Weight loss is an issue that affects many people, including many military spouses. Overeating can be a big part of the problem and this is often exacerbated by the emotional trials military spouses experience regularly. If overeating is the main cause of your weight gain, learning to control the emotional urges for food can be a path to weight loss.
THE HARDEST PART OF LOSING WEIGHT
If you are a dieter like me, you may recognize the role overeating plays in weight gain. For me, it was important to acknowledge this because it allowed me to see that I was caught in a recurring pattern of overeating and weight gain. Many of us are caught in a habit of giving into our urges around food. This often goes unaddressed in terms of weight loss because everyone has urges around food. We even joke about them and glorify them in our social media posts and in commercials such as the Snickers ad that says, “You’re not you when you’re hungry!”
Our urges can be so strong that they often overpower our strongest willpower. This underlying belief that our urges are too strong for us to overcome, which can be compounded by previous failed weight loss attempts over the years, can cause us to repeat the same pattern of overeating year after year.
We often start the new year with a real weight loss plan but we slip up a couple of times and begin relying on our reserve of willpower. We say to ourselves, “It’s already February and I’m not seeing as much change as I thought I would. I’m so disappointed . . . I’ll start again on Monday.” For the rest of the year we then repeat everything we’ve always done until another year has gone by without the real change we desperately hoped for. We might start to panic and even consider options like liposuction or surgery because weddings, holidays, deployments, relocations, stressful times at work, and aging parents are not going away and there will always be food that we struggle to resist.
Every year I felt trapped in the same vicious cycle: I avoided food, overate, dieted hardcore, and then binged, once so badly that I ate four jars of almond butter in one week. Finally, I decided to get help and found the weight loss solution that worked for me.
TACKLING FOOD URGES
Overeating, which can often be caused by an emotional response to food, was the main source of my personal weight gain. If you are eating more food than you need, you might be giving in to your urges when you’re around food. Learning to stop overeating involves truly understanding what your food urges really are. An urge is essentially an intense form of desire such as a craving. Desire can be a good thing, so we don’t want to get rid of it entirely, but in terms of food we just want to decrease its intensity so that we can make deliberate, conscious choices about what to eat or not eat without feeling like we have no control over our actions.
When you realize that your urges are actually coming from your thoughts about food, you will start getting your power back over your actions and the results you want to create for yourself. You can change your thoughts, which means you can change how you feel and be in control of your urges. When you realize that you can deliberately, consciously decide how and what you want to eat, you feel more in control and more empowered because it’s a choice you are making, it’s not being made for you. When you’re feeling empowered and in control around any food, your eating habits will be deliberate. You won’t overeat unless you choose to, and by not overeating, you can maintain or lose weight. Knowing that you are truly in control of your urges might just be your compelling reason to lose the weight once and for all this year.
Nicole Terwey is a certified life coach through The Life Coach School, as well as a sport nutrition specialist and certified fitness coach through the National Council on Strength & Fitness (NCSF). After serving in the U.S. Navy for eleven years as an intelligence officer and earning a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership, Nicole embarked on helping women and men with the mental-emotional component to weight loss. Her personal struggles with years of weight loss and weight gain at the Naval Academy and her time on active duty led her to find her solution for permanent weight loss, which is the cognitive element, or the mental strategy. Combined with her knowledge, experience, training, and coaching skills, she now works with women and men who want to lose weight once and for all by tackling the hardest part of weight loss: undoing urges around food. Nicole offers a free Undoing Urges Mini-Course at her website.