Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ending Overeating

Attack over eating from both ends

We often get a lot of information about how to deal with over eating or poor eating habits in terms of actual eating strategies. We provide many strategies in our 10 Step Eating program (our 10 principles) and they are very practical useful tools for trying out new ways of eating and experiencing the feeling of healthier eating. In the second half of this article I will give you a few critical strategies for over eating.

To really get beyond the over eating syndrome, I believe we also need to attack the source of this "hunger" directly so that it doesn't overwhelm all of our strategies. We have to find out where the need to overindulge comes from and analyze the feelings of “needing” to eat something, even if we aren’t hungry. Our neurotic minds, bodily conditioning and habits can be overwhelming sensations that are truly a symptom of a bigger problem that we will discuss.

I would challenge us all to look for what it is in our lives that we think we need to be okay to the point where we abuse ourselves with food, because we clearly don’t need more food! Let’s be real most of us weigh more than is considered healthy. In this circumstance the food has become a drug to numb and sooth our stresses and discomfort, instead of dealing with the real issues at hand. In the same way we often take drugs for symptoms of sickness, versus working to support the body healing the issue at its source. There is another way however to tackle this problem and a training to get us there no matter what our current situation presents or what we turn to as our distracting drug.

Treat Issues at their Source

One of the common issues we hear about is gaining weight after quitting smoking or during stressful times of life. Food gets substituted for the feel good fix and mouthing that smoking provides or it becomes the one part of your day that gives you comfort and escape from your life’s stresses. It obviously gives us a nice hit of pleasure, comfort, avoidance etc. or we wouldn’t all do it at some point or another. However, it is short lived and requires eating more food, unhealthier foods and more frequent eating to keep the same effects much like a drug. It is a short-term fix with major long-term repercussions. This is the heart of it and it is an epidemic in our current society. I suggest a different approach that could wipe it all away... meditation.  

Mindfulness meditation practice and a deeper study of the yogic or buddhist philosophies and techniques behind most programs allows us to slow down the entire process to see what is really going on. This is virtually the opposite of what goes on when we are rushing and stressed and choosing food to soothe, without even thinking otherwise or taking responsibility as to why were are feeling the way we are. When we can see the destructive forces of our desperate mind trying to keep the pleasure train going we can start to relax that neurotic expression. By sitting and remaining peaceful, breathing through all feelings, both pleasurable and neurotic we can see that both are feelings created by the thoughts we linger on. Both are fleeting if we don’t continue to drum them up with our fixation and compulsive mind. We see that we are actually fine just sitting with nothing, it is easier to let go of our desperate thoughts that get us in trouble and we experience more peace. With this peace and acceptance of the way things are, comes more warmth and compassion for our situation and all the other people experiencing the same over eating or other struggles. When we aren’t running, stressed, pissed at ourselves and others, an amazing thing happens, our answers and the way we want to be just starts to bubble up from the inside. We can start to feel the innate wisdom of our bodies, which clearly doesn’t want us to over eat, feel bloated, get fat, break out in pimples, pass gas, etc. Over eating is just a symptom of something much bigger and can be mitigated if we bring more self awareness into the things that aren’t working for us in our lives. You must also look at all the downsides of this syndrome to help you become more aware. How do you feel after you overeat? Terrible, guilty, uncomfortable… and for what? An instance, fleeting hit of pleasure. Is it really worth it?

Resources for support in ending overeating:

To stop the addictive qualities of your cravings and begin the process of ending the overeating cycle click thru to the Philadelphia Shambhala Center’s list of upcoming introductory programs. Click Here to view programs. 
January is of particular importance as the annual cycle of the training level 1 begins Jan 14th. To find out more about this upcoming training Click Here.

Coach Juliet is an expert in the psychology of eating and has worked with many clients on addressing their issues with food and their health. If interested in setting up a private consultation Click Here.

That said the strategies below are solid, tested ways to start getting to the feeling of being full, taking in fewer calories and getting results. 

Strategies for Curbing Overeating

-          Replace most processed carbs with true whole grains to feel fuller.
This doesn't mean to get boxes that say whole grain on them, i.e. pasta is still a processed carb, most cereals too, etc.  Try reaching for natural carbs like beans, vegetables and light grains. Make porridges in the morning from (oats, quinoa, multigrain mixes) and eat root vegetables and grains at night (brown rice, millet, kasha, sweet potato, butternut squash) The natural bulk and fiber in these will help with the full feeling in a way that processed sugary carbs doesn't at all. Experiment with adding different toppings into porridge such as cinnamon, nut butter, fresh or frozen fruit etc.
Healthy is tasty. Not bland!

-          Go for quantity with lower calorie, high nutrient foods instead of higher calorie processed foods
Sometimes your mind and mouth are so conditioned to having salty or sweet treats that it is overwhelming. In that case, here are two strategies to give into it in a healthier way.

  •     For example, instead of a burrito with sour cream, cheese, etc. get a burrito salad, replacing the high calorie low nutrient tortilla and rice with low calorie, high nutrient salad and beans. Add all the pico and fajita veggies they got. Full without breaking the calorie bank.
  •     For snacking you can replace snack chips (tortillas, pretzels, crackers, etc.) and dips (peanut butter, salsa, etc.) with veggies and hummus  (basic lower calorie versions with heart healthy fat) to keep volume high and calories low I get bags of mixed veggies clean and ready to eat and go to town, but I don't mound on the hummus. The visual and stomach volume makes you feel fuller. When you are conditioned as an over eater, peanut butter is just too calorically dangerous to be playing with and the refined flours in chips never make you feel full, in fact the salt seems to make you hungrier. In addition, making your own popcorn is so easy, tastes better and is very light and satisfies salt cravings. I make a big bowl, add different spice flavors each time, and then can sit for an hour and get my munchies fix on. (Try adding different spices such as sea salt, paprika, cumin or curry to enhance flavor)

-          Find a low to moderate calorie drink for during the day that can be your feel good fix.
Warm liquids give that comfort factor so tea or an Americano are great and don’t have as much milk or caffeine, just go easy on any sweeteners, honey or stevia if possible. Kombucha, now found in many corner stores is a cultured mushroom cold tea that adopts the taste of a flavored soda. The fermentation process creates an effervescence just like seltzer. This drink is not only probiotic and good for your health, it’s one of the tastiest health drinks on the market.

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