One Thing that Isn’t Helping You Overcome Overeating


find a remedy quoteThe tendency to over-explain your overeating

One of the things I love about teaching the behavioral wellness classes at Green Mountain are the way certain themes show up during particular weeks with certain groups.

This week, one of the topics we focused on was the tendency to want to over-explain the whys of overeating, relationship struggles, the ins and outs of struggling with food.

I started to point out how attached we become to communicating our stories – making sure everyone gets all the details, the facts, the who and the where.

Some of this is fine. It’s important to identify the emotional triggers and situations that contribute to struggles with emotional eating… to a point.

Is the conversation keeping you stuck?

At some point, the conversation needs to become solution-focused, versus continuing to chew on the problem. And yet most people have a very hard time doing this, in spite of how much they want to feel better.

But I believe you pay a price for talking (and talking!) about the issues and how they impact you.

For one thing, it keeps you stuck. You can’t really be in the solution if you’re still in the problem, as in you can’t be in two places at the same time.

Also, the more you tell the story of your struggles, the more friends you tell, or email, the more times you repeat the story to others, the more you prolong the agony and intensify the amount of emotion you have to carry.

When trying to prevent emotional overeating, that’s not a good thing.

Balance your nervous system, balance your weight

One of the things you’ll hear me say repeatedly in class is that to balance your weight you have to learn to balance your nervous system.

That means learning to feel what you feel while knowing how to soothe yourself, and keep finding your way back into a balanced place. It means learning how to stay out of fight-or-flight mode.

When we keep our problems constantly alive with discussions and blow-by-blows… it’s  harder to find your calm. The longer you stay connected to the feelings that bothered you, the more vulnerable you become to using food to cope.

Make sense? It’s a different way to think about it.

Please do not misunderstand. I am not telling you not to feel things. Or not to talk about what’s going on. But there is a point at which telling that story again, or calling one more person to repeat it and hash it through again, is not going to serve you and may actually work against you.

Staying focused on solutions and moving out of things that keep you from feeling balanced and well is where you will find the success you want.

And I want that for you!

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2 responses to “One Thing that Isn’t Helping You Overcome Overeating”

  1. Harriet Krivit says:

    Hi Lisa..In my experience most women struggling with this issue are not comfortable talking about it. So when there’s a place and women in particular who “get it”…who also are “walking the walk”..there is a need to have other’s understand their unique history and even repeat it. Good to know what brought or brings them to this point. Some of it’s the old “guilt” thing” often referred to. That’s why groups are so good and members not advising but relating to what other’s have said. Noticed it keeps people more in the present. For me it’s important and helpful to deal with the now and even after an overeating food “spasm” (I call it) I’ll go right into…”o.k. Harriet what’s good and what can you do now to help yourself?” And, that helps keep me from discouraging and spiraling down into sad, blue moments.

  2. Hi Harriet…I hear you. And I agree that it’s a huge blessing to be in a space where we can talk about things that often feel too shameful to talk about. I am talking about something else… a tendency to talk beyond what is helpful and in ways that don’t allow for people to move into action and solutions. Also when we continue to stir up past events in ways that trigger us, versus learning how to soothe ourselves, it costs us and often leads to more of the cycling thru overeating. I of course agree about the power of groups and see that dynamic here at GM every day. Hope this helps and thank you as always for writing.

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Lisa Claudia

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