Not Having Discipline is Making You Feel GuiltySep 03, 2021
Having discipline when it comes to food can be challenging, especially if you’re an emotional eater. A lack of discipline can make you feel like you have no control over your actions and eating habits, leading to feeling guilty about eating certain foods and even binge eating.
It happens to the best of us. One Oreo turns into two, then five, and next thing you know, you’ve downed a whole sleeve of Oreos. How you handle this situation matters.
Do you view this setback as evidence that “you always screw everything up”?
Thinking about the setback in this way will do nothing but bring guilt and often drive you straight to the coping mechanisms that involve the very thing you felt bad about in the first place. Guilt can create a vicious cycle that’s difficult to get out of:
First, you feel bad about eating one Oreo , which leads to a “what the hell” effect , and you finish the entire sleeve of Oreos. Then you feel worse and are riddled with guilt and shame, and you repeat the whole cycle all over again.
Our goal during this cycle is to remedy bad feelings rather than to learn from what happened and how to adjust going forward (*ahem* growth mindset).
Instead, the goal SHOULD be to reduce guilt and self-criticism but still hold yourself responsible.
𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝘂𝗮𝗹 𝘁𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗸:
Have personal accountability without hating on yourself.
Use self-compassion without letting everything slide.
Embrace a happy medium/a gray area.
If you can ditch the self-criticism involved in the “what the hell” cycle, there are no bad feelings that you need to escape, and you won’t perpetuate the vicious cycle anymore. Getting rid of self-criticism also makes it easier to REFLECT on how the overindulgence happened to help you prepare for future situations.
Right now, you’re probably thinking, “Okay, Kasey, you want me to love myself but be stern with myself? Easier said than done.” I know.
Perfecting your discipline to self-compassion “ratio” takes time, strategy, effort and maybe even some help from others to get out of your own way (there’s a reason why I have two coaches in my own life).
Here’s a guide that can help you get started:
Some *quick start* questions to work through
Start by reflecting on a previous self-control slip-up and ask yourself the following:
What emotions were involved? How did you feel immediately after? Does self-criticism come up?
Being mindful of your emotions can force you to pause before rushing to escape/Oreos. Journaling about this experience can also help prevent it in the future or bring to light patterns and causes you may not have been aware of. Be honest with yourself when answering these questions, even if it’s tough. Your answers are a resource for you to learn from for the future.
Can you think of someone else that has experienced setbacks? Can you learn from them?
Remember, you’re HUMAN. This is shit happens to all of us, even if we don’t talk about it with others. If there’s someone you know who has struggled with this cycle before, talk to them and see what they have to say. They may provide valuable insight that will help you next time you feel like you’re about to get into the cycle of losing self-control.
What would you say to a friend?
You’d likely be much nicer and more rational when talking a friend through their setbacks. Even realizing this can be eye-opening. Instead of criticizing yourself for the setback, practice talking to yourself as if you were talking to a friend and see how much better you feel afterwards.
It takes time to break the cycle of losing self-control and feeling guilty. While I wish this could be fixed overnight, I’d be lying to you if I said that was the case. It will probably take a lot longer than you want for you to get the discipline to self-compassion ratio figured out, but you have to keep going. If you quit, it will only prolong the process.
Also, remember that you don’t have to do this alone. That’s what my team and I are here for! We will help you end the binge and guilt cycle so you can enjoy food without going overboard.