Diets, Obsessive Compulsive Eating Disorder, and the Big Fat Lie


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All my clients who suffer from a form of compulsive eating have had moments of compulsive dieting or even fasting. Actually, I think that’s the case for most compulsive eaters; I think overeating and overdieting are two sides of the same coin (Tweet this). This creates a never ending yo-yo experience between excessive restriction and overindulging.

The Big Fat Lie is the lie you tell yourself each time you eat too much: “Oh, I’ll diet later,” or a variation of this one: “Oh, I’ll exercise later.” These two “lies” give you an excuse to eat even more or try that new tempting sweet and rich food you feel you must have.

The big fat lie is also all the confusing information magazines and so-called weight-loss experts sell you every day. Diets are so popular and ever-changing that they create the illusion that there will always be some solution later that will make your compulsive eating or weight problems magically go away. However, if you are an emotional eater, you know that diets only bring temporary victory.

Binge eaters and emotional eaters are not always overweight, especially in their youth, but they tend to gain weight with time. They’re usually trapped in the compulsive dieting and eating loop. Restrictive diets teach their body to store fat to prepare for times of famine, and as the years go by it becomes harder to shed pounds. Then individuals on a restrictive diet tend to turn to more drastic or restrictive solutions, which makes their bodies store even more fat. Also, they usually binge on foods that will increase their insulin levels and make them more prone to gaining weight. It’s really a “mouth trap.”

Diet pills, fasting, compulsive eating medication, and surgery are not the answer. You can change quickly and safely without ever damaging your health.

Obsessive Compulsive Eating Disorder: In The Mind of a Food Addict

I had a very close friend who was a food addict—either obsessing on the next cool food or restaurant he would find or obsessing on how fat he was. He was not necessarily a binge eater, but he was a food addict. Food to him was much more than nourishment. I observed him convince himself that food was some sort of celebration, discovery, excitement, and even a source of pride whenever he found an unusual or brand-new food (like wasabi chocolate). I understood that food was much more important to him than to me. To me, food is nice; I like to have a dessert once in a while, and I still have a few very occasional cravings but, overall, food is simply a way to take care of and nourish my body.

Another difference between him and me is that he tends to put on weight, lose weight, and put on weight again, and I stay pretty much the same over time. I sometimes stop exercising; then I don’t like the way my belly looks so I go back to exercising. Exercising is also great stress relief. I don’t have to exercise a lot because I don’t trick myself into thinking that I can eat in excess because I’ll exercise later. I basically exercise to take care of my body, because I like it to feel and look firm. He never really exercises; he just restricts his diet from time to time. But I know other food addicts who exercise quite frantically.

If you want to stay permanently thin, forget the calories in and calories out myth. You cannot get rid of bad calories and unhealthy food by overexercising. Tweet this

Entering the mind of a food addict gives me the impression that food is somehow more important than one’s body. I put taking care of myself and my body first so I don’t have to diet.

I try to eat healthy most of the time, but I don’t stress about the occasional junk food. I don’t perform internal computations like, “If I eat this now, I’ll diet for two days.” I just accept that I’ll never be on a permanently perfect diet. I do regulate my diet though. If I eat too much desert one day, I won’t have any for a while—but I’ll not starve myself. I just make sure I stay in the habit of eating at least 80% to 90% home-cooked nourishing foods. That’s my general guideline. I never feel deprived, and I’m happy to have a lemon tart or a piece of chocolate cake once in a while. They don’t make my day, and they’re not a big deal either.

I think a lot of dietitians will agree that starving yourself after eating too much is totally counterproductive for your figure. It trains your body to retain extra weight in case you’re going to starve again later. Unfortunately, that common sense doesn’t make it to the media.

Magazines thrive on the Big Fat Lie and promote “You should have a perfect body, or else.” The “else” is somewhat fuzzy but it always leaves you feeling not good enough. They publish pictures of never-aging perfect bodies that are heavily photoshopped on every page. It signals your unconscious that perfect is the norm and that you should look like this.

First of all, no one looks perfect, not even the models. Second, you really don’t need to look perfect to like yourself and become totally irresistible (Tweet this). The media is just using mind tricks to keep you buying new fad diets, weight-loss packages, and fitness apparel.

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The Big Fat Lie Compulsive Eaters Tell Themselves

Now, let’s look at how you’ve been deceiving yourself. Answer this question honestly. Have you ever told yourself while eating way too much, “Oh, I can fix this tomorrow,” or “I won’t eat tomorrow and that’ll be OK,” or “I’ll exercise for two hours and I’ll be fine”? If so, just stop giving yourself credit for something you’ll do in the future each time you eat compulsively. This internal bargaining is causing you to swallow way too much food. It’s a Big Fat Lie because if you don’t eat normally you know you’ll have to pay for it at some point.

The number one secret to staying thin forever is to eat satisfying, nourishing meals regularly (tweet this). This way, your body knows it will always have enough and stops storing fat.

If you’re serious about staying thin for life, forget about counting calories forever. It makes your internal bargaining even worse.You know what is fattening and what is not, and if you don’t you can learn. I trust you can make the choice between a corn dog and a fresh, home-cooked meal.

Accept that no future miracle diet or pill will save you from your destructive, compulsive eating habit. I want you to say “This is a BIG FAT LIE” each time you hear yourself say “I can fix this tomorrow.”

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What you eat builds the way you look. Start focusing on the choices you’re making in the moment. Bargaining with yourself gives you the illusion that you can control your food addiction in this manner. This is a Big Fat Lie. It’s OK to have some dessert once in a while, and you don’t ever have to pay for it later or bargain as long as you follow simple guidelines, like the 90/10 or 80/20 rule I mentioned earlier about eating home-cooked nourishing meals.

You know that the more you repeat a behavior, the stronger it becomes. Giving yourself credit for something good you will do in the future only lets you become more addicted to food. It creates a self-destructive habit of denying what you’re doing and giving yourself credit for something you know you won’t do or that won’t fix the problem.

Even if you fast later or exercise frantically, it will not make up for the amount of food you’ve eaten. It is denial in action. I hope you can understand that this kind of internal dialogue is actually one of the main reasons your addiction to food is so strong today. It’s a lie. A diet will not save your day later; just admit it once and for all. You have been lying to yourself long enough; you’ve been stealing yourself from happy, healthy, and balanced eating for years.

Why don’t you just give up on the whole idea of dieting? Dieting is the illusion that you can inflate and deflate your body like a balloon at will. Your body cannot do that. (Tweet this) It’s much smarter than you think. It is designed to adapt. If you tell your body it will have too much food but will starve later, it will adapt by making you overweight. It will create more fat and absorb as much food as it can to prepare for days of starvation. You’re teaching your body to do that each time you binge and then starve or diet. Your body is your best friend, but you must make sure you understand each other. Choose a regular and balanced regimen and your body will learn new ways to handle food, ways that will help you keep a lean body without any diet.

Accept The Truth and Set Yourself Free

Make a decision that it is not OK to eat too many rich foods all the time or to binge on them. Decide to stop this habit each time you see it in action; abort that thought, “I’ll diet later and it will make everything OK.” Question that thought. Ask yourself, “Is that true? Is this what really happened in the past? How do I know that?” Question the thought until it has no real validity or truth to it.

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Diets only work if you change your diet for life. (Tweet this) Diets will not make your food addiction or compulsive eating problems go away. Diets make you look at the problem in reverse.

You must eliminate your food addiction issues first to change your diet in a sustainable way. (Tweet this) So each time you’re about to binge and tell yourself “it’s OK, I can diet later,” abort the thought and consider what experience has taught you. This way, your binge-eating monster will no longer be able to make you lie to yourself, and you won’t have to feel guilty later. Of course, this is only one small step. I have created a method that will help you release the anxiety and emotions that trigger eating compulsions. It will help you stop that kind of sabotaging, internal dialogue and, like nothing else, it will eliminate any resistance to letting go of your food addiction. This way, you will never fall back into the “I can fix this later” trap.

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Contact me now if you want to find out how I can help you set yourself free.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 6 comments
Nafisa Bedri - May 10, 2018

I love in Sudan but I am going to the US on the 12th. Can I talk to you. I will be in Boston

    Laura Houssain - May 17, 2018

    Hey Nafisa,

    Thanks for asking.
    I live in Paris, France so I won’t be able to meet you in the U.S..
    Enjoy you trip!

April - October 20, 2013

This was incredibly helpful Laura! I love your brutal honesty, mainstream media contradictions and all of your tweet-ables! FANTASTIC!!

    Laura Houssain - October 21, 2013

    Thank you April. I’m really happy to that it has helped you. Honesty is the best way out of compulsion. That’s what I believe.

april - October 20, 2013

laura – i have worked with compulsive overeaters for years in my counseling/coaching practice, and your advice is spot on. i find that it is very difficult for them to make the transition into truly believing diets don’t work. intellectually they know it doesn’t make sense and has never actually worked for them personally. but they often still hope for the magic solution that will change their lives forever.

    Laura Houssain - October 21, 2013

    Thank you so much April. I’m happy to hear from a fellow professional. I know what you mean. I usually ask them to give me 90 days and they usually completely change after three weeks. I do that by helping them accept themselves just the way they are. I teach them how to love themselves actively and all the sudden diets don’t matter so much and they matter first. When that happens, they have won. They just need to reinforce new habits and they’ve broken free. I just love watching them transform. Weight-loss is just the cherry on the cake, the cake is who they have become.


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