November 10, 2023

Episode 344: Unwinding Food Urges

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ep 344 - unwinding food urges

Does any of this sound familiar?

Your day sucked. You come home to a messy house. Make dinner. Let the dog out/get the kids in bed/clean up the kitchen/fill-in-the-blank.

You finally sit down to watch a show or scroll the Instagram to unwind. Maybe you even try to sleep.

Then you break.

You say, “Fuck it,” and make love to ice cream and Cheetos in bed, even though you weren’t hungry. And you eat waaaayyyy too much.

You wake up with all the guilt. You did it again. You call yourself all kinds of names. You swear you’ll NEVER do that again…

Until you do it the next night.

Y’all, I’ve BEEN there. Hell, sometimes I still want to be there. But here’s what I know: you have got to break the cycle to lose weight.

Today on the podcast, I tell you how.

I introduce you to the phases of urges and how to recognize them when they strike.

You’ll even hear a real-life example of how one of my members is struggling with an after-work urge and how I coached her through it.

In the No BS membership, we talk about urges and overeating a LOT. And I can promise you this — it ain’t ever about the food.

If you’ve ever felt guilty for giving into a craving — or for even having one in the first place — this episode will help you unwind your urges in a compassionate way that helps you lose your weight for good.

Listen to Episode 344: Unwinding Food Urges.




Corinne: Okay, everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I’m trying something new today. I’m just going to tell you all to be quite honest. I have been so busy here lately. Business is growing. If you don’t know, I have three businesses now. I have my weight loss membership which is, I’m going to tell you, I love it. I could talk weight loss. I could talk all things, learning how to be the best version of ourselves through weight loss, not because we lose weight. I also have a business membership where I teach new entrepreneurs who are new to the online space, just how to start and grow a business. And I’m loving that too. And we own a restaurant where we are constantly trying to figure out what should be on the menu and talking to our team and all kinds of stuff. It’s busy times here in the land of Corinne.
So in order to maximize some time and keep up with the things that I love the most, which is you all know I love my walks. I asked my husband, “Could you get me something that will allow me to go out and walk and podcast?” So if you hear airplanes, if you hear roosters, because I live by a fricking rooster farm, no crap. I live by a rooster… I never thought that I would live by a rooster farm but I do. And a block down from that, not even a block, I live in the country. Drive on down the road the next driveway and you’re going to hit the yoga goat farm. So really awesome things here in Nolensville, Tennessee. If you’re ever here, don’t expect to see much but we are a great small town.
Anyway, we’re going to talk today about a topic that I’ve been teaching inside my weight loss membership for a long time, and I think it’s going to help all of you develop a normal relationship with your overeating and your urge to overeat. When those moments come when you’re just like, “Fuck it. All I want to do is eat something,” or, “Screw this. I’m eating right now.” Or what some of my members will tell me is there are just times when they’re like, “I deserve it. I don’t want to deal with this right now.” There’s something emotionally going on in their life where they just really need to get a break and the only way that they’ve ever learned how to do that is by eating. So we’re going to talk about what I call the phases of urges, and it’s a concept that I teach inside my membership but it’s one of those things that I think when you hear it, you’ll understand why it might be hard for you to give yourself some grace while you’re unwinding and trying to lose weight.
The first phase is always after it’s happened. When we think about the phases of having urges and overeat, most of us don’t even consider that once we’ve already overate and we’re laying there, we got the full belly or we’re waking up the next morning, in that moment, you are still in the overeat. Let’s just all imagine that let’s say Corrine has had a bad week. And shit’s gone downhill and I’m stressed out and I’m laying in bed and I can’t get my life off my mind. And I’m sitting there and I’m just thinking about all the things that I’m afraid of. The next thing I know, I’m sitting there worrying that I’m going to forget something the next day. Then I’m dreading having to even start the next day because I got a lot of shit. And then I’m feeling guilty that I’m going to bed a little early because I’m so freaking tired and stressed that I didn’t spend time with my son.
So just imagine that being my evening and I’m like, “Fuck this, I got to eat. I just need a snack. I’m never going to get to sleep like this.” Hell, I even think I might be hungry. I have got so much nervous energy, so much anxiety going on. I’ve got my stomach juices kicked up and now I’m even convinced I must actually be hungry. So I go to the kitchen and I get some Cheetos or I get some ice cream or whatever I think is going to be the answer to my stressed out prayers. I go get it. I come back. I lay in bed. I wake up in the morning and I’m looking around and I’m like, “Holy shit, the covers are covered in orange powder. I did it again.” Now what?
This is where we have the first phase of interrupting overeating and interrupting urges. Most people, the reason why you drive yourself batshit crazy is because you think it’s got like, “If I overeat, all is lost. So if I’m going to fix myself, I got to stop the cycle before it even starts.” Now, here’s how we break cycles. We find as many interruption points as we possibly can and we work on them one at a time until the cycle just… It’s like right now, if you think you have to stop it in the middle, then you’re never going to win. But if you realize you have lots of different interruption points, lots of places where you can interrupt things, here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to find that you have way more power and control. You are going to have multiple points where you can win. And then that cycle can’t operate if you’re constantly removing pieces and parts. Eventually the cycle has to fall apart. So we want to work on dismantling it in as many places as we possibly can.
The very first one is the moment you wake up in bed and you’re dusted with Cheeto powder and you’re looking around. You have an option. You got two options. One is to feel sorry for yourself, to promise you’ll start over, to beat yourself up and all the horse shit that comes with that. The problem with that option is you don’t learn jack shit. You don’t think about anything that you could do differently. You don’t investigate what’s going on in your life to even set you up for the scenario of not only wanting to eat Cheetos, but set you up to be so emotionally wore out that you can’t even reason with yourself.
The other option is to not beat yourself up for in that moment to say, “This is a place I could interrupt the cycle. I do not have to beat myself up. This is something I want to change. It doesn’t mean something’s wrong with me. I know what I normally think, but I am determined to solve this for myself.” And the only way to solve a problem is to look at the problem with an analytical mind and keep working it until I solve it. Now, inside, no BS, that’s what we do. We are always putting these overeats under microscopes and we’re pulling apart all the little things that could be driving it. And we keep pulling it and keep pulling it until those overeating urges, those, “I’m out of control, I’m fucking eating things,” eventually start dissipating and going away.
All right, so that’s the first place we can interrupt. There is another place that we can interrupt. The next one is where we catch ourself. To me, this is one of the most powerful places to be able to stop yourself from eventually overeating because when something’s in motion, it takes incredible skill, determination, compassion, and understanding to stop something. A lot of you think, “Well, once I start, it’s all over with. Well, once I start, I might as well finish. I done fucked up. I might as well fuck up the rest of the day.” That takes no skill. It also won’t help you lose weight, and it won’t help you figure out what the fuck’s really going on with you.
So if you want to choose that, choose it all day or decide to be a grown ass woman and say, “You know what? It takes skill, mental acuity. It takes compassion. It takes a whole new version of me to catch myself with one delicious Cheeto left in the bag and to say, ‘I don’t have to finish this.’ You know what I can do? I can stop right now and I can get to work on figuring this out or I can throw this Cheeto away and know that I stopped. That is good, and tomorrow I’m going to look at this deeper.”
Being able to do that is strong, and so I want you to think about, first we have to stop the beat downs. Then we’re going to stop ourselves in action. And sometimes that means you’re literally at the last bite. Sometimes you’re at the first bite. Sometimes you’re halfway through. And I will tell you, it will feel hard. But if you want to lose weight, at some point, you have to be able to stop yourself when you catch yourself off track. You do not have to wait until we have dropped a nuclear bomb on you before you start the cleanup efforts. So we’re going to stop somewhere in the middle of taking action. Then what we’re going to do is we’re going to move up. If you can get that, you’re going to lose a lot of weight, I’m going to tell all of you. And if you need help with learning how to have the resiliency to stop in the middle, you should be a member of my membership because this is what we work on.
Now, here’s the next line. The next one is what we call when you feel like doing it. When you feel like doing it, getting really good at understanding, “This is what my body does when I’m about to overeat.” So I always like to think about it. It’s like for a lot of my members, we really identify the actual emotion. When I’m stressed and I’m tired and all these other things, when I start feeling that, that’s when I know I need to pay attention. That’s when I know I need to comfort myself, talk to myself and do those things. So what I want for you all to think about though, just on an easier level, is what does it look like in my body when I am about to do this?
I was coaching someone this morning. I have members who every single week. I’m doing live coaching and people get to come up. And one of the things she was wanting to do was learn how to interrupt this pattern at the when she started feeling like it. And I said, “Well, what is it like for you?” And she says, “Well, when I’m starting to get into the, ‘I deserve it. I should be able to have it. I just really don’t care about weight loss right now,’ when I’m getting into that antsy, restless or entitled attitude or flippant like, ‘I don’t care,’” she said, “there’s a heaviness that sits into my chest and I notice I start tapping my foot and sometimes I even get up and I start walking towards the kitchen. It’s almost like I’m walking off the energy, and the closer I get to the kitchen, the more relief I’m starting to feel like, ‘Food’s coming, everything’s fixing to be better.’”
I said, “That’s good to know,” because what we want to do is we want to be able to notice when we’re about to do it and that becomes a new interruption point. But I will tell you, again, you’re in action. You’re already started. It takes time to be able to develop that skill. It won’t happen overnight. And this is the key. Stopping yourself before, during, or after it’s over is all equally as good. They all contribute to weight loss. At some point in your weight loss journey, you have to navigate all of them. So don’t poo poo that like, “Well, I’m so pitiful. I’ve got to start with after the fact. Well, I suck so much because I’m going to have to do it when after I’ve already eaten. I’ll never lose weight.” Don’t buy into the bullshit of your brain. Your brain’s wrong.
When I lost weight, guess what? First thing I had to do is quit beating myself up for overeating, because I never once beat myself up over overeating and then magically lost 100 pounds and kept it off. You know when I did that? After I quit beating myself the fuck up for every time I overate. So the feeling line, we want to get to know. When you were getting antsy and stuff, just pause and be like, “What is going on in my body is I don’t want to miss these signals. I want to get so aware of when I’m about ready to overeat, when I’m about ready to fuck it eat, stress eat, comfort eat, bored eat. Whatever my flavor is. I need to know what goes on in my body before I do it.”
All right. The next line is where we can start pausing when we start thinking about it. This is where everybody’s like, “This is where I’d like to get to. I’d like to just… The moment I even think about it, I want to be able to stop myself.” Well, good fucking luck. Highly skilled people eventually learn that but only after a long time of stopping in the other lines. Because your brain is always going to offer you some bullshit thoughts the rest of your life. I’m just going to tell you right now. As someone who has lost their weight, I have kept it off for 16 years. The other night I had a bad day and I literally rolled over to Chris, and I have not done this in forever and I said, “Ice cream would be so great. I’ve just had a bad day. Do you want to just get some ice cream so we can just lay here and watch TV?” To me, that was just going to take away all the worries.
You all, you would think I never think this stuff. I do. Do you know what? When I said it out loud and when I was thinking it, I literally was like, “Okay, but we’re not.” I was like, “I don’t want to eat.” It was easy for me to plug in, “You know what? I’m probably always going to get triggered for stuff like this. But here’s what I know. If I’m going to eat ice cream, I want to enjoy it. I don’t want to be eating ice cream because I’m mad about my day, because I need to escape, because all I’m going to do is feel relief from worry. I’m not going to enjoy the ice cream. I’m not going to be enraptured with it, enthralled with it, so excited that I get to eat ice cream and be in maintenance. I’m denying myself every one of those pleasures every time I overeat because I don’t want to feel bad. And I don’t want to deny myself that pleasure anymore.”
So it’s the thoughts. You have to understand what are your thoughts that you think right before you’re going to start feeling the urge, before you walk into the kitchen, before you wake up in the morning with Cheetos all over your face? And a lot of times it’s the little ones. It’s, “This is going to taste good. This won’t matter. I just like this. Who cares?” It’s always to me, it’s like I was telling my clients this morning. It would be great if every time we’re about to overeat, our brain sounded a big ass alarm. “Hey, Corinne. You’ve had a bad day. I’m just letting you know you’re going to want to eat and you think that’s going to make everything better. You even think ice cream is going to taste delicious and be so good that you deserve it.” It would be great if that’s the way our brains talked because if our brains were that loud and they were sending up that big of a tornado signal, then we would all have a lot easier time stopping.
But that is not how it works. It’s usually like, and I’m going to tell you, most people when they overeat, it is the most innocuous of thoughts. It’s like, “That sounds good. A little bit of that won’t hurt. This won’t add up. Tomorrow we’ll start over.” It’s usually a passing quick like, “Just grab that.” We want to know those because you have to be so aware of the little ones so that when they pop up, you can start telling yourself, “I always think that right before I overeat but this is just the thought I have right before I overeat.” So in our membership, what we teach you all is number one, how do you find all these thoughts? How do you actually start listening to all this without feeling like something’s wrong with you? The other thing that we teach in the membership is when you’re breaking all of these points, we really go deep into uncovering any kind of shame or judgment that you’re having that you are having to be in this phase of the process.
We also work on why are we ending the day eating? Why are we having to snack at 3:00 in the afternoon, on bad days at work? What is it that goes on that we need to help ourselves with? And I will just tell a lot of you. I gave you so much information in the podcast to help you with weight loss but the things I can never do for you in this podcast are work with you on the things that are really bothering you in weight loss, which is I was coaching someone this morning. I coached several people this morning on Thursdays. I have a part of my membership that I work with at 6:00 AM because they’re teachers and they are like, “We’re teachers and we can’t come to other calls. And we would just love for an opportunity to be able to do some of the live calls.”
So I always try in the membership to spread the wealth of the calls. I even work on weekends because I know a lot of people have Monday through Friday job. And so we’re always trying to make sure that we have these different times. So at 6:00 this morning, I’m looking like a hate. I’m in there and I’m working with someone. Well, I’ve coached her several times now and I’ve gotten to know her and she’s really been working on her first thing was eating cheese and crackers every day at around 3:00 because between 3:00 and 5:00 at that point in her workday, she is so stressed out. She’s been riding on adrenaline and anxiety and worry that by 3:00, she just wanted to have cheese and crackers. And her weight had stalled and she was so upset that she was going to have to give them up.
And I said, “You can have your cheese and crackers if you’re hungry.” And she’s like, “That’s the problem. I’m not hungry at all. I think I deserve them.” I was like, “Well, why do you deserve them?” “Because no one at my job is reassuring me. I just feel like I’m too old and I’m…” And she had all these different things. And so but she really wanted to work on cheese and crackers so we worked on not having cheese and crackers and saying, “In exchange for not having cheese and crackers, for now if you want to solve that, you’re probably going to need to sit there and feel stressed and feel worried because that’s the only reason why you’re eating.”
Then she came back another week and she had another thing. This is like the third or fourth time I’ve coached her. And finally, every single time we worked together, there was a common theme. “I’m eating because,” or she had transitioned from taking away the eating to, “I’m so worried about my job and everything is so stressful at work, all I want to do is eat. I’m able to say no but I’m still wanting to eat.” I said, “Okay.” And she was like, “So what do I do? How do I keep not eating?” And I looked at her and I said, “Well, the answer is really obvious. We’re going to have to work on why you’re so stressed out and why you’re so worried at work all day.”
I said, “Because that’s why you’re wanting to eat. You’re trying to get away from your stress and anxieties. This is not because something’s wrong with you. This is not because of anything else. It’s because your brain is saying, ‘Hey, I need you to take care of us. I need you to calm us down. I need you to offer me some comfort. I need you to figure out how you’re going to think at work so that you’re not so worked up at the end of the day so that you’re not so stressed out because you’re not doing anything else for us. The only thing you’ve done is take away the food and left me in an emotional mess.’”
And I will tell all of you, that’s what you have to work on. It is all fine and good to listen to the podcast. It’s all fine and good to do the four basics and to do the strategies. But at the heart of it, what’s always happening is we are no longer eating to take care of ourselves emotionally so you have to learn how to take care of yourself emotionally if you don’t want to regain your weight back, if you don’t want to start overeating again, if you don’t want to have to spend your entire weight loss life white knuckling, will powering, feeling like it takes up all of your time, struggling through it, hanging on by tooth and nail every day. Or just waiting for the shoe to drop. That is what most people do. And a lot of people can lose a lot of weight miserably. A lot of people do not even ever get introduced to the idea that what is going on behind the eating? That is what we specialize in.
So I worked with her today. Her one story was, “I’m afraid I’m going to lose my job and I’m too old to get another one.” And I said, “Or…” Because I asked her about it, and she would lose everything. And I asked her about it and she’s like, “Actually, I wouldn’t necessarily lose everything. Maybe it would be hard to get another job.” And I said, “Okay, that’s even better than, ‘I am going to lose my job.’” Let’s just say, “It might be hard for me to get a job, but at 62, here’s what I have that younger kids don’t.” And I said, “Is that true?” She’s like, “Yeah, there’s lots of things that I bring to the table that younger kids don’t.”
And I said, “Okay. Wouldn’t it feel better to go throughout your day reminding yourself, ‘It is my job to show my skills. It’s my job to highlight the value I bring. It is my job to show everyone why you need me.’” I said, “How does that feel going into work every day versus, ‘I’m just waiting for the shoe to drop. I’m just scared they’re going to let me go.’” I was like, “I get that and that’s true.” But when you sit in that all day long, of course you’re going to want cheese and crackers, of course you’re going to want fish sandwiches. Of course you’re going to want to overeat the moment that you’re doing anything fun for yourself. Just know that when we don’t work on our inner fears, insecurities, the root causes behind why we’re eating, it’s really hard to do these pauses. It’s really hard to interrupt cycles.
So for all of you, take what I said. Go through the phases of urges. See all these places where you can identify. But just know that behind all of it, there’s a root cause usually. There’s usually something going on for us if when we’re breaking through, if we are hanging on, if we notice our urges aren’t starting to go away, if we’re doing the thing, but it feels harder than it should, there’s usually stuff going on behind the scenes. We work on that, your weight loss gets really easy and it becomes super easy to keep your weight off. Because when you’ve removed the need to eat to feel better, to have joy in your life, to connect, to get pleasure, to be comforted, to reduce your stress, to not feel things, to stop worry, when you remove that, you’re unstoppable.
All right, everybody, you all have a good week. Talk to you soon.

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I'm Corinne Crabtree

Corinne Crabtree, top-rated podcaster, has helped millions of women lose weight by blending common-sense methods with behavior-based psychology.

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