The 6 F's (Internal Triggers)


On my previous blog post, we were talking about the role of internal and external triggers in the obsessive-compulsive disorder of sugar addiction.  Understanding and addressing the triggers that activate our cravings is essential to the recovery journey.

Today, we will specifically focus on our internal triggers (our emotional, physical, and psychological states).

Getting a grip on these negative emotional states before they become chronic or acute is the best-case scenario. It preempts sugar cravings.

If it is too late, then we need to apply a targeted intervention to soothe, heal and release them from our nervous system. If we don't know how to do this, relapse is highly likely. (I will endeavor to give you some practical suggestions you can use immediately in the next blog post.)

Allow me to introduce you to the 6 F’s (Internal Feeling States) that typically trigger emotional eating/sugar addiction.

Internal Triggers – “The 6 F’s”

  1. Fatigue
  2. Fear
  3. Flight, Fight or Freeze
  4. Frantic
  5. Famine
  6. Feelings (negative ones more so than pleasant ones)

Experiencing just one of these unpleasant inner states is enough to compel compulsive overeating. The more chronic and acute the state, the more this is true.

Take the following short quiz to help you pinpoint which one of these emotional states is triggering you the most. 

** Rate yourself on a scale of 1-5 how true the following statements are for you?

(1=Not True - 5=Totally True)

FATIGUE Total: ____________

  1. Do you often feel tired, overwhelmed, or low energy during the day? 
  2. Do you go to bed later than 10 PM most nights or have an erratic sleep schedule?
  3. Do you fail to exercise or be outside in nature every day?

FEAR Total: ____________

  1. Do you have chronic fears regarding your finances, health, relationships, career, children, etc.?
  2. Do you find yourself imagining worst-case scenarios from life challenges?
  3. Do you often feel alone, unsupported, hyper-responsible, helpless, or out of control?

FLIGHT, FIGHT, FREEZE Total: ____________

  1. Do you often feel stressed, wired, restless, on edge?
  2. Do you often feel angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, irritable?
  3. Do you often feel unmotivated, scattered, unfocused?

FRANTIC Total: ____________

  1. Do you frequently feel rushed, overwhelmed, over-scheduled, overworked?
  2. Do you often give (time, energy, money) to others at your own personal expense?
  3. Do you have insufficient time in your schedule to do fun, pleasurable, relaxing activities?

FAMINE Total: ____________

  1. Do you have a history of yo-yo dieting?
  2. In the past have you followed low-calorie or extremely restrictive diets?
  3. Have you ever been bulimic, anorexic, or orthorexic?

FEELINGS Total: ____________

  1. Do you tend to avoid, deny or distract yourself from painful or unpleasant feelings?
  2. Do you struggle to express your feelings with others?
  3. Do you frequently think negative, critical, or discouraging thoughts?

When you add up your score, which one of your internal states had the highest score? That is the Internal Trigger that needs your attention most.

Good news! In my next blog post, I will cover how to shift/heal/release each Internal Feeling State (F).

We will use what I call the "6 R's". (R stands for Relapse Prevention).

Stay tuned...


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