To stop compulsive eating, start with the Psycho-Spiritual Wellness eating guidelines.
They help you honor your body and reconnect with your own inner wisdom so that you can get over binge eating, yo-yo dieting, and other unwanted behaviors around food.
Unlike diets, which are full of rigid rules that prevent you from listening to your body, these guidelines promote unity with your inner wisdom.
Before we dig in, it’s important to understand why diets don’t work in the first place.
At the end of this post, there’s also a free 13-page ebook on eating psychology that you can get. If you want it now, click here to gain instant access.
Prerequisite: Stop Dieting
For every restriction, there is an equal and opposite binge.
This is why diets don’t work. They put you at war with your biology. You are hard-wired against starvation.
But many of us cannot commit to not dieting because we’re terrified of gaining weight. I know because I’ve been there.
But aren’t you sick of it? I certainly was. I was sick and tired of gaining and losing the same 10 pounds and exerting so much willpower while I was doing it.
Fortunately, there’s a better way. Let’s throw the food rules away and replace them with a softer set of guidelines that actually works: the Psycho-Spiritual Wellness eating guidelines.
The Psycho-Spiritual Wellness Eating Guidelines
The 3 Psycho-Spiritual Wellness eating guidelines are:
- Eat exactly what appeals to you when you’re hungry
- Stop when you’re full
- Feel your feelings when you want to eat when you’re not hungry
Notice that there’s not a shred of advice about what to eat – only to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you are satisfied. I think there is so much wisdom in this!
Your body knows how to take care of itself. You just need to get out of your own way. But how?
Let’s dig into each guideline one by one.
Step 1. Eat exactly what appeals to you when you’re hungry
Give yourself 100% permission to eat exactly what you want. Seriously. You cannot keep one foot out the door, like ‘Okay, I’ll give up dieting but still no sugar.’
Nope. It has to be everything, otherwise it won’t work. I can’t stress this enough.
Afraid this will lead to weight gain? As long as you’re eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full, your weight will stabilize.
Afraid of creating health problems? Fair enough! Rest assured that your body wants to avoid problems as much as you do.
As you get back in sync with yourself, you’ll find that your body naturally craves mostly healthy foods.
But in order to get there, you need to make sure you have 100% permission to eat exactly what you want. This is the first step.
Step 2. Stop when you’re full
Obviously, this is the hard part for most of us.
Most of us struggle with stopping when we’re full or with putting down the snacks when we aren’t actually hungry. It’s important to realize that, aside from diets and restriction, the trigger behind overeating are feelings that we don’t want to feel.
These feelings can include anxiety, depression, overwhelm, boredom, fear, embarrassment… all the ‘yuckies‘ that we desperately want to avoid, we are avoiding with food.
This is where the Stop, Drop, and Feel comes into play. It’s my #1 tool to stop a binge in its tracks and develop a tolerance for feeling uncomfortable.
Here’s a video that demonstrates how it works:
When you stop and pay attention to the feelings that drive compulsive eating, it reduces the magnetic drive to eat when you aren’t hungry.
This paves the way to eventually being able to stop eating when you’re full.
3. Feel your feelings when you want to eat when you’re not hungry
When there’s a desire to eat when you aren’t hungry, there’s a feeling that needs your attention. For example, snacking without hunger is your cue to Stop, Drop, and Feel.
While this practice truly does help stop a binge in its tracks, here’s the rub:
When you stop using food to buffer your feelings, it means you will have more uncomfortable feelings to deal with — because they aren’t being stuffed down with food.
Most of us have no idea these feelings exist, though. We think that the food problem is our only problem. But that’s rarely the case. Usually, something ‘yucky’ always comes up.
And that’s why I like to give people a friendly reminder: When life suddenly gets worse after you stop dieting, it means you’re doing it right. I talk about this a lot in my new book, Daily Reminders on Psycho-Spiritual Wellness.
The Path to Unlock Everything
This is it. This is the key to unlock everything. The eating guidelines provide the framework that the rest of Psycho-Spiritual Wellness builds upon.
As long as you’re following the eating guidelines, everything will work itself out — including weight, cravings, and the struggle with stopping when you’re full.
If you want to explore more, grab the free 13-page ebook on Psycho-Spiritual Wellness below:
If you want to explore more, you’re in luck! Because this is just one slice of the Psycho-Spiritual Wellness pie!
To learn more, check out the free ebook below, which includes a free 5-day course in Psycho-Spiritual Wellness to catch you up to speed.
Originally published January 26, 2017 // Last updated January 28, 2020
After battling myself (and my weight) since the age of 4 (now 73), I think it’s time to be friends with me. Thank you for what you’re offering. At this moment, it’s like a surprise gift to me.
Me, too, Linda! At 64, I realize that since the age of 12 I have NEVER not been on a diet of some sort and/or bingeing (and later, worse!). Everything Kari said would occur, has. I’ve been on the trail for about 2 weeks. And there’s an ‘ouch’ around every corner. Since this startling epiphany, I have not weighed my body or my food and I haven’t restricted. Carry on, Sister…
Teresa Lambert says
If I get the workbook and the book, does it contain the information in these videos and links? I feel like I don’t know which to watch first. Thanks for your help.
Kari Dahlgren says
Yes, the first section of the book outlines the entire foundation of Psycho-Spiritual Wellness, so it’s a nice catchall. The workbook is more for the inner work – less education, more action. 🙂
Just like to say I have started the SDF approach to my binges. I am learning but realise it will take time.
I already feel free from the burden of having to restrict certain foods from my eating. Dieting. Oh to live a life permanently free of the all time consuming thoughts in my head of what to eat and what not to eat.
Really thought provoking comments. Thank you.
Kari Dahlgren says
Hi Freda! It sounds like you’re in the right place 🙂 getting to a place of not thinking about food every second of the day is exactly what we’re doing here. You’re in good company! Thanks for the comment. 🙂 And good luck with the SDf — I know it can be challenging, but sooo worth the effort. xo
Hi Kari! I want to ask you about not being able to recognize when I have to stop eating. After many years binge eating on a regular basis, I find that I only know I have to stop when my stomach hurts, because if there is enough empty space, I don’t quite realize if I’m still hungry or not. Does it make any sense? Will it ever get back to how it’s meant to be? Thank you for your work, it really gives me hope about my journey and my capacity to overcome self harm.
Kari Dahlgren says
Hi Belen! Yes, what you are saying makes sense, and I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling. As you continue to work on trusting your body again, I think you will heal in all ways: mind, body, and spirit. Let me know how you’re doing since you last left this comment!! x
For being such a young soul you are very wise! Thanks for the work you have done to put together your program. I believe you have definitely hit on what needs to be done to stop the habit of binge eating. I appreciate that we can benefit from a free crash course too. Shows you are doing this because you want to help people in need ASAP and not for the money.
Kari Dahlgren says
Thank you Margaret! I appreciate that. I hope you enjoy the free crash course and hit reply to an email some day! I do this for the love of it, and that means I love to hear feedback!! xo