Why Not Saying No is Sabotaging Your Eating | TMOHP Episode 104

Changing your eating habits isn’t as easy as creating a “new and improved” food plan. Untangling the reasons for your cravings and your urges to overeat is how you ultimately take your power back from food. Today I want to get very concrete and practical about one place where you might not have connected the dots between your non-food habits and emotional eating or overeating. Today’s episode is about overeating when you don’t say no.

Notice where that last sentence took you. Did you have any momentary feelings of guilt for not saying no and slapping your own hand the last time you ate something you felt was “outside your plan”? That’s NOT the type of no I’m talking about. In fact, that’s a whole other podcast episode that I need to record. 😉

This episode is about the overeating that happens when you don’t create and hold the boundaries that you need. When you lose hold of those boundaries because you don’t say the word no. This episode is a must-listen with some very clear action items for you. Spend some time with it, and then share this with a friend who could also benefit from strengthening her no muscles.

In this episode:

  • Connecting the dots between saying no, boundaries, and overeating
  • What the overeating-because-you-don’t-say-no pattern looks like
  • A few lists I want you to make
  • How to start strengthening your capacity to say no
  • No is a complete sentence

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Full episode transcript:

Hey everybody, welcome back to the podcast. In this episode, we are going to talk, or I'm going to talk about a big cause of overeating and emotional eating for busy women. And it's one that might surprise you. We talk about emotional eating. We talk about stress eating, comfort eating, but there's another overeating trap that a lot of smart women overlook.

It's something that you might already see as a problem or maybe a weak spot in your life. But you might not have connected the dots between what I'm going to talk about today and your eating habits. Especially overeating and emotional eating habits. This episode is about overeating when you don't say no.

Now, before you roll your eyes, hold on a second. I'm not talking about when you don't say no to deprive yourself. I'm not talking about not saying no to second helpings, or to chips, or to carbs, or to chocolate. I love chocolate. I'm talking about the kind of overeating that happens when you don't have the boundaries that you need. When you don't have the boundaries that require you saying no.

In this episode, I'm going to examine the places where you might be nodding yes instead of politely declining, or setting a limit, or saying no, or saying no thank you. And I'm going to tell you why this might have everything to do with struggles that you are having with overeating.

Let's play with this idea. Have you ever considered that you might be gaining weight or you might be eating more because you're not saying no? Maybe you haven't. But you might know that you overeat because you don't make time for yourself in other ways or because you're exhausted. Because you're not getting enough sleep because you take on a lot of work and have almost chronic stress. Maybe you know that you eat more than you want to because you've been running around all day without a break. Maybe you even ate lunch at your desk you didn't get any time for yourself at all.

No is this little two letter word that can drastically change all of those patterns. No is a word that will help you create and claim more space, more time for yourself, more opportunities to strategize, to plan, to think things through. More ability, more space, more energy to take better care of you.

No is this powerful word that can create more calm, more order, more control in your life. And can have everything to do, this word can have everything to do with you creating peace with food.

You might be skeptical, I might not have convinced you yet, but let's review what overeating when you don't say no might look like in your life. It might look like overeating because your plans got bulldozed by somebody else's agenda. Or overeating because you are exhausted because you didn't say no and get yourself in bed on time. Whether it was saying no to somebody else or whether it was saying no to the 50 million things on your to do list.

What about overeating because you're doing something that you kind of resent. Or eating to numb out anger. Or eating because you're anxious about how you're going to get everything on your impossible to do list done. What about overeating because you're frustrated at how much is expected of you? And then there's overeating because, well, because you deserve a treat and you didn't leave room in your life to give yourself the good things. Because there's some places somewhere where you didn't say no to create that room or that opportunity for the good things that you really needed.

Overeating can be such an easy, accessible Band Aid. Overeating helps a lot of smart, busy women stay numb or try to numb, the cost of not saying no. You can grab something to eat to distract yourself, or to provide this temporary kind of padding, or like a warm cocoon between you and the rest of the world.

You know what eliminates the desire for these types of overeating? A good, clean no. This is a shorter episode of the podcast, but consider it a little pep talk that you might want to revisit. Because there are lots of reasons and lots of excuses for not saying no. Sometimes you don't say no because you don't want to.

I mean, I know life is full of fantastic opportunities. There are a lot of things to do. You might want to take advantage of some of these or a lot of these. But sometimes a lot of the time it is the more negative reasons that we don't say no. It's not because we really want to do the thing. It's shame or guilt or a fear of disappointing people that gets in the way of us saying no.

And if you're not applying the word no liberally in your busy life? Chances are it is, it's wearing on you. It's taking a toll. Not saying no enough will affect your relationships with other people. It will affect how you show up in the world. But the toll that it's taking is primarily on you. Not saying no prevents you from having the time and the space and the energy for some really important yeses.

They go together. You cannot have all the yeses that you want to have without the no's. Not saying no is exhausting and it's also a breeding ground for resentment and frustration and then or yes overeating.

So today I want to challenge you to start exercising your no muscle more than you currently are. It's a muscle. Your no is a muscle, and it might be weak, but you can make it stronger. You don't have to do it all at once. It can be one rep at a time. And here's the thing. As you practice, as you exercise your no muscle, you're going to find out that most of the time, the sky doesn't fall in when you say no.

Most of the time, the rest of the world hardly even notices. And even if they do, people are resilient, they will pretty quickly start to get used to that new version of you who is clear about her boundaries and clear about setting them.

Starting today, I want you to keep a couple of running lists. Start with this one. Where could you be saying no more? What are you tolerating? Where is your spirit calling you to set a boundary? Where are you most afraid to say no? And this place where you're afraid to say no, is this a place where maybe you need to be saying no the most? Often is.

Are you eating your feelings about saying no? Are you staying numb to how it feels to be saying yes all the time? Are you using food to push down fears about setting boundaries? Or are you overeating because there's something in your life that just has to be eliminated or delegated and you don't want to think about it. And mostly you don't want to do it.

Start making your list. Start noticing where you could benefit from having more boundaries in your life. Start noticing how this is connected to the times when you reach for food. And then here's the hard part, but you got to do it. You have to start practicing.

You do hard things all day long. I know you do. You can get good at setting boundaries and it's saying no, and it will pay off. And then you have to keep practicing. Keep practicing saying no. Practice seeing that the sky doesn't fall in when you do, when you do say no. Practice letting no be a complete sentence. I'm going to say that one again. No is a complete sentence.

It can be that simple. No is a complete sentence. You don't owe explanations or qualifications. Try saying just no and feeling the power of it. The clarity of it. The space that it creates for you. Practice. Practice, practice, practice, and then start another list of all the no's that you're making. The ones that feel small and the ones that feel big.

And I want you to celebrate each and every one. And also as a side note do not minimize the value of the small easier no's. Sometimes it is sometimes it is frankly amazing how much impact the smallest of no's can have on your stress and your overwhelm and also, yes, you're eating. Keep a list of all the nose and celebrate them.

And as you get clear on the cost of not setting the boundaries and the benefit of setting the boundaries of using your no muscle. You might want to get clearer on the best places, the most strategic, effective places to start setting them. One of the ways to do this is to take my free Hidden Hungers quiz. It's on my website. It will help you pinpoint where you aren't getting what you need and how it's contributing to your overeating. I will put that link in the show notes.

And practice. Practice saying no. Visualize your no muscle getting stronger. Watch it getting easier and notice the space and the ease that it frees up in your life.

I'll talk to you soon.

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Your Missing Peace is the psychologist-designed program that provides the tools, the support, the coaching, and the confidence to create freedom from emotional eating and overeating. Finally - emotional eating help done right! Your Missing Peace is specifically designed for smart, high-achieving women who are DONE with diets, who want a lasting solution, and who are ready to take their power back from food, from overeating, and the scale. 

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