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Overeating when we know better

Emotional eatingIf you’re reading this blog, you already know what I am talking about.

Overeating. Binging. Eating far too much, too fast. You know it’s bad for you. You know it’s unhealthy. You know it will often lead to more and more “bad” days until once again you can’t button your pants. After your eating spree you will wake up feeling bloated, fat, puffy, and sick. It’s the overeaters’ version of a hangover (the “foodover,”) at which point you ask yourself, “What was the point of that?”

The actual process of losing weight is really pretty simple (I will expand on that another time). What’s not simple is overcoming the mental obstacles that prevent you from weight loss.

Magazines are full of wonderful and helpful tips to help you reduce body fat. Exercise programs with promises of flat abs in mere minutes abound. With health clubs are on every corner we should be a thin and fit nation.

What no one really talks about, though, is the one main reason so many of us fail with our weight loss efforts: 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 chip bag?

Do you often work all day, cook for your family, finish chores, shop, help kids with homework and watch after-school sporting events – all on 5 hours of sleep? 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 chip bag?

Are you a bad person ? No.

Are you weak? No.

Let’s face it. You are tired. Sometimes the only way you have to relieve pressure is to eat (when only the “bad” foods will do, of course.)

So how do you change your habits and get yourself on the weight loss track?

• Know that there are other people out there that feel just like you.

• Know that beating up on yourself for being “weak once more” won’t help.

• Try to take the power of out food by not thinking about it as much, not obsessing and not worrying about everything you put in your mouth. (Sounds contradictory to what you have learned in the past, I know. Count calories, count fat, count carbs. That’s for later.)

For now, this should be all you focus on. Next time you look at the Twinkie box, remind yourself that it’s just food and that it shouldn’t have that kind of power over you. It’s not about the Twinkies. It’s about the person who upset you, or the extra work, or the fatigue or the hopelessness. But sometimes you can’t change your immediate situation, so getting annoyed at the box of  Twinkies trying to control you might just help.

This week, day by day, try to overcome the “binge demon” that lurks in your head. If you can stave him off for an hour or 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 scary can he be?

Onward and forward.

How do you handle it when you feel a binge come on? Are you able to stop yourself, or do you let yourself slide off the cliff?

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10 years ago

Somehow, I managed to ignore the back of Sour Cream and Onion chips last night. I just had to get past that urge right before bed and…go to bed! It’s amazing how even when we’re tired, lacking the rest we really need we tend to make things worses by binge eating. It become easier and easier to fend it off as I remember how much better I feel when I don’t, but it’s still a struggle. What keeps me from doing giving in is recalling how awful I feel the next day when I go to work out, or how… Read more »

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