I remember a time, when I used to over worry – that feeling you get when you’re considering every possible outcome and worst case scenario. I would also over eat, mostly out of boredom. This led me to a lifestyle of eating to excess, working myself so hard that I wouldn’t have any time for friends and family. The end result was always a headache, fatigue and lack of motivation to do anything else other than rest.
We are designed to overdo pretty much anything for escape, avoidance or maybe even pure entertainment. Over-ing is just about a given when we live our lives unconsciously. And because our brains learn from our habits and from what we tend to repeat, we quickly become dependent on what we are “over-ing.”
The fact that you are reading this article is proof that you probably have a bad habit or two in your life — but stay with me. Just because you have some bad habits, it doesn’t mean you can’t change. If anything, our journey towards self transformation is guided by change itself.
The truth is, none of us can control our emotions and thoughts 100% of the time but we can control how we respond to them. Learning to respond in a positive way will make all the difference in getting what you want out of life.
In fact, I’m sure you have experienced this yourself: you have a goal and work on it consistently for several days, maybe even weeks. But then suddenly you ”fall off the wagon” and keep eating poorly or keeping unhealthy hours for a couple of weeks before getting back to your routine. It’s as if something has happened to make us lose control.
You want to change your behavior. Let’s say you want to stop eating chocolate. You know it is bad for you and you want to stop it. But eating chocolate is on your action line. You keep feeding yourself saying that ‘you deserve it’ or ‘you didn’t have any today, how about tomorrow’ or ‘you just need more willpower’.
Here’s the thing, “Over-ing” is so frustrating, because you find yourself making promises to yourself and then you constantly let yourself down.
“I won’t work this late again this week”
“I am only watching 1 episode of Bridgerton”
“Just one piece of chocolate because I have had a bad day”
So in light of our topic, I am going to give you 3 strategies to help you overcome “over-ing” in your life. And best of all they are so simple.
Judging yourself harshly is a shortcut to overeating. The more you judge yourself, the more you crave food to make you feel better. Feeling bad makes it hard to resist temptation and stay on track with your goals. Learn to stop judging yourself and eat intuitively instead.
Unfortunately, self-blame can trigger a binge/restrict cycle. By labeling ourselves as “bad” or “weak,” we fuel feelings of guilt and shame. These negative emotions build upon each other, which leads us to engage in even more disordered behaviors.
You are human and humans make mistakes. It’s OK to be imperfect. What matters is what you do next. Focus on change, not on being perfect.
When you feel the urge to overdo… allow the urge and don’t respond to it. You might have an urge to eat chocolate… allow the discomfort of wanting it and not having it. Notice your thoughts that create this urge (an emotion).
An urge is simply an emotion that is created by our thoughts. The thought that this was such a hard day… will create the urge to eat chocolate – and if you have been doing this for many years this will have become a habit. The brain knows this one way of making you feel better. The interesting part is that although it might feel good while you are eating the chocolate we never feel better afterwards. In fact we now feel worse because we also feel guilt and shame.
An urge/emotion is harmless and cannot make you do anything. It just creates a very compelling and urgent vibration in your body. You still have to decide to eat the chocolate.
Have you noticed how when you make one mistake you somehow give up on the whole plan? And then you fall off the wagon.
When you reframe your commitment, you allow yourself to make mistakes but you pick yourself up and keep trying.
Instead use these stumbling blocks as lessons for growth and learning. An opportunity to dig a bit deeper into your thoughts and feelings that are driving your actions.
You are overdoing it because of something I call the C, T, F, A, R model . This is my way of making sense of everything I do or don’t do.
If you join my coaching, I will unpack this for you in detail.
But basically here’s a quick example.
Circumstance: chocolate, wine, clock etc
Thought: unconscious thought
Feeling: unconscious feeling
Action: Say yes to food, wine, work
Result: weight gain, hangover, strained relationships
The mistake we make is that we often only focus on one part of the equation – the action line. How we do it, what diet we want to try next, how we should or should not do it the next time. For this we use willpower. But Eventually we run out of willpower and revert back to old habits. When we really want to change our behaviour, it is wiser to focus on all 5 of these components. It is your thoughts that create the urge that drives the reaction to eat. The action of eating then gets you the result.
In my own story if I fast-forward you to the present day; I have learned to master emotional resilience. I still feel all the emotions, but I know the root of them and it is 100% in my control to change what I think and therefore I can manage what I feel. I also know how to allow an emotion rather than to react to it by screaming or avoid it by overeating or over working. I am willing to feel uncomfortable to reach my goals and results.
Coaching changed my life and it can do the same for you.