Perfectionism and Eating: how to get out of our own way!

Is your perfectionism sabotaging your stop stress eating goals? Perfectionism is one of the accelerating forces in the eat-repent-repeat cycle. Perfectionism is a constant source of stress and fear. And stress increases your cortisol levels and your appetite…for sweets and salty unhealthy snacks, leading you mindlessly overeat ...and gain weight. And in circles you go…

Do you have perfectionism?

Women who struggle with perfectionism often...
  • Set excessively high performance standards, attempt to achieve unrealistic goals, and strive for an unattainable ideal
  • Invest a significant amount of time and energy trying to meet their impossibly high standards
  • Measure their self-worth by their productivity and accomplishments
  • Set themselves up for dissatisfaction and disappointment
  • Are overly critical and harsh in their self-evaluation
  • Are overly concerned about how others evaluate them
  • Fear that others will reject them if they aren't perfect
  • May experience anxiety about potential failure
  • May put a lot of pressure on others to be perfect too, including partners, children, employees, and co-workers
  • May have difficulty connecting with others because they may be perceived as being "too good" (when in fact, their greatest fear is not being good enough)
  • Difficulty finishing projects

Expecting perfection from yourself and others guarantees that you'll never be happy.

Why Does Perfectionism Cause Problems with Food?

Have you noticed that sometimes you eat to give yourself a break, since "real" breaks to relax weren't allowed until everything was finished to perfection. And of course, it never would be!

There are many other ways that perfectionism can interfere with a healthy relationship with food.

Some examples:

  • You might eat to relieve the stress and anxiety of constantly striving for perfection.
  • You might reach for food to console yourself when you feel bad or frustrated about failing to meet the mark.
  • You might be striving for the perfect body (whatever that is), leading to unhealthy eating or exercise behaviors.
  • You might expect yourself (or others) to eat perfectly (whatever that means).
  • If you also struggle with "all or nothing" thinking (as many people who struggle with food do), you might overeat when you fail to "do" your diet perfectly ("I've already blown it; I might as well keep eating").
  • You might expend a lot of effort hiding your overeating in order to maintain the outward appearance of having it all together.
  • You might be struggling with shame and guilt about this "double life" and that can drive more emotional eating
  • You might live in fear of people discovering your secret or isolate yourself to avoid being "found out." 
  • You might feel like you are never good enough; this painful thought may leave you feeling undeserving of joy.

Each of us is inherently perfect; we just need to learn how to get out of our own way!

P.S. Perfectionism is just one of the many challenges we address during the 10-week Mindful Eating Program.

Find out more here. 

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