“Thank you so much!! It was all amazing!!! Thank you very much!!!”
“You got me right back on track. I don’t know how to thank you enough.”
“What an amazing call! I took so many notes and can’t wait to put the ‘insight’ strategy into practice. Thank you!”
These just in from last night’s Success Club Teleclass attendees for our October call. Our topics were 3:
- 6 steps to stopping compulsive overeating
- Neutral spine and safe back position for exercise
- Simple take-away tools for meditation
And because our conversation was such a hit, I want to make it available to you. When you sign up for Healthy Happy and Fit Club by November 1st 2012, I’ll send you the recording for the October class straight away.
And for now, here are my working notes for the compulsive overeating portion of the program, fleshed out of course on the call which lasts about an hour.
6 steps to stop compulsive overeating
For years I labored under the delusion (I”ll explain) that I was an ’emotional overeater’.
I even fessed up to the statement: “I’m a compulsive overeater”, hoping for a breakthrough. Still, the frustrating and excruciating experience of continuing to eat on an overfilled stomach continued and the long term relief from it eluded me. And all the self-exploration and screams of supplication on my knees never made a difference until I got a few things straight.
To boil it down to the bones, the answer was found wrapped in three gifts. These I refer to in my practice as the 3 Pillars. The are a critical trio for healthy success – and all 3 are deeply addressed in my book. They are food, fitness, and the most often neglected third door, frame of mind. In the event that you are up against the wall of compulsive overeating, maybe these lessons from my experience will give you insights and possibly the breakthrough that you are looking for. Even if you, like me, are happy, well-adjusted, have a good job, happy relationships – yet can’t seem to get it together in this arena. What’s wrong with me? you ask.
It’s not a character flaw. And guilt just makes it worse (I’ll explain that, too).
Here are six pivotal points that turned my life around when it comes to food, eating, and my body. I’ve included action items so you can take action right away.
1) Eat enough – in time. Don’t dismiss this one quickly, even if you think you are eating enough and believe the problem is that you are eating too much. If you have a weight problem, it seems self-evident, doesn’t it? That’s how it seemed to me. Once I even put an overweight picture of myself on the refrigerator as visual proof to myself that “see, there’s plenty of fuel on your body!” to help me through a fast to – you guessed it, lose weight. The idea was to discourage me from eating.
Perhaps you’ve done something similar. This set me on a mission to continually cut back, delay eating, or otherwise undereat. This is the worst thing I could have done to lose weight. Hunger presents a primary stress to your body. It threatens your very survival instinct, for nothing is as basic to our survival as getting the fuel needed to think, move, and be. Let’s say another stressor enters your day – you think? The toast burns, the traffic makes you late for work, you have a verbal scrimmage with your significant other, the car runs low on gas and where is that gas station anyway? Which of these stressors is 1) the easiest to relieve, and 2) the one your body will prioritize as needing relief?
You guessed it. Satisfying the hunger. And instead of seeing the wisdom of our bodies, we blame ourselves for being weak, compulsive, ’emotional’ overeaters.
Action item: Eat to satisfaction early in the day and watch the night munchies evaporate.
2) Eat a whole foods, low fat plant-based diet. This has to do with hunger satisfaction and satiety. Your body is designed to respond with appropriate fullness signals when presented with food it was designed to thrive on, and that means full of fiber and low on fat and as close as possible to how it was delivered in nature. Some people need to be more prudent about this than others – you need to discover your own niche for getting to your goals.
Action item: Edge out lower quality food with high fiber, low fat plant foods: vegetables, starchy vegetables, whole grains, beans, fruit.
3) Move your body. This means also not sitting too much. Not only because it burns calories, which it does, or because exercise shapes muscle, which it does. Activity also restores equilibrium and willpower, giving you more resources for sticking to your plant. See 5 minute willpower workout #1: Exercise, the closest thing to a willpower magic bullet.
Action item: Find small chunks of time throughout the day to move your body. Even if you are getting in your workouts, be mindful of the power even 2 – 5 minutes of moving your muscles to restore well-being and inner strength.
4) Meditate. Breathe and be. Cultivate some kind of practice or quiet time that has the simple objective of restorating mental and emotional equilibrium. This is huge with mindset mastery, and the one most often neglected leg of the 3 Pillars.
Action item: See 5 minute anti-anxiety paint and willpower workout: How to meditate in 5 simple steps.
5) Abstain from negative self-talk. Look back to #1 above, where I gave the example of a fat photo on the fridge. Somehow this was supposed to shame me into avoiding food – and it did, until I couldn’t take it any more and it backfired in a binge. But what kind of a message is this to send yourself anyway? You cannot hate yourself to a better figure. And if you’ve been using the tight belt trick or the fat photo strategy yourself, something is going to need to shift out of the negative for you to be successful.
Action item: This one has many layers, but for starters, begin by making note of every time negative self-talk hijacks your inner world. Every time. It starts with awareness. I believe in the 3 Pillars so firmly, they are the heart of my book . Fit Quickies: 5 Minute Targeted Body-Shaping Workouts sounds like a fitness book – and it is, but it is truly a trojan horse of healthy success. For inside that horse is solid attention to practices of eating, activity, and mastery of mindset for success.
Once I got the 3 Pillars in place, things changed radically for me when it comes to food, eating, and my body. So much so that I haven’t had a binge since 1996. Have I sometimes had too much to eat? Maybe more mousse pie than I really needed? Certainly – that is normal. Random acts of overeating beyond fullness, repeatedly, is disturbed eating.
The good news is there is a way out. I’ve done it and have seen it done over and over again. Once you see the interconnectedness of eating, moving, and thinking, you can take action for change. And get out of your own way and on with healthy and happy weight loss success.
Grab your recording of the October Healthy Happy and Fit Club call by signing up for HHF Club by November 1.
Thank you for this today.
I always come down so hard on myself for overeating and it just makes it worse – I’ve never heard anyone say it quite like you do here but it’s true – it just makes it worse!
I am so grateful to you today for giving me such great ideas. Love the action steps. Perfect timing. Thank you thank you!
Sophie – thank you so much for opening up and sharing your thoughts. We needn’t suffer in silence – we needn’t suffer, period! Keep me posted on your actions for change, OK?
I can’t thank you enough for this gift today. I really need to work on this. I need to make these changes. Thank you Lani. Your support and wisdom have been tremendous. Somehow I always put myself last – especially the eating part. I really have to pay attention to these 3 Pillars and take them seriously – put them first on my to do list!
Tyler, I’m always so pleased to hear from you. And I want to encourage you – you have no idea (or maybe you do!) how hard it was to get myself to eat enough. All credit to my eating coach – she got me beyond the fear, which is what I seek to pay forward to everyone else caught in the same mess. I’m here – any time!
Very timely today as I am surrounded by Halloweeb treats at work- cake, donuts, cider, popcorn. I am sticking with the baked fries and red peppers I brought for a snack today
Gosh Lynnette you’re right! Smart to be prepared and if it were me, I’d double my oatmeal breakfast. Keep the faith and don’t let yourself go hungry!
Thanks for the insight! I never thought of it that way before- I starve myself all day, then by the time I get home from work I don’t care anymore, and eat whatever I can find before my husband comes home. I’m already a vegan, so tomorrow, no NOW! I’ll fix myself a fiber-filled breakfast and lunch, and put your ideas to the test- see what happens tonight!
YES Connie! It makes all the difference. Eating enough in time puts you back in control in so many ways. Keep me posted!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it means a lot –
This was really interesting and I will work on the negative self talk. I was also wondering if your book Fit Quickies was going to be released in ebook format. I really prefer to have all my books on my iPad. Easy access etc.
Thanks for underscoring the self-talk portion of the program – very important! The book will be available on kindle and the nook-friendly format – will that work for you? I don’t recall all the e-reader interfaces. Which do you use?
I use kindle mostly, but any ebook supplier will do
wow Lani are you sure we are not related he he, it is just your story from the beginning was just me , scared to eat and then when i went vegan put on the weight just like you and now with the over eating, mind you i still do that unfortunaltely. But lucky i now fuel up on roasted pumpkin as my treat and it satisfys me as it is sweet and nurishing , but will have to work on the over eating bit, so thanks for all the great tips, will give it ago.It seems that if i eat grains like rice i seem to be more less licky to want something after but with just eating veggies i still get the cravings, but like you said i try and cut back on things to compensate but never thought about my body craving more like you said, anyway thankyou so much for such valuble information for me and my patients, cheers Anna
Anna – see? I told you I understand! Thank you so much for telling your story too.
Compulsive overeating is EXACTLY my problem. And it’s been really bad lately. I’ve started the McDougall diet, but still find myself binging – even on “approved foods”. And I gained a little weight, even after 3 weeks on McD… And I do ‘hate myself’ for it… but I love your line “You can’t hate yourself thin”. I will work on these steps – thank you for these tools to use against this. 🙂
Brandie – you might also be interested in this article:
The scale doesn’t tell the whole story – whole foods come with all that great fiber that can initially mean more water weight in your digestive tract. The first month I ditched all oils, dairy, and ate low fat the scale jumped 2 lbs but it was all water content in the gut – give it time and don’t be afraid to ask if you need help with a tweak or two! And absorb that message – binges are the back side of not eating enough.
Thanks for your message Brandie – I’m here!
Hi, Lani. Thanks for sharing! I know this will make a difference in my life.
I wanted to add that one of the biggest stressors for me, and I’m sure many others, is fatigue. When we are tired and don’t go to bed our brains seek additional energy quickly which leads us to eat. Getting adequate rest is another major step to ensure we do not overeat.
Now I am going to go eat a wonderful fibre full breakfast and plan my day that includes all your steps. Thanks for sharing 🙂
I so appreciate your post – so important to keep in mind the fatigue factor. Our brains thrive on glucose (biggest energy consumer in our bodies!) and when fuel supplies dwindle, along with mounting stress which hammers away at our brain’s willpower instinct, well, no wonder we crash and burn.
You have such a proactive attitude! Great inspiration this morning.
Thanks for getting the word about fault and guilt out there, Lani. The science behind food addiction in breathtaking and anyone who tackles it is a hero!
One thing addicts might find useful is that it is anticipation more than consumption that gets those dopamine receptors active. And while highly palatable foods damage the brain, foods high in B6 and other activities can mend the same pleasure/impulse control areas that are decimated by pizza. The bad news on food addiction is very bad indeed, but the good news is that, with daily maintenance of the right food plan and plan of action, it is an addiction that can be lived with in a certain amount of peace.
Thank you for this insight. I know my comment is a bit late. But my BFF & I have a no bad-mouthing ourselves rule. Putting ourselves down, talking badly about yourself, calling yourself names, & generally fat-shaming of the self are all very self-defeating & anti-motivating patterns that we all need to unlearn.
And if one of us slips up, we interject to the other not to say those things, after all we wouldn’t say it to someone else. It’s important to show yourself the same compassion that you’d show another human being.