#003: How to Quieten that Inner Shouty Critic

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Access a different voice that turns out to be way more effective in transforming your eating

So often, there’s an assumption that a harsh inner critic is simply realistic and what’s needed to create change, especially in what we eat or how our bodies look.

But that inner shouty voice often leads right back to overeating or bingeing. 

Learn how to access a different emotion that’s way more effective in transforming eating behaviours.

You’ll also discover the 5 reasons you might be turning to food in the first place. Finding which are impacting you will be key to changing your eating.

For show notes, go to https://yoyofreedom.com/3

View the full episode transcript

Often we assume that being hard on ourselves is just being realistic and it’s what we need if we’re ever to change, including to change the way we eat or, perhaps, how our bodies look.

But, I wonder if it makes sense now that it’s way more common that shame leads to staying stuck and wanting to hide yourself from view—hide yourself from being seen and known—and actually ends up preventing the change you so desperately want.

Welcome to the YoYo Freedom Podcast.

This is the place to learn actionable, step-by-step tools and strategies to help you stop bingeing or overeating and start feeling relaxed and confident around food, 

so that you can show up for your life on your terms.

I’m Gemma Keys and I know first hand what it’s like to feel out-of-control around food and trapped in the pain of binge eating and body-shame.

There is a way out. 

Keep listening to discover your path to food freedom.

Hello! It’s wonderful to have you back.

In this episode we’ve going to take a zero-judgement look at an uncomfortable—sometimes paralysing—-emotion that can keep you stuck eating in a way you wish you didn’t.

But please don’t switch off just yet! I’m also going to make a case for an alternative that’s within easy reach and will allow you to find the most effective way to change eating patterns in the long term.

In the last episode you carefully constructed a vision of what it’ll look like to live your life from a place of freedom around food. I’ll bet it was a beautiful picture, even as it incorporated all the inevitable ups and downs of life.

Perhaps it inspired feelings of hope, excitement, a resolve to keep going until you make it real.

Or … maybe it was absolutely nothing like that for you!

Dreaming sounds great in theory, right? But it can also highlight the gap – the distance between where you are now and where you want to be.

And that can feel anything but inspiring. 

If the feelings that came up for you included disbelief, absurdity, anxiety, confusion or even a complete block—-sort of like a fog that stopped you in your tracks because these ideas just weren’t for you,

Well, that makes total sense to me.

If that sounds like you, my guess is that all those feelings will eventually trace back to a belief you hold about being broken, being a flawed person, or being somehow unfixable.

And, when you think there’s something wrong with you, the emotion that almost always comes up is shame. It can look like embarrassment, an awkward self-consciousness, wanting to stay quiet and not be noticed, putting on a mask and pretending to be someone else entirely, or simply feeling helpless and despairing.

In fact, shame is such a common feeling for people who struggle with bingeing and overeating that it even appears in the diagnostic criteria for binge eating disorder. If you’re interested, you can find more information about that at yoyofreedom.com/home

So, again, it makes a lot of sense if any of those feelings I’ve just described are resonating with you at all.

In today’s episode, I want to offer you an invitation to release any feeling of shame you may be carrying.

If that seems a bit suspect, or a great idea in theory but impossible in reality, keep listening and see how it might work for you.

Let me offer you a story from my younger years.

I was a teenager in the 90s—the decade of the supermodels. I poured over Vogue magazine and became convinced that if only I looked different, my life would be perfect.

Looking back at pictures of my younger self, I looked ok. I looked good. But, at the time, I was so convinced that my body was flawed, that I just didn’t show up for so many things in my life. 

My friends and I used to sneak into an outdoor swimming pool at night and many of them went swimming in their undies (we were a bit naughty back then!) But me—of course I went to the pool with them. But swim? No way! Someone might have seen my thighs—even in the dark—and I just couldn’t bear the thought of it. Because I was ashamed of my body.

It’s a small example, but there were many many more for me. And I wonder if you can relate at all. 

Can you think of any occasions where feeling bad about yourself caused you to:

  • back out of an opportunity to have some fun—-like my swimming example
  • To avoid meeting a friend or, when you did, you just couldn’t relax and be yourself
  • To not sign up for that course
  • To, stay quiet in a work meeting
  • Or to turn in on yourself and miss out in some other way

Often we assume that being hard on ourselves is just being realistic and it’s what we need if we’re ever to change, including to change the way we eat or how our bodies look.

But, I wonder if it makes sense now that it’s way more common that shame leads to staying stuck and wanting to hide yourself from view—hide yourself from being seen and known—and actually ends up preventing the change you so desperately want.

Now, before it sounds as if I’m dissing shame completely, it’s important to recognise the active role it’s almost certainly played in trying to look out for you. If shame was a part of you that could talk to you directly, my guess is that it would say something like, “You cannot go out there or something TERRIBLE is going to happen! Go hide! Don’t let them see you. Stay safe.”

More of that to come in future episodes.

For now, it’s simply worth noticing where shame takes you and how it can keep you stuck.

And shame can have just the same effect when it comes up in relation to overeating, binge eating, or body weight.

Eating that way isn’t what you want to be doing. 

AND feeling crippling shame about it can prevent you from taking a closer look at exactly what’s going on for you. It can keep you focused on hating yourself (which, incidentally, may often lead to eating more in an attempt to feel better) and it can stop you from finding out why you’re turning to the food in the first place.

If the shame was to release it’s hold slightly—maybe just enough to allow a little space for curiosity and questions, you might discover that you’re eating in a way you wish you didn’t for one of the following FIVE reasons:

Number 1 is Social norms and expectations, for example

  • You go to see a movie and automatically get a giant tub of pick-&-mix; 
  • Or you visit your grandma and you definitely can’t say no to her freshly baked fruit cake made especially for you

Number 2 is skewed desire and reward messages

You’ll recognise this one if you experience Intense urges or cravings, especially for highly refined foods like chocolate, ice-cream, crisps or cake. That intense desire is real AND it can be moderated.

Number 3 relates to dysregulated hormonal signals

  • Especially the hormones that regulate hunger and satiety, and the go-to type of energy your body is utilising

Number 4 is using food to help you manage tricky emotions

  • I’ll bet you’ve heard of emotional eating.
  • And, in the moment, food can absolutely help numb out or distract you from feeling something you don’t want to be feeling

Number 5 is when certain triggers activate old wounds or vulnerabilities so they rise closer to the surface.

For example, that familiar feeling of being awkward and out of place, or anxious or alone, the feelings that seem to have accompanied you throughout your life.

Those reasons are each very different, right?

Each of them requires a very different approach to find an effective strategy, resolution or way of healing that will be right for you.

That’s the reason I’ve taken a whole episode to make the case for releasing a little bit of the shame you may be carrying.

Now, if you’re like—what, so you’re saying I have to switch to loving and accepting myself right now? Embrace all this self-esteem and I’m-perfect-just-as-I-am?

Well no. I might personally believe that to be true about you—cos you are amazing!—but this isn’t about me and I also know that reaching a place of self-compassion right away can be waaaaay too much of a stretch!

That’s why, instead of aiming for self-love in one huge jump, moving toward curiosity can be more attainable and, therefore, much more effective.

We all ask questions constantly, out loud, in our heads, or in our subconscious minds. My invitation to you is, Why not let those questions serve you?

A great starting point is to mull over the thought, “I wonder why I did that thing or felt that way …. What was going on for me?“

Asking that question often will lead you to profound new insights.

Those insights will lead to growing awareness and will show you the most important place to focus your attention.

You’ll be gathering data on exactly what’s going on for you and why you might be in this (air quotes here) “relationship” with food.

That data will be your key to finding a way to change your eating that’s both effective and right for you.

So, I invite you to experiment. See if you can let go of even just a little shame and, instead, open a space for curiosity, for wondering. 

The more you can move towards curiosity, the closer you’ll get to the key areas that are asking for your attention. It’ll take you far less time to identify those key areas and the process of getting there will feel so much better if you’re not beating yourself up.

Because it really is possible to reach a place where food is an enjoyable, nourishing and welcome part of your life!

That’s it for today’s episode. Thank you for listening.

I hope you’ve found this episode helpful. Subscribe to The YoYo Freedom Podcast for more insight, tools and support as you pull back from bingeing, overeating or yoyo-dieting and step into your most authentic, vibrant life.

And, if you liked what you heard, it would be wonderful if you’d take a moment to rate this podcast on whichever platform you listen on.

Thank you so much! And Bye-bye for now.

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Links mentioned in this episode

Disclaimer: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychological condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.

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