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By Bracha Goetz

Here is a surprising new perspective on how to stop overeating. The next time you find yourself overeating, try asking yourself if eating another 75 mouthfuls of whatever you are overeating will eventually be able to fill the emptiness inside.  And you will know the answer.

We overeat so the fleeting pleasure that the food provides will last, but what we are genuinely craving is lasting pleasure – the deepest kind of connection possible and unconditional love. Overeating distracts us temporarily from the emptiness within.  But it can also serve as a wonderful reminder.  It is a message to us that we need more pleasure in our lives – the deep and lasting kind that nourishes our souls.

To overcome overeating naturally and mindfully, you can get in the habit of asking yourself this one illuminating question when you are in the midst of overeating: “Is it my body that is hungry or my soul?” With the immediate awareness that results, you can then joyfully fill your hungry soul – even that very moment.  You can, for instance, step outside to breathe in some nature, call or text someone lonely, or get up and stretch to music you love – whatever fills your soul!  Even just imagining doing one of these things works! And you will be delighted to find that the big bag of potato chips will have suddenly stopped calling your name so loudly.

As I document in my candid memoir about overcoming food addictions as a Harvard grad, Searching for God in the Garbage , food addictions are telling us that our souls are desperately hungry. And when we nourish our souls, the inner emptiness is gone. So all we need to do is feed ourselves what we are actually craving.

How can people tell if their souls are hungry? You can tell because once you fill the moment with another joyful pleasure instead, the craving to overeat dissipates. And if it’s a spiritual pleasure, then the pleasure it brings is lasting, not like the fleeting pleasure from the bag of potato chips.

Eating junk food isn’t the real problem – the real problem is overeating it. So once we realize that we are overeating because we want the pleasure we are experiencing to keep lasting, we can aim to not be as stuck on that one type of pleasure when we can bring so many other types of pleasure into our lives. Acts of kindness, exercising gratitude, learning ancient wisdom, being creative – you can choose what lets your uniquely beautiful soul shine because our world was designed with an infinite abundance of ways to experience great pleasure.

We have heard about emotional eating.  But if we go down even deeper than the emotional pain, we find the pure and infinite core of our beings.  And when we provide our souls with as much deep pleasure as possible, they begin to shine with a radiance that helps to melt away the blockages from emotional pain.

Typically, we think of overcoming food addictions as serious drudgery, replete with many added restrictions, and how long can anyone stick to a goal that way? With this game-changing understanding, however, overcoming food addictions is what naturally results from bringing more joy into your life.

About the author:

Bracha Goetz is a Harvard-educated researcher on food addictions and the author of 38 books: including Searching for God in the Garbage , the candid memoir about overcoming food addictions joyfully.