Have you ever felt like your to-do list – or the list of what you “should” be doing – is so long, so intimidating, and so interrelated that you can’t figure out where to start or how to actually make an impact? Ever been in that place and found that your response was to get overwhelmed, get stuck, or simply do nothing because you weren’t sure what to do? That’s exactly how it can be with emotional eating, overeating, and struggles with weight.
All that information about nutrition, weight loss, health, wellness, and the latest research isn’t helpful when what it creates is overload, a lack of confidence, and no action.
The opposite response isn’t very helpful either. It’s tempting to take all the ideas and expert advice and decide that you need a major life overhaul. High-achievers can easily overwhelm themselves by setting up a plan to take control of their eating that is incredibly impressive and impossible to sustain.
The cruel joke? For many, feeling overwhelmed, feeling ineffective, or feeling like you’ve failed is actually a pretty perfect recipe for more overeating. In fact, this is one of the reasons that chronic dieting actually causes weight gain.
3 Tips to Avoid Procrastination, Vicious cycles, and Failure with Emotional Eating and Overeating
- Start with you. The best nutrition information, science on habit change, or expert advice isn’t going to help at all if it doesn’t fit with what you need or your current circumstances. Pay attention to what you know about you and create practices that help you tune in to what you are feeling, what’s working, and what you need. This makes all the difference.
- Keep it doable. Again, the most intelligent list of action steps is going to take you nowhere if it’s too complicated, overwhelming, or stressful to actually take action on. A list like this is more likely to lead to procrastination, guilt, and maybe even stress eating or comfort eating. Build momentum and confidence by focusing initially on steps that are small and do-able. Put simple (even easy) habits in place, one at a time. Then build from there.
- Add, don’t subtract. We’re more effective when we focus on what we will do than when we tell ourselves what we won’t do (or eat). Create success and lasting habits by focusing on the positives instead of the negatives. For instance, instead of telling yourself that you won’t eat after dinner, create an alternative. “Instead of eating after dinner, I will spend time reading a good book.” Instead of telling yourself that you won’t turn to stress eating in the afternoons, focus on what you will do when you are feeling stressed and tempted to overeat.
Take good care,