Let’s talk about food and overeating, because I’ll venture a guess that you’re beating up on yourself for falling into the ice cream, binging out on chocolates or having that third plate of pasta. Right?
Everybody overeats sometimes. It’s natural. Food is connected to dopamine release, and when we’re caught up in emotion, it’s easy to lose ourselves in the pure feel good bliss of eating. No big deal. When our bodies are relaxed, they easily and effortlessly balance out and offset the surplus by craving lighter foods and trigger a sense of fullness eating less volume. But the whole thing flips around when you’re dealing with a headful of stress.
Your Thoughts Are Making You Fat!
In her book, “Mind Body Medecine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, New York Times Best Selling Author, Dr. Lissa Rankin explains that loneliness, pessimism, depression, fear, and anxiety damage the body, while intimate relationships, gratitude, meditation, sex, and authentic self-expression flip on the body’s self-healing processes.
The secret is in the story you tell yourself. In other words, it’s not the stress that you’re facing, it’s the way you handle it. I teach my Curvy & Confident Coaching Club clients how to handle their stress before it gets out of hand.
Left to roam wild, your stress response will keep you double fisting chocolates and cookies, popping them into your mouth faster than you can chew. This is your lizard brain’s survival way of keeping you out of harm’s way. Your survival instinct is wired to keep you safe, and when it gets triggered, it gets activated because it senses the presence of danger. In reality it’s really just the fear of facing whatever uncomfortable emotions pressed you to reach for the chocolate. Forgiving yourself and moving on would make the threat go away. As long as you shame yourself for giving into the temptation, you keep the cycle of guilt and gorge going. giving food more power over you than it deserves.
Despite what you may have thought, you can’t hate your way thin, because the overwhelm caused by the emotions from the self-hatred will keep that chemical burn cycle pushing you to eat when you’re not hungry. But because emotional eating is only a temporary band aid, the cycle of food and shame never seems to end. If you’re in that place now and that’s happened and you’re beating up on yourself and thinking you’re a failure, you’re not.
Feeling fat and ashamed of your body plays out in your life by expanding all your insecurities making them hang over your life like a black cloud creating problems in all your relationships, forcing you to play small, settle and accept less. You can break the cycle of shame by reminding yourself that there are really good reasons why food feels like your only friend.
How to Use Self-Compassion to Short Circuit Your Binges
I love food. Don’t you? And it’s often so easy to overdo it and eat waaaaaaaaaaaaay more than you intended. Like so many dieters, I was raised to believe that whenever I overate, it meant that I had no self-control or discipline. Have you been feeling a lot of shame around overeating? It’s that shame the keeps the engine running on your hunger. Let me offer you a refreshing and very freeing way to look at your eating challenges. I feel your pain and I know how frustrated you are because I used to beat up on myself all the time after I overate. Then one day in 2007 I interviewed a rockstar role model mentor of mine named Connirae Andreas. As she shared her story with me of how she developed her Naturally Slender Eating Strategy after observing her husband’s ice cream eating habits, she blew me away. Now thanks to Connirae I don’t beat up on myself after overeating. What she taught me is that the guilt will only keep you gorging. I want you to say “No” to the guilt. She taught me to go deeper. Now I know that each time I overeat, it’s a signal that something else is going on, so instead of letting my inner critic beat me to a pulp, I pause and take a breath and ask myself what’s really going on?
Connirae Andreas’ Naturally Slender Eating Strategy Teaches Food Mastery through Self-Compassion
Compulsive eating is a signal to us that we may have some inner conflicts that need to be resolved. I want to encourage you to shift your thinking to embrace a more loving awareness of the importance of treating yourself with more care and understanding. By setting an intention and making self-respect a habit, it will significantly reduce the pressure in your life.
I learned this new way of thinking about binges from my mentor, Connirae Andreas, Ph.D, one of the original co-developers and trainers of Neuro Linguistic Programming. NLP is a branch of Psychology focused on achieving excellence and reframing your painful past experiences and transforming them into your pearls of power.
During the course of my training to become a Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming, I connected with Connirae for the purposes of learning her Naturally Slender Eating Strategy so that I could use it myself and share it with my clients. The foundation of the strategy is that you eat what you want and make your food choices based on what foods feel best in your body over a period of time.
For example let’s say you are considering what to eat for lunch. You may see a dish of M&Ms on the table and decide that you want to eat them. Before you make the choice to reach out and grab them, imagine eating a certain amount of those M&Ms and get a sense of how they will feel in your stomach over time. The whole purpose of the strategy is to gain mastery over food so that you won’t feel enslaved by your cravings.
As Connirae says,“With this strategy, it’s never a failure or a mistake to find yourself going off track. If you go off track, you can just think, ‘good this puts me exactly where I need to be.’ This experience is exactly what I need to make better choices over time.” In terms of food and your choice to eat those M&M’s, your body is the final determinant of your food choices. By overeating, you gain what Connirae calls compulsive learning experiences in your body that will naturally lead you toward choosing foods that describes as kissing your spirit.
You can imagine how Connirae’s discovery and this process is a complete and total reframe of what most of us have traditionally believed about overeating.
By viewing a binge in this way, it gives you more choice, flexibility, compassion, and space to love that part of you and find out what you need. As you learn this strategy, you’re going to discover how binging actually gives you good information.
Want more of this type of support from a group of like-minded women also on the road to making peace with food and friends with their bodies. Click the image below to learn more and join my 30 Days to Lovin’ the Skin You’re In Group on Facebook.