People who overeat consistently use food to cope with negative feelings. They stuff down those feelings with food. If overeating is followed by feeling guilty, it adds another negative emotion, and creates a bigger problem. Break the pattern and stop feeling guilty. Guilt drives the compulsion and makes food even more important as an emotional crutch. The shame adds to the feeling of worthlessness and being out of control.
Is it a bad habit, compulsive-addictive behavior, or a way to prove you’re not worthy?
There are many reasons for compulsive overeating. Sometimes, it starts innocently with a desire to look and feel better. Instead of simply looking at healthy food choices, people attach words like good food and bad food, making it more of a struggle of good v evil rather than simply eating a healthy diet. That elevates each infraction to a whole new level. Food can also become your addiction of choice. Foods high in sugar, fat, and salt trigger areas of the brain that cause your body to trigger feel-good hormones. Finding why you overeat will give you a better idea of why, help you control it better, and remove the stigmas.
Learn more about your overeating and guilt with a food/emotion diary.
Instead of tracking every bite of food, track the emotions you felt when you ate the food. Is the message in your head “I shouldn’t eat this,” or “I’m bad if I eat that”? Write down why you should or shouldn’t consume certain foods. Jot down all the self-talk and see how often you taunt yourself with negative input. Before you put your food/emotion diary away, ask yourself if you sincerely want that food and if it’s what your body needs. You might find that sometimes you don’t want it. For those times you do, give yourself permission to eat it without guilt. Eating becomes a decision which gives you control.
Become your own best friend.
Guilt comes with an onslaught of insults inside your head. Ask yourself, “Would I talk to my best friend that way?” If the answer is no, become your own best friend. If you ate the pint of Ben and Jerry’s in your freezer in record time, are you telling yourself you’re a failure, worthless, or something just as berating? Give yourself the talk you’d like to hear from a best friend.
- If you’re truly craving a specific food, yet berating yourself after eating it, you’re taking all the pleasure out of eating it. Allowing yourself to feel that pleasure without guilt can reduce the need to do it more frequently.
- Seek professional help if you can’t quit overeating or feeling guilty about it. There’s nothing wrong with getting help.
- End the deprivation and quit starvation diets. You may be feeling guilty about consuming food that’s necessary for sustenance. Complete deprivation is as bad as overeating followed by guilt. In both instances, you’re punishing yourself.
- Eat mindfully. Rather than making shame or guilt your focus, turn your attention to the food and savor the experience. Appreciate its appearance, texture, and taste, savoring each bite. You can get as much pleasure from a small amount without overeating.
For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training