Overeating For Relief

by Helen M. Ryan

If that headline was relatable, you probably already know what I am talking about.

Overeating. Binging. Eating way too much, way too fast. 

You know it’s bad for you. You know it’s unhealthy. You know it can lead to more and more “bad” days until, again, you can’t button your pants. 

After your eating spree you’ll wake up feeling bloated, fat, puffy, and sick. It’s the overeater’s version of a hangover (yes, the dreaded “foodover”).

You ask yourself, “What was the point of that?”

The actual process of losing weight is really pretty simple. What’s not simple is fighting with the part of your brain that prevent you from losing weight. 

Most people don’t talk about the main reason so many of us fail to lose weight: Our minds won’t let us.

Do you constantly help others, and “go, go, go” until there’s nothing left for you, finally finding yourself alone and exhausted at midnight with your hand in the cookie jar?

Do you often work all day, cook for your family, finish chores, shop, help kids with homework, and watch after-school sporting events…on five hours of sleep? 

Do you then find yourself alone on the sofa after everyone’s asleep with an ice cream container and a spoon?

Are you a bad person because of this? No.

Are you weak? Nope.

Are you tired? You bet! 

Sometimes it seems like the only way you can relieve some pressure is to eat stuff that’s not healthy on purpose. Or, overeating for relief.

How do you get yourself back on track?

  • Know that there are other people out there that feel just like you.
  • Remember that beating up on yourself for being “weak once more” won’t help.
  • Take the power away food by not thinking about it as much, not obsessing, and not worrying about everything you put in your mouth.

For now, this should be all you focus on. Next time you look at the cupcake, remind yourself that it’s just food and that it shouldn’t have that kind of power over you. It’s not about the cupcake(s). It’s about the person who upset you, the extra work, the fatigue, or the hopelessness. 

This week, try to overcome the “binge demon” that lurks in your head. If you can stave him off for an hour, a meal, or a day you have WON. For that one moment you have taken your life back. 

If you fall off the food wagon again, so be it. But cherish that one victory. Push the food demon around…don’t let him push you. 

After all, he’s just food. How powerful  can he be?

Published September 8, 2010