Posts Tagged ‘getting out of overwhelm’

Why Overeating Leads to More Overeating

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Overeating and OverwhelmedWhat triggers you to eat more than your body wants?

It all starts with a thought.

That thought leads us to a feeling, good or bad, it doesn’t matter.

And that feeling leads us to take action.

When we take action, we get a result.

Overeat often, and the result you’ll get is extra weight.

This is basic Cognitive Behavioral Psychology.

Now picture this scenario: you have eaten past hunger, past comfort.

Physically you feel overstuffed and uncomfortable.

Your emotional feeling might be something like shame, regret, depression, anger, or hopelessness.

All of those feelings come from your thoughts.

So after you overeat, as soon as you start to feel these negative emotions, you feel uneasy.

As these bad feelings begin to arise, resistance also arises. You don’t want to feel shame or depression or hopelessness.

So, what’s a girl to do?

Eat more.

Overeating begets more overeating because of what we say to ourselves.

When we start beating ourselves, our survival instinct kicks in and we want relief.

We want it now.

We want to feel better.

How can we do this?

The easiest way to drown out a bad feeling if overeating is your modus operandi, is to overeat some more. (If you overspend, or overdrink, or over-anything, your M.O. will be to do more of the same.)

And this cycle can go on and on until you are really physically ill.

After we overeat, we commonly think, “Oh well, I blew it, I may as well keep going and enjoy this food and start again tomorrow.”

I think there’s more to “I blew it” than meets the eye.

After you ‘blew it’, do you really enjoy what you are continuing to eat?


“I blew it” implies you goofed, and now you may as well give up.

I say “I blew it” is a cover for “I can’t stand this discomfort one moment longer. I need food.”

So you eat.

And now you can focus your thoughts and your energy on what you just ate, how you blew your program again, and what’s wrong with you. Mostly what’s wrong with you.

It’s a never ending cycle.

Sounds crappy.

Feels crappy.

Imagine this: next time you overeat, and you’ve completed the first round of food, just sit. Get away from the food, and set a timer for 15 minutes. See what you feel. Notice what you’re thinking. (Here’s a worksheet to help you do this… click here to open.)

But here’s the deal: don’t go to your usual feeling-squasher. Sit with it. Let it pass though you. Here’s where you have the power to stop. To turn things around.

You don’t have to complete this overeating episode in the way you always do. You can break the chains that bind you any time.

What if you completely changed your perspective?

Instead of thinking that you boarding a fast-moving train and can’t get off, think of this:

You overate.

But it’s what you do after that will pack on the pounds of shame. Dr. Stephen Gullo, a diet guru to New York City high society, calls it the ‘slip to sleep syndrome’.

After your first slip, your first bite of something you didn’t have hunger for, your first phase of overeating, if you stop, you can minimize the damage to your psyche. Not to mention your body.

But what most of us do is continue the damage until we go to bed that night, bloated and wounded, adding insult to self-injury.

You’ve never blown it.

What does ‘blown it’ mean, anyway?

Can’t Get Started?

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Swimmers get startedSometimes, the hardest part of getting where you want to go isn’t staying on the path and it isn’t finishing. It’s how to get started.

When I work with private clients, we frequently make a weekly plan of action to get them started on their weight loss journey. This plan might cover areas like eating, movement, mindset, self-care and overcoming any upcoming challenges. Together, we set goals in these areas.

Often my clients will come back the following week with some of their goals accomplished.

Of course, this is good.

Other times, my clients will return to our next session with none of their goals accomplished. They report feeling ‘overwhelmed’ and unable to make any movement at all.

This too, is good.

How can that be?

When you find yourself unable to do what you know you want to do, it could mean several things.

It could mean that you have made your steps too big.

Like trying to go from eating MacDonald’s daily to eating only organic vegan.

While that example seems obvious, many of us set the bar too high, too fast when trying to accomplish anything. We think about what seems reasonable to do and we disregard where we are starting from.

That leads to overwhelm.

And overwhelm leads to inaction.

Being unable to get started can also be looked at as your own personal barometer.

You might even consider it a blessing!

Although it may feel frustrating when you can’t get started on something you want to do, it may be because you have conflicting beliefs about what you are attempting.

When you want to change a habit, think about what you believe about your current habit.

If your main belief about changing that habit is that it’s really hard, and because you’ve never done it before it’s not likely you will succeed, then you will unconsciously work to prove yourself right.

But what’s great about this roadblock is that it gives you a chance to unearth those beliefs that prevent you from getting started, and gives you the opportunity to replace them with beliefs that will help you.

Another possibility that might hold you back from getting started on something that you really want is the payoff you are getting from NOT changing the old habit.

Yes, even with some behavior you really want to change, and are so mad and frustrated with yourself for doing, there’s something you’re getting out of it.

For example, if your goal is to plan your meals and shop so you have what you need in the house when you need it, when you don’t plan and shop, the payoff might be: 1) you get to spend that time doing something else, 2) you get to eat like you have been, without really thinking, or 3) you get to avoid confronting yourself and seeing what comes up when you do something new and uncomfortable.

If you can’t get started on something that you really want, think about these questions:

  • Why do you want this?
  • Is this reason really compelling?
  • How will it make you feel if you can achieve this goal?
  • Does it feel right in your gut?
  • Have you broken your steps down into small enough bites?
  • What beliefs might be holding you back?

Now, take the tiniest, baby step.

That step might be so small that you don’t think it’s worth mentioning.

But it is.

And all those baby steps will add up.

Right now, I hear some mumbling about how long things will take with these tiny baby steps.

Time will pass at the same rate, whether you take these steps or not. But if you do, you will inevitably get where you want to go.

Take one step today.

What’s Your Theme?

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

What's Your ThemeDo people really have themes?

I think so.

For many years, I worked my way through my life, trying to find happiness.

I read hundreds of self-help books, talked to friends, did lots of coaching and even did therapy.

I couldn’t figure out, despite all this work, why I still wasn’t enjoying my life as fully as I wanted to.

Then I stepped back and I began to see patterns.

I realized that whenever I got into a funk, it was usually about the same type of thing, over and over again.

I began to realize that my life was organized around a few variations of one central theme.

My theme was and sometimes still is ‘not enough’.

Sometimes I told myself that I wasn’t doing enough.

Other times I thought that I wasn’t getting enough.

My ‘enough’ could be work, food, love, time with certain people or money.

So now, I know my themes.

When something triggers my thoughts about having or doing enough, I snap out of it.

And I lovingly remember, ah, it’s just one of my themes.

I don’t have to go down that path.

I can dump my old themes.

So can you.

But first, it helps to recognize them.

Do you know what your themes are?


Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Hiking at a retreatIn addition to common definitions of retreat, such as ‘departure’ and ‘flee’, I love the definition of retreat as ‘a sanctuary, a hideaway, or haven’.

A while back, I retreated with 35 fellow life coaches and 3 fearless leaders to Sedona, Arizona.

We hiked and talked and laughed and cried.

We shared stories and ate delicious food.

We took naps and got massages.

We connected, both with each other and with our inner selves.

The time away from my everyday life was invaluable.

I came home with lots of clarity about what’s in between my present life and my ideal life. (By the way, the answer is ‘me’.)

And after, as I looked at my ever-present to do list, and got back to work coaching my wonderful clients, I wondered whether it was possible to take away some elements of the retreat and create some of those great features at home.

So I’ve made a decision and here it is.

Once a month will be my home retreat day.

I plan to clear my calendar. No phone, no email, and no appointments. Not even one.

Because even though connections with friends and colleagues are a primo element of happiness for most people, it’s the connection with ourselves that needs to come first.

It’s easy to say we should accept ourselves and be compassionate with ourselves. Yet when we move through life so quickly and are so distracted it’s too easy to lose touch with what matters most.

Here’s my plan:

A random Thursday that has nothing on the calendar yet, is now blocked out. It will be a day for me to check in with myself and treat myself to the time and space to do some self-care.

I’d like to invite all of you to accept a challenge and take your own retreat day. Maybe it’s only a half day. But I encourage you to take some chunk of time to block out for yourself.

How will you spend this time?

Well, here’s what appeals to me:

  • Going back to sleep after my girls leave for school.
  • Eating delicious healthy food that I will take the time to prepare for myself, not because I have to, but because I’m worth it.
  • Writing in my journal.
  • Thinking about my life… checking in and really looking at different areas. Is this how I want my life to look? Are there options?

Realistically, perhaps one day or a half day isn’t enough to change everything. But taking time to think is a start.

Taking time allows you to be intentional with your life. You end up actively creating instead of being moved along like a leaf on a stream of water.

And the more often you create these pockets of time, the more consciously you will begin to do everything.

So, are you in?

Pick out a day and do it.

Sometimes it helps to step away from your daily routines to see if you are where you want to be.

What a great gift to give yourself!