This week I’ve been working with a number of clients who seem to have a ‘sweet’ fixation and who tend towards overeating both sweets and chocolate. These clients are just normal women, mums who are feeding their children a healthy, balanced diet and yet who have the urge to binge on sweets and chocolate in a way they would never allow their children to do. If this sounds familiar to you, then read on, as you don’t need to despair.
Binge eating is not normal behaviour but many overweight people exhibit it. Most of the time it has not been the root cause of their initial weight problem but rather can be attributed to years of dieting. This seems to fly in the face of common sense but dieting can cause binging and lead to more problems – not less. It is all to do with the psychology of deprivation, and the fact that once you deny yourself something and make it forbidden you want it all the more, crave it and when you finally allow yourself to eat it, you just can’t stop.
So why are many grown women (and men) indulging themselves in children’s treats?
Over a number of years and dieting cycles we are conditioned to think of food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Food at the top of the banned list on any diet (yes, even the ones that allow you to count the units in them) is, amongst a few other things, chocolate and also to a lesser extent ‘sweets’. We are taught too that these food are also to be rationed for our children, making them doubly attractive. So, any fall off the healthy eating wagon will generally involve these sweet treats.
For some people the emotional comfort provided by sweets and chocolate may also stem back to childhood. A feeling of reward or love provided by the gift of sweets, which when we wish to comfort ourselves we tend towards.
So how can we indulge these cravings and still lose weight, or even better remove the cravings themselves? Separating eating from emotion is a good start. Realising that you have control over your emotions and how you feel about yourself.
If you can start to think positively about yourself and your life, look for the good in things and realise that only you can control how you feel then you can begin to remove your need for emotional eating. If, at the same time you truly release yourself of the ‘diet mentality’ and allow yourself the freedom to choose to eat anything at all then you remove the attractiveness of these foods.