Why You Might Feel Alone with Overeating Challenges – High-Achiever Traps | TMOHP Episode 115

There’s a mindset trap that we don’t talk about enough that keeps smart women overeating. This episode is about how high-achieving women get stuck in thoughts and beliefs that isolate them or prevent them from asking for help. Not asking help can lead to overwhelm and increased Hidden Hungers (which lead to more overeating). Isolation and a lack of help and support can also make changing your eating habits and your relationship with food much harder than it needs to be.

So why don’t many smart women - who are excellent problem solvers in other parts of their life - reach out for the help and connection that can change overeating patterns? There are four reasons that I see all the time.

In this episode:

  • Beliefs and common thoughts that lead to isolation (which keeps women overeating)
  • Four reasons you may not be getting the help and support you need to stop overeating or emotional eating
  • The key to dissolving shame
  • A strategy for when you don’t know what kind of help to ask for
  • The benefits of support, help, and connection

Resources mentioned in this episode:

  • Not sure why you’re overeating, or what your Hidden Hungers are? Take the free Hidden Hungers Quiz
  • Your Missing Peace  is the program for women ready to stop overeating and emotional eating for good. Enrollment is open and NOW is the perfect time to join us! Go here to learn more
  • Private Coaching. One-on-one coaching is for you if you’re looking for something completely individualized and specific to your situation. Openings are limited. Learn more here.

Episode Transcript

Hi, everyone welcome back to Too Much on Her Plate. Today, I want to bring your attention to a mind game, or it's really a mindset trap that we don't talk about enough when it comes to overeating and emotional eating. And I want to bring your attention to it so that you can either avoid it or extricate yourself from it. All right?

Today I want to talk about isolation. Isolation, disconnection, and overeating. Now, what might come to mind for you when I described that topic is isolation, like the kind of isolation that so many people experience during lockdown. Right? Isolation that led so many people to eat more than they wanted to and gain weight. Right? During the pandemic, and although that kind of isolation does come into play, what I am talking about in this episode is the isolation that happens secondary To falling prey to some of the mindset, deprivation mindset, belief traps. 

So what the heck are those? Right? Okay. I'm talking about beliefs about you and you're eating and you're overeating like there's something wrong with me that I haven't fixed this by now. There's something wrong with me that I haven't figured this out. Or, nobody else struggles with this. Nobody else is eating at night like I am. I can't let people know. I should have solved this problem. I should have lost the weight by now. This is embarrassing. That belief that, oh, it's so simple I just need to eat less. Everybody must think I am so inept. Everybody else can do it. Why can't I do it? Or, it's my fault. It's just my fault. I just needed to try harder. I know what to do now I just have to make myself do it.

These are all beliefs that can isolate you that probably do isolate you if you have them do any of them sound familiar? Or do you have your own version of self talk that leaves you feeling weird or strange or all alone or embarrassed? Or like you're struggling with something that you absolutely have to hide, or if you're not hiding it, you have to put up a brave front and pretend it doesn't bother you?

One of the most common reasons that smart, capable women stay trapped, and I really do mean trapped, in these ongoing habits cycles of struggling with overload and overwhelm and overeating is a lack of consistently resourced, high quality support. I'm talking about support for their goal to change their relationship with food. Support to break old patterns of thinking. Support to break old patterns of eating. Support to ditch the diets and the self blame that keep reinforcing the old habits.

There are so many women who are staying, who are continuing to be isolated and alone and staying stuck in their behaviors and in their own heads without help. Either because they don't know what exists or because they don't believe they deserve it. Or because they judge themselves for wanting it. Or even, and sometimes especially because past experiences of sharing their struggles or asking for help haven't felt supportive at all.

They haven't gotten the kind of feedback or support that they were hoping for when they opened up about what was going on. And I think it's important to say that the idea of asking for help as in, Oh, you don't know what to do, or you're not getting the results that you want. So maybe you should ask for help. That sounds like a very simple strategy. And I think it's important to, to realize that it can be more complex than that. We're going to talk about that. And if you believe that, Oh, that's just a simple strategy, but I can't do it. Or it didn't occur to me to do it, or I'm not doing it, then that too becomes an easy path to self blame.

And self-blame we're going to talk about can become another path to feeling bad about yourself or feeling like you just need to keep this part of yourself hidden. So, let's talk through why you might be feeling alone in your pattern of overeating and emotional eating. Why you might be going it alone in trying to change your pattern of overeating or emotional eating.

And how you can start to shift the beliefs that are keeping you isolated. If you've got these beliefs that are keeping you isolated and keeping you from getting what it is that could help you get where you want to go. Either faster or more easily or just plain help you get there.

I've been doing this work for a very long time and there are some common reasons that Smart, highly capable women are not getting the help that could really help them with overeating and emotional eating. Let's start with shame because it's a huge one.

Let's assume you're a high achiever. You may have been taught to equate strength with self-reliance and over independence. And you might be so strongly independent that you haven't permitted the skill or perfected the skill of asking for help. At least in certain areas of your life. 

It's interesting because I see this a lot. There may be places where you are perfectly comfortable delegating and asking for help and thinking about what your strong suits are and where it's best to pull in other people. And then there may be areas where it does not occur to you to do that at all. 

A lot of very smart women seem to hold the belief that health and your own wellbeing ought to be these areas where you just magically know what to do. Your health, your wellbeing, these ought to be things that you can just automatically take charge of independently. Right? You can just do it on your own. You don't need any new tools. You don't need any specific strategy or help with that. 

I see this quite a bit and what it results in is highly capable women doing incredible things. And then having this one pocket of their life, this very personal pocket of their life, which includes your eating, your relationship with food, sometimes your weight, where you keep struggling because you aren't leveraging the support that you count on in the rest of your life. I want to really repeat this message because I see it so much.

I see so many, I have met and talked with and heard the pain really of so many brilliant women who are successful in so many things, but they aren't feeling like they should, or could, or are entitled to leverage the same techniques that they use in the rest of their life when it comes to changing their relationship with food and eating. Because they've got these old shame filled beliefs telling them that they should be embarrassed of their struggle and they should somehow easily be able to fix it alone.

And sometimes alone means really in isolation and, you know, out of plain sight. They should get it taken care of in private. This is something to look at. If you're carrying around a belief that you shouldn't need to ask for help, or if you're not used to doing it, if you're not used to asking for help, it might be shame that is holding you back from getting what you need to move forward.

And here's the brilliant thing. You know what dissolves shame faster than anything? Connection. Connecting with someone, not just anyone, but somebody who sees you, who sees your struggle and who doesn't reflect back that shaming self talk and the shaming beliefs that you have inside your own head.

Connection is healing. And shame is a showstopper. Shame keeps people stuck. There is nothing helpful about shame. Shame keeps people stuck. Period. So finding support and by support and help, I'm talking about support and help that feel helpful. That feel safe. Connecting and having the right help for you, that is what dissolves shame.

And when you dissolve shame, you eliminate a huge roadblock. So connecting the right kind of connection dissolves shame. Shame keeps people stuck. Connection is good. It helps dissolve shame. It is honestly that simple. So that's the first thing to pay attention to. 

Now, if we're talking about why smart women find themselves isolated and alone with overeating and emotional eating habits, it is also really important to talk about something that I refer to a lot as unused muscles. Mental muscles, emotional muscles. 

If you aren't somebody who's asked for help in the past, maybe actually you've been taught it's a strength. Right? You've congratulated yourself because you don't need help. Then you probably are somebody who finds yourself in situations where help might be useful. But it doesn't even occur to you to ask for it. 

It's not that you have decided, I'm not going to ask for help with this. I'm going to do everything myself. You're probably somebody who finds yourself in these places where it doesn't even occur to you. And if this is the case, this is this place where I talk about unused muscles.

If this is the case, it's time to start waking those muscles up. You're delegating muscles. You're asking for help muscles. And when we talk about activating these muscles, you can step outside the realm of overeating if you want to, because I'm talking about all kinds of help. Learning to receive, to think about, to ask for all kinds of help. Not just help in changing your eating. 

Not asking for help contributes to all sorts. Of reasons that we overeat. Think about it. Not asking for help contributes to all sorts of hidden hungers. Those are the things that can lead to all sorts of overeating when what you're really hungry for isn't food. Right?

So consider that maybe you're asking support and asking for help muscles are really, really weak. Or maybe they have even atrophied. What you need to do is start looking for opportunities to use them, to strengthen them. Start looking for situations where others might be able to help you. Again, these might be things that are not directly related to your eating, but they may be related to things like stress, or overwhelm, or exhaustion, or being too busy.

In any of these arenas, start looking for places that you could start asking for help. Pay attention to what you could delegate, what you could take off your plate, but also, Tune in, tune into the places where you feel stuck. And then consider who might have the expertise or the wisdom to guide you so that you don't have to keep struggling. So you don't have to reinvent the wheel.

So many of us fall prey to that, I just need to work harder myth. That myth that if you just go in there one more time and you work harder, you can get it done on your own. Starting to look for places where you're stuck and there might be somebody who could help guide you through it or could help you do it differently, that's going to mean considering that that I just need to work harder myth might not be your only alternative.

Try that on. Try being open to the possibility that there might be an approach that you don't know yet. Or an easier path. Or a different way to get where you're trying to go that you can't see, but that somebody else might. And again, I am talking about your relationship with food. I'm talking about changing your habits with overeating and emotional eating.

But I'm also talking about those other areas of your life where you may feel stuck and feel like, oh, it has to be this way. And those areas are leading you to overeat. Stress, overwhelm, being too busy, being exhausted. 

In addition to weak and atrophied muscles and shame, there's another roadblock to getting help and support when you need it. And that is being something that I think of as a one strike and you're out support seeker. Somebody who just dips their toe into the water and then, you know, runs away from asking for help. 

High achievers are used to getting results. And many high achievers are used to getting those results quickly. Also, we don't much like to talk about it, but high achievers, and I include myself in this group, we are very comfortable doing what we're good at. And avoiding the things that we are, are not good at, or that we don't feel super competent or comfortable doing. 

So, if asking for help isn't in your comfort zone, you might be somebody who kind of, you know, grits their teeth and tries it, quickly dips her toe into the water. Asks for a little bit of help, and if she doesn't get immediate results, uses that to confirm any of those beliefs that have been, Making asking for help feel hard or even impossible in the first place. Right?

So you ask for help, you don't get immediate results and it confirms the belief that, you know, I knew, I knew they wouldn't help me. I know I just have to figure this out myself or nobody else understands it or nobody else can do it the way I want to. Or I was right. I just need to try harder. That's the best way. It's faster if I do it my way. 

If you find it challenging to ask for help, you might not be pushing hard enough to get it. Or you might be looking to the wrong resource. If you find yourself thinking, I asked for help and they never followed through, or I asked for help and it just wasn't very helpful, I guess I just need to do it myself. You're not alone, and there may be truth in this instance. 

Maybe there is a better way to do it. Maybe there is a better place to ask for help. Maybe there is a better way to phrase the request. , who knows? You are probably learning to use a weak muscle. 

If you are trying to increase your upper body strength and you try to do a pushup and you can't do it. You don't just get up and stop doing anything with your upper body. Right? You keep working on the muscle and you work to progress to being able to do the pushup. 

Not immediately getting what you need is not a reason to stop asking for help. Not immediately getting what you need might indicate that you need to ask more. You need to follow up. You need to make sure that you're crystal clear about what you're asking for. 

When we are not good at something or outside of our comfort zone, it is so easy to be vague and not realize it. I mean, look at the difference between these two, two statements. I can say, you know, I could use some help or I could say something super specific, like, would you please stop and pick up dinner on your way home?

These are two different requests that will yield two very different results. And a lot of people who are not used to asking for help or asking for support are going to start out asking for things that are not specific enough to get you the match, you know, you're not going to get the return that you were hoping for. In part, because maybe you're not exactly clear what you're asking for, or you haven't learned to phrase it correctly yet. Keep practicing. 

Okay. Here is something that you might be thinking right now that is also a reason that many smart women aren't getting the help that they want, or the help that would get them the results that they want with overeating. And also the results that they would like with overwhelm or overload. And that is not knowing what to ask for. 

So you can think this whole idea of asking for help, it sounds really important or really smart, or maybe very basic, but in your particular situation, you may be thinking, well, if I knew what to ask for, I would have asked for it by now. Nobody can help me with this.

That may or may not be true, but here is the thing to remember. People who are not big help seekers often don't even think about getting or asking for help. People who aren't big help seekers don't spend a lot of time creatively thinking about the kind of help that they might be able to have that they aren't asking for.

So if you know what, if whatever area it is that you're struggling with, and let's talk about overeating and emotional eating, if you know that you are alone with what you are trying to change, if you feel isolated. If you feel lonely with your overeating habits or your emotional eating or whatever it is, you want to be different or, maybe you're just so busy, but you can't figure out how to get out of that trap. It feels like a trap that you're in, and you can't figure out how to change it. Then, don't be afraid to ask others for ideas. 

That's a brilliant way of asking for help. Asking something like, how could you help me with this? Or what do you do in these situations? If you really want to know what they do in these situations, those are brilliant kind of questions that can help you see what you don't know. Or can help shine a light in areas, maybe directions that your mind wouldn't naturally go to. 

High achievers are so used to knowing the answer. Right? Which means we should go into a situation where we need help knowing exactly what it is We need help with and what kind of help we need. That's not realistic. How can you help me with this? How might you help me with this is a brilliant question. 

So don't shortchange yourself because you aren't quite sure what you need. When it comes to overeating, Asking for help, reaching out to an expert, describing the situation and finding out what resources are available. These kind of things could make all the difference and they could take you in a direction that your mind and the loop that your mind goes in when it thinks about changing these behaviors, it would never go in. It can open up all sorts of doors and possibilities.

Now, why is this important? It's important because with the right kind of support, everything gets easier. When my clients join Your Missing Peace, my group coaching program, or when I begin working with them as a private coach, one of the big... Shifts happens when they start to see things that they couldn't see before. When I am able to, or the training in the program or the group coaching is able to offer them a perspective that wasn't accessible to them when they were alone. In their heads. With their habitual ways of thinking. .With their habitual habits, with their habitual approaches and with the self talk that keeps you in a closed loop.

The right kind of help getting support, especially when it comes to changing your eating can help you isolate mental muscles, isolate habits that you didn't even know could be useful. It is so often the small things, the small changes, the small shifts that have a huge impact. And it is so often the small changes, the small adjustments that you haven't been able to see yourself.

Getting help, the right kind of help, getting outside of your head and allowing somebody else in to help you problem solve and, and look at how you want to address things can make things easier and it can make your progress so much faster. 

Here is the other reason why asking for help when it comes to changing your eating or your overeating is so important. And it brings me full circle to where I started. All the things that can keep you from asking for help. All the things that keep you from believing you're entitled to help. Or all the things that can keep you from allowing yourself help and support, these beliefs and thoughts are also isolating. They isolate you.

They reinforce the cycle. They keep you stuck in the pattern that you're in, which is almost always a deprivation cycle. And feeling alone or wrong, or like your current situation is all your fault. And all you need to do is find some magical way to get it together and keep doing the same things that don't work, but keep doing them and do them harder.

This whole situation is also a perfect recipe for more overeating and emotional eating. Isolation, loneliness, guilt, self blame, shame, all of these things are powerful overeating triggers. If you're feeling alone or like you need to hide a situation or hide a goal that's important to you. Or pretend it doesn't matter to you because you feel embarrassed of it and again, like it's something that you need to hide. It is time to consider getting the help and the support that really feels helpful and supportive. 

Now, you know, I'm incredibly biased and I strongly recommend you check out Your Missing Peace, which is my signature program, which so many women have found to be the kind of support and help that they need. And if it's not your cup of tea, if Your Missing Peace is not for you, don't stop asking. Don't stop looking for help. 

Remember, don't be a one shot asking for help person. Find something. Stop going it alone. And stop telling yourself, that going it alone or being isolated with your overeating is the best or your only option.

It's not and there's an option that will work better for you.

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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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