Are you hungry or do you want food?
That’s one of the questions to ask yourself to help you become more aware of what’s happening subconsciously when you reach for more food after you’ve eaten what you need. It’s not to self judge or to make yourself feel bad. It’s to bring to the forefront of your mind what’s going on so that you can get a better handle on it and begin to solve the problem.
Everyone does it. The goal is to try to become aware of it and then to tell yourself that yes, you are eating that bag of chips because you are distracting yourself from something unpleasant. Then go on and enjoy it.
Each time you are about to overeat, talk to yourself in that same way until you start to become curious about what it is you are distracting yourself from. Why do you need to make yourself feel something else? Those questions will follow if you do this enough.
What we’re avoiding are the signals our body is sending us which come in the form of anxiety or anger, and they are bloody uncomfortable. The messages could be anything from being afraid to stand up to your coworker who takes credit for your work, to thinking that you might need to end your marriage. Lots of discomfort and anxiety there. It’s no wonder we turn away.
We feel anger when there are things we want to say, or do, or have in our lives that elude us for some reason or other. We feel the injustice of it but bury our feelings deep and keep them that way for so long that we lose touch with them, and hence can’t explain why we are unhappy.
Anything can be a distraction really. The obvious ones are internet surfing, TV, video games etc. But you can distract yourself by going shopping, calling friends, cleaning up, keeping busy, working etc. The way to tell if you are partaking in those activities in a healthy way is to ask yourself if you are really doing them for their intended purpose or are you looking to avoid something.
For example, you may need to go shopping to get food for the next few days but those new shoes you really also do need can wait a couple of days while you do something else, like take the time to call that coworker or have that uncomfortable conversation with your spouse.
Anything can be made to be a distraction if we rationalize it well enough in our heads.
Getting over distractions, especially addictive ones like overeating take time. Our best way forward is to try to see ourselves with more clarity on an ongoing basis, increasing our awareness and getting to know just what we are up to. What we need and what we are avoiding.
Then, we can start to get somewhere.
THE EATING LOVE GUIDE (FREE)
The Eating Love Guide has helped many people regain control of their eating patterns, resulting not only in weight loss but also better health and improved self-esteem. To read it online, click here.