Has anyone ever said to you, “Why don’t you just get a grip and control yourself so you can lose weight?!” Or if they haven’t said it to you, have you ever heard someone say “So and so is a bit of a fatty but really just needs to exercise some self-control. Why can’t they just stop eating?”

Ok, I can see several hands raised out there, so here’s the next question – if someone said this to you, did it inspire you to take better care of yourself? Did it raise your spirits and encourage you or did you paste a smile on your face, go home and do a bit of emotional eating, maybe eating half a cake?

I’ve heard this many times before, not only directed to me but also in passing about other people. Here’s the problem I see with it – telling someone who is overweight to simply “get a grip and stop eating” or asking them “why can’t you get control of yourself?” neither lifts that person up nor helps them see that you truly care about them. Instead it effectively reduces the complex issue of overweight and overeating to a solution of will power and self-control, while neither are the solutions.

Oh, and before we go any further – no, of course I don’t recommend calling anyone “fatty”. I think you’ll get this but thought I’d better note it for those who are reading here at Fearless Fat Loss for the first time. I’m using this term because I’ve heard people utter the same words as my title (actually, a bit worse).

Overweight = No Control, Right?

How many people do you know who are highly intelligent and successful in their careers and are also overweight? How many overweight folks do you know who are wonderful, loving parents, who are upstanding neighbors and members of your community, are business owners, students, entrepreneurs, and even psychiatrists and physicians? Don’t these people exercise self-control in order to accomplish everything they do each and every day?

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I think you get the picture. 😉 You see issues with food and overweight are not about self-control but instead could be about one or several issues such as emotional eating, negative subconscious beliefs, low self-esteem, a lack of self-love, food addiction (chemical and/or emotional), or if you’re really lucky the only problem is a lack of education about nutrition and exercise.

They Don’t Mean Harm

When people tell you that, “You just need to get it together and exercise some self-control”, they don’t always mean to hurt you. It could be that they care about you so darned much that they feel very frustrated by not being able to do anything to help you. Or it could be that they have never had an issue with overeating or overweight and therefore cannot comprehend what it is like to have one part of yourself saying you want to lose weight and the other part of yourself asking, “why can’t I stop eating?

If someone truly does mean to harm you with these comments the best thing you can do is remember that anything that anyone ever says is more about them than it is about you. Therefore it is in your own best interest to remain conscious of how you’re feeling, recognize if this triggers your desire to emotionally eat, and then proceed to either journal about it or do something else until the desire passes. This is something that is covered in depth in the Shrink Yourself program – how to avoid emotional eating when triggered by others (for more information, see my Shrink Yourself emotional eating experiment series).

Are You Doomed?

I think that if you buy into the thought that you’ll always be overweight because you don’t have control of yourself then you won’t make a whole lot of progress towards your weight loss goals. This is pretty much a defeatist way of thinking and it’s a false statement anyway. I suggest that instead of spending any time on this limiting thought that essentially diminishes your personal power to effect change in your life, that instead ask yourself, “What steps can I take to improve my health and fitness today?” These can be baby steps that you take towards improving your health now.

Part Two Tomorrow

I have a couple more thoughts on this topic so stay tuned for tomorrow’s post when we’ll look at an example of how you actually could feel like you’re out of control when it comes to overeating. A contradiction with today’s post? No, not really, you’ll understand tomorrow. 😉

What About You?

So has anyone has ever told you that you need to get a grip and just use some self-control so that you can lose weight? How did you feel after hearing this? Did it inspire and help you, or did you feel a negative emotion?

Or maybe you believe that self-control is what it’s all about? That there isn’t a mental, emotional, or physical (food addiction) component to weight loss? Go ahead and leave your thoughts in a comment.

Hey Fatty, Why Can’t You Just Control Yourself?