What’s YOUR Reason for Overeating?
I hear this sooo much from clients … “I eat because I’m bored!”. But …WAIT A MINUTE! What does that phrase mean to you? Here’s what it does to me …
I Eat Because I Don’t Like to Be with Myself. I’m going to sound a bit arrogant here but I REALLY LIKE BEING ALONE. I’m never bored because I can always find something to do with myself … as a matter of fact, there aren’t enough hours in the day for my projects. Like today I want (the operative word) to write BOTH these blogs, do laundry, watch CBS Sunday Morning, do my beginning Tai Chi practice and meditate, call two friends, work on my Leonie Dawson business workbook, and make Gluten-Free carrot cake madeleines. Then, if there’s time, I’ll go to Whole Foods and shop for the week. And clean out my exercise room. All the time happy in my tasks. Yes, I HAVE become my own best friend.
I find that clients who say they’re “bored” never spend any time with themselves. They run from work to activities to friends or family to bed and are never alone. When they are, they don’t know what to do with themselves. They become what can almost be described as depressed. And, being that way, they’ve found an outlet … they eat. In a very short time, it becomes a habit. There’s not a lot of research around “boredom eating”; it appears to be lumped in with “emotional eating”. But the reality is that more clients tell me they eat out of the former than the latter.
Why am I happy? I think because of the next reason, which is …
I Eat Because I Don’t Have a Spiritual Base. When I ask clients what they do for spiritual growth, often they tell me “nothing”. Again, I’m going to sound a bit arrogant, but my spiritual quest was always important to me … possibly the most important thing in my life. Partially because I always knew I was intuitive and had to find out the reasons why. But also partially because I came of age in the 60’s … a time when the hold upon the masses of organized religion began to wane and, in lieu of this spiritual upheaval, people began to look for alternatives. And many like myself found them in Eastern spiritual disciplines such as Buddhism and Hinduism.
It’s no wonder that nutrition researchers are advocating mindfulness and meditation as the “new” solution for obesity. Because we’ve tried diets and know they don’t work. So now we’re trying the spiritual disciplines I studied more than 50 years ago to find an answer to my burgeoning intuitive gifts. Interesting … huh?
How do you find what alternatives work for you? Well, first I’d spend some time alone with yourself to really get in touch with the words whirring in your head. You can’t find out what works for you if you don’t quiet your mind enough to hear what your inner voice is telling you.
I love, love, LOVE the little book, “There is No Right Way to Meditate and Other Lessons” by Yuki Sakugawa. I love it so much that I’m buying copies to give to all my clients. Why do I love it? Because it has so much to offer simply about how to quiet your mind and creatively combat bad feelings. “A simple illustrated guide to meditation” … one of the ideas in the book … is a cinch … here are the steps …”
1. sit in a comfortable position
2. feel the weight of the air around you
3. feel the surface of your own skin
4. now imagine that a magical eraser is erasing the outline of your being…
5. until there is no boundary between you and the rest of the universe. OM.”
‘Nuf said? Make it a daily practice and you’re home! Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that. But we’ll talk more about that in my “Are You Weighting?” program. Because I think that finding your spiritual base … which is really about getting more in touch with your Magnificent Self … is crucial for changing your eating behaviors.
I Eat Because I’m Dopamine-Starved. Dopamine is this pesky neurotransmitter that stimulates and drives you. Dopamine release in the brain can be so motivating that rats will press a lever continually to obtain it to the exclusion of other important life-maintaining activities like sleeping and eating. People who have naturally lower levels of dopamine are therefore more likely to seek out and become addicted to dopamine-producing stimuli like alcohol, drugs, and FOOD.
So it may be possible (I say possible because, again, this isn’t very well-researched) that people in the dopamine-doldrums turn to food to excite and stimulate them. After all, it’s readily available. There’s a 7-Eleven AND a HUGE grocery store right on my corner. And the largest Whole Foods in the West is only 20 minutes away. It’s easier to food-soothe than get drugs or alcohol. Oh, wait … there’s alcohol available in both the places on the corner, and pot is now legal in California.
So we now have a whole cacophony of dopamine-stimulating substances at our fingertips. But there are much better ways to stimulate ourselves. We’ll talk more about them in the second article of this series. Meanwhile, I’d like you to do one thing … think about these ideas and see if one or more resonates with you. Because awareness is the beginning of change.
Actually … do two things. Try out the little meditation technique above. Or if that’s a bit intimidating, try sitting for just five minutes, close your eyes, breathe in and out, and focus on that breath. Who knows what you’ll find out!
Leave Your Comments About I Eat Because I’m Bored … YOU? Below
How do you describe the main reason why you overeat? Is it because you’re bored? What does that mean to you now that you’ve read this article?