“Finally, a book specifically for over eaters that digs deep into the heart and soul of what this behavior is about. Sophie does an excellent job of offering hope and providing practical how-to’s on overcoming something that seems hopeless to many.”
—Dr. Stephanie May, licensed psychologist
Specializing in the treatment of eating disorders
Have you ever found yourself mindlessly shoving food into your mouth after a bad day? Life is supposed to feel wonderful, but when you are controlled by the fridge, pantry, or overpowering food cravings, your life can become depressing and dreadful to live.
The Continuous Appetite will show you how to stop running to food when life presents a challenge, by taking you on an interactive journey that helps you understand and heal the imbalance in your body, emotions, mind, and spirit. The result is having a harmonious relationship with food where you’re able to eat to fuel your body, and taste the pleasure along the way.
“Sophie clearly defines the distinction between hunger and cravings and how to deal with them both. I know this book can be a source of help for so many who turn to food for comfort.”
—Jeannette Graf, MD FAAD, author of Stop Aging, Start Living
“Sophie’s approach makes us feel unified, empowered, and ready to face the world from a place of acceptance and love.”
—Kathryn Budig, author of The BIG Book of Yoga
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.38(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The Continuous AppetiteUnderstanding Your Cravings, Ending Your Overeating!
By SOPHIE SKOVER
Balboa PressCopyright © 2012 Sophie Skover
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFood Isn't the Problem
Transforming the continuous appetite is a process of looking within to discover what's happening underneath the craving.
If food is for fuel, then why do we have taste buds? All humans must eat to survive—without exceptions—and, if we didn't have taste buds, we might not have the drive to eat. The purpose of eating, however, has become so tangled into a web of tasting rather than fueling that people are getting increasingly imbalanced with every passing bite.
I like to call out-of-control taste buds "cravings". These little guys are important and serve us in many ways. At times (when our inner issues surface), they can take over and cause us to feel uncomfortable. If you have a craving right now, I challenge you to first recognize that something is going on in your inner life, and the coping mechanism you've chosen is food. The problem, however, is not food; it's rather the "result" from an unacknowledged problem in your life. In the past, these inner issues have probably caused outrageous cravings that have made you feel bad, but the way out is near. These harmful cravings are called the continuous appetite.
Have you ever used food to comfort your body in a time of need or perhaps as a form of stress relief at the end of the day, even though it interferes with your weight loss or fitness goals? If so, you are familiar with how your body's cravings can result in self-sabotage caused by the continuous appetite.
Have you ever been in a great mood emotionally and then—all of a sudden—a co-worker made a comment or your spouse gave you a look, and you immediately felt horrible? This nasty feeling then sends you frantically to the fridge, throwing your weight-loss goals out the window. This is how a lack of emotional awareness stimulates the continuous appetite.
Do you ever get stuck inside your mind with thoughts like, "What should I eat? What should I order? Why do I have to struggle with food on a daily basis?" If so, these are the thoughts the mind will generate when something is out of balance within. The damaging result is the breakdown of the mind, which then speaks the language of the continuous appetite.
Have you ever felt empty and disconnected from life and asked yourself, "What is the point anyway, who cares – nothing matters ..."? This is how inner spiritual emptiness uses a facade that feels like hunger but, instead, actually activates the continuous appetite.
If any of these scenarios seem and sound familiar, you're not alone. I have lived through this darkness and, at times, thought I wouldn't make it. But I've overcome these obstacles and, if I did it, you can too! All these negative experiences that happen in the body, emotions, mind and spirit, (or your BEMS) will be your key to unlocking true freedom from continuous eating. Our relationship with food is something that we all have to address every day and, when you struggle with this issue, it can seem as if life is overwhelming. There is a way out, however, from the body's cravings, emotional dysfunction, mental chatter and spiritual emptiness which are the ultimate roots of your intense cravings—and that way out is awareness.
Awareness will be the light that leads you out of the darkness, but we can't shine all of it on you at once. We need to gradually introduce you to it like a gentle sunrise, so you have time to adjust to the radiance. The exercises and techniques offered in this book can be thought of as mini beams of light that will shine through your darkness. Naturally, the more you practice, the brighter you will become.
The first step is to examine the relationship you currently have with what you eat. Take a look at where you currently stand with food because the first step to changing any behavior is identification. I want you to think about your relationship with eating as if it were a person, and then answer these questions:
How do I act around food?
What makes me cheat on my goals?
Where do I tend to overdo it?
How do I obsess over it?
When do I sneak it?
Your answers will shed some light on your relationship with food, which will bring awareness and, through awareness, you will be shown in which way you need to grow.
Inner Issues Beneath Overeating
We all have issues—big ones, small ones, obvious ones, and even invisible ones—and no one is issue-free. I don't care who you are, how much you have or don't have; not one of us is impervious to or exempt from having issues. Everyone on Earth has some kind of issue, and there are statistics that classify up to 85% of families in America as "dysfunctional". So having life conflicts has practically become the American standard but, when we try to ignore our issues, they turn into problems or cravings. When we unconsciously react to our problems by acting on our cravings, we create even more inner dysfunction.
We do, however, have a choice, and making this choice is crucial if we want to heal the continuous appetite. The necessary decision is to begin facing our true inner issues. Life offers all of us information and messages beyond the surface of each life situation. When we don't hear (or listen to) the message being presented, a problem can turn into a dilemma. When we don't tackle the dilemma, it turns into a calamity and, when the calamity is left unresolved, our life becomes steeped in turmoil.
I knew that place of turmoil well. I used to live there, and wondered why my life always seemed so troubled. I would encounter problem after problem and craving after craving, steeped in my own self-generated turmoil. But once I began to work through some of my issues, I started to see that these situations had presented themselves long before I became consciously aware of them. This taught me that I could now begin to be more conscious and avoid living in the turmoil. I then moved to the level of the problems and began to analyze those, which led me to the awareness that each problem—at one point—was a message. My goal then became to live on the level of information and messages. That's when I learned how peaceful life can be when I make decisions to look in a different direction and ask new questions.
I had been so out of balance in my body, emotions, mind, and spirit that my mind had convinced me that food and cravings were my problem. But then I began to see that the problem was a lack of being able to deal with what was happening in my life.
Up until this point, you too may have focused on diets, exercises and rules to change your issues with food or cravings. The dilemma, however, doesn't exist in the food. It lives in the imbalance of your four components; the body, emotions, mind, and spirit. I can't emphasize strongly enough how important these four components are and, when out of balance, how much inner suffering (disguised as the coping mechanism of overeating) they can cause. Once you stop regarding food as the problem and begin to look deeper and start seeing your cravings as the messenger, you will heal the real issues inside, which are the cause of the continuous appetite. The good news is that, once you're ready to look within, you will begin to transform this dreadful habit and so much more!
The Difference Between a Craving and Hunger
We all know the sounds and the feeling of hunger: the thunderous roar from the belly, the weakness that emerges right before lunch, or the watergates of a salivating mouth when the aroma of food passes by. A craving can feel very similar but, rather than a thunderous roar from the belly, it is more like a bodily need to be with that food immediately. This may manifest as a watering mouth triggered by an emotional attachment to a specific food, a re-occurring picture in your mind of a precise food, or quite simply as the experience of deep inner spiritual hunger that no food can even touch.
Hunger and cravings can seem similar but they are, in fact, worlds apart! Stated simply, hunger is the simple need to eat in order to fuel the body so it can function optimally, while a craving is an immediate need or desire for a specific food to "satisfy" something.
Do you know the difference between your feelings of hunger and cravings? When you're not clear about what is going on within your inner life, hunger can manifest as a craving and cravings as hunger. Acting on a craving, however, is a fruitless behavior because it's prompted by a deep issue within, an issue from which food can't even provide relief.
I once had a client who really struggled with recognizing the difference between hunger and cravings and, as a result, she became very defensive about her food cravings. She would say things like, "I just want chocolate, and chocolate is all that I want." I would ask her to look deeper into what the chocolate made her feel like or what the chocolate gave her.
Eventually, she opened up to herself, overcame her old resistance, and discovered that chocolate made her feel relaxed. She would suck on chocolate, and this act was both comforting and nurturing to her. We then realized that this instinct to suck was much more than a need for chocolate; it was an inner need to feel soothed, comforted and nurtured and, for her, chocolate had become the way for her to touch those feelings. But, because she was using food to medicate her emotional self, the good feelings couldn't be sustained. As a result, she would need to eat more and more chocolate. Once we recognized what she really was craving, we were able to break the cycle of eating and find other ways in which she could achieve the needed feelings of being relaxed, nurtured and comforted.
When the body is low on energy, you need to give it fuel but, when the body is craving something, it means it's time to look within and investigate what else might be going on. (Now, this doesn't mean that you can never have food that you innocently crave; it just means you're willing to look deeper before taking that first bite.) Challenge your cravings. Remember, cravings can never be satisfied; they just change from one desire to the next. The only true way to find real relief from a craving is to look within and conduct an inner investigation to discover exactly what the message behind the craving is. Only you can identify the difference between your hunger and cravings, but knowing the difference and then learning how to tune into your body is the beginning of unlocking the continuous appetite.
The term "holistic" means to view the whole system rather than the individual parts. When you look at your "holistic" self, you can see how the four components of the self (the BEMS: body, emotions, mind and spirit) affect one another. Let's take the idea of hunger. This is a reflex that our body intelligently uses to keep us alive. It first appears as a feeling in the body before it then stimulates thought, which creates the action of getting food to fulfill the request. Every component affects the other, and most life situations follow this same subconscious sequence.
When your four basic components are out of balance, you will notice excessive—inner and outer—conflict in your life. These imbalances will appear through continuous eating, but what is really happening is an inability to deal with anxiety, fear, or just plain unhappiness. When your vital components (BEMS) are functioning at an optimal level, however, the self (or inner you) is balanced and the outer dysfunction begins to fade away. As you begin to explore your inner life, remember that it's important to look at all the different parts of yourself—body, emotions, mind, and spirit—and evaluate how (and to what extent) they may be out of balance.
The BODY's Brilliance
Your body is made up of countless molecules. One molecule holds enough information to fill four hundred books as thick as the bible. Our bodies are amazing machines and are more reliable than anything man has to offer. One person contains up to 75 billion cells. Although these cells are microscopic, they are what keep us functioning on a healthy and balanced level. They're our friends but, most of the time, we don't take enough time to sit back and realize the miracle that's taking place behind the scenes. Every single cell lives in a tiny pouch of water which acts as a blanket around the cell. So, if a person is dehydrated, every cell is being denied its proper environment to function optimally.
I guarantee that you already know what is best for your body. Everyone knows what it means to be healthy. This might include being hydrated, in sound physical shape, nutritionally balanced, and well- rested. When you place your body under healthy circumstances, it generally responds beautifully. There are so many different approaches to physical health out there that I encourage you to research and find what feels right to you, and concentrate on one at a time. Begin doing one good thing for your body today, and watch how it grows into a new, healthy habit. Starting with one thing at a time gives you the endurance to do two things that are good for you by next week and, before you know it, you'll be living a life of complete well-being within a year!
Being EMOTIONALLY Balanced
Having emotional balance is not about being happy. Instead, it's about being in touch with the current emotion you are feeling, whether it feels good or not, and then knowing what to do with that understanding. Often, anger, anxiety, depression, fear, frustration, irritation, and/or struggle are signs that something is internally out of harmony. When you feel these emotions, really feel them! It is okay to feel, and no one can ever tell you that you don't feel something. The goal, however, is to be closely in touch with your emotions and then know how to handle them most effectively when they do surface.
When an emotion confronts us, it's easy to look outside ourselves and say, "She hurt me." But I encourage you instead to take responsibility for your own emotional experience. Something may have just happened on the outside that triggered an emotion within you, but it's important to remember that this emotion is in YOU. It's not someone else's fault for touching it.
When you identify what's going on in you emotionally, you will discover the power of being emotionally aware. First, ask yourself the following questions when you think you may need an emotional tune-up:
What emotion am I feeling?
How does this emotion make me feel?
When have I felt this emotion before?
Asking these three questions will help you begin to build your emotional understanding. Remember, the way to change is by welcoming new consciousness, allowing answers to come to the surface, and then trusting the discoveries you make.
Silencing the MIND's Chatter
The mind is like a garden. When the chatter is weeded out and the cognition is fed (as with water and sunlight) the now (or present moment) will blossom. What are you thinking about right now? Are you even aware of your thought patterns? Researchers say we have about 60,000 thoughts a day, which is a lot to keep up with. Out of all your various thoughts, how many of them are productive and how many are meaningless?
When your thoughts are meaningless, full of static, and out of control, we call this chatter. Chatter is like a stream of random sentences that don't connect to one another, producing constant high-volume babble. "Did I do the laundry?" "Oh I forgot to go to the store!" "I like her outfit ..." etc. Unfortunately, this is the type of information that is processed on the level of chatter, and this will not help you. Instead of helping you be more productive or efficient, it actually takes you out of the moment and lures you into even more meaningless chatter.
If we continue the analogy of the mind being like a garden, chatter then is like a weed growing in your mind. What do weeds do? They steal all the nutrients from the soil that would promote a healthy garden! In order to become the true master of your own mind, it's essential to learn how to silence the chatter. The first step is to recognize when your mind is full of chatter, and the second step is to consciously silence it by flipping the switch.
Excerpted from The Continuous Appetite by SOPHIE SKOVER Copyright © 2012 by Sophie Skover. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsPreface—Checklist: Do I have The Continuous Appetite?....................xiii
Chapter 1—Food Isn't the Problem....................1
Chapter 2—I Just Ate Too Much....................15
Chapter 3—Preventing Overeating....................27
Chapter 4—Face Your Overeating....................37
Chapter 5—Diets Cause Cravings....................51
Chapter 6—How the Heck Do I Only Eat Half?....................63
Chapter 7—The Power Within....................75
Chapter 8—A New Perspective....................88
Chapter 9—Why Things Happen....................101
Chapter 10—Unleash Your True Beauty....................114
Chapter 11—Events, Holidays & Vacations....................125
Chapter 12—Discover Your Best Self....................139