Is Overeating a Life Energy Problem?

Is Overeating a Life Energy Problem?

The Union Path Podcast

"Is Overeating a Life Energy Problem?"


One idea that I've been thinking about lately, one question that I've been pondering whether or not overeating, overconsumption of any kind as its roots in inadequate energy. What I mean by that is inadequate energy coming from our life, coming from what we're doing, coming from the experience of our life, of what we do, fulfilling us, energizing us, nurturing us. It's our overall energy, nutrition of life insufficient, and thus we compensate for it by trying to make up the difference. I was wondering about this specifically with overeating, because I've definitely witnessed myself in the past when my life has been the least energizing, my life has been the least fulfilling. That's when I tend to eat the most, that's when I tend to overeat the most. I think that's really interesting, at least from the metaphor, just the symbol of energy, because from a physical perspective, how does our body get energy? Well, it's from the food we eat. And so is there a very simple calculus going on here, a very simple equation that's being run of. If I feel de-energized, if I feel kind of burned out, if I just don't feel passionate or motivated or really even all that engaged or enriched by my own life, can I overcome this through upping my consumption? Obviously, there's a lot of emotional issues involved with food as well, especially, the more hyper-palatable it gets, the sweeter it gets, the more delicious it gets, the more rich it gets. There's definitely a parallel with emotions, with compensating or even trying to cover up feeling bad for different sorts of reasons. But I think it's also interesting to ponder this idea of energy, this idea of looking at our life and asking ourselves is my life actually energizing, is my life actually fulfilling or is it depleting? Do I finish every day, or most days, just feeling completely rung out, completely run over, just depleted and just kind of ground down to a nub, which I then have a fixed amount of time before the next day to try to refill, to try to correct this, to try to compensate for it? Because I think we've all had the experience when we're really engaged in something, we're really in something, we're really living our life and feeling alive.

Oftentimes food is the last thing we think about. We can forget meals altogether because we're so engaged in what we're doing, because we're so energized in what we're doing. And so when we think about our food choices, when we think about our overall level of food, consumption is part of the equation. Come back to, or redound to the amount of energy that we're getting from our life. Are we trying to supply all the energy of our life through our food? Or maybe it's not food we overindulge in, maybe it's some sort of stimulant, maybe it's some sort of manic activity, maybe we feel compelled to exercise four hours a day.

But whatever it is, it's important, I think, to look at the in and out of our life when it comes to energy. What are we giving out and what are we receiving back? In basic terms, what's this equation like? Does it actually balance? Can we look at expenditure and can we look at coming back and see a balance there and have a balance there? And if not, why?

Because that's one of the things about our modern society is that when we do have an energy imbalance, we have myriad ways to attempt to compensate for that. Around every corner, there's someone to sell us a distraction, someone to sell us a stimulant, someone to sell us a depressant, someone to sell us something we can consume to feel better, to try to write this balance. But if it's a fundamental imbalance in our life of what we get from our life, from the energy we get back from our life, is anything from the outside? Is consuming anything really ever going to solve that problem? Or do we end up just building two problems? Because if we've been overeating and overindulging, in any way trying to compensate for the lack of energy, the lack of receiving, that we get back from our own life, well don't? We have two problems now the problem of not receiving enough, the problem of not getting enough back, the problem of life just being something where the juice just isn't worth a squeeze. Then we've also got this overconsumption issue, which carries with it its own ramifications, its own results, its own outcomes.

I think this is just something interesting to think about, or at least interesting to think about. That a good life is lived in balance. That a lot of times this may be oversimplified, but we can do ourselves a lot of good by rooting out the imbalances in our life. That if we seek and strive for balance in all things, our lives will tend to be better. That just seems to be true. That just seems to be real. That seems to be self-evident Versus the more our lives are out of balance, the more we'll lean on various compensatory strategies trying to bring ourselves back into balance. That's the guiding, dominant homeostasis of our beings, of our bodies, of our physiology bodies working tirelessly, working endlessly working to try to maintain balance. If we are imbalanced in any aspect of our life, oftentimes our bodies will try to rectify that, will try to reconcile this, will try to write this balance through some other means. Whatever our bodies can't do internally, they will attempt to do externally.

If we have an issue of overconsumption in our life, we have an issue where we find ourselves not able to do what we need to do without overconsuming. And at the very least, it's worth looking at what we're doing and asking ourselves why what we're doing isn't nourishing enough for us as it is, why we're creating a deficit, why we're creating this deep hunger. Because oftentimes when we overconsume, it's not due to a hunger for what we're consuming. It's due to some other unmet need, something deeper within ourselves, some deeper hunger, some deeper desire, some deeper longing, some aching from within us that is desperate to be filled, desperate for attention, desperate to be made to feel better.

And of course, we can demonize our overconsumption, we can castigate and judge ourselves, but oftentimes this judgment really separates us from the solution. Because if we're not really willing to fully look at a problem and if we look at a problem as objectively and with as much understanding as we can, then oftentimes we'll actually separate ourselves from the solution. We'll seek snap judgments. We'll use our own biases and prejudices and overall judgments to lead us astray. Oftentimes we can do this. We can form these decisions to comport to a narrative that we already held about ourselves.

We can use our overconsumption as validation for what we fear at all alone, that we actually aren't good enough, that there actually is something wrong with us, that we actually are flawed or broken or frayed in some fundamental way. But I think we can see through this line of thinking. This only exists when we're looking at ourselves from the outside in, when we're looking at ourselves from the top down, when that's not how life actually happens. Life is flowing through us from the inside out. Life is expression versus. These opinions of ourselves are impression of how we're taking the outside and bringing it internal instead of looking at our insides and seeing how they are expressing themselves externally. Life always moves from the inside out. Growth always happens from the inside out. Progress always happens from the inside out. That's just the way it seems to work through even a base level of observation.

And if we find ourselves trapped by overconsumption or if we just find that we're not really able to create change, like one of the things I've struggled with is, for a long time I didn't feel like I could lose weight and be creative at the same time, that one of those things had to give. Then, in order to be quote unquote creative, in order to create some sort of change, is to do something new. I had to be adequately and pretty thoroughly nourished and fed all the time, versus. Obviously, the thing with any kind of weight loss program is there have to be a deficit in there somewhere. Maybe not so much from a calorie counting perspective, but there has to be a void, there has to be a negative, there has to be less than what was before because, in its full state, caused the problem of overweight to begin with.

So if, in our full state, we find ourselves overweight, then we have to act less than our full state in order to change that, and this doesn't have to be done in a punitive or punishing way. This doesn't have to be done in a way where we're depriving ourselves or we're starving ourselves. Quite the opposite, actually. I've never really found deprivation or any sort of starving to work over the long term. In fact that usually just brings on its own set of problems. But we do have to shift to a place of where we are consuming less. That's real.

And so if we're trying to move to a place where we're consuming less, it's important to look at well, what are the forces causing me to over consume in the first place? And is my over consumption not just a character flaw, not just a validation that I'm a bad person or a weak person or what have you? But am I actually doing it for a reason? In my experience, probably usually that in my experience that when we're balanced, when we're feeling good, when we're healthy, we don't over consume that in my experience, overconsumption has always been a symptom of a problem, of a need, of a deficit somewhere else. And that's a good thing to know, that's a good thing to keep in mind, because at the very least, it keeps me from turning to very swift self-judgments and recriminations against myself, against castigating myself, for why don't I have the willpower, why am I not strong enough to do this or that? Well, sometimes these voids within us are overwhelming. They're overwhelming forces. Like.

One of my first jobs out of college was horrible. It was one of those things where it felt like every day was a week, every week was a month, and so on and so forth. It was just this alternate reality that I stepped into, where not only did all of the sparkle of life completely melt away, but time seemed to nearly stand still. And I remember vividly during this time I had gained quite a bit of weight and I'd find myself coming home and not only overeating but the food choices I was making were just bananas, just keeping plates of rice and pot stickers and maybe some ice cream afterwards, and just carbs on carbs, on carbs on carbs, and the more palatable the better, the sweeter the better, the more starchy the better. And I remember at one point I was talking to my wife about it and she was in a very loving way, kind of looking a little sidelined at my choices and kind of being like, really, that's really what you're having for dinner. And I just said to her well, something's got to give. And the profanity of that statement didn't really hit me in the moment, but that was about 20 years ago and I still think about that. I still think about that from the perspective of something's got to give. Yeah, these aren't great choices on this plate here.

I'm not really being any kind of nutrition role model right now, but I'm doing this for a reason. I'm doing this because my existence of this job that is just extracting every bit of life force from me every moment I'm there, it seems. I have to try to recoup that, I have to try to replenish that. The situation is too draining for me not to try to recover that lost energy, that lost life energy, through my own consumption, and so, at the very least maybe this doesn't resonate with everyone, but I think with whom it does this is an interesting thing to think about Looking at overconsumption as an energy problem, looking at overconsumption as a problem with the energy that we're getting back from our life, from our life, the energy we have to invest in it.

The depleting energy of finding ourselves in just wrong situations that don't fit us, that aren't good for us, that aren't actually for us, because that is the most depleting thing I've ever run across is when I'm in a situation where I can't actually be myself. I have to maintain this identity, this personality, this expression, this contribution of someone else, and I've done this for all sorts of different reasons, and usually those reasons are good. Those reasons are trying to be helpful, trying to provide, trying to be successful, trying to live a good life, trying to be a good person. But the energy doesn't lie. The energy always tells the truth and we can tell how our life is for us based on how our life feels to us, based on the energy that we feel. So it's important to ask ourselves a basic, fundamental question Is our life on a whole overall energizing or depleting? And of course we all have good days, we all have bad days, and if one thing happens one afternoon we don't need to blow everything up. Of course it just has a whole.

Over the longer term, how does our life actually feel? How does our life actually feel to us? Is it energizing or is it de-energizing? Is the nutrition of our life like from an energy perspective? And if that nutrition is off, if we are starving in our life from an energy perspective, are we trying to compensate for that through our own over consumption? And of course, only we can know the answers to these questions, because only we can really ask them. It's important to be aware of and if over consumption is something we struggle with, it's important to look for the imbalances in our life causing that over consumption in the first place, or if we just find that we need something in order to do something. We need to consume something in order to get something else done. Is that really the best use of our time? Is that really something we need to be involved with? Sure, in the short term, we all have responsibilities with, we all have to do what we have to do.

But over the longer term, is my life, is the activity of my life, de-energizing to me, in order to tell me that I'm not really living the life that's really for me? I'm doing things that aren't really for me. I'm doing things that aren't really mine. And yes, especially with the short term, sometimes this is required. But over the long term, the best life tends to be the one that is in most congruence with who and what we really are, and one of the easiest ways to tell whether we're in that congruence or not is de-energizing. Is this energizing or is this de-energizing? Do I feel satiated or do I feel starving? It just seems to me.

Anyway, this is one of those areas of life where awareness can be particularly handy, can be particularly helpful. By not abiding, imbalance by not abiding, being de-energized, demotivated, born out, exhausted, burned out Take these things as feedback, look for where the missing energy in our life is, look at what in our life is depleting us and then do our best to do something about it. Do our best to transition Either the situation because sometimes the energy of a situation can be completely changed to flipping our own energy around it. Sometimes actually nothing has to change in our life, but we change and then everything is different, and then sometimes we do need to seek new circumstances, new situations. But we'll only know if we'll try and we can start with ourselves.

We can start with our own awareness. We can start with being aware of our own hunkers. We can start being aware of where we feel de-energized, we can pay attention and we feel depleted and then, through enough of this paying attention, we'll automatically start to do something about it. Because that's one of the beautiful things about awareness is oftentimes, with enough awareness, the action becomes automatic. But a lot of times we can think about creating change as a lot of really hard work or a lot of really difficult problems to solve, of figuring out what to do or what to not do.

But if we can bring enough awareness to a situation, a lot of times those situations fill in themselves, those decisions decide themselves. It's if we find ourselves in a situation where our life is depleting to us, where we just aren't getting enough energy from our life or we're trying to compensate through our own over-consumption of anything. That's something we can do something about. That is a balance that we can strike. That is an imbalance that we can write.

And it all starts by paying attention. It all starts by acknowledging the truth of how our life actually feels, how situations actually feel, how relationships actually feel. And we may have spent endless time thinking about all these things, but a lot of times this awareness doesn't come from thinking, it comes from feeling. It comes from the awareness of our own feeling that, especially over a longer time scale, we can know the truth about any situation based on how it feels. So if we have any kind of over-consumption issue, we can start by feeling and these issues might run really deep.

There might be a lot of pain there, there might be a lot of fear there, there might be a lot of trauma there, but the very least, at a starting point, we can look at our life and ask ourselves if we struggle with over-consumption. Is part of that issue of over-consumption an imbalance of energy, an imbalance of the energy that we get back from our life versus the energy that we have to expend in order to live it, and if so, we can start on the road of making different choices. Just being aware of that, if that's true, is enough, because we can move forward. We can move forward in our own lives, creating change by seeking to strike a balance between the energy that we expend and the energy that we get back.

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