Healing with Food: How to Quit Overeating in 5 Steps

Would you like to learn a few tricks to help you stop overeating and lose a few extra pounds?

If your answer is yes, keep scrolling!

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful little girl. She used to wear a red riding hood. The girl would turn into a wolf during the full moon, and then she would completely lose control of herself.  Eventually, her whole life got out of control. One day she even devoured her lover. Always ashamed of herself, little “Red Riding Hood,” as she was called, suffered greatly. She even asked to be chained and locked up. But nothing helped until she met her own kind. Her new teachers taught her to embrace the wolf inside of her. From then on, little Red Riding Hood was able to live peacefully with her inner wolf.

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We all have moments where our inner wolf takes over and we lose ourselves and become addicted. There are many shades of addiction: alcohol, gambling, and shopping to name a few. Most of these addictions can be viewed as supplementary to our lifestyles and not necessary for human survival. However, food is something we cannot live without. There is an abundance of food in our country, which is not shared across the globe. Unfortunately, wealth and excess can turn into obsessive, compulsive eating, also known as “bingeing.”

Why Do I binge? 

In my childhood, the food was an equivalent of gold, love, and ultimate well-being. Also, a body fat was equal to wealth.
 
My grandmother raised me. She survived the war and hunger. That is to say, she took food and eating very seriously. My dear grandma was determined to make me healthy by stuffing me with as much food as possible! Granted, I grew up to love food, its taste, its smell, and even chewing it.  I was overweight and thoroughly addicted to food at an early age.
 
Luckily, I embarked on a journey of a healthy lifestyle. But the food addiction never left me. My inner wolf materializes from time to time, and I overeat. As a result, I feel physically uncomfortable, bloated, and sick to my stomach. Not to mention, I feel crappy, guilty, regretful, and just angry at myself.

Provided that, I really would like to stay fit, overeating sabotages my goals.

How I break the cycle of overeating?

Well, I don’t think I will ever break free. However, I developed a healthier relationship with food and incorporated some tricks to my daily practice.

And here’s how you can stop overeating in six steps: 

1) Step# 1: Embrace Your Inner Wolf.

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There are many ways of living with addictions. Yoga comes to the rescue. It helped me to embrace my inner wolf!
 
Click here for a 10-minute practice. 
 
Ideally, a personalized yoga practice should be tailored for you by a qualified teacher. Given that, this type of yoga practice creates a balance not only in your body but also in your life.  As a result, your inner voice becomes your guide as your mind’s chatter slowly takes a backseat.
 
With my practice, I realized that I would not be able to completely stop bingeing, but at least it is more manageable.
 

Remember, healthy eating habits are a side effect of a balanced system. You can’t will yourself to stop bingeing.

If you want to be a different person, start by changing your experiences.

And a few more tips to help with the inner wolf:

  • The first thing is to identify that you have a problem.
  •  The next thing is to observe the issue.
    • This is not an easy concept for someone like me. I am “a doer” and “a fixer.”
    • Do you identify with me?
    • If yes, then we both have to come to terms with the fact that the seed of food addiction will always be there.
    • We need to have the courage to make an effort even in the face of failure.
  • This is not a linear process. We might have ups and downs.
  • We need to have the courage to make an effort even in the face of failure.
  • Let’s be kind to ourselves and not beat ourselves up.
  • Let’s make a positive change in our patterns.
  • Create kitchen exit strategies. 
  • Ask yourself if you really hungry or you just like to eat because you bored, stressed or filing the void.

Gather information, and find help. I am a very self-motivated person, but when it comes to food, I just can’t do it alone. Have faith in yourself! These things are not time dependent.

There is an opportunity for transformation at any age!

2) Step #2:  Reduce Stress.

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Stress, just like fear and anxiety, correlates to unproductive behavior, negative thinking, and a non-attentive mind, which leads to poor food choices. 
 
Yoga, again, is my best medicine. It can bring your system into a state of balance. The practice offers many tools: exercises (asana), breathing (pranayama), visualization, and meditation.
 
Consequently, by cultivating the attentive mind, you bring your whole system into the state of equanimity. As a result, you can also make better food choices. 
 
The key is to work on stress reduction on a daily basis. Make it a part of your natural state. 
 
After all, it is very hard to start deep breathing by the time your brain is in binge mode, and your inner wolf is out of control.
  • Plug relaxation into your schedule.
  • Make time to relax for at least an hour each day.
  • You can set the alarm at certain times to take short walks or practice yoga.
  • Vow to eliminate as many sources of stress as you can.
  • Write down the people and situations in your life that bring you the most stress.
  • Find ways to spend less time with those people and in those situations.
  • De-clutter your schedule. One reason that many people are stressed is that they feel overcommitted and like they don’t have enough time to pursue their interests or to spend time with their loved ones. See if you can find a way to free up just a few hours each week.
  • Learn how to say “no.”
  • Recognize that you can’t control everything.
  • There will always be stressful elements in your life, but you can minimize the stress in your life.
  • Eliminate what you can, and learn to deal with the rest.

3) Step #3: Make Smart Choices In The Grocery Store.

 
 
Be very mindful when you go food shopping. Be prepared. Make a list of items you will need for the upcoming week before you head out. Get small, reusable bags for bulk food (my weak spot).
  • Buy wholesome, seasonal food. 
  • Reduce or eliminate packaged foods. 
  • Avoid over-processed foods (typically these foods are packed with chemicals). 
  • Cook your meals, or buy from restaurants with sustainable cooking practices.
  • If you eat greasily, deep-fried food and over-processed foods, it will not only leave you sluggish but will also kill your good valuable cells.
  • Choose “real” foods, such as whole-grain items with as little processing and as few additives as possible. 
  • If you want more salt, just add it yourself.
  • Avoid foods that contain ingredients you can’t pronounce. 
  • You can find healthy recipes with seasonal foods. 

4) Step #4: Reduce Sugar.

Sugar is a palpable food. It can easily trigger bingeing. There was an interesting experiment in which rats were allowed to choose, in mutually exclusive fashion, between water sweetened with intense calorie-free sweetener and intravenous cocaine. The majority of animals (94%) preferred the sweet taste of saccharin!
Even already-cocaine-addicted rats switched to the sugar water. The conclusion of the study was that for most mammals, including rats and humans, sweet receptors had evolved in ancestral environments poor in sugars. Thus, they have not adapted to high concentrations of sweet tastings. The supernormal stimulation of these receptors by sugar-rich diets generates a supernormal reward signal in the brain with the potential to override self-control mechanisms leading to addiction.
 
I’ve never tried cocaine, but I love sugary treats and dry fruit, which is one of my major binge triggers. From my understanding about cocaine, once you have a hit, the drive is similar. It is Scary. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine. The bottom line is sugar is our new poison.
 
Sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Sugar is our new poison.
  • Exclude all processed white and table sugars.
  • Start reading labels to avoid anything with high fructose and sugar.
  • Eat fruit separately, preferably early in the morning. 

5) Step #5: Optimize Your Digestive System.

 
According to ancient yogic teachings, the human system is represented in a bird model (pancha-maya). Digestion is the foundation of this system.
 
We are not what we eat, but we are what we don’t excrete.
Digestion starts with the idea of eating. Taste is the next step in the digestive process and the first step in the nourishment of our tissues. Consequently, it is the first step at what we become.
What you eat can nourish you or not. What you take in can become part of you in a healthy, proper way or it can be debilitating. It is not normal to go the bathroom once every three days regardless of your age.
  • Incorporate probiotic-rich fermented foods like cultured vegetables.
  • Make veggies your main dish.
  • Eat real foods.
  • Don’t eat non-foods (foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce). 
  • Hydrate by sipping hot water throughout the day. But not during meals.
  • Choose your dining company wisely. It is not only how you eat but also who you eat with (I’d rather eat alone than in bad company).
  • Try not to talk during meals. Focus on the food.
  • Chew slowly. Not only is this better for your digestive system, but you’ll also enjoy it more.
  • A well-functioning digestive and eliminative system is a critical part of preventative health.

To conclude, you can minimize overeating in 5 steps: 

1) Embracing your inner wolf
2) Reducing stress.
3) Making smart choices in the grocery store.
4) Reducing sugar.
5) Optimizing your digestive system.
Keep in mind; the transformation doesn’t happen overnight, and you might never be able to stop overeating completely. Just focus one step at a time. 
 

Now, it is time to practice and share your experiences! 

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