Are you using food to push down your fears about setting boundaries?
My work as a coach has revealed one important truth – a lot of busy women I know are really good at avoiding saying ‘no’ and it’s a major cause of overeating.
If you struggle with this, you’re probably underestimating the impact it’s having on your eating and on your confidence.
What Are Boundaries and Why Do We Need Them?
A boundary can be defined as what’s ok and what’s not ok with you.
Simply put, they are the limits you set with other people, which indicate what you find acceptable and unacceptable in their behaviour towards you.
Think of your boundaries as protective “emotional borders “you build between others and yourself.
It’s your way of communicating to others that you:
- know and understand what your limits are
- respect and value your time
- can make good decisions for yourself
- honour your needs and desires
- are in control of your time, and
- do not allow others to define your schedule.
Healthy boundaries come from your own sense of self-worth and your values.
The Cost of Not Setting the Boundaries That You Need.
If you are putting yourself at the bottom of your priority list you may be eating your feelings.
If you are saying ‘yes’ to everything and everyone:
- You may feel exhausted and frustrated from saying ‘yes’ too often.
- You may feel resentful because you think that you are being taken advantage of.
- You may feel that you are missing out on fulfilling your own needs.
- When you don’t not fulfil your needs, you end up feeding your cravings.
When your needs are being met, you don’t need to feed your emotions.
How to Set Healthy Boundaries
Setting boundaries starts with being clear on your values, beliefs, and the standards of behaviour that you would like to adopt or be more consistent and congruent with.
When setting boundaries:
- There is no need to defend, debate, or over-explain your feelings.
- Be firm, gracious and direct. When faced with resistance, repeat your statement or request.
- Back up your boundary with action.
- Stay strong. If you give in, you invite people to ignore your needs
Then, it’s about finding the right words to set boundaries in situations where you’re fearful of other people’s reactions or any other consequences.
Setting healthy boundaries can be challenging at first, especially if you are accustomed to saying yes, all the time. It is however, a skill that can be learned with practise.
I suggest these three steps for creating boundaries to feel in complete control around food with ease and confidence.
Step 1: Self Awareness
The first step to set boundaries is self-awareness. Identifying where you need more space, self-respect and energy.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Where could I be saying ‘no’ more?
- Where am I most afraid to say ‘no’ and is this a place where maybe I need to be saying no the most?
Tip: Pay attention to the situations when you are low on energy, feel butterflies in your stomach, or want to cry.
“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you’re not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” —Paul Coelho
Step 2: A Formula for Setting a Boundary
Here’s a general formula for getting it right.
When X happens, I feel X, because X. I need X, and would appreciate it if you would X.
Here’s how it might sound:
I feel angry when you interrupted my holiday with work issues because I value my time off and mental health. What I need is uninterrupted time to clear my head and come back more productive, so I’d appreciate it if you would not contact me at all about work when I’m on holiday.
Step 3: A Formula for Saying No
Saying ‘no’ is another way to set a boundary. It’s shame or guilt or a fear of disappointing people that prevents us from saying ‘no’.
“No is a complete sentence.” —Anne Lamont
For example: if someone asks you to lunch, but you’re trying to eat healthy and don’t want the temptation, you can simply say ‘no’ without any justification.
Here’s how it might sound: “Thanks for asking me, but I’ll give it a miss today. I hope you enjoy it!”
Now it’s your turn:
- Think of a situation where you want to say no.
- Use the formula above to write a neutral, clear and diplomatic statement that you could use in that situation.
The bottom line
Setting healthy boundaries will help you to feel calmer, and better about yourself, and you’ll feel a lot more satisfied with life.
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” —Brene Brown
Now that you know the cost of not setting the boundaries that you need. It’s time to get clear on the best places to start setting them.
- How can you create healthy boundaries to help you release emotional eating and guilt?
✨ If you would like help with building healthy boundaries to feel in complete control around food with ease and confidence, book a FREE 30 min Coach session. ✨
It’s free. And it might change your life.
???? Click here to grab your coaching spot with me now!