Whether it's cravings, emotional eating or just eating a bit more than you need at meal times, overeating is the root cause of not being able to lose weight.
Dr Orlena explores what's happening when we overeat and how we can stop over eating in a way that's easy.
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Hello, welcome to fit and fabulous with me Dr. Orlena Kerek. I hope that you are feeling fit and fabulous.
Today, we are going to be talking all about overeating and I'm so excited about this subject and some of the concepts behind it that I'm just going to dive right in.
I wanted to combine this concept of overeating with a book that I am reading which is called Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed.
It's an interesting book. It explains the way that we think about failure. The author starts by looking at the aviation and medical industries and how these different industries see failure in very different ways.
The aviation industry looks at failure as a learning opportunity. Every time there's a failure, they want to discover why there was a failure so that they can make things better. Whereas if you look at the medical industry, failures are covered up.
What he's really saying is that we learn so much more if we examine our mistakes. If we pretend it didn't happen, that mistake is just going to repeat itself.
If you aren't looking for that mistake, you’re never going to find it.
Whereas if you're examining the mistakes, you’re going to learn a lot.
This is why the aviation industry now is such a safe place because they've learned sadly from so many accidents. But if you examine your mistakes, you can improve.
Humans have beliefs. But what happens when we realize that our thoughts are incorrect? Do we normally self-correct or do we change the evidence?
The book gives an example of a lady who had this belief that the world was going to end and that she was going to be the savior of the world. She started a cult and was able to recruit a number of people who were really invested in her idea.
Then there was a researcher who infiltrated this cult thinking that this was a great opportunity to have a look at what happens when people are faced with inaccurate thoughts and beliefs.
When the end of the world didn’t happen, he found that the people inside the cult were disappointed but they didn’t think that they were tricked. Instead, they changed the evidence to fit into their beliefs.
So, what they decided to think of was, ‘All of that story was correct. Actually, we have saved the world and now we can go back to living our lives.’ This is because they had invested so much into that story.
Why am I talking about all of this and overeating? Because it is exactly the same.
So we look at overeating and so many people who come to me and say that they want to lose weight but they’re already eating healthily.
If you have eaten more than your body needs, then it is stored as fat which essentially is overeating.
They are changing the evidence when they say to themselves that they eat healthily. Because what happens eventually is that they will start to admit that they do have carbohydrate or sugar cravings and they do give in to those cravings.
If people have a habit of overeating their thinking brain tends to justify that.
And when you're justifying something to yourself, you know that deep down, that isn't something that you want to be doing.
Going back to the aviation and the medical industry, people think like the medical industry when it comes to overeating.
‘I made a mistake and I'm going to pretend it didn't happen. I'm going to rewrite the evidence.’
Instead, we should think about this from the aviation industry’s point of view.
‘Something's happened. What can we learn from this?’
When I work with my one-on-one clients, they usually get upset when they mess up but I assure them that mistakes are golden learning opportunities.
Those are exactly the things that we want. We want to have a look at the things that are wrong in order to make them right.
I was thinking about how I went running after Christmas and I knew that my knee was a little bit sore. It was giving me signals that it needs attention. But I still went out and ignored the signals that my body was sending me.
If a person is putting on a little bit of weight then that's an indication that they’re eating too much. That’s a signal that something is wrong.
A vast majority of people overeat. Even I overeat from time to time but I know my limits.
I give you permission to stop beating yourself up about it, to stop making it feel like you are that person who overeats. That’s not your identity.
A child who throws a stone doesn't make them a bad child. It's exactly the same with us. What our actions are, does not make us that person. And it shouldn't affect our self-worth.
The bottom line is we are all worthy and we all need to believe in ourselves.
You are eating a healthy dinner and you know that your body is full, but you still go, ‘I want to eat a little bit more because I'm just enjoying this food. I like eating it, but I know that I've really had enough.’
So what is going on here?
There is a loop of thoughts that lead to emotions, emotions lead to actions, and actions to thoughts. This means that it is the urge or the desire that is driving your action to overeat.
What do you do when you feel that emotion? You can act on it. So you eat whatever it is you want to do. You can distract yourself; you could drink some water, you could brush your teeth, you could think about something disgusting so you don't have that urge anymore.
The other thing you can do is just sit with it and emotions come in waves and say, ‘I understand that this is an urge.’ Really tune in and get into what's going on, but not act on it. Mastering this takes time and it takes practice. You will fail but failures are golden learning opportunities.
When we have the Healthy You, Healthy Family habit challenge, which is going to start on April the 12th, I will be going into emotional eating and cravings a little bit more. I've also prepared a meditation as a bonus for people. So a meditation to really think about this idea of overeating. That will be available and ready for people who sign up to come and attend that challenge.
When we think about it in terms of habit, we can make good habits easy and make difficult habits difficult.
For example, I like to eat chocolate and biscuits after dinner. How can I make that difficult for myself? I can make sure there are no chocolate and biscuits in the house at all, and I can't have any. Here is a piece of fruit instead. When I get that urge to eat the chocolate and biscuits, it's really difficult for me to eat the chocolate and biscuits, but it's easy for me to eat the apple instead.
You’re like a little train that's on a route and you have to think in advance. This is what's going to happen to me and I'm going to put a tree here. I'm going to put a bridge there.
It’s very much like the example above, you don’t put biscuits in the house, there are apples instead.
Please stop beating yourself up about overeating. If you do overheat, be kind and gentle to yourself and think I can change this. I can do this.
In my three-step process, I start off by looking at what you're eating and not how much you're eating, because once you've replaced all that not-so-great food with vegetables, you won't be hungry. If you're eating the vegetables you fill up, they fill you up plus they are nutritious.
During meal times, I eat loads of stuff. But I've eaten so many vegetables that it not actually heaps in terms of calories. Now I know I don't teach people to count calories you don't need to and it doesn't really work for a well anyhow.
But if you're just eating vegetables and you're not eating refined white carbohydrates, you will naturally be eating lots less calories.
So this Wednesday, tomorrow, we will be talking about this in Dr. Orlena’s office hour, 2:00 PM. Eastern time, where you get to think about how you can put this into practice, so come and join us.
I have been looking at the free gifts that I give out and have a look over the last year and the most popular one was actually Dr. Orlena’s meal plan. It’s a few sample recipes, healthy recipes. I will put that in the show notes as well for anybody who wants to have a look at that.
Have a fabulous week. I hope to see you tomorrow. And I will see you again next week.