10 Questions That Can Help You Lose the Urge to Overeat | TMOHP Episode 120

You’re probably a master at trying to harness self-control to address your urge to overeat. Have you ever thought about how incredible it would feel if that urge to binge or eat emotionally was just gone? What if you didn’t have to fight to have more discipline or self-control? This is where stepping outside of deprivation thinking and diet mentality can take you.

In this week’s podcast episode I’m sharing ten questions that can help you lose the urge to overeat. Lose the urge - not control it or temper it or distract yourself from it. When you lose the urge to use food as a coping mechanism, so much gets easier. 

Covered in this episode:

  • The importance of getting to the root of your overeating. How to discover why you want to eat and simple strategies to change this
  • Ways to increase your power over cravings, urges to binge, and pulls to zone out and eat mindlessly
  • 10 questions that can change your urges to overeat

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Full episode transcript:

Hey, everybody, it's another episode of the Too Much On Her Plate Podcast. And I'm excited to record this for you today. I do have a bit of a sore throat, so if I sound a little scratchy, that's what's going on. What I want to give you today are 10 questions that you can use to help you lose the urge to overeat.

Here's the thing. When it comes to making a lasting change with something like overeating or emotional eating, your power lies in addressing the problem from the source. When you fix the reason that you're overeating or when you change the habits or behaviors that lead to emotional eating, that's when you truly have a different relationship with food.

So you can set yourself up to fight cravings or be strong. And we do that, we set ourselves up when we are just focusing on how we're going to eat. This is when I'll eat and this is what I'll eat and this is when I won't eat. But if you start addressing why you want to overeat. Why you want to binge in the first place. Why you want to or why you find yourself wandering into the kitchen or to the vending machine or driving through the drive thru when you have told yourself you're not going to do that.

When you focus on addressing why you want to do those things or are doing those things, then you're on the road to really changing how and when you think about reaching for something to eat. If you are like so many busy women, you're out of energy and you're wired and you're still going over your workday in your head when you walk in the door after work, you can try to grit your teeth every day and tell yourself that today you are not going to go for that bag of tortilla chips.

That's the willpower approach. And we all know there is a percentage of time, a good percentage of time that that doesn't have a chance. A way that works much better is to start to set yourself up with better circumstances by targeting the hidden hungers and the reasons that you're feeling driven to rip into those tortilla chips in the first place.

The reason you are propelled through the door right into the kitchen, the reason you don't want to do anything else. The reason you're showing up after a long day on autopilot. And maybe the reason you're wanting nothing else, but to just zone out with something crunchy in your mouth.

You become so much more powerful when you grow ways to shift these circumstances and to deflate the cravings and the urges. Take the power away from them. And today I have some doable ways to make these shifts for you.

What I have for you are 10 questions that you can use that will help you lose the urge to overeat and that will help you create habits that take away cravings. And keep you from wandering into the kitchen on autopilot.

All right. So I'm going to give you 10 questions. These are questions you can ask yourself. These are questions you can spend time journaling on. You don't have to answer them all at once. You might want to listen to this podcast episode and focus on the question that speaks the most loudly to you. Or if you're a systematic kind of person, you might want to write these down and go back to these, spend some time with your journal one by one and see what comes up. Okay? So 10 questions that can help you lose the urge to overeat.

The first question that can be very helpful to ask is, what would you like more of in your life? What would you like more of in your life? And what is a small step that you could actually take in this moment that would move you in that direction?

So often we reject thinking about what we would like more of because before we even think about it, we tell ourselves that it's not even possible. But what we want is actually an accumulation of little, small, doable things, and sometimes the first step is just acknowledging that you want more of something.

Maybe you want more naps. Or more free time or more help. What would you like more of in your life? And what is a simple doable step? Think really simple. Sometimes giving yourself five extra minutes or five minutes between something. Maybe you want time to take a breath when you walk in the door wanting to grab those tortilla chips. Right?

Maybe it's five minutes and permission to change your clothes or wash your face or just shift gears before you do the next thing. Something that simple can be the beginning of a change.

The next question that I think is very powerful to ask yourself is, how's your energy level? And again, what is one step that you can take to better care for or to better nurture your energy?

There is a good chance that you are thinking about your energy level as something that you are powerless to change right now. Or that is going to require something so difficult that you don't have the energy to change your energy level. So what do you crave? Do you crave going to bed earlier? Do you crave short breaks in your day?

Sometimes just acknowledging that you're tired is the beginning of taking care of your energy level. Telling yourself that, you know what, I'm tired. I don't need to load the dishwasher before going to bed. I'm just going to go to bed tonight. So how's your energy level? What's one step you can take to better care for or to nurture your energy? Something doable that you could do in this moment or in this day.

Question number three is a really important one. Are you taking time on a consistent basis to ask yourself what you are needing or feeling? Or do you just routinely gloss over these things? And spoiler alert, most busy women are routinely glossing over these things.

So taking time on a regular basis to ask yourself what you're needing or feeling does not have to be a big deal, but it is important. So it can be simple. Add this question on to something that you routinely do. You can ask yourself, what am I needing? What am I feeling? While you're brushing your teeth.

You can ask yourself this in the shower, you can ask yourself this on your drive home. Or you can spend more time with it, maybe journaling as a part of your morning routine. The key thing here is to start asking the question, even if you don't immediately have rich, full, complete answers.

How am I feeling? Tired. How am I feeling? Sluggish. How am I feeling? I don't know. All right, that's information. And I will tell you, the more often you ask these simple questions, the better you will get at answering these questions. The things that you are needing or feeling that aren't getting addressed are so often the things that are leading you to wander into the kitchen. Or to eat the extra helping or to finish the food on your plate that you don't really want on autopilot.

And when you become more aware of these things, you can start to learn how to respond to them. And sometimes you already know how to respond to them. And sometimes it doesn't take as much time or energy as your brain wants to tell you it will take.

The fourth question that can really help you deflate the urge to binge or to overeat, but that a lot of women find frustrating is this one. How will you reward yourself or how will you celebrate when you don't want to use food? To reward yourself or you don't want to use food as the celebration. Now, this is frustrating to a lot of people because it is one of those questions that it's pretty likely you don't have good answers to right off the bat. Because if you did, you'd be doing those things.

And so much of our conditioning is around using food as reward. Food as celebration. It's so much a part of our culture. Right? And there's nothing wrong with that unless it feels out of balance or unless you feel trapped in that and you don't know what else to do. So start asking that question today.

How could I reward myself? How could I celebrate in ways that have nothing to do with food? Not having an answer isn't failure. It's a sign that you need to ask this question more. It's a sign that your brain and your body need to think about this because you are going to want to have richer and broader ways to take care of yourself. To enrich your life, to celebrate, to say, aha, I did this thing that don't involve going and eating all the chocolate.

That feel good after you've done them and that are in alignment with your goals. So just start asking the question and again, don't worry if you don't immediately have the answer. What would feel good? What would feel like a reward? And if not knowing the answer to how to reward yourself without food is really stressing you out, then don't try to answer this question first.

Play with the other questions on this list and keep this, just keep this tucked in the back of your brain and let yourself work on it without really thinking about it.

Okay, the fifth question that can help you take your power back from that urge to overeat or to start eating on autopilot just to make whatever's going on go away. The question is, question number five, what's stressing you out that needs to change? That's the first part. What is stressing you out that needs to change? And what's the first or the next step to take?

Again, this is another one of those places where we just take this default response or this default attitude that, well, whatever's going on, there's, there's nothing I can do about it. So I just have to suck it up. And part of sucking it up is, is zoning out or, or eating to feel better or continuing on in the same old way. Be honest with yourself. That is such a part of self compassion and self-respect. What is stressing you out that needs to change?

And whether you are willing to take the first step or whether the first step seems possible to you, acknowledge it. What is the first or the next step to take? And if it does feel impossible, I would encourage you to look at, okay, what needs to happen for this stress to change? And be honest with yourself. Ask yourself, could I break this down into a hundred parts? Is there a teeny, tiny, one millimeter step that I could take? Or a thing that I could do? Or a thing that I could let go of? Or a new thought that I could think that would help me with this stress one teeny, tiny bit?

Again, you may not have the answer, but this is a power question. And sometimes the most powerful and the most empowering questions that we can ask are literally the questions that we don't know how to answer. The questions that we've been avoiding.

Sometimes just putting that question out there will be the first step toward starting to come up with an answer. And even if we can't, acknowledging what is going on inside of us and acknowledging what is going on in our lives, acknowledging what is impacting us is a huge piece of self-care. And it's a giant act of self compassion.

And you know what? Self compassion is really powerful in terms of soothing ourselves and comforting ourselves and taking care of ourselves and addressing one of the big reasons that we tend to overeat. So question number five. What's stressing you out and what needs to change? And what's the first or the next step for you to take?

Okay, and question number six might help with that if you're feeling stuck, because question number six is where and how can you start asking for more help or support? Asking for help take so many different forms. Sometimes it is delegating. Sometimes it is asking somebody else for a perspective or asking someone just to listen to you.

Sometimes it is asking somebody, how could you help me with this? Sometimes it is asking for help in developing more tools. Or helping you get through a problem or helping you solve a situation. The Missing Peace Program and the coaching that I do is all about offering help and support and a different perspective for something that so many women feel stuck in. Right?

Where and how can you start asking for more help or support? Where are you going it alone? Because maybe you've been telling yourself you shouldn't need help or help doesn't exist. Or it isn't possible to get help with that. Or you are too busy to ask for help. All of these patterns can keep you stuck in overwhelm and in stress and exhaustion and a whole host of other dynamics that end up leading to overeating and emotional eating and using food to fill in the cracks, and that's not helping you.

I am giving you 10 huge powerhouse questions here, and I want to remind you that this is not a situation where you're going to want to answer every single one of these comprehensively all at once. These are big questions, and again, many of these may be questions that you don't have answers to right off the bat, and the reason that you don't have answers to these questions is because you probably have not been thinking Really deliberately in all these different directions.

And that is how hidden hungers build up. That is how the reasons that lead to overeating build up. Because these kind of questions don't get addressed in little bite sized pieces day by day by day. So don't worry about having big, huge, global, earth changing answers to these questions. Just start answering them. Just start chipping away and focusing in these different areas. And you are going to automatically start addressing so many of the reasons that are leading to overeating. All right?

Question number seven is one of my favorites This is a big one and this is a question that what amazes me about asking this question is that so often when I ask this question and I come up with an answer to the question, but no answer in terms of how to solve the thing I come up with, it's still very, very powerful and that doesn't make any sense because I haven't told you what the question is yet.

So let me just tell you, question number seven is what are you tolerating in your life? What are you tolerating that you deserve a better solution or answer for what are you tolerating that you don't want to be tolerating anymore?

There is something so changing, so transformative about just asking this question, just acknowledging things that you are tolerating, putting up with, that aren't working for you, that you deserve a better solution for.

It has amazed me how many times I have simply answered this question and over the next few days and weeks, I have just moved towards not tolerating that thing anymore. Shifting it or changing it without, you know, making a list and coming up with all these steps and doing these things. Sometimes acknowledging is one of the most powerful things you can do. So what are you tolerating that you don't want to tolerate anymore?

Here's a question that is about as far from diet culture as you can get. What will you include in your day to make you smile or laugh? What would be different about your day if you asked yourself that every morning on your way to work or as you were drinking your coffee?

What am I going to include in my day to day that's going to make me smile or laugh? It could be a five second thing. Right? It could be watching a video. It could be spending some time with a child. It could be playing with your cat. It could be going outside and blowing some bubbles. Right? What will you include in your day to make you smile or laugh?

It is a little thing, but what a mood shifter. What if you did that after work? Right? Or before you left work, if you've got that pattern of, you know, wandering into the house on autopilot and just inhaling food to help yourself feel better. What if there was more smiling or more laughter?

Okay, another thing that we want to make sure you're getting enough of comes up with my second to last question, which, well, actually, it's not the second to last question because I have a bonus question for you, but question number nine, are you getting enough sleep? Or are you getting enough restful or relaxing time?

Two different things, both really important. If you are not getting seven and a half hours of sleep, start there. I cannot tell you what a change you will see if you go from getting inadequate sleep to getting good restful sleep. What a change you will see in your eating.

What a change you will see in your appetite. What a change you will see in your cravings and the kind of food that you are desiring. On top of a million other things that change when you start getting enough sleep. And then separate from sleep is restful time or relaxing time. So many busy women I talked to work, work, work, work, work, and they have a to do list that they are following right up until the time that they tell themselves, okay, now it's time to stop and go to sleep.

And then they wonder why they don't sleep well at night. Do you have unwinding time? Do you have restful time? Or do you work, work, work, work, work and then kind of numb yourself out by grabbing things to eat or by snacking at the end of the day or by having that big bowl of ice cream and then you try to jump into bed and then you can't sleep because you're thinking about your to do list. Or you're waking up in the middle of the night thinking about your to do list.

Sleep and restful and relaxing time are huge if you want to stop overeating or emotional eating. All right?

The 10th question that really will help you shift your relationship with food and really will help deflate the reasons that you overeat is one that, again, so many people skip. How do you score yourself on the level of play and fun in your life? Scale of 0 to 10.

How much play and fun are you getting in your life? How satisfied are you with the amount of play and fun in your life? And what is an action that you will commit to this week to improve this? One little notch, one little inch, one little millimeter. How can you get a little more play and fun and lightness in your life? It's an important question.

Again, if it feels impossible, think smaller. One little notch. How can you have a little more lightness in your life? This is so important.

Okay. I said I had a bonus question for you and it's a pretty simple one. If this is sounding helpful to you, have you registered for my upcoming free five day Freedom From Overeating Workshop?

Because we're going to be doing a lot more of this. Over those five days we are going to be. Looking at different, simple, doable strategies that you can be taking to shift from that pattern of, I will not eat the tortilla chips. Right? I will be strong. I will not binge tonight. I am going to not eat after seven o'clock.

All that, that planning and focusing on self-control and self-discipline I'm going to show you how to keep shifting that into how do I take care of myself so I'm not thinking about wandering into the kitchen to getting the tortilla chips?

So if you haven't registered for the free workshop, be sure to do that just go to TooMuchOnHerPlate.com/register. And you can reserve your space in my next upcoming workshop.

The last thing I want to share with you today is this. Take a moment and think about what it would feel like if at the end of the day or in the afternoon or whenever overeating is a big challenge for you, think about what would be freed up if you weren't having to control it.

If you weren't having to worry about, can I be strong? Can I have the tortilla chips in the house? Can I keep myself from blowing it tonight? What would be different if the energy that you are spending focusing on food and your eating and your weight was freed up?

If you didn't have to decide in the morning if it was a good day or a bad day because of what happened the night before. Or if you weren't having to think about, how will I be strong today? What would be different?

These 10 questions can start to make incredibly powerful shifts in your life. So play with them. Get a journal. Tackle one question a day, just ask the question and see what comes up. Play with these questions and you are going to start to address the reasons that you're overeating from the very roots and that will make a tremendously powerful difference.

I'll talk to you soon.


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Your Missing Peace is the psychologist-designed program that provides the tools, the support, the coaching, and the confidence to create freedom from emotional eating and overeating. Finally - emotional eating help done right! Your Missing Peace is specifically designed for smart, high-achieving women who are DONE with diets, who want a lasting solution, and who are ready to take their power back from food, from overeating, and the scale. 

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