The Parts of Overeating
There are actually three parts to your urge to overeat. Here is how your specific urge breaks down:
1. The first aspect is the physical urge - your hunger. This consists of the actual urge and how you want to satisfy it.
2. The second aspect is the relief, the Food Trance. This consists of the change in your state of mind, including the amount of relief you feel and how long it lasts. This part is the SECRET of what keeps you turning to food again and again.
3. The third and final aspect is the consequence of eating in this way, or the price you pay for the temporary relief of the Food Trance. When you choose to eat, you forget how badly it's going to make you feel, or in that moment you decide you don't care how bad it's going to make you feel. The crash includes the guilt or weight gain you experience.
These are all the basic parts of the overeating pattern. When you eat to satisfy your biological hunger with healthy food, there is no guilt or regret. Whenever you indulge an urge to overeat, you can be sure there will be a crash. If you understand this, the easier it will be to reconsider the trade off you make when you overeat. Overeating provides temporary relief but has long-term consequences.
Finding Other Ways to Feel Good
The Food Trance indicates that what you want is to feel satisfied when you have the urge to eat.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with seeking this kind of temporary relief or "time-out." The question you need to ask yourself is this: Isn't there a better way than overeating?
Isn't there a smarter way of getting all the relief benefits without paying the costs of regret, guilt, shame, and extra weight? Of course there is.
You haven't found it yet because you're so used to feeling better by eating. Plenty of people have found other ways of coping with the stresses and strains of life, and this means you can too.
Getting Relief Without Overeating
Let's work on developing a list of other things that can provide you with relief.
There are four basic strategies for getting the sort of relief the Food Trance provides. You can:
1. do something you enjoy
2. do something that relaxes you
3. do something active
4. get some support from someone you know
You may be thinking that none of these types of things will ever work for you in the moment when you're really hungry. I agree that these activities won't keep your urge away for very long. What they can do is buy you some time. With that extra time, you can slow things down and think about what's really going on. What are you feeling? What do you need? What can you do? In addition, these coping activities also represent real pleasures and rewards in life that you may be denying yourself. We all need the little daily pleasures in life to balance out the difficulties of living.
Every time you eat and feel better, even if it is only for a few minutes, it reinforces your belief that food is the only effective way to deal with life. It only takes resisting an urge a few times to begin to understand that there are other ways to feel the same relief that food has provided you for so long.