Did you know that your overthinking is leading to overeating?
Overthinking simply occurs when you endlessly layer thoughts to solve a problem. You take one worry or concern and then add multiple layers of them in your mind.
In doing so, you impact your emotional state and nervous system. When we don’t protect our nervous system we make ourselves prone to seeking comfort in food. This is when overeating occurs.
In this episode, we talk about how to know if you’re overthinking, how it can naturally lead to overeating, and how you can work to remove overthinking from your daily life.
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Hello, my friends. Welcome to the podcast this week. Today. I want to talk about overthinking overeating and I don’t mean that you are overthinking the concept of overeating. So that’s not what I’m referring to today. Maybe you are overthinking overeating. So if that is the case, keep listening to this podcast. So you can clear that up. But what I mean is when you are overthinking is leading to overeating.
So overeating becomes a product of overthinking. And in this episode, we’ll get into how to know if you are doing this now, why it even matters and how you can support yourself in removing the overthinking from your day to day life. Because what many don’t realize is that overthinking is actually the cause for many of our overeating patterns. So if that resonates with you, I’m excited to support you in today’s episode.
But before we get into that, I have to do a client shout out real quick, because I really do think it’s genuinely so important to see examples of what’s possible with this work, because a lot of what I’m teaching you on this podcast is very different from what many of you will have tried in the past to create results.
And I want you to have the opportunity to understand that it is possible to change the way you eat and change the results with your body without punishing yourself to do so or without giving every piece of yourself to make those changes. So I want to share a few words today that my client Adrienne sent to me yesterday evening. So she is a wife and a mother to two kids. And I’m hoping that her words give you an insight into what’s possible for you.
So she said, “I get it. Now I’ve had weight loss results, but the real magic here is that I don’t feel like I’m battling anything to do it. I’m not fighting off cravings or bargaining with myself about my eating choices. Some other things have simply fallen into place too. I’m sleeping soundly for the first time. Maybe in my life, I wake up with no alarm and my body and mind genuinely want to go for a walk.
I got a massage last week and my massage therapist unprompted said, keep up the great hydration that marked the first time anyone has ever told me, I seemed well hydrated and that’s with no water tracking app or lugging around a gallon jug. It’s just easy. So I’m writing to say, thank you for helping me find this version of myself yesterday was my birthday. And it felt so good to be celebrating and not recommitting to some future version of myself.
I was really excited to be celebrating this version of me now.” Woo y’all. And I want to repeat something very specific. She said, because it’s so important. She said it felt so good to be celebrating my birthday and not recommitting to some future version of myself. So important. And her words, I think are such an example of the fact that it’s never just about food or your body.
It’s about how you are taking care of yourself physically, or how you are taking care of yourself, mentally. It all relates. And Adrienne, if you’re listening again, thank you for those words and for being a beautiful example of this for everybody here. All right, now let’s talk about overthinking overeating or more specifically how overthinking can lead to overeating. And let’s just take a moment to be lovingly honest with ourselves here.
Do you identify as an over thinker and if not, are you really sure as usual, there is no judgment on this podcast, but in case you feel tempted to judge yourself or resist the fact that this is something you do, you are not alone. And I personally am very naturally prone to overthinking, especially in the past. And most of my clients that I work with struggle with overthinking as well.
So we are not here to call anybody out or bash on the concept of overthinking.
And it’s funny because in the past I would kind of take pride in my overthinking tendencies a little bit. I was always a self-proclaimed perfectionist go getter really saw myself as someone who would get things done. You know what I mean? So I did also self-identify as someone who was an overthinker and at the time I didn’t really see anything wrong with it, which there is nothing morally wrong.
If you find yourself overthinking, it doesn’t mean anything about you and it doesn’t make us wrong if we notice ourselves doing this, but it’s really, really important to understand how overthinking affects you emotionally and how it affects your nervous system as well. And to clarify overthinking simply when you are layering thoughts on top of each other endlessly, for instance, let’s say a thought you have is I don’t have enough time.
And then you begin overthinking when you go from that one thought, and then you layer multiple other thoughts as to why you don’t have enough time.
So maybe you then think I’ll never finish this project, or I’m not going to be able to cook dinner later, or there’s just not enough hours in the day. What this looks like is just chatter inside of your brain. It doesn’t matter that dialogue that’s occurring in your thoughts. If you take one thought and kind of run with it endlessly, that’s how you can define overthinking here. And it’s important to acknowledge that all thoughts create emotions.
That is how your feelings are created in your body. So when you are layering multiple thoughts at a time, you are increasing the level of the emotions in your body. So maybe when you think I don’t have enough time, you feel the emotion of overwhelm. And when you take that one thought and turn it into 50 overwhelm thoughts. Now, you feel overwhelmed at such an emotionally heightened level that you stimulate a total stress response in your body, which signals the warning bells in your brain, that it’s in danger, where it will then want to seek comfort and safety.
And this is a really good example of why are thoughts matter so much towards our health? I think sometimes thought work has a reputation for being a little fluffy and pretentious, which kind of makes sense because I think thought work it’s misinterpreted as positive thinking, and you do not need to force positive thoughts in your human brain because spoiler alert, we will not always have positive thoughts available, but we do want to be aware of how we’re thinking and what our thought patterns are, because your thoughts and how they affect your nervous system are just as important or more important towards your health.
As the foods you are eating, what , it’s true. And in this example, it’s not a problem that you are having a thought such as I don’t have enough time because you are a human being, not all of your thoughts will be voluntary, but the problem occurs when you take one involuntary thought that creates an uncomfortable emotion, and then you run with it and layer a bunch of similar thoughts.
So the initial overwhelm, for example, becomes overwhelm on overdrive. And all of a sudden you’ve unintentionally put yourself in a bit of a stress response that you will strongly feel the urge to seek comfort from. And what’s the most readily available source of comfort that we will reach for when our body is in a stress, survival state, it’s food in case it wasn’t obvious.
And this is so important to acknowledge because we have a tendency to be a bit hard on ourselves when we notice that we’re comfort eating or overeating, but we want to have our backs here because food is the most readily available source of emotional comfort because we need to eat to survive, right? We don’t have to binge watch Netflix. We don’t have to overspend an online shop.
We don’t have to over drink. We have to eat to survive. So when your body is in a stress state, emotionally due to these layering thoughts, every meal will be an opportunity for you to get that emotional comfort.
If your body is in a stress state, of course you will be prone to overeating now and coaching. So many of you, I know there will be potentially some resistance to having your back here and validating yourself for this. You may think no, I should be able to control myself. I should be able to be stronger. I should know better. No, this isn’t the way it works, because yes, you are a logical being who can make strong willed decisions when your nervous system supports it.
But you know, what’s stronger than your will or your willpower, your survival brain. And if you are in a stress state, your survival brain will take over to protect you. So this can mean having a strong urge to eat for comfort. And this is why in my practice, we don’t spend energy or focus having you use willpower to force food decisions in spite of your survival brain, because this is when you’ll be fighting your nervous system to take action with food.
In my practice, we teach you to calm the stress responses first. So there is no battle or fight. Your logical brain can then work in partnership with your survival brain. So that’s always the goal. So overthinking stimulates this stress response that causes you to overeat stress and stress. Eating can be a product of overthinking, but I also want you to understand why you overthink in the first place, what your reasons are, what leads to the overthinking, because overthinking is something that will naturally present itself for us as humans.
It’s not a personality trait, and it’s not because of who we are. It will always naturally be an option when we’re living in a survival state. And in these moments, it’s a compelling option because you’ll find that your brain may naturally want to go into overthinking patterns. If we’re not aware that it’s happening. And this is because overthinking like everything else is your brain trying to protect you, which by the way, everything, your brain and body does is to keep you safe and alive.
That is its only goal. And overthinking is a product of that as well. When you’re feeling uncomfortable, emotion in the body, overthinking in your head allows you to disassociate with the body. It’s moving the focus from your body to your mind, your thoughts, which we subconsciously love to do when we’re feeling uncomfortable, emotions DISA, associating from your body and moving the focus into the mind is a source of comfort.
And you may notice this with your overthinking as well. So just watch even throughout the day, watch your focus go from your body to your mind. On top of this, overthinking is also your brain’s way of scanning for potential danger. It wants to solve everything around you externally, so it can feel safe internally. So let me give you an example.
So I can summarize this and make it a bit more simple. Let’s go with our original example where you have the thought, I don’t have enough time and you feel overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed comes up in the body and it feels quite uncomfortable. So this is when you may feel compelled to move the focus from the body to the mind, you will want to disassociate from how you’re feeling in the body. And you’re going to want to be all up in your thoughts because your emotions feel uncomfortable in this place. Your thoughts will be representative of you trying to continuously solve for the emotion externally, which just means your mind will be scanning for danger externally.
So it can protect you. And this will show up in different ways for you in this particular example. If you are thinking I don’t have enough time, your brain’s going to take that thought as a legitimate threat and then scan for all of the other danger. So maybe this means obsessing over the upcoming project deadline. Maybe it means stressing about all of the things you have to do tomorrow.
Before you go to bed. This overthinking in your brain is you anticipating danger and trying to solve for the danger outside of you so it can feel safe. So this is generally why we overthink and what leads to overthinking the product of this overthinking is a triggered stress state where your body will seek comfort emotionally. And as mentioned, every meal will end up being an opportunity for you to get that emotional comfort.
So there’s a few key things to know here. You’re overthinking to stay in your head and to disassociate from your body because an uncomfortable emotion is present. You’re also overthinking to solve a problem externally. So you can scan for danger and feel better because you are feeling uncomfortable internally. And most importantly, overthinking is layering thought after thought. So you are increasing the severity of the original feeling that you are running from.
And what this has to do with food overthinking will increase how emotionally driven you are to overeat in my practice. I always joke that I work with a lot of women just like me, or like I was in the past. And I know so many of you can relate. We tend to be self-proclaimed overthinkers, but we’re not usually seeing that overthinking is a direct cause of our overeating to solve for overeating.
You will need to learn how to stop falling down that rabbit hole of overthinking. You will need to notice when it’s coming up for you acknowledge the one thought and emotion that’s coming up for you. So not the layers of thoughts, but the one just choose one and then take it from your mind to your body. So you’re not disassociating from your body and layering on the thoughts. All right, my friends, I got a bit detailed in parts of this episode, we talked about some deeper concepts.
So don’t feel pressure to understand or implement all of this. Now I recommend with all episodes taking one piece of value from it each week and taking action on that one piece and just trying it on above all else, make this work simple and accessible for you now in whichever way you need to do that. It’s like, I’m always saying in my program, there is not one right way. There is only your way.
All right. I love you. I hope you have a good rest of your week and I’ll talk to you next week.
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified life and health coach for women who believes that eating healthy should feel simple and sustainable. I teach hundreds of high-performing women to change their eating habits without the overwhelm. Want to change your eating habits in a way that is aligned with your needs, preferences, and goals? You’re in the right place. You can read my full story here.