I’ve been talking a lot about the emotional and spiritual side of overeating and different ways that can impact our healing but there is also a big nutrition component to healing your relationship with food.
These are entangled but there is a role that nutrition plays in sending signals to our brain to overeat or binge.
Most programs deal with just the food or just the emotional/spiritual side of why we turn to food when we are not hungry. And these program work primarily with MANAGING our food or MANAGING our behaviors vs. healing these issues. That is why we continue to struggle and wonder why we keep ‘failing’.
I think it’s extremely important to address BOTH of these components because they BOTH have a huge impact on the reasons we overeat.
And more importantly, I want you to never feel like you have to MANAGE yourself around food – I want you to truly feel FREE from the DESIRE to overeat/binge. And THAT, my friend, changes everything.
But first we must begin by deeply nourishing our body with highly nutrient dense foods. I ALWAYS advocate keeping it simple for a number of reasons.
Food impacts our brain chemistry in a myriad of ways – which I address in my (soon to be released!) eCourse called Food Addictions 101. When we are eating highly stimulating foods, our brain sends us a signal that we want more and more of them.
The more ‘complicated’ the food is – think processed, a lot of ingredients, even ‘gourmet’ foods – the more flavors we are assaulted with, leading us to want more and more of this. Studies (1,2) show that when we give our brains a continuous variety of foods and flavors, it never gets the chance to feel satisfied and so we eat A LOT more food!
For example, think of when you go to a buffet-style restaurant. There are so many choices and flavors! Have you noticed that you can (and do!) eat A LOT more food when you eat from a buffet than if you just ordered a regular meal? It goes back to this principle that the more variety we have at a meal, the longer it takes our brain to feel satisfied.
This is also why mono-food diets (think the grapefruit diet or the cabbage diet) are so successful – our brain literally gets ‘bored’ with eating just one food so you feel more satisfied and you stop eating. But it also doesn’t stimulate the pleasure center in our brain like highly flavorful foods (and eating a wide variety of them). I talk A LOT more about this in my Food Addictions 101 eCourse.
This is why I always advocate eating whole, unprocessed, foods. Let me explain. When you eat whole, unprocessed foods:
- you are eating highly nutrient dense foods because these foods are in their original WHOLE form so they haven’t been stripped of vital, life giving nutrients. This leads to you feeling more NOURISHED and satisfied.
- these foods are loaded with fiber, leaving your feeling full and satisfied.
- you will not be overstimulating your palate and you will begin to appreciate the flavors of simple, unadulterated foods.
- you will begin to feel more satisfied with less.
This is not to say that meal-times will become less enjoyable, but they will start to take the place of where they truly belong – not the focus of your whole day and thoughts. Mealtime is a time to nourish your body so you can get back to the business of living a life filled with purpose and joy vs. all-consuming thoughts of what you are going to eat next.
When I first transformed my lifestyle to eating a whole foods plant based lifestyle, I tried to make elaborate meals to replace the foods I was eating before. And there are occasions when I still do that – especially around holidays or special occasions. But I find that the longer I have been on this healing journey with food and my body, the less I feel the NEED to eat like that and I WANT to eat simple meals filled with whole unprocessed foods.
And I find that I am more at peace – physically and mentally. I’m not left searching and searching for the next piece of food to put in my mouth to make me FEEL something.
I now have the time and energy to focus on creating a life that brings joy and a sense of fulfillment so I no longer need to use food to do that.
I FEEL all of the feelings I have – and I’m not afraid to do that.
But it started with the food. Keeping it simple and whole nourished my body and my soul.