Overeating and consciousness

One of the things that has been very helpful to me in my struggle with overeating has been my exploration of ideas of consciousness, particularly of the Eastern kind. I was born and raised Catholic, but as a bleeding-heart liberal, lost any use for a religion that was so (IMO) women-unfriendly. Having been accidentally exposed to Unitarian Universalism several years back, it’s now my religious community. I believe it is there that I first studied Buddhism.

Alas, the same lack of discipline that helped keep me overeating for 30 years made it hard to do anything more than superficial with meditation. I have only recently started meditating (I’m now following Eknath Easwaran’s Eight Point Program, which features passage meditation, which has been a good place to start for my noisy mind).

While I realize that there are lots of unconscious fantasies that have been a major contributor to my overeating, my experience has been that digging these out is ridiculously hard (I’ve been to several therapists, including seeing one who specialized in eating issues for several years). I’m sorry, I realize people have had these problems for a lifetime (so expecting quick results is unrealistic), but having it take years to resolve is just unkind. No wonder so many people choose gastric bypass.

That said, I’ve now been in therapy for 9 or so months. I found someone who specialized in EMDR, though we’ve really done very little of that. She’s an addiction counselor, and that has probably been more useful. But the reality is that I went into this therapy really motivated. I had hit my bottom, and thus was compelled to dig out the fantasies.

But my efforts re the Eastern philosophies may also have been a major help. I’ve been listening to one of Easwaran’s CDs recently, and he uses the metaphor of the palm frond: six strong people can’t pull out a mature palm frond, but as a new palm frond slowly grows, it pushes the mature palm out. He thinks that this is what meditation does for addictions…as one progresses in meditation, one naturally begins to take better care of the body and thus behaviors like smoking and overeating lessen.

So I thought it interesting to come across a blog post of Deepak Chopra’s on consciousness and changing the world, and thought of the relevance to consciousness and changing one’s eating.

To me, these all sound like good principles for anyone with overeating issues. As everyone mentions, the weight is really the symptom, not the problem. The internal conflicts are the source of the overeating, and for me, the idea of replacing (as Dr. Phil would say) the bad tapes with good ones is the fundemental challenge.

Worth a visit