Feeling uncomfortable, feeling hungry
Feeling discomfort is hard.
We avoid it at all costs.
At its essence, it is an instinctive reaction. If we feel the heat of the fire, we instinctively remove our hand. This is our brain and the nervous system working as we want them to. To protect our body from physical harm.
What happens when the danger is perceived rather than real? Public speaking? Asking for a promotion?
Our physical reaction is very similar. It is equally dramatic. It feels like you could die. The brain thinks the danger is real and creates what it thinks it is an appropriate reaction.
Except, we are only speaking. In front of people, yes, but only speaking.
What do we do? It feels so bad that we prefer to avoid doing the thing we know it could help us, the thing we want to do. Just to avoid experiencing that physical reaction, that negative emotion.
How does this apply to food and overeating?
We fear experiencing hunger.
I did. I always carried some food in my bag. I always eat at the first sign of hunger. I thought my glucose levels would go dangerously low. I could faint unless I eat something.
My clients tell me they fear going hungry too.
We fear feeling hungry at the same time we say we want to lose weight. Isn’t this funny? We end up eating before we even feel hungry to prevent feeling uncomfortable.
Do you know how to feel ‘hunger’?
When was the last time you felt hungry?
Do you even know how hunger feels?
How long does feeling hungry last?
If you do not know the answer to these questions, and want to lose weight, I invite you try it.
Experience hunger. Pay attention.
Where does it feel in your body? How long it lasts?
What are you thinking during this process?
How does it end?
Let me tell you a secret, you will not die.
What other uncomfortable feelings are you avoiding?
Most things that we consider challenging make us feel uncomfortable. Most things that are worth doing feel challenging. Something you have never done before, speaking in public, expressing a strong opinion, disagreeing in a group.
What if instead of avoiding it we decided to feel uncomfortable and do it anyway?
The best of learning to ‘stop overeating’ is that you can apply what you learn about ‘experiencing negative emotion, being uncomfortable’ to any other area of your life that requires you to feel uncomfortable.
Similarly to hunger, you will not die. You can choose to feel anxious about speaking in public and do it anyway.