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Does Thinking Your Way Out of An Overeating Episode Really Work?

Posted Dec 08 2010 7:12am

Clara told us she was really struggling to lose weight. We asked her if she had an idea of what was going wrong.

She said that every night after dinner she would get this feeling that she just needed to have “a little something”. The trouble is, she always ended up having more than a little.

So we wondered along with her what this feeling was all about. She said, first of all, maybe what she needed was a lot of something, not just a little.  And she also wondered whether, indeed, what she really wanted was food—or something else entirely. She thought it might not really be food, because usually this happened pretty soon after dinner.

So, with a tiny bit of encouragement, Clara began to investigate this thought of hers, that she needed something a lot, but she was translating it into food, because she couldn’t get a handle on what it really was.

She made a list of possibilities and put down whatever occurred to her, even if it didn’t make sense, and even if it didn’t seem like the right thing. She was kind of brainstorming with herself, and she didn’t want to count anything out just yet.

The list went something like this. Could it be that I need

    a ton more love?

    to be more at peace with myself?

    to get a lot more rest?

    to pursue my real dreams, instead of feeling so stuck?

    to stop worrying about every little thing?

    to stop burying all my needs in an effort to please everyone?

    to stop berating myself?

    to have some fun?

You see how it went. Clara went on to list about twenty things in all. She then considered every item on the list, and told us she found three things that really resonated with her.

Her after-dinner splurges have been cut down to a large degree, and she didn’t feel she had to try so hard not to do it. She said that thinking about the more basic issues she had to face was satisfying the urges in a way she never thought possible.

All Clara did was think her way out of this particular overeating mode she found herself in, and it made an incredible difference.


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