How To Stop Overeating With Mindfulness
You’ve tried everything. Deep breathing when the urge hits, counting backwards in the middle of a binge, even doing jumping jacks to shake the intrusive food thought “I want all the chocolate NOW!” and still you find yourself rather often than not, stuffing your pie hole with a whole loaf of bread (who’s counting anyway, right?).
Maybe you have even tried a bit of mindfulness and tried to eat mindfully. You read somewhere that “mindful eating” could help end overeating but instead you find yourself mindfully binging!
Here’s where it all gets confusing. We kinda know that “ok, a new shiny food plan is not gonna cut it” but diving into an inner process feels like a foreign language. I get it. The instruction to “Raise your consciousness with the power of awareness using your intention to redirect your attention with non-reaction achieving detachment” can sound like Greek.
“Say what? I just wanna quit making love to every donut I see.”
So we dismiss mindfulness. “Too much fluff. Give me a step by step process. Namaste”.
The way out of overeating is through mindfulness though. Like it or not.
Many behavioral approaches might help in the short run. That’s why they’re compelling. We’ve all been there. For me, being part of a food addiction group felt like salvation. But only for a short time. Then it all fell apart. Epic fail. Back all the way to square one. Why? Because it’s main focus was on the outside. Food rules, abstinence and avoiding any possible trigger situations (which is basically all situations).
None of that worked.
Because NONE of that works!
Mindfulness is the ultimate brain hack as you enter the operating system and change the software in your brain so you’ll start behaving differently. You could also call it “effortless change”, meaning you start behaving in a different way because that’s who you are being now. It changes your identity in that sense. It’s a superpower that you cultivate and then bring with you. No situation or person can take it away from you.
Because it’s inside.
Mindfulness teaches you this ability. The ability so easily dismisses intrusive and compulsive food thoughts so you can have peace with food.
It all comes down to the level of thought (and not behavior) and once you understand that, you also realize that the solution to your problem starts inside as well.
Because it was never about the food. I know I say this all the time but it bears repeating.
It was never about the food.
How does mindfulness help you stop overeating then?
Through neuroplasticity. Rewiring the brain and redirecting your attention away from a compulsive and harmful food thought to something else, for example, to the task at hand.
This is a mental process that demands mental effort. This is not positive thinking. This is not a passive process. This is not wishful thinking. This is about seeing that you actually had the power all along and all you had to do was see that. And use it. This is the tricky part because mindfulness can be totally misunderstood as “just being mindful of what you’re eating”. But it’s far from what it actually does. Mindful awareness shows you how to NOT react to food thoughts that perpetuate the overeating habit.
This is how you permanently stop overeating.