There is some kind of trigger…
Something your boss or your spouse or your kid or a friend said.
A relationship that is not going the way you want it to.
More traffic than usual on your commute home, a “bad day” at work, an emergency, something unexpected, a disagreement.
All you can think about is how hard you’ve worked, how much you’ve done, how he or she doesn’t understand you, how life is so hard.
You’re stressed. Upset. Uncomfortable. Insulted. Depressed. Feeling hopeless or futile or sad.
Or maybe the trigger is a “positive” trigger.
You get a promotion, are proposed to, are going to a celebration (wedding, birthday, anniversary).
You accomplish a big goal. It’s Friday. It’s Saturday! Someone is graduating. It’s New Year’s Eve.
You deserve, after all, to celebrate.
Enter Poison Thought #1.
I deserve this…
What you are saying to yourself is that you deserve a reward and, therefore, don’t have to think about the consequences of your actions. Any consequences are trumped because you think…
“I deserve this and should have it.”
For those who overeat, this translates to “I deserve to eat whatever I want and how much I want.”
These types of thoughts are poison because they look deceptively pretty. They are cloaked in a costume of self-care. They make it seem that you are being “good to yourself”, that you are treating yourself with love and respect.
But the truth is…
Hidden in these pretty, yet poisonous, thoughts is a complete lack of regard for yourself.
These poison thoughts completely miss the point that food does not have the capacity to actually make you feel better on any significant or lasting level.
When you find yourself thinking you deserve a reward, it usually sounds something like this:
I worked hard today. I handled all those problems. No one knows how hard I work. I deserve a reward. I shouldn’t have to restrict myself or diet or pay attention to what I eat.
It’s my birthday, and I am going to celebrate and have a good time. I deserve being able to let loose and do what I want.
Which all boils down to…
I deserve to eat anything I want.
And now it’s on.
In this frame of mind, you will eat anything you freakin’ well want.
You will throw all caution to the wind.
You have given yourself license to eat anything and everything.
Body and self be damned.
All bets are off.
You will eat in spite of your body’s signals. In spite of everything you know about nutrition and calories. In spite of any promises you made to yourself to lose weight and “watch what you eat”. In spite of your body’s signal to stop.
You are having what you deserve, damn it.
And no one can stop you.
Not even yourself if you continue to think, “I deserve this.”
But when the eating is done, now you physically feel bad, bloated, uncomfortable, full, like you might blow.
You’ve zapped your energy, and are on a rampage of self-loathing to boot (I did it again. I’m out of control. I’ll never figure this out).
Next time you find yourself thinking “I deserve this,” tell yourself what you really deserve.
You deserve to not feel bad.
You deserve to not feel bloated.
You deserve to not feel extremely, uncomfortably full.
You deserve to feel better than this.
You deserve to feel light, energetic, sated.
You deserve to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re sated.
You deserve to listen to your body and truly care for it.
You deserve to stop eating because your body is done. It does not want or need anymore food.
You deserve to address your emotions through managing your thoughts, not overeating – which does not address the cause of your feelings. at. all.
You deserve peace.
Here are some twists on “I deserve…” thinking.
I deserve to relax (which can lead to over-drinking, over-sleeping, over-TV-ing or over-ice creaming).
I deserve to do something nice for myself (which can lead to over-buying, expensive vacations, clothes you don’t need and won’t wear, a new car, a box of cookies).
But sleeping in and ignoring your life…
Drinking yourself silly…
Zoning out surfing the internet while watching mindless TV…
Buying three new outfits when your closet is already over-stuffed and you want to pay down your credit card debt and justifying it by saying “I deserve this”…
…is not truly relaxing or truly doing something nice for yourself…(and frankly you deserve better).
(If you don’t know how, I can teach you.)
And think thoughts that truly relax you, that bring you peace.
(I can help you create and discover them).