Learned Helplessness and Eating Disorders
What you’re eating or how much isn’t the real problem when it comes to eating disorders. Neither is what you weigh. The connection between learned helplessness and eating disorders is really what keeps you stuck stressing about food; binging; dieting; struggling with eating disorders and other forms of harmful coping strategies like drinking, drugs, internet addiction and isolation.
When you start to think about changing your relationship with food and then immediately feel a stuck, sinking sensation inside – that is the sign that your mind just told you a learned helplessness story such as:
It’s too hard;
It’ll take too long;
I can’t change;
It might work for others but it won’t work for me;
There’s no point in trying;
I’m not smart enough / deserving enough of good things;
Better not to try than to try and fail;
I may as well not even bother.
Or, when you say to yourself “I don’t really think anything but food can make me feel better and I don’t really think I can learn to resolve my underlying stressors so I have to keep my numbing tactics at the ready,” that too is learned helplessness.
The fact is, no one who uses food to cope ever does so from any place other than learned helplessness. But there is a quick solution to that auto-default way of thinking that will free you to move forward towards the fulfillment of your goals.
The irony is that the thing that keeps you stuck in your efforts to be free of binging, dieting, and weight loss stress is that same thinking that tells you there’s no point in trying something new to change.
You’re being driven by an irrational, limited and extreme – also known as all-or-nothing – way of thinking. That’s the same thought process that makes you think it makes sense to eat more than you’re hungry for to solve a problem at work or in a relationship; or to not let yourself to eat when you are hungry as a means of building self-esteem. Irrational? Definitely! Common? You bet! Curable? Absolutely.
Let me show you the simple steps to change that learned helplessness thinking and free yourself to stop binging, stop dieting, stop weight loss frustrations and any other pattern that keeps you stuck feeling crappy about yourself and out of control.
My role in your life is to shift you out of that stuck, all-or-nothing head space asap and get you into a possibilities mindset where you genuinely realize the many options in each situation and feel trusting of yourself to respond to the stresses in life in ways that are reasonable, respectful, fair and healthy.