Jason Stanley

Understanding the Complexities of Overeating: Insights from Jason Stanley on “Leadership Powered by Common Sense”

In a recent episode of the podcast “Leadership Powered by Common Sense,” host Doug Thorpe delves into the intricate world of health and body weight with specialist Jason Stanley. The conversation unravels the complexities of overeating, the psychological and emotional factors influencing eating behaviors, and the potential of brain science to address these issues. This blog post will break down the key insights from the episode, offering actionable advice and thorough explanations to guide listeners and readers alike.

The Hardwired Compulsion to Overeat

Understanding the Limbic System’s Role

Jason Stanley begins by correcting the term “weight control,” emphasizing that obesity is not the fault of the individual. He explains that the compulsion to overeat is hardwired into the limbic system of the brain, a region responsible for emotional responses and survival instincts. This compulsion is not a matter of willpower but a deeply ingrained neurological response.

Actionable Advice:

  • Acknowledge the Biological Basis: Understand that overeating is not a personal failure but a biological response. This perspective can reduce self-blame and encourage a more compassionate approach to weight management.
  • Seek Professional Help: Consulting with specialists who understand the neurological aspects of overeating can provide more effective strategies than traditional dieting.

The Impact of Stress on Eating Behaviors

Stanley highlights the significant impact of stress on the compulsion to overeat. Stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that can increase appetite and cravings for high-calorie foods. This response is a survival mechanism, but in modern society, it often leads to unhealthy eating patterns.

Actionable Advice:

  • Stress Management Techniques: Incorporate stress-reducing practices such as mindfulness, meditation, and regular physical activity into your daily routine.
  • Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Develop alternative coping strategies for stress, such as engaging in hobbies, socializing, or practicing relaxation techniques.

Breaking the Hardwired Compulsion

Activation of Specific Brain Pathways

Stanley discusses the process of breaking the hardwired compulsion to overeat by activating specific brain pathways. This involves the introduction of delta waves, which can help dissolve proteins and reset the brain’s natural state, addressing the compulsion to overeat.

Actionable Advice:

  • Explore Neurofeedback Therapy: Consider therapies that use brainwave modulation, such as neurofeedback, to help rewire the brain’s response to food.
  • Professional Guidance: Work with a healthcare provider who specializes in brain-based therapies to develop a personalized treatment plan.

The Role of Trauma in Eating Behaviors

Stanley touches on the connection between trauma and the compulsion to eat, particularly for individuals who developed these behaviors in childhood. Trauma can create deep-seated emotional responses that drive overeating as a form of self-soothing.

Actionable Advice:

  • Therapeutic Interventions: Engage in therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) to address underlying trauma.
  • Support Systems: Build a strong support network of friends, family, or support groups to provide emotional support and understanding.

The Limitations of Traditional Dieting

The Flaws of Portion Control

Stanley critiques the traditional theory of portion control, explaining that it often fails to address the body’s natural response to sustenance. Simply reducing portion sizes can lead to feelings of deprivation and increased cravings, making it an unsustainable long-term solution.

Actionable Advice:

  • Intuitive Eating: Practice intuitive eating, which focuses on listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues rather than strict portion control.
  • Balanced Nutrition: Ensure that your diet includes a balance of macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) to keep you satisfied and reduce cravings.

Societal and Cultural Influences

The Impact of Childhood Experiences

Stanley emphasizes the role of childhood experiences in shaping eating habits. Approval and praise for finishing meals or eating certain foods can create a lifelong association between food and emotional comfort.

Actionable Advice:

  • Reevaluate Childhood Messages: Reflect on the messages you received about food during childhood and how they may be influencing your current eating behaviors.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Encourage healthy eating habits in children without using food as a reward or punishment.

Cultural Bias and Weight Discrimination

The conversation also addresses the cultural bias against overweight individuals and how societal perceptions of beauty and health can impact career opportunities and personal relationships. Stanley shares insights from his research, highlighting the correlation between high-stress childhood experiences and obesity.

Actionable Advice:

  • Advocate for Change: Support initiatives and policies that promote body positivity and reduce weight discrimination in the workplace and society.
  • Self-Awareness: Develop self-awareness about your own biases and work towards fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for individuals of all body types.


The episode of “Leadership Powered by Common Sense” with Jason Stanley offers a profound exploration of the complexities surrounding overeating and body weight. By understanding the biological, psychological, and societal factors at play, individuals can adopt more effective and compassionate strategies for managing their health. For those interested in delving deeper into these topics, Jason Stanley invites listeners to explore his work further through a free e-book available on his website.

By addressing the root causes of overeating and promoting a holistic approach to health, we can move towards a more informed and empathetic understanding of body weight and eating behaviors.

Jjason Stanley – Treat the problem not the symptom. Stop focusing on weight loss and heal the cause of weight gain. I began research into the cause and cure of obesity with a medical anthropology field study in 1979. Since then I’ve published multiple articles, two books, and conducted multiple clinical trials. In early 2022 I begin a 2+ year clinical trial based in neural plasticity healing the root cause of chronic emotional eating resulting in obesity. The success is a whopping 85% as compared to the standard long term success of 3% (97% FAILURE) for the weight loss industry.

website: www.nevergaintheweightback.com

Small business owners will hit an invisible wall that can stall the growth of the company. The key reason there is a wall is that owners need to shift from manager to leader. The question is, how to do that?

Doug is a coach for CEOs and Senior Leadership Teams with 30 years of leadership experience. He is the president & CEO of Doug Thorpe Group. Doug is also a podcast host.

He helps owners understand the ways they need to reshape their thinking and attitude to make a successful break through the wall.

Learn how to move from Founder to CEO.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dougthorpe/

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