10, £15 or £20.

It will be held on Mondays at 8-9pm. The first session will be on Monday 6th September 2021.

If you would like to join us, please reply to this email. There will be a screening questionnaire to complete to gain access. We are mainly looking for people’e history of diagnosed eating disorders and clinical mental illness which would exclude someone from non-medical Intuitive Eating counselling.

There are limited places (8) and it is a first come, first served basis.

All you need to have is a copy of the Intuitive Eating text book (or open to the idea of getting it).

Please, if you can’t make it give me 48 hours notice so I can offer your place to someone else.

Do get in touch if you have any questions at all.

Kind regards,


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