Why is it hard to give up controlling your food and weight?

The more you control your food intake, the more you will binge on an emotional occasion. When your emotions are too strong, you will try to control your food and weight because everything else seems too overwhelming.When things are unstable and you are faced with difficult life changing situations, it’s much easier to try to control what you perceive is easy to control-your body size, foods you eat and your weight. However, this is how distorted eating starts, this is how emotional eating starts because you won’t be able to be in control all the time and eventually you will overeat, binge and feel guilty about it.So why is it so hard to give up this control?

1. Trying to be perfect

When you are in control, no one can criticise you. You are seemingly doing everything right

2. Lack of self-belief

When you don’t believe in yourself, it’s easier to manage your food intake which can give you a sense of value (“I am a good dieter” is what I hear very often)

3. You can’t handle the unknonw

This is that “what if” scenarios- you think if you can prepare everything in advance and control your food/weight, the likelihood of bad things happening is lower (or at least you think you will be prepared for them. Example: you cook in advance, you take food to friends places to prevent any derail from your diet, you take your own sauces or dressings to restaurant…)

4. Numbing emotions

Emotional eating is big here- instead of feeling the emotions, you start by controlling the food because you know if you start eating it will get out of hand. This can last for a while, before you inevitably emotionally overeat

5. Learned behaviour

Controlling food was something that you have learned growing up watching your parents, caregivers do so you have just internalised it as a normal behaviour.If you want to understand how to give up this false sense of control that always leads to emotional eating you need to understand when this behaviour started, what triggered you to start behaving this way, what does controlling food mean to you and how does it actually help you and if it doesn’t what could you work on instead?