How to create a loving relationship with yourself so you can compassionately untangle from emotional eating and gently lose weight
Many experts approach overeating as a science: eat less, lose weight. Eat more of this, less of that. In this view, the body’s a machine, where you do X to get Y.
The focus is on behavior change. To fix “bad” behavior (like overeating) you may try all sorts of strategies: mental obsessing, control, will power, bribery (when I lose 30 pounds I’ll buy new clothes), vanity, self criticism, punishment…
But these approaches don’t last and don’t work. Beyond that, because they come from this place of “I’m bad and I need to fix myself,” they break our own hearts.
The problem is not the behavior. You probably know what you want to be doing with food, anyway.
The missing ingredient is relationship – the relationship you have with your tender, imperfect, human self.
To heal from food, you don’t need to focus on changing how you behave. We heal by changing how we relate. When we relate to our inner life with greater kindness, compassion and love, we can respond differently to the pull to overeat. Behavior change – less overeating – is the natural result.
Does this sound like you?
- You may feel strong emotions – you either use food as a buffer to avoid feeling painful feelings or you feel overwhelmed by your feelings and use food as a life raft.
- You may be highly conscientious. You may drive yourself hard with high expectations, internal criticism and perfectionism, and use food for comfort to make up the difference.
- You may feel very porous and take everything in
- You may feel easily overwhelmed or have a sensitive nervous system
I know how you feel.
You may have ready every nutrition book, tried every healthy eating plan, and may even be a coach, healer, or nutritionist yourself.
Or perhaps you’ve gone through a difficult time and your eating habits have reverted back to a painful place. You feel frustrated by the return of the overeating, strongly against dieting, but don’t know what else to do.
Healing for highly sensitive men and women
You may feel ashamed (especially spiritual shame!) because you struggle with food. This shame leads to guilt, and can cripple your healing process, because you feel bad for having the eating struggles in the first place.
If you’re highly conscientious, you probably want to eat the “best” way possible – to align your behavior with your deepest values. But this desire for integrity can easily morph into a pursuit of eating perfection, which causes suffering.
How love can heal your relationship with food
This overeating problem can feel like such a hairball, a mess of tangled causes and effects. The answer is to bring love into your relationship with food – to focus on this relationship as the ground of your healing. With this loving relationship in place, you’re able to honor your values and change painful behaviors like overeating, binge eating, or emotional eating without going to the extremes of perfectionism.
I created Untangled as an overeating help program first for myself. I designed it for men and women who are highly sensitive, intuitive, empathic and conscientious. Untangled is a map – 12 tools – to create a Divinely inspired relationship with food, your body, your overeating, and yourself.
In this program you’ll learn:
- How to care for the deprivation that arises from eating more whole foods
- How to release food as your “mother” – what nurtures you and helps you feel safe
- How to care for strong emotions instead of using food as a buffer
- How to soften food cravings with self compassion
For the first time in my life, I’m not beating myself up for my mistakes…Recently I got to the point where I was able to set reasonable eating limits for myself, and I’m starting to lose a little weight. I’ve gradually healed to where setting limits is working well with the emotional stuff I’m working on; in fact, it has rejuvenated me because I’m seeing external changes along with the internal ones…. Your audio sessions, written sessions, worksheets, and try-its have been very, very helpful, and is just what I was hoping for.”
About the author Karly Randolph Pitman
The Untangled program came from my own experience in trying to heal over 20 years of overeating, emotional eating, and binge eating. I tried everything to heal and still struggled. I wondered, “What’s wrong with me?”
Weigh and measure programs were impossible for me to stick with over the long term. Spiritual programs that told me, “You create your own reality” left me feeling paralyzed by shame and self blame. And intuitive, “eat whatever you want approaches” sent me back into the throes of sugar addiction.
So I created my own approach, based on self compassion, self acceptance, and opening to my needs and feelings. Instead of whipping myself into shape, blaming, or punishing my behavior, I forgave myself. I looked on my depressive and anxious tendencies with mercy, and I felt such compassion for the pain that led me to seek solace in food.
I gave myself the structure I needed to thrive – a balance between “weigh and measure” and “eat whatever you want.” Once I stopped blaming myself, and gave myself what I needed, something powerful within me shifted. I stopped fighting against myself. My resistance softened.
I started doing the things I knew I “should” be doing – like eating regular meals, eating whole foods, and caring for my feelings without eating them. I asked for help with honesty, gathering the support I needed to heal. And I was able to do this because of the power of love – the greatest force in the world.
Karly’s the real deal — she’s been there, done that, and climbed her way out of dark places. She radiates credibility, concern and kindness. Her writings are both soothing and informative; and her classes provide a safe place to heal, grow and ultimately thrive.
How to let go of overeating and binge patterns
If you could remove the emotional barriers that keep you stuck in overeating, you could soften the shame. You could rest in safety, knowing that you are capable of caring for your emotions without food. You’d find that you could overeat less without “white knuckling” it.
Imagine how you might feel untangling from all of this, and finally getting your weight loss practices to stick.
You could feel peaceful and free, as you experience a reprieve from criticism, blame, and self-loathing. You’d feel free to move forward and give yourself the structures, support, and food plan you need – even if they’re contrary to what “experts” say! To get there, you’ll need a gentle shift in how you’re responding.
Imagine what your day might feel like knowing how to:
- Care for yourself without food
- Respond to stress without overeating.
- Quiet your resistance.
Overeating habits dissolve when the relationship you have with yourself shifts
The fruits of this loving relationship with yourself include less anxiety, more inner peace, greater “will power,” and less resistance. But more than that, you can soften the shame that has you feeling guilty and stuck in food. You can come home and rest in the belonging inside your own heart – a refuge of love.
How does relationship heal overeating?
As your relationship with food becomes more loving, your eating habits slowly shift. You may gradually lose weight. You may eat different foods. You may set limits on certain foods, but from a place of desire, not a place of “should” or “I have to.” Here’s what starts to happen:
- You find an internal refuge inside (unconditional love) instead of a refuge in food.
- Your attachment to food decreases.
- Your internal safety increases, which lowers stress and anxiety.
- The bingeing softens.
- Your behavior slowly changes and you may lose weight as you incorporate more mindful, conscientious eating into your life.
Most importantly, these changes come not from force, shame, guilt or punishment, but from unconditional love, compassion and nurturing – from a relationship based in lovingkindness.
I have listened to Untangled many, many times. When I feel stressed or feel like bingeing on some Cheetos and ice cream, I grab my iPad and headphones and listen to one of the audios. It instantly makes me feel better. It has helped me soo much! It’s taken some time but my life is finally on the right track, thanks to Karly’s help.
Is Untangled for me?
This 12 part audio session program may be a good fit for you if:
- Restrictive or “weigh and measure” diet programs feel too punishing.
- Intuitive eating hasn’t been successful for you, either (you need some structure).
- You can’t stick to your eating plan or diet.
- You feel caught in self blame, shame and beliefs about, “I created this” or “It’s all my fault.”
Untangled will help you discover your answers to these questions:
- Why do I make progress with food only to backtrack to old habits?
- Why do I overeat at night after eating “clean” all day?
- How do I counter feelings of deprivation when I eat healthier?
- How do I stop feeling anxious about food?
- Why can’t I stop bingeing when I know it hurts me so badly?
Karly’s Untangled program opened doors to a different way of approaching my relationship with food, weight-loss, and myself. The program offers many tools, which Karly describes and explains in a practical, positive, and detailed manner… Through the deep compassion and practical tools provided, Untangled provides a lasting foundation to which I can return again and again for support and direction.
Pricing for the overeating program
|Choose your level of participation||Starter||Full Program|
|Audio teaching sessions, 70-82 min. each||
|Audio visualizations & rituals, 9-18 min. each||
|Q&A self-assessments and reflections|
|NEW workbook, e-download PDF (printer-friendly)||
|NEW workbook, spiral-bound, printed & shipped to you|
|Coaching Call Replay: 8 Practices to Create Safety as You Heal|
|Bonus Coaching Call Replay: 8 False Strategies to Avoid Pain, and What to do Instead|
|Bonus Coaching Call Replay: What Does Healthy Eating Look Like?|
|Bonus Coaching Call: How to heal overeating from a place of caring versus a place of anxiety?|
|Invites to Q&A group calls with Karly Randolph Pitman|
|Choose your level of participation||Starter||Full Program|
Would you like to try just the workbook (without audios, no downloads)? Heal the shame of overeating by repairing the relationship you have with yourself. Start with the workbook (and add audios later, if you like).
I just love the Untangled audio course…I hear it over and over and over and it is a great healing and sacred space. Lesson after lesson, they’re all nailing the point. It’s the missing piece in my puzzle with food.
Explore sample audios and workbook
Karly’s 5 part introduction to Untangled…
I love the Untangled program because it allowed kindness to creep in where abuse had always reigned before. The Caring Ritual has been instrumental in soothing my anxieties; and the realization that structure and boundaries can be liberating has been huge for me. All the facets of the Untangled program help to alleviate the shaming and struggle related to my overeating, and I wish every woman who feels hopeless about overeating would listen to this program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What exactly is included in Untangled?
A: The program consists of 12 audio sessions, plus bonus visualizations – over 12 hours of audio. You access the audios through a private web page where you can either listen to the audios through your computer or download them into itunes for listening on your ipod, phone, etc.
In addition, there’s a new, 200 page workbook with exercises, practices, and tools to make the work experiential for you.
Q: What’s the process look like for me to go through this program?
- Listen to coaching talks, visualizations, rituals and audio meditations from a web page or via iTunes for your iPhone or iPod.
- Go through the written and experiential exercises in the 200 page workbook.
- Talk with others and get support on the support forum.
If you choose, you can be prompted to return to these materials via periodic emails of encouragement.
Q: How do I know if this course is for me?
A: If you want to uncover what’s really going on underneath the food, than this is for you. If you’re willing to look inside, and appreciate the deliciousness of spiritual growth, I think you’ll find this program a good fit for your needs.
If you’re highly sensitive, conscientious, and earnest and you struggle with shame around your eating habits, then this program is tailor made for you. It’s made for highly sensitive beings.
Life coaches, healers, parents, nurses, caregivers, teachers, counselors, and spiritually-minded men and women are frequent participants. If you have anxiety, depression, past trauma, or ADD you’ll find comfort here, too. We’re a sensitive, intuitive, empathetic bunch! I think you’ll find words to many of your feelings and a gentle, kind approach that matches your needs.
Q: What’s a sign this is NOT for me?
A: If you want a diet plan, food lists, information about supplements, or an imposed structure, my program is not for you. This program doesn’t offer advice on calories or what food plan to follow.
This is a program that will help you heal and transform your relationship with food and yourself. It will help you heal the shame you feel around food, your overeating habits, and weight. It’s an inside-out approach to healing.
Q: What’s the optimal time to start? I feel busy now, or discouraged from other programs I’ve tried.
A: Feeling like, “I can’t change!” is often from the frustration of years of dieting. This program is not a diet. Dieting is usually motivated by fear, disgust (I am such a fat cow!), or self-hatred. You’re fighting against yourself – and breaking your own heart – which is why it eventually backfires.
By contrast, the healing journey that you’ll undertake in Untangled is motivated by love. It’s not about forcing yourself to “shape up,” but about giving yourself compassion and mercy so that you feel safe to change.
This program is also self paced; one day at a time, and gentle in its expectations. I believe in the power of doing one thing differently and watching that change unfold…
Q: Can I participate in this program while doing Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, or another weight loss program?
A: Yes! You’ll explore the deep rooted beliefs that are keeping your from changing your patterns with food. These shifts will help you stay committed to a weight loss program, if that’s a path that you’ve chosen. For many people, a structured weight loss approach is helpful.
Q: Are there any food lists or eating requirements?
A: No. You’ll learn to listen to your body, to understand what foods trigger cravings and compulsive eating and what foods don’t. This is where true power comes from: self trust.
A: I’ve had food suffering for most of my life, and 20 years of eating disorders – overeating, binge eating, bulimia, sugar addiction, compulsive dieting, and body hatred. Untangled is my from the trenches learning. I’m not a licensed coach, medical expert, doctor, nutritionist or spiritual teacher, and I don’t offer medical advice. Please consult your doctor, nutritionist, or other health professional for this kind of support.
Q: How is my privacy protected?
A: We never, ever share, rent, or sell your contact information (your email, phone number, address, etc.)
Q: What if I decide that it’s not for me?
A: We guarantee your 100% satisfaction. Ask us within 60 days of your purchase for a full refund. Contact us here.
Q: How does Untangled work? What makes it different than other overeating programs?
A: There’s a lot of information already out there on how to eat, what to eat, and how to lose weight. I call these the “how tos.” Many, many books and programs can help you apply the “how tos,” make healthier choices, and fix your “bad” behavior.
But I don’t think this is the real issue, which is why so many people continue to struggle with food.
The real issue is where – and why – we get stuck. This is where relationship, emotions, and wounding enter the picture. If our relationship with ourselves is insecure or full of self loathing; if we aren’t comfortable expressing and feeling a full range of emotions; and if we have unhealed, unaddressed wounds in our body, mind or spirit, then we aren’t able to change our behavior with food.
So to change your behavior with food, heal the relationship – the relationship you have with yourself, with your emotions, and with your wounds.
The relationship that you have with yourself is the secure, loving container that allows you to grow – to heal painful emotions, wounds, and to make changes in your behavior with food. It’s the foundation of change.
This realm of relationship is the focus of Untangled.
Q: What about will power? How do I get more will power to say no to food?
A: Overeating is caused by many factors. But overeating is not a will power issue. It’s not a character flaw. It’s not a disease. It’s a heart issue. Overeating arises from unmet needs, and it’s these unmet needs that drive the overeating. To heal overeating, we need to heal the heart. That’s what you’ll learn how to do in Untangled.
When you heal the heart, you uncover the “how tos” with food that align with your deepest values. Beyond that, you’re able to actually follow them!
Untangled will help you understand the why - why you don’t stick to a food plan, why you get hijacked by strong emotions and eat them, or why you feel stuck in “bad” habits – so you can change the what - what you eat, how you care for your body, how you care for your feelings, how you react to stress, how you care for impulsive cravings, and what you believe about your very goodness.
For a longer answer, I offer more info on Untangled here.
Q: You speak about God a lot. What are your spiritual beliefs?
A: I teach with a mystical approach to spirituality, which incorporates common teachings from all the wisdom traditions. Untangled does not endorse any one spiritual path. If you’re uncomfortable with a spirituality that draws from many traditions, my program is not for you.
If you’re unwilling to explore your inner landscape – your thoughts, beliefs, and behavior patterns – my program won’t help you. It’s not enough to just listen to the exercises and principles. You need to practice them in your daily life to see healing. (I say this very, very gently!)
What Untangled participants are saying:
Karly is one of the most authentic and deeply caring teachers I know. What a gift for everyone she teaches and touches, that she has an extraordinary ability to transform the struggles, insights, hard-won wisdom and growing edges of her own journey into programs that meet people right where they are, and support them – with exquisite kindness – to take their next steps toward freedom, wholeness and deep self-care.