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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Can You Break Free From Your Overeating Disorder?

The short answer to the question posed by the title is a resounding: "Yes!" You can overcome an overeating disorder. Binge eating, bulimia and other problems are not genetically programmed into some people.

Of course, the old saying here - easier said than done - is definitely true. To break that cycle, to somehow find the combination of willpower, good advice, and X-factor to stop overeating is not easy.

Long-standing habits of any kind are hard to break. Changing (mis)perceptions, self-destructive ways of thinking, and poor choices is always difficult. That's even more difficult when you may not even know exactly what needs to be changed, much less how.

Part of the solution to that dilemma of how to overcome an overeating disorder is always some form of serious self-examination.

Realism about life and oneself is a paramount first step. It sounds idealistic to say "simply accept that change is possible." Yet, look around at others who have faced similar trials. They've changed. That's proof it is actually a very realistic idea.

Exploring the roots of your overeating disorder is another essential element to overcoming it. Living healthy again is possible, and much easier, when you know why you binge. Effects (like bulimia) have causes. Finding them brings them into your arena of possible control.

Often, those roots involve feelings of shame created early on in life.

Mistaken perceptions of body image usually start in our teens, when we start to develop adult-like bodies. Comparing ourselves to some impossible ideal (or one that, at least, seems impossible to us) can cause despair.

Despair often leads to passivity. We come to believe we can't achieve the body we 'should' have, so why even try? We start to overeat in an attempt to use food to ease those feelings of hopelessness and guilt.

As we move further and further from that ideal, the negative spiral deepens. It becomes impossible to see how we could ever change, ever improve. Or, so it seems.

Yet, it is possible to break the vicious cycle of an overeating disorder. We've already seen that we can examine those roots, in some cases for the first time in our lives. With the proper help and guidance, self-acceptance is possible.

Another part of the solution is simply choosing to act differently. It's good to understand the causes of our self-destructive behavior. But real change comes from doing things differently. Understanding helps us get there, but we must make the moves.

How can you "simply choose?" It sounds almost mystical, like we can just will ourselves to be different. Not quite.

It's a matter of taking small positive steps that are in our control right now. The good feeling that comes from even those tiny healthful steps has two big benefits. It lets us see first-hand, in reality, that change is possible. And, it provides a positive feedback that encourages us to keep moving in that healthful direction.

Yes, you can break free from your overeating disorder. You just have to begin today.

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