How to Stop Overeats

In this episode, I explore a client crush story that genuinely showcases the power of vulnerability and awareness in untangling overeating patterns.

Discover how this client’s journey led her to uncover deeper layers of her relationship with food and how she navigated through rebellious parts of herself to find peace and understanding.

Witness my client’s triumph over overeating through a session that focuses on heightened self-awareness. Acquire invaluable knowledge on identifying behavioral patterns and triggers that fuel unhealthy eating habits, empowering you to make positive choices in the future. 

Listen to learn:

❗The importance of awareness, the celebration of wins, and the power of curiosity in untangling emotional eating behaviors.

❗The concept of internal family systems and how understanding different parts of ourselves can lead to profound shifts in our relationship with food.

❗Why the messy middle is a good place to be.

Ready to reclaim control over your health? Discover how small wins and moments of self-discovery can pave the way for lasting change. Take control of your relationship with food and improve your life. Let’s embrace the messy middle and celebrate every step towards healing from the inside out.

Resources and Links:

Register for my FREE Path to Food & Body Freedom Challenge 

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00:00:34 – Client Crush Story: Breaking Past Patterns

00:02:10 – Understanding Overeating Habits

00:06:05 – The Cycle of Shame and Overeating

00:07:00 – The Ineffectiveness of Self-Management in Overeating

00:10:01 – The Evidence Journal: Tracking Progress

00:11:04 – Exploring the Rebellious Part of Overeating

00:12:17 – Internal Family Systems and Parts Work

00:15:06 – Discovering the Root Causes of Overeating

00:16:10 – Working with the Rebellious Part for Healing

00:20:49 – How to Use an Evidence Journal

Full Episode Transcript:

How to Stop Overeats

Hey, Hey, Hey, welcome. Hello, Body Freedom podcast. So excited you’re here. Today’s episode. I’m really excited to bring, a client crush story. So I have a crush on a client. Every single client and Hello Body Freedom, the level of vulnerability, the level of really just finally letting go of this old way of being in relationship with dieting or weight loss or their body or food and really, truly just stepping in courageously to a different way completely like if you’ve been dieting your whole life trying to lose weight and you just lose it and gain it back and lose it and gain it back. 

I can’t think of anything more horrible and I know that. I finally just said, forget this. And that’s what our clients do. They were just like, we’re done with this old way of being in relationship with body and food, and we are willing to try something new. And I want to talk very specifically about a one-on-one client that I’m working with.

And, we were in the middle of a coaching session and we’re, one week at a time. Little baby steps learning how to do this work, which really is a work of awareness. It’s a work of reintegration instead of all or nothing thinking it is a work. It’s work of like regulating a nervous system over and over again at the same time, untangling the reasons why we would be using food, for so many ways, right?

There’s just so many ways that it’s sneaky. So for some people you might be listening going, Oh, I know I’m a stress eater or I know I’m an emotional eater or I know that, I like to eat because of a big celebration or I know I do mindless eating. So we, some of us have real understanding and cognition of the ways in which we use food.

It becomes a little trickier When we feel like we’re doing everything right, when we feel like, we don’t actually think that we have overeating patterns and the work that we do here is to gently untangle and unfold  awareness. So that we can really see clearly.  And along that path, it is messy.

It’s not so linear and that’s really hard if you’ve come from a place of dieting your whole life where you’ve really learned that I know how to lose 30 pounds in 30 days or, I know if I really focus in force myself into this, I really manage myself really well, 90 days I know I could lose this weight for whatever that event is, the vacation or the wedding or something like that.

And then the weight comes back on.  And just like all of our clients, I’m going to make a blanket statement about our clients is that they’re truly deciding, even though they wish they could lose it so fast, they’ve tried before the weights come back on, they’re really learning a different way.

So I’m inside of a client session and we’re just simply looking at how the week went, what are the celebrations, what went right, where, just like, give me an idea. And so we’re going, with the wins and all the things that are going right. And she was like, Oh!  

She’s learning how to write stuff down. And she was like, well, I overate three different times last week. And that was, and I’m like, Oh, well, let’s get curious about that.  So what I want to talk to you about is this very particular piece, because ultimately, if we are struggling with our relationship with food and our weight,  Very, very often,  like 9 times out of 10.

I don’t know many that don’t have this, is that there are overeating habits that either we don’t notice or we notice, but we don’t really know what to do with. And so her ability to be able to recognize that she had three overeats last week was really important.  Whenever she first came into the program, there wasn’t really consciousness over when there was overeating, when there wasn’t overeating, right?

And we can’t really, work on and unravel this mystery and untangle it,in a gentle, beautiful way, unless we actually have information about it. Right? So I want you to think about when you overeat, what usually happens? What happens if, think about like if you feel like you, and you know what an overeat does, big celebration, you overdid it for dinner, overeating, binge eating, any level of like emotional eating, like stress eating or comfort eating or bored eating or mindless eating.

These are very common ways that we use food. And you maybe notice, By the end, you’re like, Oh, I overdid it. I can totally tell I overdid it. What do you usually do? Right?  Here’s some very common Things that I know I did and I know that clients coming into Hello Body Freedom do so maybe you can relate to it. Number one is you immediately feel bad about yourself.

You feel maybe some shame. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I figure this out? These are things that I used to say to myself  What’s my problem? Like it doesn’t feel good. It like leaves like kind of a negative vibe going on in the body for sure. And just feel about how, what happens to you. Sometimes  that can just lead to, well, I messed up anyways.

So who even cares? Right. So then we can fly our middle fingers up in the air and then just go, well, F it. I’m just going to keep eating. Cause what does it really matter? I guess I’ll start on Monday. I guess I’ll start over. Right. It’s becomes this very black and white way of thinking sometimes.  But just tune in.

I mean, noticing, is there neutrality whenever you overeat? Or is there a lot of feedback, a lot of negative feedback?  Or do you notice that you just go blank and you don’t even want to touch it? Right? So these are examples of the ways that we can do that. our own self, our body, our nervous system, our thoughts, our emotions handle overeating for those of us who are struggling with our relationship with food and body. 

When we have that level of  managing it, right,  like, Negative feedback or even just like, “well, now I’m going to double down and I’m not going to eat the next three meals or I’m going to not eat for the rest of the day.” Or “I’m going to exercise more.” like hyper managing that the thing or going down like a negative spiral, a negative emotion, the shame spiral, or completely dissociating.

Like these actually will keep you stuck over eating  for a very long time. Okay. Really, truly, I know all my animals,  Be quiet. No barking while I’m recording a podcast.  Okay. So hopefully he’ll keep it down. If he does, he barks. Who cares? Okay. So none of that works. In fact, you’re going to stay stuck for a really long time.

If you keep doubling down on managing that part of you, I messed up. So I’m going to double down on cleaning it up. Or if you just stay in kind of that negative spiral. Okay. And so here is what my client, Did that. And again, these client crushes, I just, Oh, I wish, I wish that we didn’t just do online coaching.

I want to like squeeze every single one of them because it’s just so powerful to watch their journey. So the first thing she did during the week is she’s keeping track. She actually wrote it down. That’s the only way she would have remembered to bring it up to me, right? She’s like keeping track of important behaviors around her relationship with food and body and emotions and things like that. So number one, she wrote it down.

This would not have happened this win in celebration for her to even bring this up into our coaching call If she had not written it down that would not have happened if she had not increased her awareness around it So her own ability to be more knowledgeable Of what she is going through with her behaviors, but here’s the other thing,  if she would have had this major inner shame spiral or mental beat down, she might have not even told me about it.

Right? And she didn’t. What ended up happening is she just really as she was presenting it to me, it was like, oh, and then this happened and I noticed this and so in that moment, we just slowed everything down.  Let’s go here in a real gentle way. The first thing we did is we recognized the celebrations and this was really important for her because even though she came with awareness and she came with neutrality, which by the way, are all the things we’re about to celebrate us deciding to stop and look at her journey. 

Was very very important, because ultimately aren’t we trying to stop emotionally eating and binge eating and overeating patterns, right? At least if you’re in my world these are the things we’re trying to become hyper-aware of and look at like what are these little pieces underneath? So the first thing we did is we really looked at the wins  The very first win we talked about was I only overate three times because before she came into Hello Body Freedom, overeating was just such a strong pattern that it was very likely daily unless she was on a major restrictive diet.

So the, she would do that for a while and then get off of that and then go back to just a very regular basic habit of feeling overeating. What is overeating? She felt like way past full or right up to full or way past full kind of feeling stuffed. Right? So the fact that it only happened three times, holy shit, what a win, like just feel into that.

And this is a very important piece and we’re going to, I’m going to talk about this and how you can really start to look at this and see your own wins for yourself, even if you never ended up in Hello Body Freedom.  So number one, recognizing was huge.  Oh my God, this is epic. I only did it three times.

It changed everything. Even though she was feeling neutral. Now it changed into major celebration. We also celebrate the fact that she was aware that she was able to do it. We celebrated the fact that she did not shame herself. We talked through that a little bit. I asked a lot of questions and she’s like, I wasn’t, there was really no, there was just a sense of, this is what happened.

I’m going to write this down to share with my coach. Just. Epic, epic. The thing is, is that secrets breed shame, shame breeds secrets, and, whenever we just immediately think that something is wrong or bad about a behavior that we have, it’s very easy to shut it down to be secret, which then throws some shame on top of it, which makes it very, very hard to uncover. 

This was also a giant win. And then the other part of it is really being curious about the behavior. So we did this part together. How can we start to be curious about the actual events of these overeats?  And, oh my gosh, without shame, without judging, what we did is we dove into story. And then as we started to untangle the week and then how it unfolded,  it made total sense from a nervous system standpoint.

There were some stressors in her life and we just started to untangle those and she’s like, Oh,  I didn’t. In the moment, she didn’t notice that there was an interconnection. And I want to say to everybody listening if you are familiar with my work and Hello Buddy Freedom, it is embodiment based work.

We do not get past the overeating patterns by thinking our way out of it or willpowering our way out of it. That will work for a while, but it’s never really the root cause and it’s never going to actually last. The manager part of us can sometimes be a part of the problem, not the solution, if it’s like overmanaging us and think about it, the part that manages you is the part that’s like dieting and I’m going to do everything perfect,  but eventually, the part inside of you that you’re trying to manage will start screaming and making some ruckus and there’s not you can’t like willpower your way out of it.

You can’t manage your way out of it. Eventually, this part starts to really take over and this part is connected to a Dysregulated nervous system. A nervous system that learned that using food in the way that you’re using it over eating in whatever Conditions That might look like for you was actually the way to stay safe and alive.

It was the protective mechanism. It was the thing that was used in order to protect something, right? We might not know what, and that’s okay, but whenever we can understand this, then we know that having that hardcore manager, it’s not going to help. So her ability to be curious of this whole thing, and then to be able to go in and look at all these different pieces was really powerful and the more we were able to really go under and look to see what was going on. And I’m going to actually give you the scenarios because this is a pretty powerful scenario that we do with just about all of our clients, not all of them, but one of the ways that we help our clients start to untangle emotional eating is eating a real regular way.

Like I call it normal eating, right? So a normal way to be in relationship with food is to eat breakfast, is to eat lunch, is to eat dinner, right? Is to actually have meals, not where you’re snacking all day long, but where you nourish yourself. And that means that we really work with our clients to untangle.

This is good food and this is bad food mentality. We don’t want to have that. So like, let’s say it’s dinner and you want something sweet or a dessert or something like that. Well, you just, you tag that onto dinner, right? You make that a part of the entire meal. So one of the things that she was working on is not eating before the meal, like really tuning into hunger and allowing her hunger to be there.

That way when she sits down for the meal, there’s this real sense of like, yes, time to eat. Hunger is here. Best reason to eat. Having exactly what she wants. Satisfaction quotient, all these things, right?  But what we discovered is she has a very, very strong habit pattern of eating while she’s preparing her meal.

And so by the time she gets down to eat, it’s not like she ate an entire meal while she was cooking and now she’s eating the second meal, but it was definitely enough to feel like she wasn’t really that level of like what she was looking for, which was hunger around a meal. 

So we talked about what it would mean to all right, well, what if we work with and all the different strategies that we have, like, how do we work with this part of you or hunger itself to truly, sit down at the meal, not eating while you’re cooking kind of a thing. So there’s a lot more consciousness. And so she tried it and here’s what we discovered.

We discovered that there is a part in her and I want you to know this is different for everybody, right? We went down multiple paths and the way that we discovered this isn’t me telling her this is what’s going on with you. It’s really just showing her these different parts that might be popping up.

And then after we went through a few different pieces, she’s like, Oh my God, that was the part because what we talked about is if you are now telling yourself you cannot eat before your meal and you have the strong habit of doing it. Right. So what she did is she felt like all week long, she white knuckled.

It was very, very difficult for her to not eat before that meal.  And then what that turned into was overeating at least for three of those meals. Right.  And when we really got down to it, she discovered that there was this incredibly like a rebellious part of her that’s like, “Oh, you’re going to tell me what I can and cannot do with eating.”

And this was connected to childhood memories of that exact behavior from a parental figure trying to control what she could and could not have to eat. Right?  Like the light bulb and offer her and she knew it to her bones that that was absolutely the piece because now what she’s doing is she’s having this manager part of her come in and go, Nope, we’re going to manage this.

And so again, manager parts can be helpful, but they also can trigger these other pieces. And it absolutely did. Why is this so powerful? Because she just discovered.  So first off, she figured out all these wins. She’s coming without shame. She’s increasing awareness. She’s bringing it to the table.

She’s bringing curiosity. She only overate three times instead of every day, right? Like, this is what it means when I say being in the messy middle. Because if you just focus on, “oh, I messed up. I overate three times. Something must be wrong with me, then nothing’s gonna shift.” But when you go in and celebrate how it’s actually is working because you only did three overeats. And then what we do is we 1 percent it. We go, okay, how do I go in and start to work with these other little pieces? Not in a way that shaming, but what can we discover about ourselves? Why would I have these overeating patterns?  And now what we can do is we can work with this part of her that is rebelling.

And here’s the thing. If you think that your job, now that I found this rebellious part of me that wants to flip her middle fingers up, and if you think the answer is to manage This part of you and shove it down and stop that. And this is your problem. And this. No! So I’m hoping you can see that we’ve just talked about two different parts.

There’s this manager part,  isn’t really going to be helpful in the moment that we’ve discovered this younger part of her, this kind of rebellious part of her. Okay. And so now what we get to do is we get to work with, she gets to work with, and I’m here to guide her through that. 

Interesting. This part of you probably needs not to be thrown in a closet and to forget about this part. This part needs attention. It needs to be heard. It needs to be understood. It needs to really, really, really, feel safe and protected and to know that this part is a wise part. 

This part is a conscious thread. A thread of consciousness inside of her that is wise that is there for a reason that started acting the way that she acted rightfully so. Rightfully so. Okay. And so now we have this capacity to be able to see these different pieces.  

And being able to work at this deeper level is ultimately going to make her new behaviors around food, untangling overeating patterns so much easier. Because over time, this rebellious part of her will start to move into its rightful place.

It will start to feel like a shh, it will start to feel like she feels safe. She feels held and she knows that she’s going to be okay. Now, what we’re talking about here is a model of, using internal family systems. This is a therapeutic way of really knowing that you’re not just, I’m not just Audra.

You’re not just you.  My clients, not just client, we have all these different parts of us, right? And at different moments, different parts are kind of in charge, right? And in this particular piece, we were able to untangle two different parts. So now we have processes that we can work with in a beautiful, loving, gentle way that will help regulate my client’s nervous system. 

Regulate these pieces so that way they go back into their rightful place in a way that her true self, her higher self will be able to be more in charge instead of these kind of like other parts that are trying to manage and trying to rebel and trying to do all these other things. 

So welcome to the wonderful world of learning from your overeats. Thanks.  I hope you enjoyed this.  I think what we’ll do for the next episode is we’ll go just a little bit deeper into understanding internal family systems. I am not a licensed therapist. I am a professional coach and part of my professional coaching training of the three different professional coaching certifications I have been through.

My most recent had Just ton of internal family systems type of work where you’re working with different parts of you. And it is just magic. It is absolute magic for being able to, stop pushing parts of you away. And start untangling them in such sweet, beautiful ways. So maybe we’ll do an episode on that next, but this is exactly what happened to my clients and you as well.

Whenever you catch yourself in any level of overriding patterns, when you can let go of the judge, shame, bring curiosity to the situation,  be able to share it in a way that it doesn’t stay secret or shame, but be able to share it in a therapeutic place, preferably with people who are supportive of you, not with somebody who’s going to give you shit or shame you or, whatever, maybe people who love you, but are well-meaning, but they don’t really understand this journey that you’re on. 

And when you do this work, whenever you like, look at what we’re talking about here, we’re not even talking about. Take, you know, take more food off of your plate. No, we’re talking about really working with the deeper things that are plaguing our relationship with food. And when you do this little bite-sized work, like we talked about our wins, writing it down, increasing awareness, no inner shaming, noticing what’s going on, bringing curiosity, right, to the overeats.

Like all of these little pieces are they might seem esoteric, but they all count.  And so what I want to give you today is Something that we use with our clients and it’s called an evidence journal.  And what that means is you actually have to keep track  of things that are working, the wins that you are having, right?

Because if she only saw “I overate three times, this isn’t working. What’s the point?”  Versus looking at the evidence of what is working. “Oh my gosh, I used to overeat every single day, multiple times a day. And now it was only three total times this week.” “Oh my gosh. The evidence that this is working, that I even was able to be in a place where I was able to access these other parts of me that are likely part of the mix and the tangling that we need to start to untangle. This is epic.” Right. 

“Oh my gosh, I feel so much relief now that I know this information. I can feel a relaxation response in my body and weirdly I don’t feel like overeating tonight.” These are pieces of evidence that it is working. So I want to encourage every single one of you listening to, you don’t need a special journal.

You just need like whatever you have and right down on the front of it, evidence journal and keep it with you.  And when you’re doing this work,  this is how you know it’s working. It’s the little wins. It’s the messy middle. It’s like, it’s all messy. Like it’s wins and things that you wish didn’t happen, but when you can pull out the wins and you can see the evidence, this is how you’re able to keep going on this journey.

And so I am just so proud of this client. She is freaking slaying it as all my clients are. This is part of the work. And I hope that this was helpful for you. So the next time that you find yourself overeating, finding a completely different way to be in relationship with it is the way to go.

And thanks for listening. This was a lot of fun- and I can’t wait to see you in the next episode. Bye, everybody.