If it feels like you can’t stop eating long enough to stick to a diet, review these 3 areas to find your solution!
Over time, diets became less and less successful for you. Your tolerance went from months to weeks to days to (if you’re anything like me) hours until it felt like you couldn’t stop eating.
Whether you’ve only tried one diet, or one hundred, you have probably experienced what I like to call “diet intolerance.”
“When you start your first diet venture, you probably have a fresh and exciting perspective of hope in your ability to change. But, with each subsequent diet (or attempt), you lose the ability to stick to 3 ounces of chicken, 2 cups of steamed broccoli and 7 almonds. You become less and less tolerant of the restrictions.”
Today I want to tell you the three reasons why you can’t stick to a diet and the three reasons why it feels like you just can’t stop eating.
Reason #1 you can’t stop eating: You’ve set unrealistic expectations.
Diets expect us to change overnight, to go immediately from A to Z. And as human beings, we don’t change in sweeps–we change in stages.
It takes time for us to learn new habits and new ways of thinking, moving and acting. You wouldn’t expect yourself to learn how to play the piano overnight, to be able to quilt like a professional, or to beat a Williams girl in a tennis match. It’s going to take you t-i-m-e to adapt to this new way of living.
Diets say that you need to be able to do it ALL.
Do it ALL tomorrow (which happens to be Monday, right?). And, those unrealistic expectations set you up for failure right from the start–as one slip turns into massive diet failure.
Reason #2 you can’t stop eating: Diets have inflexible perspectives.
As I mentioned previously, diets expect us to change everything. And, to add insult to injury, the end result is supposed to look very much like a pattern. Things fit into a box neatly and nicely and without any double-chunk chocolate cookies, of course.
However, diets make no adaptations for your daily life–for your available time, energy, and resources:
- Can you realistically work out for an hour each day?
- Do you truly want to avoid carbs for the rest of your life?
- Is it reasonable to measure and weigh all of your food, every day?
Your thoughtful answers to these questions are important because, otherwise, these inflexibilities can get you stuck in all-or-nothing eating–If you can’t do it the way it’s written in the book, then clearly, you’re a failure, and you may as well give up altogether.
DO CARBS AND SUGAR MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN’T STOP EATING?
All-or-nothing eating can lead to what feels like an addiction cycle. I frequently have women reach out to me, stating that they’re addicted to carbs and sugar. And, I get it. These particular foods do have a very hyper-palatable aspect to them.
They’re really good, and they’re things that we could eat more and more of. But, a lot of the addicted feelings live in this inflexible perspective and this all-or-nothing thinking. Here’s an example for you:
If I were to go on a new diet tomorrow that limited any food–this could be brownies or broccoli–I’m going to have an urgency to eat that particular food today.
It makes sense, whether you have a dieting history or not. If you know that something’s not going to be available again, you’ll put in the efforts to get it while you can.
After the restrictions are applied, what happens when you eat the “banned” food? No doubt there’s an immense amount of guilt because you ate something you knew you weren’t supposed to be eating. That guilt is answered with negative self-talk and throwing caution to the wind by eating more… and more… and more…
Because tomorrow, definitely tomorrow, you’re not going to eat any.
And, the next day comes around. The afternoon rolls by and you’ve been “good” all morning. But, your afternoon energy lull hits and you get a bit of a weak moment.
You’re tired and the baby’s crying, or the kids just got home from school super-hyper and it’s near impossible to get them to do their homework, or work has been super-stressful and everything happening at the office is getting on your nerves.
You go for just one bite of something that you know is not on the plan and it tastes really good. You know you shouldn’t be eating it. So, you vow that tomorrow, yes, tomorrow will be the day that the self-control fairy shows up and everything will be better.
So, you do as any logical person would do. You eat as much of it as you can today–for tomorrow, you’ll be unable to enjoy any of it.
And, it feels a lot like an addiction. It feels like you just cannot stop eating, no matter what you do. And the problem is not necessarily the food. The problem is the way that you’re thinking about the food and the way that you’re threatening for it to go away.
We’re labeling it as bad food and something that we shouldn’t be eating. And that is what keeps you from being able to stick to a diet.
Reason #3 you can’t stop eating: Your goals are too shallow.
No, I’m not calling you shallow. I’m saying that you’re a very deep, introspective person, but you may have shallow goals. And, my deep-thinking friend, shallow goals are just not that motivating to you.
You see, as a Christian, we know where our true value lies. We know that the call upon our lives is to glorify God in all that we do.
Yes, we want to be healthy. Yes, we want to be comfortable in our own skin. But nowhere in the Bible does it say that we need to be a size six. This is a worldly value.
When we’re faced with the idea of eating a brownie or not, or when we haven’t seen progress on the scale, we throw those goals away. Because they’re not really that important to us.
But, when you reach deeper, when you connect to the deeper goals within your heart and in your spirit, that is motivation that lasts. It’s motivation that’s going to inspire you to stick to the plan regardless. When our goal is to glorify God in our eating, one bite that is taken off plan is not a big deal.
We simply get back on track and focus on him throughout the rest of the day. God keeps a short record of wrongs, and when our focus and goals are deeper and more meaningful, so can we.
We can sweep our struggles under the rug of His grace and continue to make choices that’ll empower us and energize us to serve His greater purpose.
If it feels like you can’t stop eating and that you can’t stick to your diet:
- Consider if you are dealing with unrealistic expectations. Does this change even fit into your life right now?
- Are you dealing with an inflexible perspective where there’s no room for any adaptation– it’s all or nothing, in or out
- Are your goals a little too shallow? Do you need a deeper meaning in all this that really speaks to your spirit? One that motivates you day in and day out, regardless of what that scale says?
Don’t hesitate to find the “problem”…because in that knowledge lies your solution!
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Author, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.