What’s Going On When Enough Food Isn’t Enough?

red flagWhat’s going on with us liberated eaters when we keep eating even though our stomachs are telling us to quit?

This happens to all of us now and then. Instead of getting sidetracked by guilt or fear, let’s explore what’s happening when enough food isn’t feeling like enough.

There are hundreds of reasons we might feel compelled to overeat – from old habits to new stressors – but let’s divide these myriad reasons into three main categories so it’s easier to find solutions.

There’s always a way through.

When enough isn’t feeling like enough, check in on these 3 possibilities:

1. Your life is raising a red flag: Something needs your attention. You really are hungry – just not for more food. So the question becomes

“What am I really hungry for?”

Could you need more fun? Connection? Creativity? Purpose? Wiggle room? Spiritual meaning? Peace? These are all legitimate needs that can feel a lot like gnawing hunger.

2. Your food-life is asking you to show up again: Maybe you’re not eating as mindfully these days, which is easy to forget in our distracting world. Thoughtful eating, however, is the strongest safeguard for our food-filled lives. Becoming present before we take that first bite sets us up for sanity and satisfaction.

3. You’ve forgotten what you REALLY want: The more future-focused we are the easier it is to align our daily choices with our future dreams. When your goal of feeling great tomorrow is not top-of-mind today, it’s easy for the other half of that panini to look pretty special.

Keeping a shined-up mental picture of myself dancing joyously at my granddaughter’s wedding when I’m 85 makes it much easier to get to the gym at 59.

So there we have it, three different areas to explore. Here are some questions to think through if you’d like to dig a little deeper…

What might your life need more of right now? Or less? Would you be willing to journal about this or talk it through with a trusted friend this week?

How thoroughly have you been enjoying your eating experiences lately? On a scale of 1 to 10 how “present” are you these days?

How strong is your motivation for reaching and keeping your best health? What does this level of health look like for you? What might change if you focused on how you want to feel one year from today?

7 Helps for Making Your Healthy Changes

People make major life changes all the time.

And – it takes intentional focus, repeated effort, resilience, encouraging support, a little 30humor and some time.

Here are some important things to know about change:

  1. Just 30 days. (Think how fast a month goes by!) It takes between 21 and 30 days to form a new habit. For instance, relax and become present before each meal for 30 days and around the 31st day you will do it automatically. Voilà!
  2. Be patient and realistic when it comes to lifestyle changes. If it takes 30 days to make or break a habit, it takes about that many MONTHS to change a lifestyle.
  3. Set up doable checkpoints. When making a lifestyle change, think is terms of 30, 60, 90, 180 and 365 days. Think STEPS rather than “for the rest of my life”. It is easier to think about doing something new (like walking for 30 minutes 5 days a week) for one month than for twenty years. Then, after one month you have the confidence and experience to keep going.
  4. Remember you are not stuck. Think in terms of choice. Your choice. After 30 days you can reevaluate and decide if this habit (such as stretching 10 minutes each morning) is still one you wish to continue. If so, you can rev up again for the next 30 days…but you have the power to choose if it is still important to you or not.
  5. Let go of perfectionism. You do not have to do everything perfectly to be moving forward. In fact, if you are doing things differently 70 to 80 percent of the time, you are changing neuropathways in your brain in such a way that things are actively changing! Perfection is not possible or necessary.
  6. Tackle one or two changes at a time. Don’t sabotage yourself by thinking you must tackle everything at once.
  7. Prime your brain for change. This one is fun! Do several unrelated things differently. Park on the other side of your driveway. Drive a new route to work. Move your coffee pot to a new spot in the kitchen. Little, random changes prime the pump for other changes…they kind of jar things loose and get you and your brain ready for new stuff.

Yes, you can have the vitality, weight and health you want! Just add a little grit to the mix and you are on your way…