Overeating is a complicated affair.
Personally, I find that it happens to me when things are really challenging in my life. Part of me believes that I need more food and that it will help soothe me or satisfy some craving I have.
But what occurs instead is that I gain weight, experience painful acid reflux, and have very poor-quality sleep. You’d think these results would be enough to prevent me from continuing to overeat.
They aren’t. They don’t.
Another part of me enters the picture. I think to myself, this has to be easy to resolve, I’ll just eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer snacks and treats. Surely, this will make things better for me.
And perhaps this would be true if the part of me that wants to overeat wasn’t resistant. But it is.
There is a constant war of sorts between periods of control and excess.
I find it strange that while on vacation, I give myself permission to eat whatever and whenever I want. This of course leads to weight gain, but never as much as I would have anticipated, probably because my activity level is so high. So, maybe if I maintained this same level of activity after vacation it would be okay.
I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t work for me.
I ask myself, what’s really happening here?
I am struck immediately by one obvious answer. I am at peace on vacation. I don’t have hundreds of things I’m thinking about and feel the need to accomplish. I’m not emotional taxed on vacation.
This leads me to another observation and a more important set of questions.
What other reasons are contributing to my overeating? Are they emotionally based? Are they resolvable?
Am I hung up with my looks and how I see myself? Am I thinking about how others see me? Do I seek or need or want their approval? And if so, why?
To a degree overeating feels circular to me. There is a cause-and-effect riddle that faces me and asks to be addressed.
I’m tired of the game and want answers, so I decide to plunge in. I realize everyone’s situation is different and that you’ll want to substitute your own emotional clues, if mine don’t make sense to you. But it might prove helpful to read along and adjust where necessary.
For me, I believe overeating is emotionally based and arises inside me from different directions.
Judgements. The judgement process might begin with others, but over time I find that unless I’m very careful, I internalize others’ views and criticisms of me.
Comparisons. Whether initiated by others or ourselves, any form of comparison is damaging and unfair. We are all unique people and have our own paths to travel.
Ideals. Self-created or adopted from others, having specific ideals of exactly how we ‘should’ look, act or feel is extremely limiting and offers us no true way to feel good about ourselves.
Having considered these words, I am now more aware of their emotional impact on me and sense they are driving some of my emotional weight and desire to overeat.
If you give yourself a chance to sit and listen to your emotions, body, mind, and spirit, perhaps you’ll discover some reasons of your own.
In my next post I’d like to offer you one possible way to release any emotional weight you carry, whether from overeating or another source.