How horrible do you feel about yourself when you end up eating something that you didn't think you should?
Whoops. it could have just started out with a tiny helping of your favorite ice cream and before you know it, your spoon hits rock bottom and you've finished the whole container. You want to die. Don't you? I get it. But that kind of all or nothing thinking won't get you anywhere. It will only make you want to give up and call yourself a failure.
The truth is everybody overeats
Overeating is a natural thing that people sometimes do when they get carried away by the excitement of whatever they are doing at the time. We can get so wrapped up in the sights, the sounds, the smells, the situation. Sometimes it's the taste that draws you in, but more often, if you're an emotional eater, you eat because of the way that food makes you feel.
The challenge to you is to avoid being a hater and turning your anger on your body, because beyond the food, there are really good reasons why you have been overeating to feel better. Don't beat up on yourself if you've gone off the rails and overeaten.
Dieting Can't Fight Biology
In their book, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works, authors and nutritionists, Evelyn Tribole, M.S.R.D., and Elyse Resch, M.S., RDN, CEDRD, Fiaedp, FADA., FAND explain how dieting and depriving yourself of the foods you love affects your body by saying,
"Dieting is a form of short-term starvation. Consequently when you are given the first opportunity to really eat, eating is often experienced at such intensity that it feels uncontrollable, a desperate act."
If you're a hardcore dieter, or you've just become accustomed to being a careful eater and watching your weight and analyzing everything you put in your mouth, you are putting your body under a lot of stress. At some point when you can't stand the feeling of being deprived any longer, you will give in and eat the food you crave.
When you find yourself eating fast and furiously it's a sign from your body that you're under stress. It means that something is really bothering you, and unless you acknowledge the way you feel, the intensity of the emotion will continue to build momentum and you will be driven to eat.
Back in my dieting days, one of the toughest things for me was to get past the guilt that always came with every overeating episode. I always felt so pressured to make up for my horrible sin of overeating by depriving myself all over again. Because I refused to let go and forgive myself, I kept the cycle of abuse in motion.
Thinking about and eating food always made me feel better in the moment, so I ate.
When I was a dieter, I used to overeat all the time, always ending each binge with a pinkie promise that next time I'll do better. It felt like I was always teetering on the brink of my last failure, blaming myself for my lack of will power. Sometimes I would binge for day. Other times months in a row. The more I felt out of control around food, the more I ate because I just kept on giving in to every food craving I had. It was a vicious cycle of blaming and binging.
Breaking the Binge Cycle
My Weight Watchers leader used to call that kind of all or nothing thinking the ‘what the hell effect.’ Here’s how she described it.
Imagine you’re in the kitchen and you’re bringing a dozen eggs from the refrigerator to the counter top. As you walk, you drop one of the eggs. What do you do?
In dieting, you’ll notice that what people tend to do when they've slipped up is that they say, “Oh what the h---, I’ve already screwed that one up, I ate that cookie that I shouldn't have eaten, let me just start my diet on ___. “
Now let’s just put that back into perspective with the eggs. If you’ve already dropped one egg, do you grab the other 11 and start tossing them at the floor? Does that make sense? You are probably shaking you head saying, “No.”
But that’s what diets teach us to do. We’re conditioned to think in terms of black and white habits, behaviors, eating choices and feelings about our bodies. If you eat cheesecake for breakfast, you think of yourself as undisciplined, or bad. If your clothes are too tight, you tend to think, “I’m a fat pig.”
It’s the all or nothing thinking that drives you to sabotage yourself because the unspoken message that is getting reinforced is that I’m not good enough and I don’t deserve to be happy. Who can live under that pressure, deprivation and guilt? Nobody can. It always becomes the source of the anxiety that sets a binge into motion.
So my advice to you is to chill out and relax whenever you find that you're overeating, because by adding the pressure of beating up on yourself will only make things worse. Think about it. Why on earth would you want to kick yourself when you're already down?
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30 Days to Lovin' the Skin You're In