Did you know that for a lot of women, dieting leads to weight gain (not weight loss!)? It’s true: most people who set out to change their eating never make lasting changes – or worse, they end up increasing their overeating instead.
I know a lot of smart women who have been trying to change their eating habits forever, and I’m guessing you can relate.
You’ve tried. You’ve started a program. You’ve bought the greens. But you’ve probably had the experience of feeling like it all unraveled eventually. You got off track, or things just fizzled out.
What the heck?
I’m going to share something important here: it’s NOT your fault. It’s pretty impossible to stop overeating and emotional eating – at least the way you’re probably doing it right now.
Although we don’t know each other, I’m willing to bet that your relationship with food is complicated (to say the least).
For most of us, food has come to mean many complex and tangled things:
Food is love.
Food is a reward.
Eating with abandon is freedom or a treat.
Food is comfort.
Eating calms you.
When you’re bored, eating is something to do.
Sweets take the edge off your anger.
Sugar gives you quick energy.
That extra scoop is the way you take care of yourself.
I could go on.
We have so many habits and thoughts and reactions and feelings that have become linked to food… It’s complicated.
But wait, there’s more.
You might be functioning on too-little sleep.
Your stress level is higher than you’d like it (on many days).
You’ve got a ton of responsibilities, and your energy seems to get dispersed taking care of all of them.
Your heart is big and you tend to give a lot (with not so much left for you).
In short, you may be operating with seriously limited bandwidth.
And now, on top of all of this (did I mention that you are doing an amazing job at holding a ton of pieces together on a daily basis, getting everyone where they need to go, and making it look like you’re doing great!) – now on top of this – you want to attempt to mess with how and what you eat.
So you go on that super-strict new plan.
No more sugar for energy or chips for stress relief. No more mindless munching to cope with boredom or frustration. No more bowls of comforting ice cream at the end of a too-long day. No more “treats” on your way home from work or after you give that winning presentation.
Well, shoot. And you wonder why you often feel so deprived when you try to change the way you eat?
It’s no surprise that way too many smart women feel stuck in a cycle of starting, “failing”, wallowing in a little comfort overeating, and then starting over again on Monday.
Here’s the deal.
If you want to stop starting over and really stop overeating and emotional eating, there are a few things you’ve got to do.
Let’s break it down.
1. You’ve got to stop oversimplifying.
It may seem easy and obvious to “simply” focus on a new food plan for the week, but you’re actually creating a lot of stress for yourself. Food is rarely simply fuel. Your relationship with food, while unique, is quite likely as complicated as most womens’. I’m betting you have a lot of habits and thought patterns around food. You can add more greens to your plate, but if you don’t address the habits and the thought patterns, they’ll be there – waiting. And the next time you need comfort, or feel stressed, or feel exhausted and unappreciated – guess what your first thought is likely to be?
2. You’ve got to stop trying to beat the cycle and instead, focus on changing it.
This “starting over on Monday” cycle is probably familiar. As Dr. Phil might say, “How’s that working for you?”
It’s rather amazing how – when it comes to overeating – smart people seem to try the same approach over and over again. Even when it doesn’t work. You may get hooked by the misbelief that it’s your fault that you failed, and the idea that if you can just get your sh$#% together, all will be peachy. I’m betting the evidence doesn’t support that this approach is working. It’s time to do something different.
3. Stop creating plans for yourself that you know you can’t follow for more than a few days or weeks (or even years).
I know a lot of women who are masters at creating results, or losing ten pounds fast or being super-disciplined for 24 hours or 30 days. What all these women have in common is that they are incredibly frustrated by the lack of lasting, long term results they’ve been able to achieve. And over time, they’ve found it harder and harder to get started on that “starting over” plan one more time.
Do these steps sound complicated? I love making these things as simple and step-by-step as possible, and lightening things up as we do it. That’s what’s happening inside Your Missing Peace: The Coaching Club. You’re invited to join me on a four-month journey to create a path of real, lasting success. You know that complicated relationship with food and all the habits and thoughts that have gotten tangled up with why and what you eat? Let’s change that.