How to break free from repetitive patterns of overeating and bingeing.

emotional health mindful eating overcome emotional eating
A woman bingeing on food from the fridge.

These are things I hear all too often from the women I work with:

"I eat too many snacks," "I can't resist," "I'm a chocoholic," "I just can't say no” “I’m addicted to sugar”.

The struggle with snacking and bingeing is real, and it's a challenge many of us face daily.

Let's take a moment to reflect on how women have often been portrayed in stories, unable to resist the temptation of food: from Eve and the apple, to Alice and the "Eat Me" and "Drink Me" potions, and Snow White and the poisoned apple.

Let’s also consider how diet culture teaches us that some foods are good and some are bad.

In my experience, overeating a pleasurable food and the feelings of shame and guilt that follow are only ever a result of having an 'all or nothing' mindset. And an all or nothing mindset comes from having a rule book for eating (AKA diets) – if we eat the stuff on the green list we feel great, but when we eat the stuff on the red list we feel guilty. Putting food off limits like this works against you, because it almost always results in overeating and more feelings of guilt and shame. AKA the forbidden fruit scenario.

The more we continue to think in all or nothing terms and view food as being good or bad, the more shame, guilt, and sadness we associate with food, eroding our self-esteem. And ironically, when we do indulge in forbidden foods, we get little enjoyment from them because we’re too busy feeling shit about it.

What it takes to break free from the over snacking, binge eating cycle:

Challenge the Narrative: You are not the woman depicted in the stories. When faced with foods you've deemed "bad" or off-limits, remind yourself by saying out loud "this is just food." By re-framing your perspective, you can begin to neutralise the power these foods hold over you. Say it out loud!

Reject Diet Culture: Get angry at the pervasive influence of diet culture and the unrealistic standards imposed on women's eating behaviour. It's time to reclaim your autonomy and reject the notion that your worth is tied to your eating habits.

Normalise all foods: All foods can fit into a healthy diet, and there's no need for deprivation or guilt. If you do this, you are less likely to binge on so called forbidden foods.

Stop telling yourself that you have a problem: When you hear your inner voice saying "I eat too many snacks," "I can't resist," "I'm a chocoholic”, you are simply reinforcing a condition that has been imposed on you by diet culture. Stop the rot!

Practice, practice, practice and eventually you'll start to shed the layers of shame and guilt that have clouded your relationship with food.

As you cultivate a sense of self-esteem and self-compassion, you'll be empowered to make choices that truly honour your health and well-being.

Want to join my free workshop: Mastering your Metabolism:Secrets for restoring your energy and sustainable weight management. on 9th May 2024?  Sign up here

If you've enjoyed this read, then why not join my email list? I share free content every month designed to help you to improve your relationship with food and support the health of your metabolism. Sign up here.  If you're keen to get to work on your relationship with food, restore your energy and manage your weight more easily with the support of a qualified coach, then take a look at The Non-Diet Method, starting again May 15th.