For women who just can’t drop that last fifteen pounds, or are SO tired of trying to change their eating habits, and for stress eaters and emotional eaters who just can’t break the overeating cycle, there is often a critical factor that isn’t getting enough attention.
Your relationship with food.
The way we relate to food, the way we see food, and the things we associate with food and with eating can be powerful pieces of the puzzle when it comes to what we eat and how much we weigh.
For busy women who juggle many responsibilities, it’s pretty easy for your relationship with food to get dysfunctional. Food can easily become a stop-gap measure or a band-aid and start to take up way too much space in your life.
Sometimes it’s just too easy to skip the work involved in preparing a healthy meal. Sometimes you’re so busy chasing your to-do list that you might even forget you had planned to eat a salad for lunch or take a walk after work. You may have found yourself in the mode of reacting instead of feeling in charge and purposeful. This adds stress and can also be the perfect recipe for stress eating, eating to escape, and being too tired to do all the things you think you “should” be doing.
When you’re busy and stressed you can develop habits around food that expand your waistline.
Eating for comfort.
Eating out of boredom.
Eating out of frustration.
And reaching for something sweet when you feel like you need a reward or a little “celebration.”
These are easy traps to fall into, and they can be complicated traps to escape. If you are already stressed and busy, it’s really hard to stop and strategize and create a new, better way of doing things.
Why am I sharing this?
Because, if you are ready to address issues with emotional eating and overeating and weight, the first step is not a diet or a weight loss plan. If you are ready to make changes that last, the first step is fixing your dysfunctional relationship with food.
How to fix a dysfunctional relationship with food
Instead of starting with a diet, you’ll want to reverse engineer things. Tackle the reasons food has become a struggle to get lasting results.
- Take control of your time. You may love being busy, but if busy is running your life (and your goals and priorities have fallen by the wayside), or if you are spending a lot of time feeling stressed or overwhelmed, something is out of balance and it is probably contributing to your overeating. Focus on taking small, do-able steps toward spending time on things you value. Create rituals and habits to bring your personal goals back onto your radar. Start carving out time to feed yourself in non-food ways to create more thriving and less stress eating.
- Nurture your own self-care. When your spirit isn’t being fed, you eat more. One common trap is overeating because you can’t find the time (or feel guilty taking the time) to take care of yourself in other ways. Me-time becomes a chocolate donut or a trip through the drive-thru, Stress relief is a serving (or two) of comfort food, or something sweet to top off a long, exhausting day. To take the power back in your relationship with food, focus on creating do-able habits for feeding your spirit (instead of your stomach) and amping up your self-care routines. Make deliberate efforts to address your feelings and needs with better tools and strategies.
- Set the goal to create a relationship with food and a healthy lifestyle that you love. A dysfunctional dieting relationship or a gut-it-out attempt at changing your habits requires stamina, willpower, and constant effort. It’s a recipe for exhaustion, burnout, and stress which may leave you tired, irritable, and feeling guilty or ineffective. A dysfunctional relationship is always a struggle. To make changes that last, commit to creating a relationship that you will want to be in forever. One that contributes to your life, adds more ease (instead of stress), and motivates you to continue with it.