A couple weeks ago I talked about eating disorders and distorted thinking. I am continuing that discussion and talking about overeating, binge eating, and distorted thinking.

I often hear people say, “I can’t”, “I can’t deal”, “I can’t deal with this stress”, or “I am not going to be OK”. This causes you to want to binge eat as a way to numb and avoid upsetting emotions like stress, depression, and anxiety.

It feels good to eat and that is the problem. There is an emotional release when we eat. That is why it is hard to stop eating at times. It is not easy to just not eat a piece of cake. Plus your disordered thinking is telling you are “not good enough”, “strong enough” and “you cannot control your self” so just eat the cake.

But you do have a lot of self-control. Let’s look at that. Write down all the ways you are in control. When it is on paper you have physical evidence. Otherwise the thought gets twisted in your mind. Getting up each day for work takes self-control. Doing you job takes self-control. Having relationships takes self-control. See you do have lots of self-control.

You do not have to be perfect. Your distorted thinking will tell you that you need to be. However with this list of you see you can control your emotions. You see you do have self-control. Let’s also write down all the times in the past 2 weeks that you did a good job controlling your emotions.

Emotions come and go. They can be really intense at times, but they will go away. You maybe felt angry, stressed, and sad, but you were able to get through those tough emotions and you were OK. If you are still struggling with these intense emotions, consider getting some help. But I also believe you are able to calm yourself down enough to no longer be in that very intense emotional place. Write that down. You need a list of evidence to show you that you can in fact manage and handle your emotions. Your list helps you see that “you can!”

If you are dealing with overeating also consider getting some help. In the meantime these lists can help you see how well you can control your thinking, emotions, and behaviors. The list of evidence lets you see how you “can!” I know I just said that, but I want that thought to start to stick. When you can see how you “can” and you start to think that you “can” your behavior will match.

If you find this information helpful please share. This is a very complex issue that cannot be addressed in a 5 minute video, but feel free to ask questions and comment. Perhaps there is something I can help clarify for you.

What does your list of evidence say you can do?

Stephanie Waitt, LPC is a psychotherapist in private practice in Sherman, Texas. Stephanie works with young and successful women to help restore balance and peace. She specializes in working with individuals with eating disorders, trauma, anxiety, and depression.