Are Unmet Needs Sending You to the Pantry?
When overeaters feel frustrated by unmet needs, they often turn to the pantry, refrigerator, Door Dash, or restaurants for comfort and soothing. Sometimes it’s for escape, distraction, or excitement. It’s exciting to order a new meal in or to get ready to go out to eat and choose a new restaurant to go to. When you’re bored, it can give you something to do. This includes cooking a new meal or baking too – thinking about what you want to cook (or bake), making sure you have the ingredients, and then starting the process looking forward to the result.
Did you know that it’s pretty normal to have some needs that are unmet? This may be a shock. In today’s culture, we’re used to thinking that all of our needs should be met and if they’re not then there’s something wrong – either with us or the situation.
But along the way of life, we lose friends, we move, we lose things that we like to do due to injury or location or weather. Sometimes life feels stagnant, like you’re trapped. Or you want more meaning and passion in your life but don’t know how to get it or feel it. It takes time to try out new careers or hobbies or to get to the level of skill that the hobby is satisfying. In between can feel frustrating.
And then there’s the times where you don’t have the faintest idea what you need or want or what would fulfill you.
You settle for feeling full instead of fulfilled. And for a lot of overeaters, the urge to feel full in those moments are overwhelming.
“Don’t feel full instead of fulfilled.”
How do we change this?
- Figure out what your needs are
- Get in touch with your Inner Nurturer or Kind and Loving Self
- Try new things
- Hypnosis (of course!)
Let’s look at number 1 first – Figure out what your needs are. To do this, you can check in with yourself. This is usually a daily process or may occur several times a day. If you’re doing this in the morning as part of daily habits, ask yourself how you want the day to feel. But to relate it to ending overeating, let’s say you want to eat but you’re not really physically hungry. Perhaps you want to eat in what I call “the Gap.” That’s the place in between meals where you’re not full but you’re not hungry. You’re neutral.
Simply asking, “What am I yearning for?” can help you know what you truly need.
Other ways to put this are: What am I needing? What is there not enough of?
The answer may be, “I have no idea!” If that’s the case, start brainstorming about what sounds nice or exciting. Or perhaps what you’re missing – a person, a place, a feeling. Make a list either in your head, on paper, or on your phone.
Getting in Touch with your Inner Nurturer or your Kind and Loving Self
Once you’ve started to tune into what your needs are or what you would like out of life, how you would like to feel then get in touch with your Inner Nurturer. Many people have heard about the Inner Child and have even done Inner Child work. We often talk to the Inner Child to find out what they need in Core Healing Hypnosis (#4 on the list to figure out what you need).
We also often get in touch with the Inner Nurturer or the Kind and Loving Self. People are often surprised to find that they have that part of themselves (they believe they’re an awful human being sometimes), but it’s usually pretty easy to access during Core Healing Hypnosis particularly if you have someone there to help you.
Let’s say you’ve written down the unmet need or needs. To access the Inner Nurturer or the Kind and Loving Self, write down statements that are comforting, encouraging, kind, and loving. These are things that Mother Theresa would tell you.
Warning – this may feel stupid or awkward at first.
Or could bring up lots of feelings making you want to eat.
But if you do this over time, consistently, it will be easier and easier and will feel better as well. These statements will begin to come to your mind whenever you need them. And will help to soothe you instead of reaching for food to do that.
I was sitting in session the other day and thinking how much I loved the client in front of me. Some sadness came up that they would finish treatment at some point and I would not get to see them anymore. In the far past, I might have admonished myself for not just being happy for them. But that day I immediately told myself that it’s ok to love your clients and to be both sad and happy when they’re done; that attachment is a good and healthy thing that helps healing happen.
Try New Things
The third item on our list is to try new things once you identify what you’re yearning for. Choose one small thing that’s do-able. Or perhaps just set an intention or say a prayer around it. Let’s say that you identify that you’re bored and would like some interest in your life. The small intention would be to look up information about a hobby you’re interested in – blogs, videos, asking a friend who you know does that hobby, joining a group that does it.
Let’s say that you’re not hungry but want something to eat. You do the process above and realize that you’re yearning for company, someone to talk to. The small intention or prayer may be simply to find someone to watch a show with – that may be calling a friend and talking to them or getting on an app where you can make friends.
Don’t worry about finding grand solutions. Start by practicing comforting yourself first and then figuring out very small steps and solutions. When you feel better about yourself and feel like you’re taking small steps to build a life that you want and to feel the way that you want to, you are less likely to turn to food to fill that space or for comfort.
I referenced Core Healing Hypnosis above, which is one way to stop overeating. It’s pretty intensive though and not everyone is ready for that emotionally or financially. Here’s what one person said about it:
Another way is to work on it bit by bit with “Receptive Hypnosis.” This is the kind where we check-in and decide what to focus on that week and then we do the type of hypnosis where you just listen. You also get their recording to listen to at home. This is a longer process (8-10 weeks), but very effective and less intensive as well. You can read more about it on my Hypnosis for Weight Loss & Overeating page.
Check out The Emotional Eater’s Repair Manual or When Food is Comfort by best selling author Julie M. Simon for more ideas about how to decrease overeating and work on comforting yourself.
Before you go, remember to get your Free Hypnosis to reduce Fear and Anxiety!
I work with people all over the world. If you want to feel better and have a transformed life, grab your Free Consultation with me to get the deets on working together (the how, the when, the where, and the how much)!
Peace and Health,