The one where we talk about the secret behind our ability to lose weight, and how to become more aware of it happening in our day to day life. Because I guarantee you are doing it. Because we all do it.
Episode Show Notes:
Today we begin on our conversation on the fundamentals of weight loss. We are starting about the very basic, simplest explanation of why we gain weight or struggle to lose weight: Overeating.
Overeating is simply eating when we are not hungry. And we eat for a variety of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with hunger.
We eat out of…
1. Real physical Hunger
3. Because it’s there
5. We want to feel better
6. We want to feel a certain way
7. We are not tuned in
8. We are binge eating.
What other reasons do you eat? This is the secret of weight loss, to identify all the reasons we eat, other than hunger, and to stop doing that.
Yes, it is that simple. And yet it is normal to overeat, so this is a big change in how we typically eat.
This Week’s Action Item:
Am I hungry?
How do I know I am hungry?
And how am I feeling right now?
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Oh my goodness, my friends! Hi! How are you! More importantly, when did August get here?
So what does this next month look like for you guys? I have kids starting school soon! My husband, Trey, and I actually have three kiddos. Isabella, my stepdaughter, is 18 and just graduated from high school and – I cannot hardly believe it – heads off to college in 10 days. It does not even seem possible. She was two when Trey and I started dating. And we’ve just given her a car to hopefully last her through her next four years, and let her shop in our basement for anything she may need. Wow.
My boys, Sean and Ryan, start sixth grade and 3rd grade in just 9 days. Sean actually has sixth grade transition day this Friday – where the sixth graders are up at school for half the day, and walk through their entire schedule and meet their teachers and figure out how to work a locker. Which reminds me, I still have to run my second proof of change of address up to the school! Know what that is? Mental Load. See episode two!
We have talked a bit about routines here on the podcast, and I honestly love the routines of a new school year! I just cannot believe that my children are old enough to drive a car to college and have their own locker. And whatever the third grader is going to do this year that’s gonna blow my mind!
And it is in thinking about the upcoming school year that has me outlining the next few episodes of the podcast. I’m not exactly sure how many episodes this will cover, but I want to do a series on the basics of weight loss. Like, let’s go back to school. As in…..The Business Women Losing Weight Academy presents….the Fundamentals of Weight Loss for Grown Ass Women. My GAWs get special front row seating!
There are so many angles we can view weight loss from, and what do you talk about first? I decided to start on what, ultimately, is the reason most of us gain or lose weight in the first place.
There may be certain medical reasons and personal anomalies, and there will be episodes on what foods help us to keep weight on or to lose weight – for sure. But for the most part, the reason we weigh more than our natural weight is because we overeat.
But when I ask people about struggling with overeating, not everyone identifies with that term.
I remember a mini-session I had – that’s the free coaching call anyone can sign up for – where the woman I was talking to wanted to lose 50 pounds but was very put off at first when I mentioned overeating.
“Oh, I don’t overeat.” Is what she said.
So I asked why she thought she needed to lose 50 pounds if she didn’t overeat.
“Well, I need to lose 50 pounds, because I’m 50 pounds overweight and I’m a size whatever-she-was, and well, because I need to!”
So again, I said that the coaching would address the reasons she overeats, and again, she got upset that I accused her of overeating.
Now, remember, when you are here with me or coaching with me, we are in a Judgement Free Zone. There is never any accusing anyone of anything. We are always looking at how we eat and how we do what we do from a place of true curiosity and non-judgment.
And what I realized was that we had two very different definitions for overeating, and the difference is crucial.
She understood overeating to be binging. Stuffing her face with food when no one was looking. This was not something that she did.
What we spent much of the remainder of the call on was helping her to understand that binging is just one form of overeating. Overeating comes in almost as many shapes and sizes as people do.
Because overeating, at its simplest, is eating food when we are not hungry.
If you want to know the big secret to weight loss.
Only eat when you are hungry. Stop eating when you are full.
There it is. My work here is done. Class dismissed!
Right? Is it really that simple? Well, for most of us, yes. If you want to lose weight. Do not overeat. Which means, do no eat if you are not hungry.
You see, our body is pretty smart. It was designed to be a fairly efficient machine. When it is running low on fuel, it sends signals to our brain to tell us, “Hey, it’s time to eat.” When we do not need food to fuel our body, we do not feel the physical sensations of hunger.
Hunger represents the physiological need to eat food. Satiety – which is a word I have a very hard time saying – is the absence of hunger; it is the sensation of feeling full.
So eat when hungry. Stop when satiated. Boom. You are at your natural weight, living like a naturally thin person.
And yet. How often do you eat when you are not hungry?
Let’s all lean in here for a moment….I’m gonna guess that you probably eat for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with hunger.
And I can guess that because it is normal in our culture. It is normal to overeat. In fact, it’s often encouraged. In a few instances, we may be shamed into overeating.
But just because it is normal, does that mean we should do it? Hmmm? I mean, in our culture, it is also normal to be overweight these days. It’s normal to have a tortured relationship with food. It’s normal to think that life is not worth living if we can’t have chocolate anymore. Or whatever your must-have foods are!
So are you still thinking “overeating” only happens when you’re binging out on cake in the corner?
Let’s take a look at all the reasons we eat food.
First and foremost is real physical hunger. These are the stomach pangs. You legitimately have not eaten in hours, like 4-5 hours, or maybe even 8-10 hours. Sometimes physical hunger might create a bit of a headache. Really pay attention this next week to how your body feels when you are eating, and see if you can identify if you are feeling real hunger.
Another good indicator of real hunger is that it does not take a lot of food for that sensation to subside. It doesn’t take a lot of food to feel satiated. (I’m just gonna keep practicing that word until it rolls off the tongue!) Just a few bites, eaten purposely and slowly, and that hunger pang, that sensation in the stomach, goes away, and is replaced by the sensation of satiety. And it is not too much more food before we are sated. Fully satisfied.
If only this was the only reason we ate food. Everything would be different.
Because we eat for so many more reasons.
We eat out of habit. Like, it’s Noon. Better go eat lunch. Everyone else is. Sunday morning breakfast at 10am, like clockwork.
Habit may also be…you always have popcorn when watching a movie. I mean, you have to eat it, right? There’s a movie on.
Or you always have coffee and coffee cake when you call your grandma because that is what she always served you – well, maybe not the coffee part – when you were little.
When you walk in your mother in laws house, you grab a handful of cookies out of the cookie jar, because…well, because habit.
Habit you often aren’t even aware that you are eating when you are not hungry.
This is also like eating just because the food is there. There is food on the counter, and you are walking by…and you eat it. You are shopping at Costco, and there’s food vendors with samples. Of course you’re going to eat. You’re not a freak, right?
We also eat out of obligation. You are going to your Aunt’s house, and she greets you with “I’ve made your favorite! Lasagna!” And she expects you to eat not just one plate, but at least two. Sometimes there’s a splash of shame thrown in with obligation, too. Because sometimes your Aunt questions your love for her if you don’t have a second helping. God forbid if you don’t have a piece of pie while you’re visiting.
I had a client last year that always avoided visiting her mom whenever she was on a diet, because her mom could not understand why my client would not eat the food that was cooked, specifically for her, when she came over. And rather than try to reframe their relationship so that it wasn’t based around food – she just avoided her mom! Or she ditched the diet. How sustainable do you think that is!
So why else do we eat when we are not hungry.
We eat out of celebration! It’s someone’s birthday at work and there’s cake in the break room! We gotta eat it!
It’s your birthday!
It’s your kid’s birthday!
Your sister got a job!
Your friend is getting married!
Your friend is getting divorced!
Clearly, we gotta go celebrate, right? We have to eat all the food. If we don’t, then…then what? The celebration can’t happen?
Is it possible to celebrate a life event without food being the center of attention?
Am I working your brain a bit? It’s OK if I am. I’m here to stretch you a little, push you out of your comfort zone. I really want to focus today on illustrating how often we eat when it has nothing to do with hunger. That is all overeating.
And we can’t stop doing that if we are not even aware we are doing that.
So why else…who here is an emotional overeater?
(As Amy raises her hand….)
Because I typically didn’t binge eat, I never thought of myself an emotional eater. I had this characature of what that looked like, like something out of an after-school special.
For those of you who didn’t grow up in the 80s, those were pre-Lifetime melodrama tv movies that were shown, after school, dealing with some topic du jour affecting kids. There was always a lesson.
And emotional overeating, to me, was very after-school special, and that wasn’t me.
But I realized in the past few years that I ate out of emotion a lot. I either ate because I felt a certain way and didn’t want to, or I ate because I wanted to feel a certain way and I thought food would get me there.
For instance, I would be sad or anxious or angry, and I didn’t want to feel that way anymore. So I ate ice cream. Sometimes an entire pint in one sitting. Or even half a half-gallon.
Stressful day at work? How many Snickers bars is too many for one day? At the height of my stress at the job I had where I was a photoshoot producer, I remember days eating two or three Snickers bars. This was in addition to breakfast and lunch. Pretty sure I wasn’t hungry.
Or maybe I wasn’t so much tuning into the bad feeling I was experiencing and just wanted to feel happy. Ice cream made me happy! Chips made me happy. Chocolate made me happy!
I mean, short term it did. Long term? Not so much.
I also often ate out of boredom, which is also emotional eating, because bored is an emotion I was experiencing. I wasn’t particularly happy or sad, I just was. And I didn’t have anything to do. And apparently, I didn’t know how to just sit in that. So I ate. Because I could.
Bored eating is a cousin of what I call Dazed and Confused eating. Like, you open a bag of potato chips and sit down to watch TV, and the next thing you know, the bag is empty. You don’t even remember where the food went. You don’t even remember eating it all. This is just being tuned out. You are completely unattached to yourself. This may feel like a reward, to just kind of tune out of the world for awhile. And there’s nothing wrong with letting your brain to take a break, but I want to offer you that you don’t have to include dazed and confused eating to chill out for awhile. Kind of like you can celebrate the people in your life without having to eat when you aren’t hungry? You can also take a break from the day without mindlessly eating.
Now, this is all very different than binge eating. Or out-of-control eating. I did do that on occasion. Like out of extreme anger or frustration, I would take it out on…what? That bowl of ice cream? Let’s be honest. When you’re eating out of control, there’s no bowl. We’re not setting out servings when you’re binge eating, there’s no grace in the out-of-control. My mind would be saying, “How dare so and so do that to me!” I’m going to punish them by… what? Ultimately, punishing myself. Because after overeating out of extreme emotion, I almost always felt shame. And the other person who I was mad at? What did they feel? They didn’t even know any of that was happening!
Can you imagine? You are so furious with someone, and you get up in their face…and yell at them…”How dare you! Now I have to eat this entire pint of Chunky Monkey!” We don’t do that! Not in public at least.
So binge eating is definitely one way we overeat. But it is not the only way.
Can you think of any other reasons you eat that have nothing to do with hunger? Surely there are some that I have overlooked. But I’m hoping that after today, you start tuning in. Like, we can check out from the world every once in awhile – I’m totally down with that – but we don’t need to check out from ourselves.
When we really pay attention to our real hunger when we are eating, and we realize how often we eat when we not even hungry…it is mind blowing. And that’s this week’s action item. To start tuning in. You may even want to grab a journal – either a small notebook and a pen – even just your Evernote or something like that on your phone. Does My Fitness Pal or apps like that let you record how you’re feeling at each meal? Because I think that’s way more important than calories in and calories out.
Anyway, each time you eat – ask yourself? Am I really hungry? How do I know I’m hungry? How am I feeling right now?
Did you catch those? I’ll have them in the show notes, but here they are again:
Am I hungry?
How do I know I am hungry?
And how am I feeling right now?
It may sound complicated, but it’s actually incredibly simple. We just aren’t used to paying attention to our hunger. We’re too busy celebrating and feeling sad and feeling bored and avoiding conflict. And because it is so normal to overeat, it probably never even occurred to you that you overate, and why it was a problem.
But now you know. And this is awesome knowledge to arm yourself with. You know the secret to losing weight! And you don’t have to go celebrate by eating a bowl of ice cream. Or a pint, right out of the container!
And if you’d like to try out one of those free mini-sessions…anyone listening is invited, just visit AmyLatta.com/coaching to schedule your absolutely free, no strings attached, 30 minute call, with me! You get a chance to see what coaching is like, I’ll share my coaching offer if I think I can help, and you get to decide if it is a fit for you. Either way, you walk away with a tool you can use right away to help on you lose weight – maybe even discover a reason you overeat.
I only have five free sessions a week available, so visit AmyLatta.com/coaching now to schedule your call.
You have been listening to Business Women Losing Weight with life and weight coach Amy Latta. And until Next Week…let’s go do Epic Stuff.