Before you beat yourself up and jump back on the guilt trip train again after demolishing that bar of chocolate or reaching for the cake, read on to discover why we overindulge or binge eat and what you can do to end the disappointment and get off the guilt train for good.
It's all too familiar. You’re feeling ‘blah’, tired, grumpy, bored and you've found yourself devouring that packet of biscuits or hunting down the chocolate stash at work.
You need it, really you do, you just won’t get through the day or night without it. You desperately need something…something to pick you up, to get you out of that slump and you want it now. And it’s always something you know you shouldn't be eating that somehow falls into your hands. The guilt is already creeping in, but, well you can’t seem to control this need, this urge. It's already in your hands so you might as well just have one row of chocolate. And well it's all over right there. You overindulge, have more than you need, you feel guilty, ashamed and annoyed at yourself for giving in...again. It’s become the norm. A pattern. A habit. It’s now just what you do to get through your day.
Have you ever found yourself using any of the following excuses?
I’m tired, I’m stressed, I need something sweet or it’s 4 PM and if I don’t have something now I’m going to crash. Chances are you’re nodding along saying yep, that's me and you're all too familiar with that feeling.
Have you often wondered why you can't seem to stop overeating or overindulging in food and why it appears to be out of your control?
Let’s take a closer look at what is really driving why we overeat and overindulge.
Your mood directly influences your actions
What mood or state of mind are you in during these moments? Identify how you are feeling when you are searching for comfort food or in the moment when you find yourself overeating, binge eating or overindulging in those cookies, cake or chocolate.
Are you bored, tired, stressed, feeling flat, low in energy, worried, lonely, sad or unhappy?
Be really honest here about what mood or state you tend to be in when you find yourself reaching for food when you're not really hungry.
We are controlled by the human need to avoid pain and gain pleasure
You see, human behavior is innately driven by the need to avoid pain and to gain pleasure. So when you are in a so called uncomfortable, painful mood or state as above, our normal, natural instinct is to get out of pain pronto by looking for a source of pleasure to avoid the pain. So that make sense right? You’re normal and you're just doing what all humans do, no harm done right?
Is this strategy of using food to avoid pain and discomfort working?
The problem is that many of us have learnt ineffective means or ways to go about avoiding pain or seeking pleasure and often resort to food, drink, drugs and other forms of behavior to numb or avoid feeling the discomfort or pain. This can work in the short-term but in the long-term may contribute to weight gain, depression, anxiety, addiction and so on.
How are you experiencing pleasure and joy in your life right now?
The first thing to consider is, what currently brings you joy, pleasure, fun, fulfillment and happiness in your life right now. Where is the pleasure and joy missing in your life and more importantly what can you do to bring this into your life right now. You don't need to wait for things to be perfect to live your life fully now. You don't have to wait till you have all the confidence, the perfect body or life before you do the things you love.
Perhaps you’re lacking pure sources of joy and fulfillment that without your knowing, leaves you searching for a quick pleasure fix and an escape from some form of pain. It’s easy to get caught up with the demands of our hectic, busy life and lose sight of who we really are and how we want to experience our life everyday.
So what is one thing you can you do right now?
Reconnect to that which brings you joy, pleasure and happiness
Now the best part. Now that you understand this you can step back into your own power. Get creative. Come up with other ways to bring pleasure, joy and fun into your life that is aligned with who you are and how you want to be everyday. If you are bored, what will you choose to do instead that engages you? If you’re lonely what actions can you take to connect and engage with yourself or others?
You want to be happy right? YES. So make conscious decisions to be joyful every single day. This means getting to know yourself. What do you love, what can’t you live without, what lights you up and makes you feel alive?
Only you can make this choice to be it, do it, live it. And why wouldn't you if you can choose to live in a way that allows you to feel true, aligned and happy rather than on a roller coaster of feeling miserable, guilty and disappointed.
So don’t wait, the time for joy, pleasure and fun in your life is right NOW
So get out there and create it. Connect with loved ones, engage with new people in the community, get in touch with nature, your creative side, music, adventure, reading, pampering, meditation, yoga.....whatever it is that brings your soul to life.
What can you do this week that brings you joy in a healthy way?
Share in the comments below what you're going to do to bring more natural joy into your life. And if you liked this post then please share and sign up for future updates, tips and inspiration.
In joy, health and happiness