If you know what I mean by “what the hell” eating, than you probably have done it before.
What is “What the Hell” Eating
Here’s the situation: You eat a food you regret. That food isn’t on your diet, or the amount you ate of it was completely unnecessary, and would verge on embarrassing if people knew how much food you can eat!
That’s when “what the hell” eating enters the picture. You feel guilty for eating a food, and you decide the diet and willpower is ruined for the day. Then, you intentionally decide the only “logical” next step is to start over tomorrow and finish the day with a binge.
The decision to binge on your favorite foods can be really difficult to talk yourself out of. In the moment, you believe all sorts of lies to justify more eating. The lies include:
- Tomorrow I’ll be better.
- Since I’ve eaten so much today, more food isn’t going to make the day worse.
- I deserve a treat today. I work hard and should be able to have a treat.
- I’m already weeks (or months or years) away from my goal, 24 more hours won’t matter.
I know this cycle because it happens to me more often than I want to admit. Recently, I was keenly aware of it happening, but could hear the excuses and identified them as lies. YET I STILL OVERATE THE FOOD!
I knew they were lies, and I binged anyway. In the moment, I chose to numb myself with the food. I chose to treat myself despite being aware of how awful I’d feel. Afterwards, I tried to understand why I let that happen, even though I knew better.
The conclusion I came to might not be the “right” way to deal with this problem. I admit, it doesn’t get at the heart of the real issue.
But what I do know is that in the moment, I do’t want to just “take a walk.” or “brush my teeth”, or practice any other behavior that would take my mind off the food. I just wanted to numb.
So, my not popular, possibly problematic decision was that when this happens in the future. When I want to choose food and numbing to facing my emotions, I can choose a DIFFERENT, selfish, numbing behavior. Rather than “what the hell” eating, I can indulge in other ways.
It’s so much easier to walk away from a snack, if I’m headed in for a pedicure. Or, to binge on season 4 of Veronica Mars instead.
So often, we make ourselves suffer in other areas, so it feels like food is the only place to treat ourselves. How often have you said, “if I’m good on my diet for 7 days, I’ll get a massage.” What about, “I’ll get a massage SO I can be good on my diet for 7 days!” Have you ever thought that indulgent, selfish, numbing behaviors might take the habit AWAY from food.
Food for thought!
(I LOVE Susan from Bright Line Eating. This is what she had to say about the “what the hell effect”.