My body went through all the classic reasons for being overweight—fat protected me from more abuse as it kept me sexually unappealing. At heart, I believed I didn’t deserve to be slender and beautiful. I didn’t feel worthy enough to be happy.
Excess weight was an excuse for laziness, preventing walks because my legs hurt—of course they did with the weight they carried. I tired easily so weight put an end to volunteerism—finally, a real excuse to say No! (At that time I was caught up in being too busy to take care of myself, another classic abuse trait: I never felt taken care of as a child so I took care of others while I neglecting myself.)
Someone suggested I get in the habit of checking my emotional state whenever I thought I was hungry. Over half the time I wanted to eat because something emotional/psychological was bothering me. Once I checked in and established that I just wanted to stuff my feelings, I pulled out a journal and spewed my words until I got an honest picture of what I felt. At the very least, I’d craft a story.
If you’re uncertain if you have real hunger pangs, do what professional health and fitness organizations have suggested: drink a small glass of water because thirst can mimic hunger. Wait 10 or 15 minutes before eating. Remember, don’t rush through your meal or eat large portions. Eat only until you’re full, knowing you can grab another bite at your next sign of hunger.
A woman in Weight Watchers said, “Douse the tempting food with water.” Do it fast without thinking. If anything can put a damper on potentially overeating sugar and sugar-carbs, soggy food will do it.
Admittedly, there were plenty of times that after checking my emotional state–which I often was in when thinking I was hungry–then drinking water to confirm that I was merely thirsty, I couldn’t make it to the dousing-food-with-water stage because that was counter-intuitive to the instant gratification I wanted from food.
It boiled down to fearing the consequences of possibly being unloved, punished, unaccepted, emotionally hurt—and a host of other “what if” situations, most of which never happened.
Emotional overeating is a tough cycle to jump off, but with a lot of practice and as much determination, nearly everyone can curb their appetite and become a healthier and happier person.