The Reason You Overeat | TMOHP 001

Welcome to the first episode of the Too Much on Her Plate podcast! There’s a lot of ground to cover on this road to creating freedom from emotional eating and overeating, let’s start in the most important place - the reason you overeat.

You may think you already know what the reason is, and you may also feel guilt and frustration every time you think about it. But the reason you’re overeating or struggling with emotional eating may not be what you think. This is a particularly important episode if you’re someone who feels mad at themselves or even guilty or ashamed because overeating keeps happening.

Thanks for joining me for this first episode! If you like what you hear, help me spread the word! Subscribe to the podcast and take 30-seconds to leave a review. Share the podcast with others. Your reviews and shares make all the difference in helping get this information out into the world!

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Why overeating is so persistent and why it’s felt so hard to change your eating habits or your relationship with food
  • The key to unlocking your overeating puzzle
  • Five common reasons that women overeat and that food can have so much power over you
  • How vicious cycles with food and weight get their power - and how to break free from them
  • Hidden Hungers - what they are and why you need to know about them

Listen to the full episode:

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Episode Transcript

Welcome to the very first episode in the too much on her plate podcast. It's Dr. Melissa McCreery, and I'm so glad you're here. We've got such great ground to cover. As we talk about how to create real lasting peace with food and freedom from overeating, you know, the very first episode feels so momentous, right? What do you talk about in the very first episode? And so I thought I would start with the most important thing I hear from so many women, women who are looking for coaching who want to join one of my programs, women on social media. And it's often a variation of the very same thing, which is why is this something I am still struggling with? I don't understand. I feel like I know what to do. And I just can't make myself do it. Or my head is so full of information. 

I could write a book about this, but somehow I just can't put it into play in my life. I've created so much success. There are all these things I know how to do. I feel like I've gotten A's on the report card of every other area of my life. And yet this is the last place where I just struggle. And I feel like a failure. I hear that all the time. And it takes such a toll. It is so hard to have this thing that feels like it ought to be incredibly obvious or incredibly intuitive. And sometimes we tell ourselves the story that everybody else has, it figured out, right? Why can't I do this? And it's really hard, really hard. So let's start there. I'm going to say something so important to you, and I want you to really hear it. This is important. 

So whatever you're doing, while you're listening to this, I want you to stop for a minute and take a deep breath. I want you to hear this, and I want you to notice how it feels in your body. When I say it. Ready? There is a reason you're eating. There's always a reason you eat. And a reason that you overeat there is always a reason. And it's not that you're lazy. It's not that you're undisciplined. It's not that there is something else wrong with you. This is so important. The key to unlocking your overeating puzzle and solving it begins with accepting this one. True fact, there is always a reason that we reach for something to eat. We overeat for a reason every single time. And if it is not that we are needing fuel, it is something else. It's as simple as that. So if you have been living caught up in a vicious cycle, where you tell yourself you're not going to overeat, you tell yourself you're not going to eat emotionally. 

And eventually you do. And then you get mad at yourself and then you beat yourself up and you tell yourself all the things that are wrong with you. And you decide that you're going to try harder. You're going to wake up tomorrow morning and start the cycle over again. I want to start by interrupting that pattern. The problem isn't you, the problem isn't that you're lazy. The problem isn't that you're undisciplined. There's a reason that you're overeating. So let's talk about that. Okay. Let's start by being really clear. We live in a world where food is so incredibly easy and accessible and seductive. We live in a world and in a culture where we are taught sometimes from the beginning of our lives and marketed to, to use food for a whole variety of reasons. Food is convenient. Food is pretty much everywhere. We don't even have to get out of our cars to get it. 

We can fit it in around the million and one other things we're doing in our lives. You can often keep on doing the thing you're doing and reach for food. You don't even have to take a break. We don't have to say no to anybody else. If we're using food, as the way to quote unquote, take care of ourselves or fit ourselves in or push down our feelings, we can just keep on keeping on. There's always a reason that you overeat and it is really easy to use food, to take care of other reasons. So this is important because you can spend all of your time and your energy focusing on honing your discipline and your willpower, and getting better at sitting on your hands and not eating, not caving in to, to the urges, right? And high performers often fall into this trap. You can spend all your time and energy doing those things, but if you don't get clear on the reasons that you overeat, the reasons that food has the power that it does in the first place, then food and overeating and emotional eating, they are always going to have the upper hand. 

They are always going to be controlling the game. So let's take a deeper look at these reasons. There are some really common reasons that women, especially busy women, especially can get into traps with overeating, not only get into these traps, but get into real vicious, ongoing cycles with them. So I want you to imagine a circular cycle, right? So I'm going to name some things. And I want you to imagine that these things are going around in a circle or a hamster wheel, and they're all, they all can be connected to each other. These are some common reasons that women are reaching for food. When what they need is something that isn't fuel, right? So being busy, which can affect, um, you can use food as a way to, in things that you don't have time for being too busy, also gets in the way of making choices. 

We're in reaction mode, we're running around chasing our to-do lists. We're not stopping and thinking and being proactive about what we want to do next, or how we want to eat, or whether we're going to have food in the refrigerator or have to get takeout. So being too busy, which can be connected on that circle with stress. So eating for stress relief, eating, just push stress down, eating to calm down. Also on that cycle, on that circle, our emotions. That's another reason that women over eat. We eat because of emotions. We eat because we're feeling really good sometimes. And it's also really common to eat. If you have strong emotions that feel unpleasant, that maybe you don't want to feel, or you don't feel like you know how to cope with, or because you're on that, on that hamster wheel there, you're so busy and maybe you have some stress and you just don't feel like you have the bandwidth to take on those emotions right now. 

And so emotional eating becomes another really common reason that women turn to food. So we're still in the cycle. We've got being too busy and we have stress and we have emotions. And you may have one of those things. You may have a couple of those things. You may have one or two of those things, and they start to lead to other ones. Another reason that busy women often overeat is exhaustion. So how many times have you reached for something to eat, to try to perk yourself up and what not everybody knows about exhaustion, which we tend to glorify in our society, right? It's kind of a badge of honor for a lot of people to be so busy. They're not able to get enough sleep, but lack of sleep also affects appetite and also affects hunger levels so that if you're not getting adequate sleep on a regular basis, you are going to literally have more hunger and you're going to have different kinds of cravings. 

So exhaustion is a huge piece of what creates vicious cycles with food and overeating, particularly for busy women. So I think there are five main reasons. Women overeat being too busy, stress emotions, and not having the bandwidth to deal with them, exhaustion. And the fifth reason that doesn't get talked about enough, but I think is a very powerful is what I call avoidance. And it really tends to, to interact with those other reasons that can drive us, to reach for something to eat. Avoidance is just not wanting or feeling able to deal with something. And so we want to push it away or we want to push it down or we want to numb out. And for so many women, those kind of that situation is a recipe for using food to push it down, to stuff it down, to push it away or to get to that place of just numbed outness, because maybe you're too tired or you're too exhausted, or you just feel too busy to take on any more. 

So I want to make sure that you hear a couple of things here. There is a reason that you eat. There's a reason that you reach for food. And if you are stuck in a pattern with yourself where you are always telling yourself, it's just because there's something wrong with you, right? If you just could be stronger, if you just had more willpower, this, this would all be fixed. You wouldn't be doing this thing. You would just be not eating. Right? If you're stuck in a pattern where you're doing that. And you're also in a cycle where there are these reasons that food has the power that it does, you're busy and you're stressed, or you have a lot of emotions going on or, or you're exhausted. So there's some things that are giving food its power, but you're busy telling yourself, it's you and you just need to be stronger and you just need to work harder. 

What happens there? And I see this in a very visual way. So I hope you can see it in the way I'm describing. You got this cycle going on of things that are giving food its power. The reasons that food is so appealing, you're telling yourself, I just need to be strong. I just need to like push harder. I just need to do more. And if I do that, I will win over food when the struggle. Right. But what happens is you're running on a hamster wheel. You're running around being too busy, being stressed with emotions. You don't know how to deal with exhausted avoiding things or, or one or a few of those things telling yourself you need to work harder and harder. So you're running faster and faster on this overeating hamster wheel. None of those things are being addressed because you're focused on not eating. 

And so what's happening to you. You're running on this hamster wheel going nowhere. And every time that circle goes around, every time you run hard, I mean with every step, you're getting more tired. You're getting more frustrated with yourself because you're not getting anywhere. You're getting more burnt out. And you're probably depleting your confidence and your belief in your ability to get anywhere because you're not, there is a reason you overeat. There are reasons that you overeat and every time you push those aside and decide to blame yourself instead, you're probably adding more reasons and you're probably adding more power to the cycle. I know this sounds really heavy. It is really heavy. And it's important to see that because quite honestly, women have a lot of conditioning that it is your job to blame yourself. And it is your job to just push harder and work harder and make a system that doesn't work, work for you. 

And when it comes to overeating, just like lots of other things, that philosophy doesn't work. So let's talk about how to exit the hamster wheel. Let's talk about what you need to do with those reasons that you're overeating so that you can break the cycle. There's a reason that we overeat. I'm going to just keep coming back to that because if nothing else happens after listening to this episode, I want you to walk away with that ingrained in your brain. There's a reason that we overeat and the reasons that food has the power that it does leads to hidden hungers. That's a term you're going to hear from me a lot. We have these hidden hungers, hidden hungers are things that we need and that we crave that are not food. And if we don't know, we have these hidden hungers. If we don't know about these underlying reasons that we're reaching for food, then what happens is that you end up eating to cope or eating, to avoid or eating, to calm and comfort yourself or eating to energize or eating to reward. 

Food becomes this multifaceted tool. If you're busy and if you're overwhelmed and if you're stressed, food can become one of the few tools in your toolbox. That is kind of doing a lot of things, but not in a sustainable or permanent or really fixing kind of way. We have these hidden hungers. And then it becomes really easy, especially if you're busy and you have a lot going on to start to use food as a band-aid. So what I'd like to do is introduce you to a different kind of cycle instead of a vicious cycle, a different kind of cycle that you can start to build in your life and then continue to build and improve. That can take the place of this overeating hamster wheel. Uh, so this, you can start to get really fed and so that your hidden hunger is can start to be taken care of. 

And so instead of that cycle, I had you envisioned with busy-ness and stress and emotions and exhaustion and avoidance on it. I want you to imagine another circle that you're building another cycle, except that instead of going in a negative direction, this one is building positive momentum. So on this circle, we start with getting your needs met, learning new ways to get your needs met. How about some tools and strategies for emotions, those feelings that feel too hard, or the feelings that it doesn't feel like there are any space for. Let's give you some tools and some strategies to deal with those and to start to feel more effective with those. How about we tackle the guilt and the self-blame. We didn't talk about it very much, but you know, it's there because part of the vicious cycle, remember, is blaming yourself for all of these things and telling yourself if you would just work harder, you wouldn't have the cravings that you have. 

So learning how to take care of the guilt and the self blame and replace it with thoughts and beliefs that don't take you down that rabbit hole, but empower you to make the kind of changes that allow you to take your power back from food. That changes everything. Here's another piece of what's important for building a positive cycle and freedom from overeating, and that is figuring out step-by-step what you can do instead of turning to food, because here's something that's really important. Not only is there a reason that you overeat, not only is there a reason that you find yourself in the kitchen when you're not hungry, but you're a smart woman and it may, you know, you've got this advice in the back of your head that, well, I just need to not do that. But if you knew what to do, you're a smart woman, you would be doing it. 

So maybe we tack onto, there are reasons that you overeat. There are reasons that you overeat and you're doing the best that you can right now, even if it's not the strategy that you like. So let's add to that cycle of getting your needs met and getting some tools and strategies for emotions and starting to replace guilt. And self-blame with thoughts and beliefs that serve you better learning strategies for knowing what to do instead with the feelings and the stress and the busy-ness and the exhaustion, knowing what to do instead of reaching for something to eat. And here's the final piece that is so important for creating a real sustainable cycle of change. And I'll warn you, you may roll your eyes, but the final step is making sure that all of these pieces are doable. That the size steps that you are expecting yourself to take are sustainable, that they really fit with your life. 

Because let me ask you how many plans that you have tried to undertake to change your eating have fallen because you just couldn't keep up with them. How many times have you gotten off track or completely forgot what you were trying to do or not even started it because what you were expecting of yourself felt overwhelming. It is absolutely possible to create a new relationship with food or relationship with food that works for you, that feels peaceful, and that actually makes your life better instead of more stressful. And it starts by abandoning the hamster wheel. It starts by getting curious about your hidden hungers, starting to 

Where food is getting its power in your life and starting to build a new proactive cycle where you have the tools and the strategies and the thoughts and the beliefs that will serve you and propel you in the direction that you want to go.

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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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