Is your overeating caused by internal imbalance?
We all love to eat. Enjoying food beyond simple sustenance is normal. It becomes problematic, however, when we overeat until there is a significant weight gain or health risk. When we eat without physical hunger cues, regularly choose unhealthy comfort foods, or eat when we’re already full, something is out of balance.
Our bodies are equipped with a sophisticated signaling system designed to guide us to proper nutrition. The system informs us via hunger pangs that it’s time to eat and prods us with cravings to select the correct nutrients. It ensures we get enough calories and then signals when we’re full. Just like breathing, most of these processes occur without our awareness. If we don’t mess with the machinery too much, it works well for a lifetime.
But in today’s hectic, fast-paced world, many of us are disconnected from our body signals. We’ve lost touch with our innate signaling system and often ignore, medicate or override the body’s messages. We’re living in poorly functioning bodies, coping with digestive problems, low energy, fatigue, and chronic inflammation. We may experience significant health warnings or develop degenerative conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
How have we become so blind to our body signals? A number of major factors contribute to this disconnection:
SOCIETAL PRESSURES: Cultural and family messages encouraged us to ignore body signals in an attempt to control our body size, leading to a destructive diet mentality. Chronic low-calorie dieting imbalances signals and brings dietary deficiencies, slower metabolism, out-of-control rebound eating, and weight gain.
DIETARY DECEPTION: Our calorie-counting machinery gets fooled by a diet artificially concentrated in sugar, fat, fiber-deficient processed foods and food of animal origin such as meat (including fish), eggs and dairy products. Obesity is on the rise because our diet is substantially different from our ancestors.
FOOD ADDICTION: Modern drug-like foods activate pleasure centers in the brain, unbalance body and brain signals, and lead to addiction. Once we’re addicted, it takes a disciplined effort to tolerate the unpleasant process of detoxification and the reintroduction of less stimulating whole foods.
GENETICS: Sometimes things we can’t control can cause body and brain conditions including hormonal irregularities, nutrient deficiencies, low or high levels of brain chemicals and food allergies or sensitivities that result in imbalanced signals.
MODERN URBAN LIFESTYLE: High-stress, sedentary, overstimulating lifestyles downplay the need for proper exercise, rest and sleep.
If you’re routinely overeating and experiencing symptoms of imbalance, share your concerns with a healthcare provider who can diagnose and treat underlying conditions.
Change begins with awareness. The first step in resolving imbalances that lead to overeating is pay attention to symptoms. Keep in mind it takes time to make significant lifestyle changes. It’s a process and try-ing to do too much too quickly adds more stress. Start with baby steps today. Applaud yourself for willingness and courage to examine your life and make changes. Learn more on overeatingrecovery.com
10 Steps to Help Reduce Overeating, Release Excess Weight, and Improve Overall Health and Energy
1. DITCH THE DIET MENTALITY. In order to reconnect to your signals, practice eating when you truly feel hunger, stopping when you’re satiated, and allow yourself free choice of wholesome foods to satisfy cravings.
2. STAY GREEN. STAY CLEAN. Add unprocessed whole plant foods, especially fresh, raw vegetables, to your diet. Fiber helps move toxins out of the body and fills you up, making it easier to gently release the foods that are contributing to body and brain imbalance.
3. BUY ORGANIC. As much as possible, buy organically grown sprouts and vegetables to avoid toxins.
4. ELIMINATE SUGAR AND OILS. Read food labels and avoid processed foods and additives.
5. KEEP IT RAW. Meet most of your daily essential fatty acid requirements with unprocessed, uncooked whole foods such as flaxseed and other sprouted nuts and seeds.
6. DE-STIMULATE. Eliminate alcohol and reduce your use of stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine.
7. EXERCISE IN MODERATION. If you’re not exercising, include it in your day. Over-exercising can be a stressor. If you’re on either end of the spectrum, explore the reasons.
8. REST AND RECOVER. Plan more time for adequate sleep and periods of rest in your week. Your body needs rest to heal itself. Allow yourself to get the rest you need and wake without an alarm clock.
9. REDUCE STRESS. Identify major stressors in your life, including environ-mental toxins and traffic, and think about ways to reduce them.
10. GO EASY ON YOURSELF. Practice self-compassion daily. It will take time to resolve overeating. Try not to be a perfectionist. Access an inner supportive voice capable of soothing and comforting and reassuring you that your needs can be met.
Article by Julie M. Simon