With the weight-loss industry constantly bombarding us with the latest and greatest way to curb our overeating, it's no wonder we're all confused about what to do.
We hear conflicting information about what we should be eating, and new ideas surface every week around how to lose weight and keep it off.
And with all of this information overload, we feel a sense of deep despair and frustration when we can't seem to control our eating. Many times, we are able to control and manage every other area of our lives, but food seems to be the place that keeps us stuck.
As a former binge-eater and serial dieter (I've been on 116 to be exact!), I know how frustrating food can be. It seems so easy: We know what's healthy; we know what's not. So why are we still overeating?
When I was in the darkest depths of disordered eating, I believed that I was a failure and doomed to live in this destructive cycle forever. Now that I'm living in a place of freedom around food, I want to dispel a few of these beliefs that can keep you stuck in a place of frustration and hopelessness.
Knowing the truth can help you begin to find some freedom in your own journey (which will also help you ease up and be more compassionate with yourself!).
The three biggest myths of overeating:
1. You're a failure.
When you spend your life alternating between starting a diet on Monday and then eating seven slices of pizza by Friday night, it's easy to feel like a failure. The deep despair at failing at yet another diet can weigh heavily on the soul. But it's important to realize the truth about the nature of overeating.
The reality is that overeating and dieting go hand in hand. If you're on a diet, you'll eventually overeat. The very nature of a diet is that you go "on" a food plan, and thus, you eventually go "off" of it.
You can't maintain the pressure of eating in a very rigid way forever. So inevitably, you overeat. The strain and tension of forcing yourself to maintain a way of eating isn't meant to be how we live long term. So, the body eventually rebels and wants all of the foods you've forbidden it to have.
The diet industry has set you up for failure. It's in the very nature of a diet.
When you can begin to let go of strict food rules and adhering to a rigid food plan, you won't continue to have those episodes of falling "off" the wagon and feeling like a failure.
2. It's something you just have to deal with.
Overeating doesn't have to be an issue you struggle with for your entire life. When I was battling disordered eating, I thought it was just something that was a part of me, that bingeing was something I would have to deal with. I'm forever grateful that a small part of me wouldn't let me give up hope that there had to be a different way to live.
And there is. Overeating can be remedied through learning to listen to your body's needs, honoring your deeper desires, processing emotions, working through limiting beliefs, and understanding why you act the way you do around food.
The way you eat is a symptom. There's something deeper going on that you must heal in order to find the peace and freedom you truly desire.
Overeating is a way we cope. It's how we learned to deal with all of the hard situations we didn't have the ability to work through. And it's not your fault. It's something you learned (whether consciously or not), and it's also something you can create new and nourishing behaviors around.
3. If you don't control your food, you'll spiral out of control.
We've been inundated with messages telling us that in order to monitor our weight, we have to rigidly control what we eat. And when you've struggled with food and weight issues, the idea of letting go of control is terrifying.
But controlling our food is really an illusion. The more we rigidly attempt to calorie-count, adhere to a diet, and eat only specific foods, the more likely we are to end up overeating. We create rules to feel like we have some semblance of control, when in reality the more we are tightly controlling it, the less control we actually have.
When you can surrender just a little bit, you actually feel more freedom. The more freedom you feel in your food, the less likely you are to overeat. It's the irony of surrender. In letting go you find strength and power. When you surrender, little by little, you realize that you actually feel more in control when you eat.
Oftentimes, our biggest struggles are our greatest teachers. And so it is with overeating. As you allow the truths of these myths to sink into your heart, let it help you begin to take one step toward finding freedom in your eating.