How much of your eating is triggered by feeling an uncomfortable emotion?
If you’re overweight, you’re very likely in the habit of eating when you’re not hungry. Maybe you’re frustrated or bored. Maybe you’re sad, lonely or afraid of something. But why are you choosing to eat?
“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know,” Pema Chodron explained. It is true for most things in life, including our issues with food and weight.
The reason that so many people can’t lose weight is because when they go on a diet, the problem that prompts their overeating doesn’t get resolved. And they can’t resolve that problem if they keep eating to avoid facing what is crying out for their attention.
Does that sound like a vicious circle? It is, but you can get out of it.
Weight loss without dieting is a spiritual journey. To be free once and for all from your struggle with food and eating, you need to figure out what is causing you to overeat in the first place. To do that, you need to get to know yourself better.
You need to discover what’s eating you!
You see, we are not born wanting to overeat. It isn’t our natural state.
Eating when we aren’t hungry is learned. It is a habit we develop as a coping mechanism. We eat to distract ourselves from things in our life that aren’t quite right. Or that are downright unpleasant. We choose to eat because we want to escape from emotions that are uncomfortable.
And that’s okay. If you do that, don’t berate yourself for it. It has been your way of caring for yourself, even if it wasn’t the best way. But as long as you do it, you’ll continue to struggle with your weight. And there IS a much better way to care for yourself.
Food is a simple, socially acceptable and readily available means of obtaining instant gratification in the face of discomfort. No one will comment if we’re eating doughnuts at 9:30 a.m. because we’re stressed out at work, but if we pour some vodka, people might wonder what’s up. Once we’ve distracted ourselves with food, we forget about the original problem for a little while. So it just stays there.
Maybe you’re in that hamster wheel of pleasure-seeking from food, then feeling miserable because you overate, you’re feeling fatter, gaining weight, and your doctor told you your cholesterol is higher, all of which make you more upset, so you eat some more. THAT is a real vicious cycle.
Underneath all that food your body doesn’t need is something that is going on in your life that wants to teach you something about yourself and your needs when you’re ready to learn it.
Is it trying to tell you that you need more sources of real joy because the fleeting pleasure of eating is playing too important a role?
Is it trying to tell you that you need to love yourself more? Care for yourself better? That you’re settling for less in certain areas of your life? Your job? Your relationships?
When you stop overeating to avoid these issues, you can learn what you need to fix so that you don’t need to use food as a drug. You figure out what in your life requires your attention so you can experience real joy. And that real joy makes the external pleasure of excessive eating unnecessary.
I help people figure out what is missing or isn’t pleasurable or joyful in their lives that is making them seek the superficial, temporary pleasure of food.
Are you ready to learn what’s eating you so that you can be free from overeating, food and weight issues for the rest of your life?