The 8 Mindsets That Keep You Stuck In The Cycle Of Binge Eating

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Have you ever caught yourself in a cycle where you simply can’t stop eating? It might be time to learn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

There are some food mindsets that are probably keeping you stuck in an emotional eating cycle.

Emotional eating occurs when you use food as a way to deal with feelings. You eat when you’re not hungry, usually larger amounts of food is involved, including foods that are considered "comfort" or junk foods.

Experts say that 40 percent of overeating is caused by emotions. 

RELATED: Counting Calories: My Messed Up Relationship With Food

How to have a healthy relationship with food: 8 mindsets that get in the way. 

1. Food is your main source of comfort.

When you define food as emotionally healing, then any time you seek comfort, your tendency is to turn to food.

Food can be comfort. However, there are many ways to comfort yourself or self-soothe when needed.

It may not be as quick and easy as grabbing something out of your cupboard, but finding comfort in more productive ways could lead to much better consequences.  

2. You "need" food. 

Unless you're physically hungry, you actually do not need food. That "need" is a false belief.

In fact, you can go 3-4 hours without food and be fine. The goal is to ask yourself, "What do I really need?"

If you’re not physically hungry, then your emotional state is what needs help. The goal is to figure out how to meet that need without sabotaging yourself with food.  

3. Only food makes you happy.

If this is your mindset, then it's time to figure out what's missing. Are you missing healthy and fulfilling relationships, a better or different job, or something else?

You are in charge of your happiness. If food is the only thing in your life that makes you happy, it's high time to reevaluate and be proactive about creating more areas of happiness.  

4. You see food as your friend. 

Food is not a person. It's simply energy that supplies the body with fuel. Food is a means to an end, not a relationship that you have intimacy and connection with.

Yes, you are absolutely allowed to enjoy your food. But food is not a mutually beneficial relationship where there is give and take.  

5. "I don’t matter, so what's the problem if I overeat?"

This mindset indicates there could be some depression and/or very low self-esteem causing the emotional eating cycle to continue.

Talk to a professional or trusted clergy in order to work through this mindset. Because when food is your go-to solution, you end up hurting yourself in the long run. 

RELATED: 6 Mindful Ways To Stop Emotional Stress Eating In Its Tracks

6. You don’t have time to take care of yourself so you have to grab what you can.

This mindset hurts my heart. Similar to the previous mindset that you don’t matter, if you can't find the time to feed yourself what's good and life giving, then honestly, you simply don't care about yourself and your own needs. 

This is keeping you stuck in the cycle. Your relationship with food is a reflection of your relationship with yourself.

If everyone else comes before you, then the emotional eating cycle will never end. The moment you put yourself first, emotional eating starts to take a back seat to what's truly important.  

7. You're addicted and can't stop turning to food.

This victim mindset is a huge contributor to feeling stuck in the cycle. It reinforces the pattern when you can’t stop eating.

I’m not saying addiction to food, especially sugar, is not a real thing. But to think you have no power or control over what you put in your mouth is simply not true.

If you start to understand your desire for sugar and realize that you aren't powerless, you can start to shift your behavior and remember that you have choices when turning to food or sugar.  

8. Food tastes so good and you can't stop eating.

This is the truth. Food does taste good. If you’re hungry, enjoy every bite!

However, if you’re eating when you’re not hungry, then continuing to eat just because it tastes good is hurting yourself as well as sabotaging your goals.

Eat and enjoy your food. Stop when content. If there's still tasty food to be eaten, save it for when you’re hungry again.  

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Learn how to have a healthy relationship with food by taking these important steps to stop the emotional eating cycle.

1. Beef up your self-care.

This begins with the reality that you matter just as much as anyone else.

I know there are beliefs or myths about self-care that could be getting in the way. You can challenge those beliefs, start to do small things for yourself on a daily or weekly basis, and start seeing how you feel.

This alone could cure you from feeling stuck in the emotional eating cycle.  

2. Gather tools, resources, and people to help you manage your stress.

This could be anything from working out at home, downloading a meditation app, seeking professional help, having a list of people to call when you’re stressed, or deciding that a daily walk will do the trick.  

3. Root out your shame.

Do some writing or journaling about the messages you received as a kid or from past trauma that leaves you feeling not good enough. Seek professional help if needed and decide shame doesn’t get to rule your world anymore.

Replace shame with self-compassion. This begins with talking to yourself like you would to your best friend.  

4. If you currently do not feel like there's meaning or purpose in your life, you can start to explore your passions.

Start by thinking about what bring you a sense of energy and excitement? It may not be something you get paid for but engaging in any activity that gives you energy and spark is a great place to begin.  

Knowledge is power. Take the knowledge you now have and realize that you can stop eating (when not hungry). 

Your mindset around food and how it contributes to your emotional eating cycle can start to shift today. You don't have to be stuck in an emotional eating cycle anymore.

You can discover a healthy relationship with food and with your body. Yes, it will take time. But when you know you matter, the time you spend will all be worth it. 

RELATED: I Don't Eat My Sadness — I Eat My Happiness, Too

Lesley Goth, PsyD is a psychologist and sustainable weight loss coach. She has created an online program that helps women get out of the emotional eating cycle, develop a healthy relationship with food, and experience sustainable weight loss. 

This article was originally published at lesleygothcoaching.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.