Do you feel stuck in your struggle with stress or emotional eating? This may help.
Are you an emotional eater? Are you sick and tired of struggling with overeating and stress? Do you gravitate to tips on how to take control with food, manage your time, and get on track with your health goals and your needs? Do you feel worn out, overloaded, overwhelmed and frustrated with how things are going?
You aren’t alone. Many women who identify with “too much on her plate,” tell me they are beyond ready for a change. They are working hard and struggling to “get it right.” They are juggling responsibilities and setting goals and buying the recommended books and trying the tips and feeling frustrated that nothing sticks and that they aren’t getting where they want to go. And they are keeping this all, very carefully, tucked away inside themselves. In their efforts to succeed, many are sabotaging themselves by making a crucial mistake—and it’s a mistake that isn’t often discussed. They are struggling alone and in isolation.
On the outside, many frustrated emotional eaters smile and look confident. Sometimes they even laugh at themselves. Many are very successful and receive lots of admiration from their peers. “Everyone thinks I’ve got it all under control,” says a private coaching client. “They probably think I don’t care about the weight—even though I worry about it constantly.” A new client shares that, “No one would ever suspect that I struggle with food.” Another says, “People think I can do it all. They see me as strong and confident. They’d never imagine how hard this is or how much it affects everything.”
Busy, successful women all over the world struggle with stress and overload, unrealistic expectations of themselves, and all the unhelpful habits that accompany this type of living: emotional eating, overindulgence with other things, too little self-care and attention to themselves. For some, it’s an occasional thing, but for many, it’s a big problem, and one that takes a toll. The women I’m describing may step out on big stages or in front of big conference tables on a regular basis, but they aren’t fully stepping into their power or their potential. They’re struggling in secret, and paying dearly for the beliefs that:
- They are alone
- Their struggles are somehow “shameful”
- Seeking help for “this sort of thing” is an indulgence and “shouldn’t be necessary”
- They ought to “toughen up” or “work harder” or just “knock it off”
- Their struggles are “silly” and they really shouldn’t care so much
Recently, two private clients told me separately that they love working with me because I focus on thriving and self-care and feeling good and yet I’m not “cheesy” about how I do it (yes, they both used that word).
And this is the problematic elephant in the room that so many women are tripping over.
Self-care is not cheesy. Nourishing your spirit and your soul, your body and your mind, and learning how to do it well, is not fluff. Excellent self-care is what fuels women to move mountains, to run multimillion dollar businesses, mother powerfully, and create amazing things. Self-care (including taking care of ourselves and our relationship with food) allows us to be our best version of ourselves. It’s what makes it possible for us to show up fueled, focused, and ready to give our best to the world. It helps us to be bold and courageous, sexy, and amazing.
Emotional eating is not shameful. It’s a symptom of a life that could be balanced better. The desire to reshape your relationship with food is almost always related to knowing that you could be focusing on much more important stuff if you weren’t battling with food or overeating or weight. That is a powerful piece of information.
Getting the help you need to take charge of these struggles is not a sign of weakness. It’s basic and essential maintenance. It’s also one of the smartest, most lucrative investments you can make. Find a successful, thriving woman out there and she’ll tell you that she is paying attention to her needs, her inner wisdom, and that she is nourishing herself in a variety of ways in order to get where she is going.
She’s also not going it alone, in the dark closet, with all her self-doubt. Success flourishes with fresh input. Creative solutions often appear out of nowhere when you collaborate. Something amazing happens when you extract your ideas, your beliefs, and your plans from the dark places in your head and talk them through with someone you respect and trust. You’re suddenly able to see your blind spots. That “someone” hears things that you don’t and helps you hear them too. Your inner critics and gremlins lose some power.
Secrets and closets keep you stuck.
How and when to stop keeping secrets:
Struggling or worrying, in isolation and secrecy, rarely did anyone any good. However, I’m not suggesting that you shout your struggles from the rooftop or open your next presentation with, “Hello, I’m __________ and I am stressed and overeating.”
I am asking you to consider giving any struggles you have with too much on your plate, the same respect and credibility you give your struggles with running your business, or figuring out your taxes, or addressing another health issue.
Be smart about it. Don’t let guilt, shame, or embarrassment take the upper hand.
- Identify what you know and what you don’t about the solution to your struggle
- Allow for the option that you might benefit from (and deserve) help
- Weigh the cost of continuing down the same-old-same-old path
- Weigh the real-life cost of your struggle. Where would your time and energy and focus go if this struggle went away? Are there things you are avoiding or not doing because you are struggling with this? How does your struggle limit you and hold you back? How does it limit the way you see and value yourself?
- Weigh the cost of hiding out and consider reaching out and sharing your secret with someone instead. Someone that you respect, that you trust, and who you believe could mentor or help you.
If you are struggling in secret, I know that you aren’t alone. But like anyone holding on to a secret, you won’t know that until you stop keeping it. Reaching out takes courage, but staying stuck has too big a price. And life is too short.