Did you know that “how-to” videos are the most-searched type of video on YouTube? So many of us want to know how-to do something, or how to fix our problem, whatever it is. Overeating is no different – we naturally would love to know the “how-to,” to stop our overeating; the exact steps that will lead us to a happy relationship with food.
Wouldn’t it be great if we knew the trick that would make it possible for us to stop overeating so we aren’t plagued with the, “I wish I hadn’t eaten that” feeling?
Imagine if we knew how to stop overeating that second helping we know we don’t really need, but it tastes so good. So many experts are wanting to prove to us that they know the secret to stop overeating, because it’s probably the most direct way to lose weight, and it would likely make anyone a billionaire if they had such a secret for sale.
But overeating is not something that we can fix by watching a video or even by going on the latest diet. And for those of us who have tried to fix overeating with self-control and willpower know, this is most certainly NOT the way to stop overeating. We’ve experienced the backlash of even more overeating once we clamp down on our food intake.
There’s a huge industry out there to help us solve the conundrum of how to stop overeating. We’ve got appetite suppressant pills, foods that are touted as the secret to curbing your appetite, and diet clubs that are structured to stomp out your desire and appetite for food. All of these things are supposed to stop us from taking that extra bite. Do they work? Sure, maybe for a day or a week or two. But denying our appetite and desire is not a sustainable method of creating a positive and healthy relationship with our food. But they all forget one very important aspect to the entire process: The Eater.
Divorcing ourselves from our hunger is like ignoring a needy child.
Eventually the child will get louder and louder until we turn our attention to her. The most productive and positive thing we can do is to turn to our attention-seeking child and say, “what do you need?” So the real key to ending the cycle of eating more than our body really wants is to listen to what our overeating is saying. Ask our hunger, “what do you need?”
At first glance, it may seem that our overeating is simply saying, “I want more food,” but when we dig deeper we’ll often find that, “I want more food” equals “I want more love” or “more attention please,” or “I need to be able to feel and express my feelings.” Our seemingly insatiable hunger is our body saying “I have a deeper message for you, please pay attention.”
Listening into the deeper messages is certainly easier said then done. It’s a practice of slowing down and tuning in to the inner realms of body sensation and intuitive knowing. Body sensation and intuitive knowing can seem a bit intangible, but they are senses that we can develop and encourage to the point where we can rely on them as much as our other senses of sight, smell, taste, or touch. We already have a vocabulary that helps us explain our primary senses. This same vocabulary exists for our inner world. Sensation words such as “tight, fluid or frozen,” can help us describe our internal experience. Perceptive prompts like, “my sense is” or “what I see is,” can help us connect to body wisdom.
Body wisdom is our teacher when it comes to how to stop overeating.
When we can listen and sense more deeply, we can know what we are truly hungry for, and feed those desires. As good as a chocolate cake may be, it can’t satisfy our hunger for connection, or deep rest and relaxation. Our deluxe chocolate cake may in the moment numb and mute that deep desire, but it will come back hungrier than ever. As we step into the practice of listening and respecting our hunger, it’s important to shift the judgmental conversation we have with our self about overeating. By the way, these are just some of the key principles that we dive into in our premiere online program for the public – Transform Your Relationship with Food™.
So instead of saying “How can I stop overeating?” or “I’m bad because I overate!” – we can shift that to:
- “I’m learning how to listen to my body”
- “I’m tuning in to my inner world, and learning the language of my body.”
- “I’m starting to respect and respond to my deeper desires.”
Our overeating problem is actually not a food issue.
It’s a relationship issue. This critical relationship is between ourselves, our food, and our body. The real secret to how to stop overeating is to see overeating as a doorway to deeper concerns. The key to that doorway, is listening to our bodies.
© Institute For The Psychology of Eating, All Rights Reserved, 2014
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P.S. If you haven’t had a chance to check out our FREE information packed video series – The Dynamic Eating Psychology Breakthrough – you can sign up for it HERE. It’s a great way to get a better sense of the work we do here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. If you’re inspired by this work and want to learn about how you can become certified as an Eating Psychology Coach, please go HERE to learn more. And if you’re interested in working on your own personal relationship with food, check out our breakthrough 8-week program designed for the public – Transform Your Relationship with Food™ HERE.