By now you’ve started piecing together why you binge eat.
You’ve tracked everything for (at least) a week. You’ve considered your relationships. you’ve examined different stressors in your life and looked at your eating habits. You’re starting to figure out what’s causing you to have binge episodes.
But you still have a problem.
You still find yourself struggling with feeling powerless. It’s so difficult to tell people no, especially the ones you love. And then there are the other people in your life who only take, but never give you anything in return. But you find it easier to give these people what they want, so you tell them ‘yes’ when you’re really wanting to scream, ‘No!’
So, the question becomes: How can you learn to say ‘no’ as easily as you say ‘yes’?
Here are five suggestions to get you started:
1. Clearly define your boundaries. Do you know what really is, and is not, your responsibility? Do you have a clear idea about your own personal boundaries?
On a piece of paper, write out what you are actually responsible for. If you have children, “providing my children with food, shelter, and clothes” is an example of a real responsibility. Or if you have a job, you might include “arriving on time” or “completing tasks by their deadline.”
List out as many responsibilities as you can think of. Now, look over your list. Do you see any examples that aren’t really your responsibility? And if you aren’t sure, ask yourself, ‘Is it really my responsibility, or am I allowing other people to load up my plate?’
2. Create a plan for dealing with toxic people. In a previous post, we’ve talked about toxic people. They are people that are a drain on you, that take but they never give. Maybe they are nasty to you. They are always saying snide snarky comments. They really just wear on you. They never bring anything pleasant to your life. You need to decide what is acceptable and what is not acceptable from these people.
If you decide to continue to have a relationship with a toxic person, there are a few steps you can take.
First, you need to tell the the person mistreating you that the way they’re acting isn’t acceptable. Second, make them aware of the unacceptable behavior. Third, explain the consequences of their behavior (e.g. you’ll leave, hang up the phone, etc.). Finally, if they continue, follow through on your consequence.
But you need to have a set of guidelines that you follow with these people because toxic people will always take and they will keep taking and at some point you need to draw the line in the sand and say enough is enough.
3. Learn the art of saying no. “No” is the smallest, yet most powerful word in the English language.
However, we have the hardest time saying it. I once read that somebody worth having in your life will accept your ‘no’ as easily as they accept your ‘yes’.
If someone can’t accept your no, then there could be boundary issues. When they “expect” you to do something, that’s a red flag. Your boundaries with that person aren’t clearly defined.
And saying no doesn’t mean you have to be rude. You just have to be able to say no.
You might say, “I’m sorry, I don’t have time on my schedule for that right now,” or “I’m sure you can find somebody else to help with that,” or “I really appreciate you thinking of me, but it’s not a good time for me right now.”
When you get better at saying no, you’re showing those around you, and yourself, that you have value. Your time is valuable. And if you really want to correct your binge eating issues, get your weight under control, and finally live the life you want to live, you’ll need that time to work on yourself, not spend it meeting all the needs of others.
4. Flex your assertive muscle. Saying ‘no’ isn’t the only way you can assert yourself. Start delegating responsibilities to lessen your stress. It’s very easy for us to get overloaded, thinking we have to (and can do) everything.
At some point, however, you have to say, “You know what? Maybe the dishes won’t get done exactly the way I would do them, but somebody else is capable of cleaning them.” When you start delegating responsibilities to other people, whether it’s in your home, work, or social life, you’ll lessen your stress and increase your assertiveness.
You have to take back the time you need to take care of you. It’s an amazing thing when you start speaking up for yourself. It frees you, because all of a sudden you aren’t resentful. You aren’t angry. You’re taking charge of your life. And you’re doing what you want to do, not because somebody else “guilted you into it,” but because you really want to.
Do you find it hard to tell the people in your life ‘No’? If so, why do you find it so difficult? Can you think of any other ways to develop your “assertive muscle” and begin to take back the time you need to improve your own life?
Please share your thoughts on saying no in the comments!