G. Alan Marlatt, a psychologist working in the field of addictive
behaviors, talks about a factor that significantly contributes to
ongoing addictive behavior: an imbalance between "shoulds" and "wants".
Dr. Marlatt has shown that too many "shoulds" in your life and too few
"wants" make you more likely to turn (or return) to an addictive
behavior such as overeating.
If you are attempting to stop overeating, but your life is filled to
the brim with obligations and demands, then your lifestyle is what
Marlatt calls "unbalanced". What' s missing is the side of life that
contains things you simply want to do, enjoy doing, as opposed to
things you should do. Without "the wants" side of life, you are
depriving yourself of personal rewards. It isn' t hard to see then why
you might seek out the immediate gratification of overeating.
It' s very important that you let yourself engage in activities for
pleasure and self-fulfillment. This is what balances out the external
and internal demands, keeps you from feeling deprived, and makes it
much less likely that you will feel the need for self-indulgence.
Try this Ask someone close to you to make side-by-side lists of your OBLIGATIONS
(shoulds) and PLEASURES (wants). See which list is longer. What did you
find? Is your life seriously tilted toward being a "should" person or a
"want" person, or are your "shoulds" and "wants" in balance?