It all boils down to self-perception. Unresolved emotions can make you self-critical, causing you to act against your best interests. In an attempt to fill this internal void, you may indulge in overeating. Realize that body type varies among individuals, so eat according to your body's specific needs. Note how you feel after eating certain foods to comprehend your body better.
As a health coach, I see so many women feeling lost, frustrated and confused about weight loss and overcoming emotional eating and overeating. And I get it! There a many diets out there – paleo, raw, vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, fruititarian.
And too many rules that say:
- “Don’t eat gluten”
- “Don’t eat after 6pm”
- “Eat 3 meals a day”
- “Eat 6 meals a day”
- “Only eat 1500 calories”
- “Carbs make you fat”
- “Sugar makes you fat”
And I could go on. I remember when I was in college, desperate to love my body and feel good. I would count every single calorie and fat gram in my food. I worked out 2 hours a day 7 days a week. All because “that’s how you get the body of your dreams.”
But I wasn’t feeling better about myself at all. And when I’d get stressed out, anxious and fall back into my depressive states, I’d retreat from the world and try to get rid of the uncomfortable feelings with food and alcohol. All these diets and rules were not doing what they promised.
Listen To Your Body
When I became a health coach, I was bombarded with so many more diets, theories and rules and instead of feeling empowered by all the knowledge, I felt overwhelmed and quite frankly annoyed. I didn’t want to tell any client that they had to go on another diet.
Based on my experience (and the experience of 95% of women out there) diets are impossible to sustain. They make us feel miserable, guilty and shameful. And when we can’t keep up with them, we feel like a failure and then overeat and beat ourselves up because we were too weak and unmotivated to succeed.
The true path to sustained health is not to live by someone else’s rules, but to understand what your unique body needs and be able to honor that in a way that makes you feel happy, confident and empowered.
What I’ve come to realize breaking through my own challenges around body image and eating as well as helping my clients do the same, is that there are three missing links to the weight loss and overeating puzzle that no diet is going to mention.
3 Reasons Your Efforts Aren’t Showing Results
1. Eating To Fix An Emotional Imbalance
Weight loss is NOT the problem. It is the symptom of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. When we are not treating our bodies with respect, it’s not because we are lazy or incapable but more likely, there are some major emotional blocks and subconscious programming that is causing us to act out against our best interest.
This is when we often think “I know what I should be doing, but I’m just not doing it.” Unfortunately, this type of thinking usually leads to self-criticism and more unhealthy actions. The truth is, there is always a thought and emotion that leads to the actions we take (or don’t take.)
Weight gain or other chronic health issues are usually a sign that we are not connected to how we are truly feeling, honoring those feelings and working through them. Once you are able to get your emotional health in check, the weight loss ends up becoming a natural side effect, because YOU begin to naturally make better choices for yourself.
2. Being Unaware Of Your Bio-Individuality
Bio-individuality is a term coined by Joshua Rosenthal, founder of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. What it means is that everyone needs something different to get healthy, stay healthy and feel healthy – when you resort to cookie-cutter meal plans on some diet you are ignoring your own bio-individuality.
That’s why one person can lose 25 pounds on a diet and someone else can gain 25 pounds. I was drinking green smoothies and eating salads all the time for a few years and wondering why I started to feel bloated, heavy and rundown eventually.
Well, turns out that my body needed more grounding, warm foods. Once I was able to transition to this new way of living, honoring my body’s unique needs, my digestion and energy dramatically improved. In order to figure out what foods are the best for you you have to be willing to drop the diet mentality, get curious, tune into your body and experiment.
Believe it or not, our bodies tell us what it needs, but too many of us have become way too disconnected to our bodies that we’ve forgotten how to hear that. Simply beginning to reconnect to your body through taking a few deep breaths, asking your body “what do you really need right now” will give you a lot more valuable information than any diet ever can.
Also, pay attention to how you feel when you eat certain things. If you feel bloated after drinking a green smoothie, there’s a good chance it’s not so “healthy” for you. Only you and your body know what’s best for you.
3. Emotional Eating
This one was a game changer for me and my clients when it came to breaking through emotional eating and overeating. Now, I’m not saying everyone that is overweight is an emotional eater and that everyone that emotionally eats will gain weight.
But if you’re finding that you’re often eating when you’re stressed out, always looking for a reason to eat, pre-occupied with thoughts about food and often eat until you’re overstuffed, then there’s a good chance you’re emotionally eating.
I’ve seen a ton of people (including myself) go on detoxes and restrictive diets to curb this behavior, but it doesn’t work and doesn’t last. Why? Because it’s not about WHAT you’re eating, rather WHY you’re eating it.
To break the patterns of emotional eating and overeating, you need to become aware of the thoughts behind your emotions and actions. Once you do this and take some time to see the distortions in those thoughts, you can then choose more empowering thoughts that will support you in making a better choice for yourself (instead of depending on a diet to force you to do that.)