So often we believe we have unwanted habits like overeating because of the circumstances of our lives. We innocently believe that we’re trying to escape from old feelings (maybe even trauma) by doing our unwanted habit.
What if that’s not the case? What if the only problem lives between our ears? What if, when we understand that our experience of life comes from the inside-out, our unwanted habits dissolve?
Resources from this Episode
- Online course: Freedom From Overeating
- Book: It’s Not About the Food
- Unbroken podcast episode 11 with Jonelle Simms
Transcript of this episode
Hello explorers and welcome to Q&A episode number 25 of Unbroken. I’m your host, Alexandra Amor.
Today, I want to talk about what we’re comforting ourselves from, or escaping from when we have an unwanted habit like overeating.
I’ve talked about this before in different ways on this show, and I even had a podcast with my guest, Jonelle Simms, to talk about it. And then last night, I was out for a walk and saw it insightfully in a new way. So I wanted to share here in case you hear something new and fresh and different, and as always, with the intent of helping you to resolve an unwanted overeating habit and reduce your suffering.
So here’s how it goes. Here’s what I saw. As you probably know, as I’ve talked about, lots, for 30 years, I really delved into the self-help world to try to resolve my overeating habit. And that was completely innocent. I did what felt best, what was available to me at the time, and maybe you’ve had a similar experience. The message that I got from that exploration was really a very outside in message, that we in life have experiences and circumstances that are difficult, and they create difficult emotions in us.
It’s all coming from the outside in, and that we’re using our substance of choice -in my case, it was food – to comfort ourselves about those experiences.
It’s about the residue that’s left within us from those experiences, supposedly. And so therefore, the next step in that healing journey was to, for me, and through via all the self-help stuff, was to try to learn how to comfort myself in a different way, and to excavate the trauma that may have been laid down at some point.
Looking back in the past, and seeing what events or circumstances could have led to me having this what looked like a need at the time to comfort myself with food. And again, all very innocent, all motivated by wanting to suffer less and wanting to heal this problem.
The challenge is, though, that as we explore the inside-out understanding that our experience doesn’t come from the outside in.
And so what we’re really trying to manage, I now see, via things like diets, but other kinds of things as well, the self-help approaches to things… I always hesitate to mention what the self-help protocols could be, because they’re not bad in and of themselves, they’re just coming at the problem from the wrong angle.
You know what kind of self-help stuff you’ve tried. And willpower, that’s another thing that we all try. And maybe behavioral changes like not keeping certain foods in the house or creating rules around what kinds of food we can eat or what time of day we can eat, or whatever it is. All those kinds of structures to help us to resolve our unwanted habit.
For me, it looks like a two prong approach.
The first prong was trying to make behavioral changes. So all the things I just mentioned.
The second prong was this this idea of figuring out how to comfort myself, that’s what I call it, without food. So finding some sort of replacement for that habit, that behavior. And so that might look like there was this program called The Solution that I did. We used to do this little mantra thing. And we would even put one hand on one shoulder and rub the shoulder, sort of like a soothing person. Again, completely innocently.
Those were the two prongs, changing the environment and the behavior and then trying to find a different way to comfort myself.
I hope that you can relate to some of that or see some of what you’ve been experiencing in that.
Then when I came across this Three Principles understanding what I’ve come to see, and what I saw freshly last night was that all of that that I was doing in the past really does go from the outside in, and that what we’re really trying to comfort or what I was really trying to comfort myself about, was actually, on the inside, it was simply my thinking. And until we see this insightfully, it can be a little bit difficult to see.
So I’ll try to explain it as clearly as I can to be helpful to you. And then if it’s not resonating, if it’s not making a lot of sense, that’s okay. Because within you, there is infinite wisdom and resilience. And eventually, the penny is going to insightfully drop with you. And of course, it’s not just one penny, it’s a series of cascading series of insights, like I like to say, copying that phrase from Dr. Amy Johnson. So yeah, just hold what I’m about to say really lightly, and know that your wisdom will speak to you in a way that makes sense to you. When the time is right. The more that you explore this understanding.
What I see now, is that what I was really doing was using food to comfort myself to soothe myself, about my thoughts.
That’s really where the problem lay. In other words, I didn’t need to manage my circumstances, or change my circumstances, or dig into the past and relive things that had happened. I don’t and didn’t actually need comforting from anything, that comfort and soothing and peace of mind are there available within us at all times.
Where we get – I was going to say confused, but that’s not really true – what we don’t see until we see it is that that wellbeing exists and it’s perpetual, it’s innate, it’s infinite. It’s a deep well, of peace and understanding within us at all times. It’s what we’re made of. So there’s no comfort that needs to be had. There’s no soothing that needs to be had because it’s already there. It’s already available to us at all times.
Going back to the to my earlier 30 year self-help strategy, it was as people often say, it’s kind of like a game of Whack-a-Mole when we’re trying to fix these things from the outside in because it did feel like to me, I would sort of get practiced at a behavior that I felt would help me with my overeating habit. And then something would change – I would have a hard day or I would experience a loss or just life happened, I would get stuck in traffic or whatever. Something so minor like that could completely up end the applecart and have me behaving in ways that I didn’t like, have me participating in my overeating habit.
Now, what I see is that life just happens, good things and bad things.
We experience experiences, all day, every day. And the only thing, and I really mean it, the only thing that affects me is what’s going on between my ears. That’s the only issue that I have going on. So something really challenging can happen, a loss in my family, or whatever it is. And it doesn’t mean that I’m not going to feel things and think things about that situation. But my baseline is so different now. Because I understand that I am made of peace of mind, and resilience, and well-being, and all that innate wholeness, that exists within me.
My thoughts and feelings are not something to be conquered, and managed and overcome at all.
They are simply the weather, as the metaphor so often says, that moves through me. The greater me is the sky that doesn’t change that’s always there, it’s always blue. We can’t necessarily see it at all times, because it can be obscured by clouds and thunder and rain and all those things. It can even be dark at night if the sun is on the other side of the planet.
When we know that it’s only our thinking that is causing us to participate in an overheating habit, it’s only our thinking that creates the turmoil, that we then feel we need to soothe ourselves from. When we see that insightfully especially it changes everything. There’s nothing to manage anymore, there’s no rules that we have to set up for ourselves, to be able to cope with the temptations that are in the kitchen and in the world.
The awareness that the situation, any situation that we’re in, is only going on between our ears, is what provides us with the freedom to let go of any unwanted habit including overeating.
That’s what I saw freshly last night. And it’s so interesting about insight; I have found anyway, I see the same thing almost over and over again, just at a deeper and deeper level. I’m experiencing more and more awareness of what’s really going on and what my true nature is, and how my how thinking works, how thought works and how my thinking affects my life and my experience of life and how understanding that makes everything so much easier and so much better.
That has enabled me to let go of my overeating habit, which is such a relief after three decades.
I wanted to share that with you because it’s fresh in my mind and so clear. And I hope that that is helpful for you. I hope you’re doing well and taking good care. And I will see you again next week. Bye.