“Overeating,” Part III: Practice Thankfulness

     Several weeks ago, I envisioned this blog post to be a little different. I thought I would share some practical tips for conquering any remaining problematic overeating, after binge eating stops.  I likely will still do that at some point (although I’ve already addressed the issue a bit in the Non-Hungry Cravings post, and my focus is primarily on helping people stop binge eating – not perfect their eating habits), but this week I was inspired to take this post in a new direction.
 
     “Inspired” is the wrong word….   
 
     I have been heartbroken seeing the events in the Philippines the past week, following the devastating typhoon. 
 
     I truly hope no one takes this post the wrong way (I am not trying to minimize your problems at all);  but, it simply felt wrong for me to write about conquering overeating, while so many victims of the storm were and still are starving as they wait for aid. Those of you who read my book know that my family was affected by hurricane Katrina in 2005, so this is close to my heart.
 
     I took a trip to the grocery store today – 4 kids in tow – and filled up my cart with a renewed sense of thankfulness for the food we have.  I’ve gotten into a bit of a funk lately in regards to feeding my kids, worrying about some of the pesticides/toxins/GMOs..etc. that’s in the food we buy. There is a great deal of concerning information out there about conventional foods, and we rarely buy organic because it’s just not financially feasible for our family of 6 right now. But, today in the store, I didn’t have any of those worrisome thoughts as I pulled our  non-organic whole milk off the shelf.  I felt only grateful that I could give my kids something sustaining to drink.         
 
     It immediately occurred to me that cultivating a sense of thankfulness could be useful for those struggling with overeating. Most people with eating disorders have an antagonistic relationship with food, which only makes matters worse. They often lose the deep sense of gratitude for nourishment. I admit, before this week, I was letting those health concerns about food prevent me from truly appreciating what I have as well.  
 
     As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I am suggesting that as you eat your meals and snacks, try to shift your focus to gratitude when you catch yourself worrying  about overeating.  Try to remember how fortunate you are that you can nourish your body, feel satisfied; and then have more food available the next time you are hungry.  A mindset of being thankful for food in the present, while also being thankful for future food could curb the desire to eat too much right now.  If you allow yourself to feel deeply grateful that food will be there for you at your next meal or snack, you will be more likely to stop eating when you are comfortably full.     
 
     Trying to be more thankful doesn’t mean you should feel guilty about having plentiful food when others have little.  I am simply recommending that when you begin to worry about eating too much of this or that, or when you feel a little too full after a meal; you could try gently reminding yourself that you are fortunate to be able to nourish your body, even if you don’t always do it perfectly.  And be thankful that you’ll have tomorrow to try again.  
 
     Gratitude can bring you peace in so many aspects of your life and your relationships, including your relationship with food.  

 

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