This past Saturday I gave an open, free overeating workshop at the Santa Clara library.
During this workshop I met some interesting characters who had some interesting stories.
One story in particular resonated with me. I met an older Indian man and his wife who were living with their son who worked at Google.
He was now wondering what he should next in terms of health.
And I was able to connect with him in a powerful way by giving him analogies to learning a different language.
He had a question about why he was always hungry even though he wasn’t hungry, but because of his accent, he couldn’t understand my answers.
So instead …
I focused on the analogy of how to learn different language, but not verbal languages, the language of the body. This was easier to explain to him!
See, this man said he had a problem with overeating. He was eating too much. Eating too much till the point of feeling bloated, guilty, and anxious.
But, something I noticed was that his English was excellent. His wife on the other hand could understand my body language and my gestures which I was exaggerating, but the husband was the translator. He had learned English very well.
This insight would help me later on explain to him:
- Why he needed to realize his body spoke a foreign language that he could listen to.
- How the same skills he used to learn English could be applied to learning the different language of his body.
- How to learn different languages of his body he would need to practice!
Before I gave this man some eating wisdom about learning a different language of his body, I first got to know him and hear his story (which I explain in video above).
How To Learn Different Languages Commentary:
He was not used to having all these different food choices around him. Back in India, he didn’t have grocery stores lined with rows of food.
By having all the food around him that he wasn’t used to, this man was struggling with overeating. He just would keep eating.
His whole life he had been skinny he said, but in the last couple years of living in America, he had put on a lot of weight. Previously in India he didn’t even need to think about his weight but now it was becoming a problem.
I was able to talk with this man and try to understand his situation and more depth.
But there were several things unique about this man’s situation.
First, never dieted or had tried to lose weight before – isn’t this crazy?
We Americans are so used to trying to lose weight that it’s really hard to imagine someone never dieting or having tried to lose weight before
Second, not emotionally eating – interestingly enough this man swore he was not eating because he was stressed out or sad. I quizzed him on this.
I said that he most likely was feeling some stress because he was living in a new city and was away from his extended family. However, his wife and him both swore that he was doing fine.
So this really made things interesting. It’s very rare when somebody is not an emotional eater but still overeats.
So I simply asked The man if he felt his belly while he was eating. He said no. He said he always ignored his body. This to me was incredibly interesting. This man seemed very articulate, well put together, and yet he was ignoring his body signals?
I dove deeper under this topic and it appeared that this man genuinely was not listening or connecting to his body.
However, he definitely understood the concept that his body had a different language that spoken terms of hunger, fullness and food satisfaction.
Thinking about learning English was a useful analogy that helped me give him info on how to learn different languages of his body.
I started giving examples about how his body was speaking to him like with hunger listening to the stomach growl. Another example that I gave this man was listening to his belly and feeling his belly the sensations of stretching when he was full.
This was the body’s language I told him, and he had to learn to listen and respect his body’s language if he wanted to stop over eating.
I commended him I asked him about how he learned English and what exercises the software program gave him.
He said that he had began practicing with a software program. I didn’t ask which software program but I assume he meant Rosetta Stone or some other language learning program.
So I asked him about how he learned English and what exercises the software program gave him.
Then I asked him how long it took him to learn English and …
He said that it took him a few months to get the basics down, and a few years to become fluent.
And so I told him the same thing is true with eating.
I told him that you can probably stop binge eating in a few months, but to really truly fully stop the wheel and momentum of emotional eating, you’ll need a bit longer.
Then I corrected myself and said oh yeah you don’t emotionally eat so maybe just a few months for you.
So that’s my story. And I want to ask you a question.
What did you get out of the story? And are you willing to learn your body’s language?