Five Beliefs that May be Sabotaging Your Success
If taking control of overeating and emotional eating was easy, you probably wouldn’t be reading this right now. The truth is, once you know a bit about nutrition and the basics of “eat less, move more,” finding success with overeating usually boils down to how you manage choices, thoughts, and feelings in the rest of your life. Emotional eating is a big reason women overeat, but the way we think can also impact our success.
When it comes to breaking free from emotional eating and overeating, the head game is huge. If you feel trapped in vicious cycles with overeating and weight or if you aren’t creating the success you want, it’s probably time to take a look at whether your beliefs are sabotaging your efforts.
Five beliefs that may be sabotaging your success with overeating:
All-or-nothing thinking. All-or-nothing thinking is really perfectionism in disguise. It’s the belief that you’ve either succeeded or you’ve failed. It’s a way of approaching life that may lead to thoughts like, “I’ve blown it, now I might as well finish the leftovers because I’m going to have to start over again in the morning.” All-or-nothing thinking never allows you to feel good about what you are doing because no one can get it all right all the time. The truth is that your relationship with food unfolds all day long. You’ll have good moments and not-so-good ones, but whatever happened a moment or an hour ago does not erase your ability to do something positive in the present. Instead of focusing on getting it perfect, think about doing your best—one step at a time.
I don’t deserve it. One of the biggest reasons women overeat is because they are using food as a substitute for something else—Overeating becomes a sneaky way to give yourself a treat or a break or to comfort yourself when you don’t feel entitled to let yourself have what you really need. Here’s another hard truth: we tend to attract people who treat us the way we treat ourselves. Treat yourself with pride and respect and indulge in and savor what you crave and you are likely to start commanding more of the same from those who surround you. If you feel like the people in your life don’t treat you very well, take a look at the beliefs you have about what you deserve.
It’s not okay to be selfish. Many of us were raised with the idea that we need to put others first or focus on taking care of the people we care about. There’s nothing wrong with being kind and nurturing—it’s a fantastic strength to have. However, it can lead to self-sabotage if you aren’t also prioritizing your self and shining your nurturing and your compassion on yourself along with everyone else. Putting yourself first isn’t selfish. It’s what helps you to bring your best version of you to your life, your relationships, and your work.
I “should” be able to figure this out. This self-sabotaging mindset is frequently accompanied by self-blame and angry judgments with yourself because you can’t figure it out. This belief tends to lead to feeling alone and isolated and not getting the help and support that you need. Living alone with the feeling that you are failing when you shouldn’t be can also create even more shame and loss of confidence. This is a particularly sticky trap, but it’s also one where you can have an amazing impact if you break free. Many women are astounded by what happens when they reach out for help, share their struggles with another supportive person, or start looking outside themselves for the resources and tools to take control of overeating.
The “should” trap. “I should be able to figure this out” is only one should that sabotages success. Shoulds, in general, are something to be careful of. Real, lasting success is created when we combine solid information, strategies, and tools with what we know about ourselves and what works for us. Too many shoulds can disconnect you from yourself and your own inner wisdom. They can lead to overwhelm and can incite your inner rebel to throw in the towel. Ask yourself if your should is really an I want to. If it isn’t, do you have a compelling reason for using it? My client could not get enthusiastic about her doctor telling her she “should” lose eighty pounds. She did get motivated when I helped her find her want. Once she got clear that what she really wanted was to be healthy and fit enough to go bike riding with her daughter again, she felt ready to do some hard work. The should dragged her energy down. The compelling reason she found lit her up and got her moving toward a goal.
Are you trying to break free of vicious cycles that you keep getting caught in? Don’t ignore your head game!