Why do I overeat? Some things to think about…

Ice cream. Peanut butter cookies. A giant bag of Sour Patch Kids. Waffles. Toast with butter.

What do all of these things have in common?

My belly.

Where they all wound up.

In. My. Belly.

I would like to say that I have my food in check 90% of the time, however, this past Tuesday was a blip in the radar.

Why am I telling you this? I’m the trainer, the coach, why would I be revealing such behavior when this is the sort of stuff that I’m paid to help other people with?

Well, one, I’m human.  And two, it was a big learning lesson for me, and if it has helped me, I don’t want to keep my mouth shut, because it means that it could potentially help you.

To say that I consumed a copious amount of food this day would be a vast understatement. When I say I ate my face off, I mean, I ate my face off.

I’m serious, I actually bit my tongue pretty hard while I was scarfing down the Sour Patch Kids.

It still hurts.

A massive sugar craving tsunami hit me this day, which was quite out of the blue.

Or was it?

I feel grateful that I have never struggled with an eating disorder, or body-image issues, so to have a binge day like I did was out of the ordinary for me. However, I work with many clients and hear from readers who do suffer from eating disorders, and body-image issues and thus this experience brought me a little closer to the heart’s of these women.

It got me to start thinking about why this happened and what triggers could have led up to it.  Rather than beating myself up, I decided to take a more proactive approach and to investigate, if any, emotional triggers could have led to this, I had to ask myself, why do I overeat?

And wouldn’t it be fitting, that I had a consultation today with a client who struggles with periods of overeating followed by deprivation. I suggested to her, what I did for myself, and that was to do some investigation.

I find that most episodes of overeating tend to be unconscious, meaning there’s not much thought that goes into it.  It’s almost as if it’s a instinctual reaction to get full.

Just as if we are hard-wired to run if an angry dog is chasing us, I find that eating, or over-eating has become just as instinctual when faced with stress.

Knowing that, I suggested to my client to do an inventory of her life, and start to notice if there are certain triggers to her overeating.

Is it hormonal? Time of month? Does it revolve around your school work, around exams or presentations? Does it happen when you don’t get enough sleep?

From an energetic stand-point I have something in mind that could help explain bouts of overeating.  Yes, when we overeat it could be a physiological reason, like having low blood sugar.

However, I want to take a metaphorical perspective here and hypothesize that over-filling our belly’s with food is another way of keeping us grounded, of re-centering ourselves if our energy is feeling frazzled, or drained.

For instance, if you are giving all of your energy away to other people, it leaves us feeling empty, hallow even.  And in order to regain that feeling of “fullness” rather than restoring our natural energy, we turn to food to give us a sense of wholeness, of being “full”.

What I find is that overeating may give us a temporary feeling of heaviness, but since our energy levels are still drained, we haven’t solved our problem.

The fullness we feel from overeating can temporarily fill energy voids, but also helps us feel more connected to the earth since we are heavier, and thus weigh heavier to the ground.

This helps us feel more connected since we are feeling pretty disconnected from having zero energy.

So, if you find that you overeat, think about this:

What triggers led up to this? It could anything, a change in sleep, a change in environment, a stressor, an exam, being late for work, really any sort of stressor. Do some investigation and see what you find.

Are you feeling energetically drained?  Are you giving more than your receiving? Are you giving in an attempt to receive love?

Do you feel frazzled, or all over the place? Is the food giving you a sense of grounding? Is it helping you feel more connected to your body? (because when you’re full, you really feel it).

These are just some questions for you to think about, to investigate.  There is no right or wrong answer, just a jumping off point for you to play around with.

 

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