There’s a pattern that repeats itself in my life. I overeat when I’m not feeling nourished.
I’m not talking about nutritional nourishment (although this plays a role). I reach for the extra handfuls of food, I wander into the kitchen mindlessly, and I crave the things and the extra portions I don’t normally crave when I’m not feeling nourished. When my soul, my spirit, my emotional needs have not been fed.
That extra handful of tortilla chips doesn’t feed my soul. But it’s something my brain and my body have been trained to do in response to that vague feeling of needing something that I haven’t taken the time or don’t have the energy to figure out. Or when I’m out of sorts or telling myself that real nourishment just isn’t possible right now.
Nourishing your spirit is a key strategy for creating freedom from overeating.
It’s a strategy that a lot of smart women miss.
I don’t know about you, but when my spirit hasn’t been fed in a while, and when I’ve been focused on all the hard things I have to do, willpower and self-control are at their lowest. And relying on willpower certainly doesn’t feel very nourishing – in fact, it leaves me more depleted.
When I’m not nourished, I tend to get cranky. The voices in my head (the way I talk to myself) get more irritable and unkind as well. And (ha!) that voice often berates me for not having willpower or self-control.
There’s nothing like feeling depleted, un-nourished, and having your inner critic dishing out self-blame and guilt to unleash a new round of cravings and another trip to the kitchen. And THIS is a vicious cycle that too many women find themselves stuck in.
Nourishment is a way to break the overeating cycle.
Make a list of nourishing things.
Grab something to write with (I strongly encourage you not to do this mini-exercise in your head). Now make a list of all the things you can think of – big and small – that nourish your mind, your body, your soul, and your spirit. What are the small things that feed your senses? Brainstorm as many as you can.
Here’s a list of some ways I nourish myself to get you started:
Going for a run or a walk
Using my essential oil diffuser
Brewing a big mug of tea and savoring a bit of quiet
Putting on music
Sharing a conversation with someone I love and care about
Taking ten minutes to journal
Watering my plants
Stretching or yoga
Using fancy bath products
A few minutes sitting in the sun
Planning something social
The time when we need nourishment is the time we’re the worst at figuring out how to nourish ourselves
Having simple ideas that work for you helps a lot. Plugging small, simple nourishing acts into your schedule on a regular basis isn’t a luxury. Nourishing routines and rituals keep us fed.
Start your list of nourishing ideas now and allow it to grow as your focus on taking care of yourself in this way expands.
Nourishment calls for more than a to-do list
Is nourishment a consistent part of your life? Do you have established, nourishing routines and rituals?
Shifting the way we take care of ourselves often requires shifting our mindset – the thoughts, stories, and beliefs we repeat to ourselves about what we deserve, how we respond to our needs, and how we permit ourselves to spend our time. You aren’t alone if you have a story that food and overeating is “the best” way to soothe and feed your soul.
It isn’t, but if you skip the mindset work, making changes will always be an uphill battle, and your old thoughts and beliefs will work against you.
Begin to get curious about how you take care of you and how you talk to yourself about your needs and desires.
Do you feel you have permission to feed your spirit all the time? Are you stingy about spending valuable time or energy on yourself? Start to notice the stories you tell yourself about this.
If you aren’t getting what you need, how can you shift this one tiny bit – TODAY?
Combining mindset shifts with new behaviors, and rolling these into an approach that fits you and your life is the approach to nourishment and to freedom from overeating that I teach and recommend. It’s a very different place to start than the “cut back on your eating and increase your self-control” approach that most women have implanted in their brains.
If you’d like more information about how I teach this – and the complete framework I use, I have an upcoming free masterclass that you can attend.
In the meantime, take a moment (or ten minutes) and ask yourself what you know about what would feel nourishing right now.