Get to know your teams

People who overeat often get discouraged about finding a solution. Sometimes this is because they’re confused about why they would be eating this way. Sometimes it’s because of so many past diets, when they tried to push their body to do something it wasn’t designed to do-- and naturally the body fought back. Sometimes it’s because they have tried a recommended strategy to stop overeating, and then found it didn’t work (or didn’t work for very long).

For example, Sharon heard that people overeat because they fear being deprived, and so gave up all her rules and restrictions around food. Yes, she felt less deprived as a result but this didn’t stop the unwanted eating-- in fact she found she was even eating more. What she didn’t know is that difficulties with food are multi-factoral: there is more than one reason for them. This means it’s not only hard to see clearly what is going on, it’s also hard to make changes when just one aspect of the situation is tackled.

You could think of difficulties with food as a tug of war: on one side are a number of factors which are pulling in the direction of unwanted eating (psychologists call these perpetuating factors); on the other side are a number of factors pulling in the direction of more positive eating habits (psychologists call these protective factors). Some people find they are being pulled first one way, then the other, with neither team gaining ground for any length of time; others find that one team is consistently stronger than the other. When Sharon reduced the power of the team member called Fear of Deprivation, there were still plenty of others on the team pulling her towards overeating. But when she identified a number of the other key players in the overeating team and reduced their power, while boosting the strength of the other team, she was able to make lasting changes.

What will you call the team that supports the continuation of unwanted eating in your life?

And who are its key members? These may include things like the environment you live or work in, ongoing stressors, how you experience your body, habitual ways you respond to certain feelings or situations, or habitual thinking patterns. It may also include brain/body factors like fluctuating blood glucose, low serotonin, having to deal with food intolerances. You can use the headings below as a guide as you write down your ideas.

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What will you call the other team? Here are a few possible team names:
Right Eating Team, Balanced Eating Team, Positive Eating Team, Healthy Relationship to Food Team.

And who are the key members? These are factors that will support you in creating the food life you want. You can use the headings below as a guide as you write down your ideas.

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Take action
Over the coming 24 hours, see if you can add anything to both lists.

Because our brain/body system is so fundamental to good functioning at every level, it’s a priority to sort out these factors first if this is at all possible: this will make addressing the other factors easier. If you listed any brain/body factors, what is
one thing you can do to start addressing them? Here are some examples: book a health appointment, research on the internet, consider what has helped me or others before.