So many women I talk with are beyond sick and tired of battling the scale and their “self-control.” Their plans to stop overeating and lose weight have become battles of willpower and discipline that they can control for a while – until they either lose motivation, or get distracted, or feel like it’s just too hard to follow the rules they’ve set for themselves.
Overeating, dieting, and then overeating or emotional eating when things don’t go well – it easily becomes a vicious cycle. A lot of women (and maybe you can relate?) find that all their hard work to stop overeating actually has left them eating and weighing more than before they started.
A pediatrician once shared some fabulous advice with me. He was talking about parenting and avoiding pointless power struggles with your kids that only lead to frustration and arguments. He said, “You can’t have a tug of war if you don’t pick up the rope.” Meaning, it doesn’t matter how much the other person wants to jerk or pull or win, if you don’t pick up the rope, there’s no way for the struggle to happen.
Here’s what this has to do with overeating and emotional eating.
The way out of battles with overeating is to step away from the battle. Stop playing tug of war and put down the rope.
This does not mean giving up hope or deciding something like “food will always be an issue for me” or “I will always struggle with my weight.”
Putting down the rope means walking away from the power struggle that you have found yourself in with food and overeating; taking a step back and getting a different perspective so that you can address things with a brand new, better approach. The way to stop overeating is to remove yourself from the battle by taking your power back from food.
Take a deep cleansing breath.
Instead of asking how you can be stronger, or tougher, or “more perfect,” or how you can force yourself to stop overeating, ask:
Why does food have so much power in my life?
What do I know about why I can’t stop snacking at my desk or why I eat more than I want to every night before bed or … (fill in your own situation here)?
Ask with curiosity. Ask without judgment.
[Tweet “The first key to overeating and emotional eating freedom: there is a reason you overeat – always.”]
What do you know about your reason?
Are you tired? Worried? Looking for a reward or a way to take a break?
What were you craving when you wandered into the break room this afternoon in search of something sweet?
I know you’re probably someone who likes to take care of business and jump into action to create results or solve a problem immediately. Resist the urge to do this here.
Resist the urge to jump back into your power struggle with food and overeating. Don’t pick up the rope.
Step one is simply to be curious. Ask yourself what you know.
What do you know about the reason you overeat? When you start exploring where the urge to eat comes from, you can start implementing smarter, better strategies to stop overeating and really end your battles with food.
Want help pinpointing your Hidden Hungers? These are the heart of what you’re probably craving and why you may be overeating – and they have nothing to do with food. Take my free Hidden Hungers Quiz and target your best, next step for taking your power back from overeating and emotional eating.