by JoLynn Braley

One of the most helpful things that you can do for yourself immediately is to stop feeling bad about yourself because you overeat and/or are overweight.

While I firmly believe in taking personal responsibility for your own actions and the circumstances of your life, it does you absolutely no good at all to put yourself down or practice self-recrimination when you eat for emotional reasons, eat when you are not hungry, or overeat and/or binge.

If you are an overeater and are overweight, it is more than likely that you do want to change and lose weight. The problem is that if you are also an emotional eater and/or binge eater (stats on binge eating: approx 25 million in the U.S. alone), the reason that you reach for food is to try to change how you feel.

You feel bad, anxious, depressed, sad, angry, excited, any feeling that you are uncomfortable with and wish to change. Your current method of coping is eating, and when you do, you feel bad for doing so. A part of you wants so dearly to lose weight, but “there you go eating again!” “How can I keep doing this to myself?” you ask.

Now there is a large possibility that you are addicted to sugar, refined flour and fat, and this addiction drives you to eat. While I am not addressing this specific issue in this post, the same technique can be applied to eating when driven by addiction. What I propose is that you make the commitment to yourself at this very moment that no matter how much you eat, how often you eat, if you eat emotionally, or if you eat day and night, that you choose to stop any negative thoughts about yourself in their tracks. Can you do this? Absolutely.

Remember Abraham Lincoln’s quote, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” You are the only one who has control over what you think, and you can choose to think kind thoughts about yourself. You will need to be vigilant about this, but if you decide that from this point forward that no matter how much you eat you will not allow one negative thought to pass your mind’s eye, you will be on the way to losing weight.

How can you lose weight by thinking wonderful thoughts about yourself when you overeat? Well, think about emotional eating: have you ever eaten emotionally or binged because you were feeling great about yourself and everything was going well in your life?? While it can be true that if you have a fear of success (one of my issues, check back later for that topic) you could abuse food when things are going great in your life, for the most part, I bet that you don’t eat when you’re on top of the world. Instead, you eat emotionally when you feel crappy.

However, if you steadfastly resolve to only think positive thoughts about yourself whenever you overeat, you will end up feeling so good about yourself over time, that your level of motivation will increase, your sense of well-being will rise, and you will naturally start to lose weight.

You will naturally seek out healthy means to drop the weight, you will want more good feelings, you will want to take a brisk walk, and you will want to bring more of the good stuff into your life. Since you continue to only think positive thoughts about yourself, you will be less and less inclined to eat emotionally because you won’t have the need to attempt to change how you feel by abusing food.

Forget dieting for the time being and focus instead on thinking wonderful thoughts about you. If you cannot find anything good to say about yourself, then look around you and start thanking the Universe, God, your Higher Power, whoever you gain your spiritual strength from. Be thankful for everything little thing you can find, beginning with the monitor that you are reading this post on, the desk it is sitting on, your chair, the floor beneath your feet. Anything to keep your mind occupied on the positive, rather than on beating yourself up for eating.

If you do nothing else to change your eating or exercise habits, this one exercise will increase your quality of life so much that the rest will start to flow naturally. Don’t even try to diet or exercise , just commit to thinking positively at all times, and tell me in a month or two how things have changed for you. What do you have to lose except some stinkin’ thinkin’ ?

If you would like a little more information and a solid tool that you can use to create and cement positive thoughts about yourself, try the techniques in the affirmations category.