As a psychiatrist and energy specialist, I know that there is more to overeating and obesity that meets the eye. One big reason that many diets fail is that traditional weight loss programs don't factor in how we process subtle energy, what Chinese medicine terms life force or chi. Subtle energy penetrates and surround the body. Sensitive people who I call intuitive empaths unknowingly overeat in response to being overwhelmed by negative vibes. Empaths are people sensitive to energy, emotions, thoughts and physical sensations outside of themselves. If empaths do not remain aware as to what is their "stuff" and what is other's "stuff," they sometimes overindulge in addictive type behaviors, one of them being overeating, as a way of protecting themselves. If this sounds like you, there are ways to center and protect yourself when the impulse to overeat hits.
Food is a "grounding" device. It's the very thing that keeps us alive and grounded in the physical world. We all need food daily to remain alive. Similarly, many of my patients pack on pounds to protect against overwhelming vibes. They end up overeating as a protective device. Try these strategies to learn to cope with negative vibes without abusing food:
1. Identify an Addictive Craving from a True Need: Addictive craving, a symptom of nutritional abuse, is a frequent response to energetic overload. You eat certain foods like a drug addict would abuse drugs because of the high it gives you (ice cream, carbs, junk food). Overeating empty calorie foods leads to obesity. Whenever you keep lusting after sweets and carbs, be suspicious. With cravings, you eat to relieve stress, not to build energy. Try to identify addictive foods and limit them. A true nutritional need is not due to lusting after food to guard against negative energies. A true need comes from a centered place, not from drowning our emotions with comfort or binge foods. Feeling healthily nurtured from food never involves moodswings, sedation or elation, rather an even feeling of satisfaction. A true need lets you enjoy your meal, optimizes energy and doesn't lead to obesity.
2. Quickly Pinpoint Energetic Stressors: Ask yourself: Was I exposed to bad vibes like a loud-mouthed neighbor, a siege of overbearing phone messages from your mother? Don't write off the "smaller" incidents which notoriously send empaths high-tailing it to the refrigerator. Don't panic. Pinpoint cause and effect. Don't be victimized by negative energy. Clear it quickly once you've been energetically "slimed" by others.
3. Breathe Negative Vibes Out of Your System: Take a five minute break for damage control. Slowly inhale and exhale. Your breath activates positive energy and releases negative vibes in the body. For instance, negative vibes go to my gut; I feel like I'm being irradiated by a toxic stun gun. Identify your vulnerable points. Then practice this visualization: Just as your lungs take in oxygen and expel toxic carbon dioxide, breathe in light and clarity, breathe out stress. Breathe in vitality. Breathe out fear. Repeat this exercise until you're free of negative residue.
4. Pray to Release the Addictive Craving: If you're gripped by a craving, go into praying-mode. For a few quiet moments, breath slowly. Bring your awareness to your heart and be compassionate with yourself. The craving may feel impossible to handle, but that's okay. In this calm state, ask your higher power lift it from you. If you surrender your ego-involvement, this simple heartfelt request works like a charm.
5. Take a Bath or Shower: A speedy way to dissolve negative vibes is to immerse yourself in water. My tub is my refuge after a busy day: it washes away everything from bus exhaust to personal unpleasantness. While you relax, water works on you. It has alchemical cleansing properties which purify your physical body and energy field.
6. Visualize a Protective Shield Around You: Visualize white light surrounding every inch of you from head to toe so that negative energy cannot penetrate this shield and deplete your energy.
7. Eat with Attunement: Develop a diet that satisfies your energetic needs. Let energy motivate why you eat, more importantly than taste or dietary dogma. Whatever you put in you mouth, run by your energy meter; see what truly nourishes or depletes. Even foods you've previously avoided become more attractive when you experience their energy lift.
Judith Orloff, MD is a psychiatrist and an intuitive. This article is excerpted and edited from her new book, "Positive Energy: Ten Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress, and Fear into Vibrance, Strength and Love" (Harmony Books, 2004). She's also written the bestsellers "Guide to Intuitive Healing" and "Second Sight." For more information on her workshop, visit www.drjudithorloff.com. You can also purchase Dr. Orloff's books online at www.newliving.com/store.