With the holiday season here, you may be feeling vulnerable and worried about reuniting with friends and fam. It could even be scary enough to send you running for the comfort of overeating. No worries. You're so not alone. Anxiety often ends up driving us straight toward the next binge.
As a coach, I often hear my clients tell me stories of how frustrated they get with themselves after they've overeaten.
I understand and I empathize because I know how hard it is to get out of the 'feeling sorry for me' loop whenever
we find ourselves overeating. It's crazy. You eat the whole bag of Fritos, or pig out on a pile of pasta at dinner, and you just want to die. Then in an effort to recover from that feeling bad place, you find yourself planning to do penance for your food indiscretions by skipping meals or working out at the gym until you drop. Not a good plan. Want to know why?
Research shows that it's just that kind of all or nothing thinking that perpetuates the binge and keeps it going, which makes you keep on eating after you've already given into that first bite of emotional eating.
It may have just started off with an innocent bite of a cookie, but because you think you've done something so horrible that you can't redeem yourself, and you swear that you must be the most horrible person in the world for eating it, you keep on eating because you already feel so helpless. This overeating is what is known as the 'what the hell effect."
Here's something to try instead. The next time you find yourself eating out of control in an effort to stuff down uncomfortable emotions, don't blame your lack of will power and beat up on yourself. You haven't done anything wrong. Instead of brow beating yourself into submission, which will only make you feel worse and compound your problems, do an about-face and treat yourself with love and respect.
By being mindful of the fact that there are perfectly legitimate reasons why you overate in the first place, that will take the emotional burden off of the way you feel about the overeating incident. Self compassion is a powerful and potent prescription to bust down your binges. Here's an example of how it worked with a group of female test subjects in North Carolina.
In 2007 researchers at Wake Forest University, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, asked women to taste test a variety of donuts. Half of the group weren't given any previous instructions other than to just eat the donuts.
The other half of the women were given a lesson in self-compassion before they were instructed to eat the donuts. The instructor said, "I hope you won't be too hard on yourself. Everyone in the study eats this stuff."
After the testing was finished the results showed that the group of women who were guided to be more self-compassionate and forgive themselves for overeating ultimately ate less sweets.
Juicy Woman Try It: Here's my challenge to you. The next time you overdo it, and you end up eating waaaaaaaaaay more than you anticipated, cut yourself some slack and tell yourself, "it's not that bad. I just ate more than I intended because I am responding to feeling overwhelmed."
If you're struggling with dealing with your frustration over giving into binging and gaining weight, there is a much gentler and more effective alternative to dieting. Want a helping hand to lighten up your thoughts without losing your mind? Click the image below to join in the discussion and get support from the other women in my new group coaching community on FB. 30 Days to Lovin' the Skin You're In.