Are You Powerless Over Food?

Am I Powerless Over food? Kris Snyder, MFT, MBA, CPT

In the book the One Thing, the authors address how asking the wrong questions gets you the wrong answer. It is no secret this is all too common in the fat loss and fitness industry when many individuals make the decision to lose weight and become more fit. The Chinese proverbs states “A journey of thousand miles begin with one step.” Like any other trip, there are consequences for miscalculations, costing us our time, money, and a number of other resources.

The quality of any answer is directly determined by the quality of the question  G. Keller

Today’s question is a tough yet pertinent one if you have consistently found yourself failing to achieve you weight loss and fitness goals. Some characteristics of a failed journey looks like a cyclical pattern of beating yourself up in boot camp and personal training sessions, engaging in yo-yo dieting, and for some, weighing more than you did before this “weight loss journey” started.  In many cases we end up feeling guilty, angry, depressed and the loss of confidence and self-efficacy at each failed attempt results in us eating more.

Your answer to the one question could possibly change the way to approach your next move to changing your lifestyle: AM I POWERLESS OVER FOOD?

Honestly reflecting on and answering today’s question gives you the opportunity to look a tough question square in the face that has the potential to change your life as you take a new approach to understanding your relationship with food.

Phil Werdell, chairman of the Food Addiction Institute states there are millions of food addicts, many of them who don’t know they have an addiction (Fargon,2010).

Like I expressed many times before, no one wants to readily admit they have a problem, especially with food. One of the keys to remember is that you are not alone. Studies have found it is estimated that 11 million people suffer from clinically significant eating disorders (ED) in the U.S. (2017). They further discuss how women represent 90% of those who seek medical treatment, but trust me many of us struggle with this as well.  Something else that also may change your perspective on this issue is that it is no secret that fitness professionals also struggle with issues with food as well.  For example, a popular fitness journal refers to one Norwegian study that reflects 22% of male and 59% of female group fitness instructors (GFI) were classified as having issue with disordered eating (DE) (2017). Because of being the face of the industry, many GFIs also go silent on their issues with food. Other reasons stem from those comparable to society at large such as shame, embarrassment and pressure of losing their job (2017).

Problems come when we ignore the facts! Bill B.

Bill B. the author of compulsive eater states we should learn the difference between facts and problems. People who are powerless over food cannot eat like those who do not struggle with this issue.  Bill B. states facts about ourselves only become problems when we make believe that they are not true (1981). Let’s be clear, it is important to understand that everyone overeats from time to time without being powerless over food. Girz explains simple overeating can be the umbrella term for all inadvertent bouts of over indulgence.  For example, events such as occasionally eating out fits this description when indulging in larger portion sizes that redefine acceptable food intake. Occasions such as these allow people to eat more than usual without considering or characterizing their food intake as excessive. Because everybody’s normal is different when it comes to eating, the key is to identify if your normal is one that results in finding your eating patterns difficult to manage because you are powerless over food?  Again, problems develop when we ignore the facts!

Action Step:

The first step of Overeaters Anonymous states “We admitted we were powerless over our food compulsion – that our lives had become unmanageable.” This is a hard first step because very few wants to admit they are powerless to anything especially food. However, several sources states admitting this issue and giving up control is an effective first step to addressing this barrier.

The action step is to research this issue and educate yourself on what being powerless over food looks like for you.  The pain and frustrating associated with all the issues of failed diet plans, guilt, anger, and depression can no longer be worth the pain of the fleeting good feeling that comes when we find ourselves eating compulsively. Problems develop when we ignore the facts.   Honesty is key here, simply because if you are not honest, every attempt at the next diet plan is a lie.

More importantly, take the steps to seek help from the appropriate health professional as early detection is to key to successful intervention in treatment. Diagnosing any food disorder is out of the fitness professional’s scope of practice. However, a well-educated trainer can identify and confidently speak with their client to hold this crucial conversation and provide recommendations.

Are you a Compulsive Overeater?

As always “microwins”

Please like, share, comment

Kris Snyder, MFT, MBA, CPT


B., Bill (1981) Compulsive Overeater. CompcareCare Publications

Fargen, J. (2010, Aug 08). Food addiction support groups growing in popularity: We admit we are powerless over sweets. McClatchy – Tribune Business News Retrieved from

Girz, L. (2013). Two kinds of overeating: Can we distinguish between disinhibited eating in restrained eaters and simple overeating that occurs in everyone? Available from ProQuest Central; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Full Text. (1634880422). Retrieved from″>

Keller, G. & Papasan, J.(2015) The ONE Thing The Suprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extaordinary Results: Bard Press

Luque PhD., M. (2017, October) When Eating Isn’t Simple, IDEA Fitness Journal

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