During one of the first sessions of a recent Losing Weight Without Dieting Program, one of the women, who we’ll call Bee shared this insight, “I can’t believe how often I want to reach for food when I’m not hungry.” I’ll just be sitting at the computer, feeling frustrated and all of a sudden I’ll think of the cereal bars that are in the cabinet downstairs. I just know that I’m not hungry, it’s an automatic response. I must have no will power.”

Like my client, Bee do you ever think that way about yourself? Unfortunatly you may feel that way because you’ve been sold a ratty bill of goods and led to believe things about yourself that just aren’t true. That hunger response that Bee experienced was not an effect of any lack on her part, it was a conditioned response, something that she didn’t even think about consciously, yet it often drove her to eat when she wasn’t hungry.

Throughout out lives, we’ve been conditioned by society to respond to negative or overwhelming feelings by seeking out food for comfort. Here are a few examples to consider:

  • As a child, you fall down playing in the park, mom rushes to your side with cookie in hand. Bingo! You forget all about the pain of the fall.
  • You’re a teen with a major crush on a guy. He rejects you. You go home and cry as you drown your despair in a bowl of ice cream.
  • You’re a woman eager to lose weight to fit into a dress for your daughter’s wedding. You try it on and it’s still too tight. You’ve worked so hard and dieted for so long. You feel angry, bitter and overwhelmed. You resign yourself to peeling off the dress, grabbing your fuzzy red bathrobe and storming down to the kitchen to stand and pick at whatever cold leftovers are in the fridge.
  • You’re a writer, struggling to meet a deadline. You feel stress in every area of your body. Your brain seizes up and you fall out of the creative flow. You have a killer case of writers’ block.  Feeling angry, frustrated and overwhelmed, you stomp down to the kitchen pantry to get another Snickers bar. After all, you deserve a break, don’t you?

Somewhere along the way, we’ve got food inextricably linked to feeling better. Unlike naturally slender women, gals with weight issues handle their feelings differently. They are taught by their life experience that it’s not as safe to express those feelings.

Perhaps in our heads, we also have a shorter supply list of resource options that work besides food. Some other women may consider taking a nap, calling a friend, watching a movie, going for a walk, a bike ride, getting out of the house and doing something to interrupt the pattern of frustration. Yet women with weight issues haven’t been conditioned to think like that. It could have been due to our caregivers’ habits. They could have had eating issues and we learned them by role modeling their behavior. Regardless of the origin of this type of thinking, it doesn’t serve as useful anymore. Yet, it’s still an automatic response deeply encoded in your brain.

Please don’t fall into the trap and think that there’s something wrong with you, believe that you’re weak or it’s evidenciary proof of a lack of willpower or discipline. It’s simply a well oiled survival mechanism that has been a part of your neurology for a long time. You can reclaim your power over food. In order to alter that automatic knee jerk mental reflex, you need to reprogram the subconscious mind.

Run, don’t walk to register for my next free Weekly Juicy Woman Fabulous, Fit and Free Call. Learn how easy it is to short circuit that automatic habit of reaching for food when you’re not hungry.

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