There’s an unhappy secret that too many smart, busy, successful women share. They feel out of control with their eating or the number on the scale (or both) and they are frustrated that they can’t seem to get a handle on it. Beyond feeling frustrated, many also feel ashamed or weak.
Overeating struggles are fairly common when you live a busy, high-power life, but most who are experiencing them feel alone and embarrassed. Successful women may banter at lunch about health and weight and calories, but they don’t often speak openly about emotional eating or feeling out of control with food.
As one client, the owner of a large business recently said, “No one would ever imagine that my weight bothers me. I pretend like it’s a non-issue. People I work with and even my friends would be shocked to know how much I think about food and overeating and how hard I have worked to lose weight. They also have no idea how many things I don’t do because I just don’t feel comfortable.”
I’ve talked to many CEOs, professionals, and even successful coaches and leaders who share that they typically smile and pretend they don’t really care about the extra pounds or their eating. They hide frustration that they can’t make an impact in this one area, when on the inside, it’s eroding their confidence and taking up way too much energy.
Overeating and emotional eating are big problems for a lot of busy women. For many—turning to food goes hand in hand with an overly busy schedule, stress, and never feeling like you have enough time. And sadly, too often, when smart high-achievers try to make a change, they fall victim to a few mistakes that tend to keep them stuck.
Here are three places that smart women get stuck when it comes to emotional eating, overeating, weight loss, and making peace with food:
- High-achievers easily work harder instead of smarter. If you are someone who is used to taking on big things and making things happen, than you aren’t afraid of a little hard work. When you fail at something, it may be routine to think that next time you just need to apply more effort, hit it harder, or have more discipline. The problem is, this only works if your method or path to success is an effective one. Most people struggling with overeating and emotional eating stay stuck because their approach isn’t effective. Pushing harder in the wrong direction only leads to frustration, exhaustion, and failure.
- Successful women often feel self-conscious or embarrassed about struggles with food and overeating so they struggle alone. This becomes even more likely if you are also telling yourself you just “aren’t working hard enough” or don’t have enough discipline. The sweet truth is that quite often, a fresh perspective and a new and more effective approach can change a lot—and—it almost always requires less force and hard work than you were probably applying before.
- Successful busy women bite off a lot. You may have achieved what you have because of your ability to think and act big. Never-the-less (and especially when your life is busy), change is more successful when you take small, do-able steps. This can be incredibly hard to feel satisfied with, in the short run, if you are used to moving mountains. However, in the long run, your new habits and strategies are more likely to stick when you make changes in digestible chunks and allow yourself to tweak as you go along.
Are you a smart woman who feels like throwing up her hands when it comes to overeating?
What do you know about what keeps you stuck?