You may know someone—or that someone might be staring back at you in the mirror—who yo-yo diets, engages in compulsive overeating, is constantly makes poor food choices, and/or is in a never-ending cycle of weight gain and loss. A closet full of clothes of many different sizes is a sad but true testament to their lifestyle.
Are you a Compulsive Overeater?
A compulsive overeater knows he or she is overweight. Remarks from concerned friends, such as, “Let’s exercise together so you can lose weight” or “Why don’t you just go on a diet” are emotionally devastating. A compulsive overeater has many faces: those that make self-deprecating jokes about themselves, “I feel like a beached whale,” others that accept they can’t maintain a “normal” weight and continue to overeat, those that become reclusive, refusing to attend any events that they don’t absolutely have to or becoming workaholics that use their work as an excuse for not having a personal life, “Can’t go, have to work.” Still others will put on the face of denial, never acknowledging there is a problem, “The cleaners keep shrinking my clothes!” and then there are those who will try every new fad diet, supplement, or exercise program to no avail, hiding their compulsive overeating behavior.
Compulsive overeaters often hide behind their appearance, barricading themselves against society. They feel guilty for not being “good enough” and shame for being overweight. They use eating to cope with these feelings, often turning to episodes of binging and eating to forget the pain. Often, after such an episode, they become focused on getting the weight off at whatever cost—sacrificing good nutrition and eating habit—which can lead to a multitude of health problems. Compulsive overeating is a vicious cycle that is often repeated over and over again. They may or may not have a true concept of what normal eating habits are.
One such person was Lauren Grant, the founder of The Hungry Heart. She first became aware of her issues with food when she was in high school. She spent many nights watching television and overeating which led to weight gain. She tried many diets and would lose weight but when she eventually and inevitably “cheated,” she would feel guilty and turn to food, thinking it would provide the comfort she desired, ultimately gaining more weight. Eventually she would start dieting again and the vicious cycle of compulsive overeating would be set in motion again.
Feeling trapped, Lauren started going to therapy, learned as much as she could about compulsive overeating, and joined various support groups. Unfortunately her problems with food remained throughout college. Initially she thought her overeating was due to the stress of finals but soon realized it had to do with a stressful family situation; but even though she intellectually understood the underlying reasons for her eating behavior she still needed the food to deal with her emotions.
What changed for Lauren? She finally acknowledged the root of her problem and took stock of her life—honestly dealing with her issues with food for the first time in her life. She realized that she had to stop blaming her childhood for her overeating and be responsible for her own happiness.
Having overcome her own battle with food, Lauren set out to create a program that would help others break free of their issues with food, naturally and permanently. Thus, in 1996, The Hungry Heart was established. Lauren chose the name because as she says, “Compulsive Overeaters don’t really eat because food tastes so good, but because we’re emotionally hungry. People overeat for many reasons such as stress, boredom, and loneliness. To them, food is comfort or a reward. But the two most common threads that run through our issues with food are not feeling good about ourselves and not taking care of ourselves.”
Lauren and her team of Certified Nutritional Counselors and Clinical Hypnotherapists have all overcome their own issues with food—yo-yo dieting, food obsessions, starving, binging, excessive exercise—that drained their energy, stole their time, and destroyed their quality of life. They understand what it takes to permanently change your relationship with food once and for all.
The Hungry Heart’s systematic 8-session program teaches clients how to stop the diet/binge cycle and lose weight naturally and permanently—addressing the core issues that have led to this behavior. Clients enjoy favorite foods without guilt or weight gain. The program is results-driven and includes behavior modification, hypnotherapy, and nutritional counseling.
Are you a compulsive overeater? Take our quiz to find out! Click here.
Did you enjoy this post? Do you relate? Get our free training now to stop emotional overeating once and for all. We’ve helped over 10,000 people reach their healthy weight. Will you be next?
Click Here to Start Your Free Training
10 Practical Tips on How to Stop Binge Eating
As a former binge eater, I had tried it all. I knew how I wanted to approach food, but every time I would try to get a handle on my overeating I would end up back in the diet/binge cycle. Over years, I started making some changes to my food and thought process that significantly changed my reaching for food when I would feel stressed or anxious. I liked to share my top 10 tools on how to stop binge eating that truly helped turn my life around.
- How to Set Yourself Up for Success. Learn how to approach food in a healthy manner, not on a diet, not feeling like your holding your breath to get to the next meal, and not in a way that will set you up for obsessively thinking about the next opportunity to eat.
We’ve heard it before, but are you doing it? Eat frequently throughout the day. It starts with the basics, of eating good combinations of fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins and carbs every 3 hours. If you go too long without eating you will set yourself up to overeat and feel out of control, feel like you don’t know how to stop binge eating. So set yourself up for success and eat good quality fuel every few hours.
- Plan. Plan. Keep healthy food available for the full day. If you don’t have good quality food on hand, you will end up turning to whatever junk is nearby. Just like you wouldn’t send your kids to school without a game plan to eat, you need to have your game plan. You wouldn’t show up to a meeting without your report or presentation materials, you have to be well fed before you go in, and if it’s going to be awhile, bring something with you so you can last the duration. We are much better off when we have good fuel in our system. When clients ask how to stop binge eating, the best tool I share is to have a food game plan.
- What are you saying to yourself: How we communicate with our selves will affect how we feel, how we handle life challenges, and what ends up showing up in our lives. We can be our own best friend or our own worst enemy. If your internal communications aren’t serving you, then you need to learn how to shift them to helpful resourceful communications.
- Meet Your Personal Needs: A lot of times we don’t even know what are needs are. We are so busy taking care of everyone and everything else that we end up last in our own lives. We then end up rebelling and turning to the food and end up binge eating to meet our personal needs. So learn to identify what is going on in your emotional life and how you can support yourself as you handle it. If you don’t know how to handle the situation, that’s when you need the support even more. So learn to truly be your own best friend.
- Create a Balance Life: Many times we let work or kids, or parents needs overshadow the other important parts of our life that they get crowded out. We stop focusing in or prioritizing time for ourselves, exercise, eating well, time with friends, socialization, or self-care. We then start to feel bad about ourselves. We need to take charge and reprioritize our time and energy. Pull out your calendar and schedule fun and exercise, just like you would anything else that makes it to your to do list or calendar.
- Problem Solving Skills: Learning how to overcome challenging situations and people are key to managing a healthy life. If we don’t have healthy boundaries, it is very easy to get overrun by other’s needs. If you are not sure how to solve an issue, start utilizing your resources, which can help. Think outside the box, research it, talk to friends or knowledgeable people in the area you need help in and then pick a direction. The key is don’t stay stuck. Try an idea if it works great, if it doesn’t move on to the next idea. If we do nothing for too long, we end up feeling bad about ourselves and lack of control and many times turn to food. When we don’t know how to stop binge eating or don’t feel good about other areas of our lives, building our problem solving skills and resources are the key to success.
- Develop a strong sense of self confidence and self-esteem. We want to feel good about ourselves unconditionally. Even if things aren’t the way we would like them to be, we can still feel good about who we are today and the direction we are moving in. Feeling good about ourselves and feeling whole and complete, allows us to make the best decision we can in the moment.
- Stop Self Sabotaging Behavior: If we beat ourselves up emotionally when we get hit with life challenges or are not sure how to stop binging, fix things in life or make them right, we end up spiraling down and feeling even worse. If you recognize that you have patterns in your life that are showing up over and over again that aren’t serving you, it’s time to shift your thought process and let go of the thoughts that are taking you down that path and shift them to a healthier approach.
- Create Health Boundaries with Family/Friends/Work. Learning to say “No” is a tough one for many of us people pleasers. We like to make everything right or perfect for everyone, and then we end up sacrificing ourselves and end up turning to the food. Determining your own limits of what you can manage comfortable is important, but feeling comfortable sharing it with others is even more important. So you can stand up to yourself, even when others push back or try and put their agenda or needs onto you. Learn to prioritize yourself, they may be sad or strike out, when you first start setting boundaries, but in the long run, you will be healthier and you will develop healthier relationships. If people can’t respect your needs, then maybe you need to revisit how much time and energy you put into the relationship.
- Learn to Be Your Own Best Friend: Learning to be our own cheerleader and support system will set us up to feel better when you get hit with the daily ups and downs. Visualize a big bright white light surrounding and supporting you.
These steps are really big tools that will have significant change in your life and approach to food. If you would like more ideas on how to stop binge eating feel free to touch base and ask for help. We are a community that works together and helps others break free of emotional overeating, binging, yo-yo dieting and just constantly making poor food choices. We are a safe, discreet environment, where you will get positive results. The Hungry Heart is an 8 session systematic process that helps clients overcome their issues with food. If you are ready to end your battle with food and feel good about yourself, then click the link below and let’s get started.
Are you ready to end your battle with food? Join our free online video training below!
Click Here to Start Your Free Training
Are you an Impulse Eater? True/False
- Do you eat large amounts of food very fast in a short amount of time?
- Do you eat desserts or leftovers, even if you feel full?
- Do you sneak or hide food occasionally?
- Do you eat when your day if your day is stressful?
- Do you feel the need to eat most of the time?
- Do you give into cravings for certain foods and then overeat?
- Is your typical meal last less than 15 minutes?
- Do you usually NOT leave food on your plate?
- Even if you are not hungry, if good food is available, do you eat large amounts?
- Do you typically multi task while eating?
- Do you eat in several rooms in your house?
- Do you skip chewing food completely before swallowing?
- Do you eat too much after dinner?
Impulse Eating Behaviors Include:
Eating too much or too fast
Eating leftovers or dessert when full
Eating sweet, high-fat food as a regular habit
Hiding or sneaking food
Overeating and eating beyond being full
If you like the food, you will finish what’s on your plate regardless if you are full
Eating in locations other than the kitchen or dining room table
Your activities always seem to center around food
Night time eating
Tools to Overcome Impulse Eating:
1. Create a New Habit: If you are feeling stressed or anxious and are thinking about food, you need to create a new habit. It will accomplish two goals, one remove your focus on the food and two get you involved in another activity. So instead of eating the cake on the counter when you come home from a stressful day, why not go straight to taking a shower, calling a friend, go for a walk, join a group, read a book, or play tennis. If you get involved in an activity that you would enjoy, then your day just continues and food is fuel so you can enjoy your next activity and have something to look forward to.
2. Set Yourself Up for Success Before Urges Hit: If you know you are always looking for sweets at 3pm in the afternoon, or when a vendor brings junk food in and leaves in the lunch room, you feel it calling your name, set yourself up for success beforehand. Eat healthy sweets that will meet your need, before that craving or situation surface. By doing so your blood sugar will level out and when you are presented with the sweets it won’t be calling your name. You will be able to skip without trying. Before I would take my kids to a birthday party, I would always have a hot chocolate or give my kids organic ice cream, the reason is when we go to the party, all the junk food and desserts wouldn’t be calling us. Our need for sugar and fat were already met. We didn’t’ feel deprived and we could concentrate on the people and the fun without a second thought.
3. Don’t Go too Long without Eating: If we go too long without eating, many times it sets us up to eat quickly, and overeat. We will make poor food choices if we are starving. Eat every 3 hours so you keep your energy up and you are never too hungry this way you aren’t as likely to feel out of control and overeat. Also take time to sit down, relax and enjoy your food. Appreciate your time to eat and that you are nourishing your body. By slowing down while you eat, it puts you in a different space then the rushing around we may be doing to get things done.
You are worth taking care of. What change are you willing to make today? Learn more about our program here.
Are you tired of working hard to lose weight only to gain it back again?
Do you feel like you’ve reach a point in your life where you are giving up and giving in to every imaginable temptation when it comes to food?
Are you limiting yourself from participating in certain activities because you feel your body will make you feel uncomfortable?
Most of us have found ourselves feeling a strong loathing about our weight and our inability to lose those pounds. The frustration builds and our self-esteem plummets to a dismal abyss. We have all tried diets, exercise clubs, support groups, drugs and leaning about control. All this, and still we feel the face of failure. Perhaps it is time to become aligned with who you truly are, who you would like to be and learn what self-acceptance is all about. At the Hungry Heart you will discover a method that, step by step, teaches you to lose weight naturally and permanently.
Finally there is a program that assists you in breaking out of the diet/binge cycle and helps you lose those painful pounds. With the Hungry Heart you’ll learn to feel better about yourself, lose the insatiable appetite for food and come to peace with your body.
A Caring Approach to Out of Control Eating
The Hungry Heart is a place for healing your relationship with food so you can experience the exhilaration and passion of living every day FREE of compulsive eating.
Lauren Grant is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Nutritional Counselor. She will show you how to move past your preoccupation with eating and weight loss and move towards a more rewarding life.
As a former overeater, she battled for years with chronic weight fluctuations by starving and binging and exercising to excess. She knows first-hand how an obsession with food drains your energy and destroys the quality of your life.
She has maintained a success rate of many years and is glad that painful time is behind her. “I had tried it all. I contacted sponsors and friends for advice and guidance. This was understandable a very painful time in my life. Today I am proud to share that I’ve been free of compulsive overeating for over twenty years. I’m happy, healthy and not preoccupied with what I eat. Taking care of myself by eating healthy and exercising regularly is a natural way of life for me. Feeling my true feelings, dealing with the pains and pleasures of real life has allowed me to live free of compulsive overeating,” she says.
She created the Hungry Heart to help others move past that awful feeling of failure. Laruen earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She is a graduate of both the Hypnosis Motivational Institute in Los Angeles and the American Academy of Nutrition. Her credentials are impressive.
Through hypnosis, clients are brought to a relaxed state of consciousness where they choose to see only what is relevant to their task, blocking out everything else. Hypnosis involves guided visualization to create suggestibility in your mind. This allows you to rid yourself of inhibitions, behaviors, or negative habits. It’s the quickest and easiest way to facilitate change. You will get positive results.
The Hungry Hearts well-balanced approach to LIFE-LONG recovery is successful because she integrates your subconscious thoughts and feeling with your conscious awareness. Add the proper nutrition and you get to enjoy optimum good health and quality of life.
I first realized I had a problem with food at about the age of eleven. My parents divorced when I was three. The yo yoing between families put me under a tremendous amount of stress. I found myself eating more when I would go to my dad’s house. The environment there was unwelcoming to say the least. I would hide food, sneak food and overeat when I was there. I found that when I came home to my mom’s house my problem would continue. I taught myself to self-love with the food. It was my entertainment, my friend and my parent. As an adolescent I struggled with my weight. I was about ten to twenty pounds more than my friends. Those extra pounds made me want to diet. My mom was a self-confessed calorie counter and helped me to do the math on all my food. I worked out and counted calories. I would lose some weight, but of course I would gain it back. I tried the cabbage soup diet (yuck). The hotdog and grapefruit diet, lean cuisine, slim fast, etc. All those worked short term with a result of a few extra pounds on top of the original weight I wanted to lose.
Emotional Overeating: My Road to Weight Loss Sanity
Finally I felt it was time for some professional help. I tried Jenny Craig and I lost twenty pounds. The minute I went off the terrible frozen food, I gained the weight back. Then I tried Weight Watchers (it had worked for my friends), same end result. I felt like a complete failure. In turn my eating became more out of control. I decided I wanted to get off this roller-coaster of self-destruction. One day I was reading Orange Coast Magazine and saw an ad for feeding the Hungry Heart. I thought what the heck. I’ll give it a shot. I have to say I was skeptical even though my mother had hypnotized me for a sleeping problem as a child. It sounded scary to have someone I didn’t know or trust yet do it. When I finished the first session, I felt energized and hopeful that I could overcome my fears of trying another way of dealing with my problems. After a few sessions I became aware of how and when I eat. I started asking myself “are you really hungry?” or “are you upset, frustrated or sad?’ This was huge for me! I knew I ate for those reasons but I chose to ignore it. I chose to ignore my own feelings like I didn’t have time for them. My sessions with Lauren were very emotional. I wasn’t use to talking about my fear of losing weight. Through time, I realized that by confronting my fears, taking time to understand and feel my feelings I can make a lifelong change in the way I approach food. I’m not at my idea body weight yet, but I feel my mind is healthier than ever. Lauren taught me to make healthy food choices and freed me from the destructive cycle of binge eating. She taught me to have confidence in myself no matter what the scale says. The weight loss was just an extra perk, gaining my sanity was the real gift.
It may be common wisdom today that people often overeat when they’re anxious or stressed out. But did you know there’s a biological reason for this behavior? (more…)