The last 9 months has been a journey and a half mentally. There’s been so much self discovery happening in my life and a deep dive into my habits. Me? Talk about habits? Never. One of habits I really focused on changing is learning how to stop overeating. In essence, it seems to incredibly simple. You just stop. But when you’re in a space where you find that you choose food over dealing with your emotions, it can take a bit of extra time to learn what’s really going on in your mind.
So today I want to share a few of the things I’ve learned in my journey that I hope will help you too. Everything from changing my relationship with food to realizing how eating in certain ways was its own form of self harm in my life. We have a lot to dive into today and it’s going to get emotional. Let’s get started!
Realizing My Relationship With Food Was Toxic
I’ve spoken about this a lot in regards to ditching the diet lifestyle. But it took me a really long time to get to a place where I could eat in a way that honored my goals, kept me healthy and didn’t make me feel limited. I didn’t want to diet or cut out any more foods than necessary. My diet is already stream lined because of my incredibly picky digestion. Nevertheless, I realized no one ever taught me how to enjoy food with the option to stop before overeating. I only ever saw the yoyo dieting life.
Foods have been consistently labeled as good or bad in my life. There was never really space to be like yeah, you can totally have that cookie and be happy with one. Instead, it was the all or none approach which meant I could never find the middle ground I was so desperately seeking. In order to take the first step towards breaking the habit of overeating, I needed to come to terms with the horribly toxic relationship I was in with something very essential to my life.
Realizing That Overeating Was A Learned Behavior
One of the things I’ve been working to become more mindful of over the last few months is my privilege. In order to truly understand others and have empathy, I needed to no longer be so stuck in the mindset of what’s normal for me is normal for everyone. So to start to change how I viewed things, I went down the path of listening to how other people talked about food. Specifically, I focused on the ones I was spending time with and then went from there.
I remember going to Golden Corral as a little girl with my grandparents. I’d always hear them talking about not eating for hours so they could have all the plates at dinner. Or I’d listen to a vlogger who talked about her overeating habit despite being a face for wellness. When it’s constantly being reaffirmed in our lives that overeating is normal and okay, why would we ever think to change?
Do I think we need to be perfect with this? Hell no. I’ll never preach perfection to you because I’d rather you’d try to fight than never start because you only believe you’ll fail. But the more I realized how often those around me glorified overeating and made it a normal, the more I realized it was a learned behavior. Therefore it was something I could unlearn.
ACKNOWLEDGING THAT MY OVEREATING WAS A WAY OF CAUSING MYSELF PAIN WITHOUT ME REALIZING IT
There’s been more than one conversation with a friend of mine recently about what kind of space I want to create in the online world. And while I’m very much the happy person you see in instagram and on youtube, I’m also incredibly motivated by a persistent inner coach that knows I can do more. I’d imagine that if I dug deep into the psychology of it all, I could tie it back to childhood experiences. Everything goes back to our childhood. But in order to care and connect with what I do, I have to be willing to live with the desire to want a better life for all of us. I have to live with the pain of dissatisfaction. Eventually, pain needs an outlet.
Giving myself the boundaries of a Fab 4 Lifestyle taught me to eat meals and eat until I was full. So on the occasions I do overeat, I now see how much pain I caused myself. I see how much of a disconnect I had with my own body. Working out was a big game changer on that front in helping me to become a person who no longer just existed in my body. It gave me a time and space to actually work through my emotions. But it took me lifting weights and learning to enjoy the physical pain as a representation of moving forward to learn that I was using overeating to cause myself a different pain. For me, it was one that kept me really going after the things I wanted in life.
Creating Boundaries That I Wanted To Keep
Establishing the Fab 4 Lifestyle meant I really had to dive into eating meals and not snacking. But it also meant I had to confront what my idea of portions looked like with foods I had previously categorized as not an option. It took me pushing myself into a 30 day challenge to really confront that if I want something, I could have it. I just needed to have less of it. And suddenly the appeal of it wasn’t so strong.
There were quite a few times earlier this year during our monthly fasts where I noticed just how often we want the things we can’t have simply because we can’t have them. Could I live without coffee? Yes. Did I want to? No. Getting into the routine of the Fab 4 Lifestyle meant that I could focus on how to stop overeating because I wasn’t eliminating foods. I was just creating a new boundary for certain ones.
DITCHING MY SNACKING HABIT
I have been a perpetual snacker for years. I’ve always had a thing for crunchy foods so a bowl of cereal here or some chips there seemed like nothing. But when you’re constantly snacking all day with little nutritional value, it’s easy to creep into overeating territory. My digestion never really got a chance to catch up and I never really knew if I was hungry.
Intermittent fasting was great at helping me move towards giving my digestion a break at the beginning. With a 16 hour fasting window, you’re definitely hungry when it comes time to eat. But it wasn’t until I dove into my current eating style that I felt like I got the balance without snacking. As much as I love IF, I think it’s easy to move away from intuitive eating when it feels like you have to cram your calories into a certain window. And for someone who never really understood how to stop overeating, it ended up not being right for me.
Part of project dream body for me is as much the mental healing aspect as it is creating the body I’ve always wanted. It means looking into the behaviors I’ve learned and working to heal myself. But I definitely feel like learning how to stop overeating has positively impacted my life in a lot of ways.
I’d love to hear from you about your journey. If it’s one you’re still on, I’d love to know what you’re struggling with and how you’re winning right now? And if it’s one you’ve completed, I’d love to hear that too. Until next time. Xoxo, Savvy
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