How to break the destructive cycle of overeating/guilt/overeat.
It would be hard to find a dieter who hasn’t felt that pang of guilt after overindulging on something that was not on their diet, but guilt is not a dieter’s friend.
In fact, it often leads to even more eating because you feel so bad about your lack of discipline.
So how do you break the destructive cycle of overeating/guilt/overeat?
By simply reframing how you look at this problem you can throw the guilt out the window and avoid this cycle altogether.
Reframe #1: Your Body Wants Food (Hormones Make You Eat)
First, it is good to establish that it is never appropriate to feel guilty about wanting to eat.
Food is necessary for your survival and your body knows it, so your body always wants you to eat to assure your survival.
It doesn’t care if you are carrying an extra 10, 40 or 100 pounds on your frame; it wants you to get some energizing food today.
And, to ensure you do eat, your body releases hormones and chemicals that make you want food.
Therefore, you should never feel guilty for wanting to eat; it’s natural.
Equally as important, you should never be mad at your body for feeling hungry; it’s just trying to help you survive.
Reframe #2: Food Sedates Your Emotions (No Wonder We Use It!)
Emotional eating has taken a lot of blame for the skyrocketing obesity epidemic, and rightfully so; but, you shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to eat in reaction to an unpleasant emotion.
Because food does sedate your emotions.
Millions of people use food to dampen stress, anxiety, and worry because it works.
I am not saying it is a good solution, but it does produce temporary relief.
Therefore, it is not appropriate to feel guilty about wanting to use food for emotional reasons.
Reframe #3: Food is Everywhere (It’s a Common Thought For Everyone)
Another reason you should not feel guilty about wanting to overeat is that most of you reading this are living in an area where food is abundant, convenient and cheap.
You are constantly reminded of food throughout your day.
Food surrounds you so it makes sense that food would be on your mind, often.
You shouldn’t feel guilty for thinking about food or even entertaining the thought of overeating.
With all of these factors surrounding you, it’s not unheard of for you to give in from time to time and overeat.
Your diet can certainly overcome these occasions, but if you add guilt to the mix your diet may not survive.
You will have moments during a diet when you don’t eat as planned, accept these times and drop the guilt.
As a result, you will break the overeat / guilt / overeat cycle.
Understand that it’s only human to enjoy a treat now and then, and it is equally human to have an occasional slip when you are dieting.
Accept and expect these times and not only will you find getting back on track a lot easier, but you will also multiply your chances of success.
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.