How do you feel about your body? If overeating is a problem for you, especially if you’re heavier than you’d like to be, chances are you don’t feel very good at all about it.
People who overeat generally distrust themselves and dislike their bodies. You hear people express this: “I have no self-control when it comes to chocolate….I hate my thighs….my stomach is a bottomless pit….”
But reflect on the wisdom of your human body. We take it for granted that we can walk, see, drive, listen to our kids, but we couldn’t do any of these things were it not for the wise bodies that so many of us dislike.
Chances are you don’t spend much time thinking about how it is that you pick something up off a table. This simple activity relies on information your body gives you. You decide you want that glass on the table and you extend your arm. You know you’ve touched the surface of the glass by the feeling you get in your fingers and hand.
Your appetite works in a similar way. Just like you know how it feels when your hand makes contact with the glass, you can tune in and feel from your body what kind of food it wants and how much of it.
Try something right now: close your eyes, tune in to your stomach and abdomen area, and find out what they have to tell you. Are you full? How full? Give yourself a number between one and ten. Are you hungry? Rate your hunger — not very much? Somewhat? Very? Whatever you find out is neither good nor bad; it’s just information.
This exercise may be hard for you if you’ve distrusted your body for many years and consequently come to override your hunger and fullness signals. But don’t worry — it will simply take you a little time and practice to remember how to do this.
Information is power. As you learn to consciously pay attention to the hunger and fullness signals that are always available to you, you build trust in your own wisdom. This trust is the foundation of a whole new relationship with yourself, which in turn will help you heal your relationship with food.