Have you ever finished a meal only to find yourself snacking half an hour to an hour later? You are not alone! I hear countless stories from clients who have a tendency to snack after they've finished a meal, and most often, this meal is supper. So why are we still grabbing for snacks after we've eaten? Are we really still hungry, did our bodies not get what they needed throughout the day, or is it something else? "What am I doing wrong"!? This is the frantic cry I hear ALL the time. So lets take a look as to why one might be continually snacking or feel like they need to continue eating after a meal, particularly in the evening.
Level 1: Physical
- Did you eat an adequate breakfast, and a substantial lunch?
- Oftentimes we neglect to even eat breakfast at all, and if we do it's usually something heavy in carbs like a muffin or granola bar that we can shovel into our mouths as we run out the door.
- Lunch tends to be small or even non existent to a lot of the clients I have because I work with business people. Busi-ness people are just that, busy. They are too busy to eat lunch, or they eat it as fast as possible in front of their computer screens.
- If you get home and you're starving, and you've eaten like this throughout the day, this could be the culprit of your evening chow down sessions.
2. Did you rush through each meal?
- If we rush through a meal, we immediately activate our stress response, or our Fight or Flight response. When we rush, our breathing starts to adopt a shallow pattern which tells the body that it's "go time".
- If we are in a stress response, blood flow to the gut is rerouted to the brain, lungs, and extremities to prepare the body to fight or flee. Meaning: you won't be digesting and assimilating your meal.
- If you didn't pay attention to your meal, the brain will interpret it as a missed meal and leave you feeling hungry. This is called your Cephalic Phase Digestive Response (CPDR). It's responsible for the tastes, aromas, textures, pleasures, and sensations you get from a meal. This is a physiological requirement for the body in each meal that can account for up to 40% of total digestion!
3. Did you eat a balance of all three macronutrients throughout the day?
- Skip out on high quality protein sources and the body will be left hungry.
- Skip out on high quality healthy fats and the body will be starving (and grumpy).
- Skip out on high quality clean carbohydrates and the body won't be satiated.
- We need a balance of all three macronutrients to feel fully nourished on every level, starting on a cellular level.
- Remember that the higher the quality of a food, the more nutrient dense that food will be. Choose organic, local, free range, free run, sustainable, herbicide/pesticide/hormone free food.
Level 2: Psychological
- Are you feeling anxious in any area of your life?
- When we are anxious, we often turn to food or other drugs, to calm us down. On a physiological level it makes sense seeing as the hormone serotonin is secreted when we eat a meal rich in carbs or sugar, as well as other hormones that make us feel good increase. But on a psychological level, the comfort of eating food literally brings just that, comfort. And if we are feeling ungrounded or anxious, food is a quick way to bring us back down.
- Anxiety = Stress = The stress response = de-regulated appetite = you eat more
2. Is food acting as a placeholder?
- Are you turning to food instead of turning inwards to find out what might be causing you to overeat? Is food holding a place for loneliness, depression, unforgiveness?
- 99% of the time with people who notoriously overeat in the evenings don't do because they just "like" food. Their overeating has nothing to do with food itself, the overeating or binge eating is a manifestation of a deeper rooted issue.
- Problems with work, money, relationships, sexuality, and a host of other avenues need to be looked at closer if you are turning to food instead of turning into Life.
3. Are you eating foods you actually enjoy?
- If you are always on a diet or eating foods just because you think you have to eat those foods in order to be a good person, you will always reach for something more soul nourishing after you've finished eating.
- Nutrients and Nourishment are very different. To nourish the body and soul might mean you don't eat salad at every meal, it might mean you actually eat something you enjoy. This doesn't mean to eat junk food, but it might mean you have some rice with dinner if you've been following a low carb diet, or it might mean you make you're favourite dish once in a while.
- Pleasure with eating is essential for body transformation and a brilliant way to stop that continual snacking. The body was meant to receive pleasure. If it wasn't, you wouldn't have tastebuds on your tongue, and you wouldn't be able to have an orgasm...just saying. If you refuse to let yourself enjoy food, you will always reach for more food.
Level 3: Metaphysical
- Have you lost connection?
- Whether you are spiritual or follow a specific religion or not, we all have our own beliefs or our own "10 Commandments" about us, other people, and the world we live in.
- Have you lost touch with who you truly are, and have you lost connection with your Source? Are we living by our 10 commandments or going against what we believe in? Could our 10 commandments possibly be toxic beliefs?
- When we feel disconnected, it is predictable that we will turn to food or something else that will try to fill the gap.
2. Are you embodying as the person you were created to be?
- If you're a female, are you connected to your inner Feminine? Are you embodied as a woman, doing things to embody as a woman, and embracing the fact that you are indeed, a woman?
- We live in a society that is dominated by numbers, programs, scales, and strategies that are Masculine in nature all in an effort to try to achieve the results we want. The problem is that men and women aren't the same and our strategies for eating and exercise shouldn't necessarily be the same either. What are some things you could do to help you embody as a woman, and to start to embrace your Feminine?
- If you're a man, have you embraced your Masculine lately? It is common for men to embrace their Masculine to the point of neglecting their inner Feminine, but I know a number of men that have needed to embody in their Masculine. When a man becomes apathetic or complacent, he can reach for food. If he doesn't have a purpose in life, he can reach for food. If he doesn't have the support of the Feminine in his life, he can reach for food. If he's disconnected to his Masculine, he will reach for food. Men need to be connected to their God given desires to be Masculine. Meaning, they need purpose, they need to feel needed, they need to protect, support, and feel like the strong man they were created to be.
There are obviously a number of reasons why one might reach for food even when they aren't hungry. On each level there will be reasons, and each level feeds off the higher level. The main thing to do is to tune into your own body wisdom to see what's going on. What message is your body, mind, or spirit trying to convey to you through the strategy of overeating? As always, I am hear to help you and to guide you in the right direction so please don't hesitate to contact me!