Nourishment and Overeating | TMOHP Episode 040

Today I want to tell you about a situation where I tend to overeat. I overeat when my spirit isn’t being fed - when my soul isn’t being nourished.

You might roll your eyes because this sounds a bit woo-woo. That’s okay, in fact, I think it’s something to get curious about - and I’ll tell you what I mean (inside the episode).

The truth is, if you’re not getting what you need, it’s easy to fill that gap with food, and the more you ignore or numb or push down what you’re really craving, the more power food, and overeating can have.

Some of what you’ll hear in this episode:

  • My pattern of overeating when I’m not getting my needs met
  • A first step to breaking the cycle
  • Where to start if you have no idea how to “nourish your spirit”
  • A list of nourishing things that work for me
  • Why mindset is an important piece of the puzzle (of course)

Taking a look at where you’re feeling nourished, and where you aren’t can have a big impact on your relationship with food. It can also be the first step in feeling better than you do now.

Featured on the show:

Episode Transcript

Today's episode is probably going to end up being a little bit on the shorter side. And I think it's important. Sometimes we don't need a long time to explain something that can have a lot of impact and a lot of power in your life. Now, the longer you work with your relationship with food and by working with your relationship with food, I mean the longer you tune into it and pay attention to it and start to be curious about what's going on with your eating and your overeating. And I mean, days that go really well, as well as days where it feels like you fall off track, the, the longer that you do that. The more, you are going to start to see patterns you're gonna become aware of your patterns and the things that are challenges for you and the things that tend to trigger you and the things that are worth keeping an eye out for as well as the thing, the, you know, the things that work really well.

Today, I want to talk about a pattern that shows up in my life and that it has been so worth my becoming aware of and paying attention to. And that is that I tend to overeat when I'm not feeling nourished. Now, I'm not talking about nutritional nourishment. Although this sometimes plays a role. If I've been eating just junk all day and my blood sugar is all over the place, it will affect my choices for the rest of the day.

What I'm talking about is the way that I can reach for extra handfuls of food. Right? As I go into the kitchen, how I can mindlessly just go for a little bit extra. How I crave the things and the extra portions, and also mindlessly go after the things and the extra portions that I don't normally crave or go after when I'm not feeling nourished.

When my soul, when my spirit, when my emotional needs have not been fed, I tend to overeat. The thing is that extra handful of tortilla chips that I get on my pass through of the kitchen, that extra handful doesn't feed my soul, but going in for that extra handful of snack is something that my brain and my body have been trained to do as a way of responding to that vague feeling that I don't really have a word for, of, you know, I just need something that vague feeling that I haven't taken the time, or I don't have the energy, or I'm telling myself, I don't have the energy to figure out. This kind of extra eating shows up when I'm just out of sorts. Right? I'm just not feeling right. Or because of whatever I'm telling myself that really taking care of myself really nourishing myself just isn't possible. Right now it's just too much.

Or I just can't do it. And, honestly that is usually not true. That is usually the story that, that I have spun for myself that involves, you know, the, that taking care of myself has gotta be this big elaborate, uh, time intensive kind of thing. And that isn't the truth. And here's the thing you can call it, nourishing your spirit.

You can call it, feeding your soul. You can call it taking great care of yourself, whatever the words are that resonate for, you know, that it nourishing your spirit is really a key strategy for creating freedom from overeating. And it's a strategy that so many 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 focusing on all the hard things, all the necessary things that I have to do that is when willpower and self control are at their lowest.

And you know what I do know about you, because it's true for all of us. When we are depleted, we're less resilient. And in those moments when we haven't gotten what we need, well, I'll just speak for myself in those moments when I haven't gotten what I need? Relying on willpower or being strong, or just saying no, or just making the good choice, those things don't feel very nourishing.

They leave me feeling more depleted, like thinking about doing those things feels hard and it feels like one more thing. When I'm not nourished, I tend to get cranky. The voices in my head would, and by which I mean, the way that I talk to myself, the thoughts that I have, the stories I tell myself, they get more irritable, they get more unkind, they get more negative.

And while I don't know about you, I do know that when I'm in that place, that is when I also am more berating of myself for not having enough strength or willpower or self control. So let's review the cycle here. Here I am feeling depleted, unnourished, I don't feel like my needs have been taken care of, or my wants have been taken care of.

And now my inner critic that voice in my head is dishing out self blame and maybe guilt, right? That is a recipe for unleashing a new layer of cravings or a desire to just go get something, to eat, to think about something else or to feel good. This is a vicious cycle that happens for me, and it is also a vicious cycle that so many women find themselves stuck.

And, it's almost comical, except it, it isn't that when we catch ourselves in a cycle of eating stuff, we don't really want to eat or that we don't really need, or that we're not really hungry for the thing that feels intuitive, (and I've talked about this before in other episodes), but the, the thing that feels intuitive is to focus on just not doing that thing, giving ourselves one more rule, one more thing that feels difficult that we're supposed to not do. Right. So not allow ourselves something in that moment. It seems to make perfect sense when you think, oh my gosh, I've just been grabbing handfuls of stuff all day. I just need to stop eating. But what we're really doing is taking away one other piece of nourishment.

Even if the eating the junk, isn't really nourishing in the big picture. Right? I want you to think about it the other way. Nourishment. Nourishing yourself. And again, we're not talking about food here. That's the way you break an overeating cycle. So if this resonates with you, if you see this pattern in yourself, or if you think maybe this is a pattern that you have in yourself, here's what I want you to do.

I want you to start a list of nourishing things. And I want you to actually write this down so you can put it in a note on your phone. You can use pencil and paper, make a file on your computer, but I want you to literally write this down, make a list of all the things that you can think of. They might be, some of them might be big, some of them might be small, but I want you to make a list of all the things that you can think of that nourish you, that nourish your mind, your body, your soul, your spirit. What are the little things? And I say little things, because I think sometimes we just tend to think of big things. And remember when we have those dire emergencies of being just completely undernourished and we really need something, we typically don't have a lot of bandwidth.

So it, it's important to give yourself permission, to think of small things as well. What are the small things that nourish. Now, if that word doesn't resonate with you, if you can't really wrap your mind around, oh, what nourishes me? Try this start really concrete. Ask yourself what are the small things that feed my senses?

What are the small ways that I enjoy feeding my senses and then brainstorm as many of those as you. . So for example, here are some ways I nourish myself. I nourish myself by being outside. That is so important to me. If I can get outside for a walk or, um, just outside in a beautiful place. That's wonderful.

But if I can just go sit on my front porch for a couple of minutes and here are the birds or the rain, or just, you know, look at the flowers. That is nourishing to me. So being outside, going for a run or a walk moving my body is really nourishing for me a way that I feed my senses. That is so low energy and I can do it anytime is to use an essential oil diffuser.

Just make the place where I am smell really good. Sometimes I nourish myself through the experience of brewing a big cup of tea, taking my big mug and making some tea that smells good. That is warm. That is comforting to hold in my hand and giving myself a little bit of quiet, a window of quiet to savor my mug of tea in.

Sometimes I nourish my spirit by putting on music or by laughing, having a great laugh is so fueling for me. Sharing a conversation with somebody I love or just reaching out was to somebody. I care about sending a text, sending a funny email. I can nourish my spirit by taking just a few minutes to write in my journal.

It doesn't have to be prolific. It isn't prolific. Sometimes it's just a brain dump. Sometimes it's a list of things I want to do. Sometimes it's something it's just sitting down the act of sitting down to write and not knowing what is gonna come out of it. A very simple thing I do that nourishes my spirit is to water my house plants or go out in the garden with the hose and water the flower beds. Stretching is nourishing to me, putting on a yoga, you know, streaming a yoga workout, or doing a few yoga stretches. Using fancy bath products that for some reason, I don't know why I don't always use them. I have them, but actually intentionally using some of those products that I really love.

And again, think about feeding your senses. There's there's the warm water or the smell of them or the texture of them, or, you know, massaging them into your skin. all of these are ways that we take care of ourselves or nurture ourselves or nourish ourselves. The, these are all ways that we give ourselves something, right?

So another way that I nourish myself is when the sun is out, taking a few minutes to just go sit in it, taking my lunch outside, or it's taking something that I need to read outside and getting a change of scenery and feeling the warmth on my skin while I do something that I have to do. Right? Now, these are just the things that work for me.

These may not be your nourishing things, but I hope that sharing some things can get the wheels turning if you're feeling a little stuck with that. Now here's the reason I want you to literally write these things down. It's because if you're like me, if the time when you tend to overeat or mindlessly eat or just graze in the kitchen tends to be the time when you are worn out and you haven't been getting enough of what you need, then think about it.

The time when we need nourishment is the time when we are probably the worst at figuring out how to nourish ourselves. So having simple ideas that work. Having those ready, having thought about them ahead of time. That helps a lot. And small is critical too, because when you have small, simple nourishing acts, that you can just plug into your schedule, that maybe you can make a regular part of your life.

Things that aren't a huge luxury, just nourishing routines and rituals. Those things can keep us fed. They can keep us from hitting that wall of not having gotten anything for ourselves all day. Right. So start your list of nourishing ideas, start it now. And then I always think of it as like a grocery list.

Right? It's I've got the list going and I'm gonna add to it as I start to think of things. And that's what happens. Anytime we start to focus on something. So, as you get curious about what are the things that nourish me, what are the simple things that feed my soul or feed my senses? You are going to expand your list.

You're gonna come up with more ideas. All right. So there is one final piece of this puzzle. You won't be surprised, but real nourishment and really taking care of ourselves and responding to our needs in ways that aren't food. Doesn't that doesn't get taken care of by simply making a to-do list. The to-do list is helpful and by the to-do list, I mean, the thing, the list of things that you're creating that are helpful to you, that feed your spirit.

Right. But if we think of these as just a mandatory to-do list, not only do we tend to not do them, but it also changes the whole flavor and character of acting on these things when we do them. Like everything else shifting the way that we take care of ourselves usually requires shifting the way that we think about taking care of ourselves.

It's mindset work, right? The thoughts, the stories, the beliefs that you repeat to yourself about what you deserve, about how you respond to your needs, about how much space you're allowed to take, to respond to your needs about how you permit yourself to spend your time. You definitely aren't alone. If you have a story or a constant stream of thoughts that reaching for something to eat overeating at night, grabbing that extra snack in the afternoon -if you have a story that that's the best way to soothe yourself or to reward yourself or to feed your soul, you're not alone If you have that story. But if you skip the mindset work, if you skip the work on shifting those thoughts, developing a new way of thinking about yourself and food and what you're entitled to and how to take care of yourself, if you skip that step, making changes with overeating is always going to feel like an uphill battle, like a struggle.

Because if you don't address the thoughts and the beliefs, your old thoughts and beliefs will be working against the new things that you're trying to do. So this both pieces are really important. And what I would suggest to you is to begin to get curious, pay attention to how you take care of you. How do you think about taking care of you?

Where do you tell yourself it's not possible to take care of you or you shouldn't have to take care of you? How do you talk to yourself about your needs and your desires and where does food come into play there? Right. Do you feel like you have permission to feed your spirit? Do you feel like you have permission to nourish yourself or is even listening to me use those words a trigger to have you roll your eyes?

Right. Does it feel unreasonable or too fluffy? Pay attention, be curious about this stuff. Are you stingy when it comes to spending your valuable time or your energy on yourself, do you have a thought in your head that says, oh, you shouldn't really need this. Start to notice the stories that you tell yourself about this, because they very likely are related to overeating or emotional eating that you are doing that is feeling like a problem to you.

When it comes to making changes and by changes, I mean, real lasting changes with your relationship with food and by relationship with food, I mean with why you eat and when you eat and how much you eat when it comes to making those changes, you are always gonna be doing a dance between your thoughts and your beliefs and the actions that you take.

Only focusing on one. is not going to be enough and programs that tell you it's okay to just focus on one, just, you know, do this, do this list, follow this, or follow this protocol. These programs are not setting you up for lasting change. It is always a dance between your thoughts and your mindset. What you tell yourself about yourself and about food, and then the actual behaviors, the habits, the rituals you have in place the things that you are showing up and doing it is a dance between the two. So be curious, watch what you do, watch what you're thinking, see what you can learn from that. And the question I wanna leave you with today is if you aren't getting what you need, what kind of adjustment can you make? What kind of small adjustment, how can you adjust you getting your needs met just a teeny tiny bit more? Right. How can you turn up the dial on that today? What is something you could actually do to nourish your spirit a little bit more today? Take some time to think about it. Don't forget to make your list, but take some time to think about what you can actually do today and have fun with that.

All right. I'll see you later.

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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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