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The Soul of Overeating

Raise your hand if you have a simple, loving, rainbows and butterflies relationship with your bod. And food. And weight. If you’re one of the rare women in this camp – oh my goddess, hallelujah.

And if not, I got you. It’s not you, it’s us. It’s one of the byproducts of being born into a feminine body inside a patriarchal culture.

One of the core initiatives of my work is to help us end the war women wage daily on our bodies. For real.

sarah_jenks1That’s why it makes me so relieved and hopeful to encounter people like Sarah Jenks – a sane, compassionate voice amidst a sea of body shaming nonsense.

I invited Sarah over to the blog today, to throw down some truth about the soul of overeating.

It is beyond time, Sisters, to take a deeper cut in the food conversation, and Sarah is right on track. I know you’ll love this post, and her. After you read it, leave a note to continue the conversation in the comments section!

Hi there sister,

I always feel at home here in Regena’s community. I spend a lot of time convincing people that diets don’t work and that being thin won’t make you happy. Although I love my mission to save women from a lifetime of vacant yo-yo dieting and debilitating self-hatred, it’s nice to be among women who “get it”.

You get that strict meal plans driven by hating your body will not lead to self-love and feeling alive. You get that feeling juicy and feminine has nothing to do with having a small waist and a tight ass. So, I’m going to use this opportunity to go deep with you.

Last Spring during our third Live More Weigh Less Mastery laser-coaching call, Shawna, a 42-year old mother of two who worked part-time as a yoga teacher, owned that she ate a sleeve of Oreo cookies while watching Grey’s Anatomy the night before. Shawna was so embarrassed because, like you, she “knew better”. She knew that gluten and sugar and processed food isn’t good for her body, she knew that there was probably an emotional component to eating 10 Oreos (although she couldn’t identify it) and she felt like such a fraud because “yoga teachers really shouldn’t eat gluten”.

She asked me what she could do that night to avoid eating the Oreos. “Should I just throw away all the sugar in the house? Should I take a bath instead?” Although these strategies are helpful, I had a feeling that Shawna’s eating habits were caused by something a lot deeper than a lack of baths.

This is what I told her.

My dear, the issue is not the cookies, you could eat ten oreos every night for the rest of your life and be fine. I am not concerned with the sugar or calories or how much weight you might gain or lose. Here’s what I am wondering: what are the Oreos trying to tell you? Why are they trying to get your attention so loudly? I mean, ten cookies! That’s a big effort.

You see, overeating isn’t just a bad habit; it’s a soul, a spirit, an energy like anything else. Many of us can feel the energy of mother earth and see her communicate through heavy rain or blooming flowers. Or the soul of a dog who gets our attention from barking.

The language of overeating is eating but the soul of overeating is like a boisterous, tell-it-like-it-is, fairy godmother who swoops down and says “WAKE UP! YOUR LIFE IS A MESS! YOU NEED TO TAKE A HARD LOOK AT WHAT YOU’RE DOING A MAKE SOME CHANGES. RIGHT NOW.”

I believe that everyone has a fairy godmother like this that visits us when we need her. Some of us have an alcohol fairy godmother or a stress fairy godmother. Our culture understands that an addiction to alcohol or chronic stress is a warning sign, but we’re taught that overeating is a weakness. So we hide out and try to control it only to encourage her to scream louder and louder.

My job is to give the Soul of Overeating a voice women can understand and to teach women how to really listen to her call.

When Shawna stopped and let herself consider why Overeating was screaming so loudly, she saw that she felt trapped in her life. She had convinced her husband to pay for a yoga teacher training and part-time day care for her kids so she could teach. But the reality was that she didn’t love teaching yoga as much as she thought, all of her free time was spent marketing her classes and she felt like she had very little left for her children. Her gas tank was drained from only working and being a Mom. It was incredibly painful to admit she had made some “bad choices” along the way and she felt guilty feeling stuck in a life that most women would die for, a life that she worked so hard to create. She revealed that focusing on losing weight and having the perfect diet was easier than taking an honest look at her life.

Here’s the deal, the Soul of Overeating holds us to a higher standard than anyone else. She knows when we are being authentic, living on purpose and being the real you. Anything less and she’s gonna come give you a lecture. You have to listen.

Sit with the pain and regret and explore what you would do if you had a clean slate. How would you spend your days if you had ultimate freedom and support? How would you express yourself? What do you need in order to be the best Mom, friend and wife? What do you need to feel whole?

Shawna was brave enough to explore what she deeply desired and wrote out a detailed vision of her life both in the present and future. She asked her soul how she really wanted to serve and if it was in the yoga world at all. She asked how she wants to parent and how much time she wants to spend with her kids. She explored what her body desires for nourishment and what her soul craves.

Instead of teaching two yoga classes in the morning and then picking up her kids at 1 o’clock everyday, she decided she much rather have them in daycare 3 full days and spend 2 full days with them during the week. She left the studio where she was teaching and developed a combo yoga and dance class that she taught in her living room two days a week. Since she made more money working for herself, she had more flexibility in her self care and took the third day to do a little marketing, get a massage and see her girlfriends making her feel filled up and joyful. She was surprised to find out that her husband didn’t care that she was taking time for herself while they were paying for child care, in fact, he loved it! It was only her own beliefs on what she “should” be doing that were holding her back.

Obviously, she stopped eating the Oreos, but the most important thing is that she listened and made a shift. If she had just forced another diet on herself she would have missed the magic of the Soul of Overeating.

sarah_jenks2There is so much available to you if you take the time to deepen in. I have a completely free training program to help you translate your overeating called the Live More Weigh Less Lifestyle Training Program. I would love for you to join me, and thousands of other women, on the path to figuring out what our overeating is trying to tell us and how to make changes.

You can join the training and our support group by clicking here.

And, you know, being a woman isn’t always easy and we need each other to move through some of these sticky spots. If you know someone who may find this helpful, I hope you’ll send her this article. Why stay on the surface when we can get deep and real with each other?

So great to connect with you here and I’m excited to continue working with you in my free program.

Love,

Sarah Jenks

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