02/16/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Funky To Fabulous: Anatomy Of A Binge...And How To Stop

How did you do on last week's quiz?

Studies show that the third week in January is when most weight loss goals are broken. Dr Cliff Arnall, a Cardiff University psychologist, devised the formula that calculates January 23rd as the most depressing day of the year. Will you stick to your resolution on what Arnall calls 'Blue Monday'? If you have been on a strict diet you are at a greater risk of a wild frenzy of eating.

You know that what you say to yourself affects what you put in your mouth. Here is a behind the scenes look at the mindset of a binge -- whether its
yours, mine or Oprah's.

You know that what you say to yourself affects what you put in your mouth. Here is a behind the scenes look at the mindset of a binge -- whether its
yours, mine or Oprah's.

Self-nagging is one of the most fattening things on the planet. It's what
drives the cycle of overeating. Debra Waterhouse, R.N., reports that
according to a Stanford University study, weight loss doesn't necessarily
improve body image. Rather, the reverse is true: body acceptance, a
low-criticism diet, is the best weight-loss program. The women who were the
most at peace with their body were twice as likely to lose weight than those
who were wildly dissatisfied with the way they looked. That's why beating
yourself up after eating some chocolate cake often leads to eating the
entire cake.

Here's how this works:

Step One: The Impossible Dream Syndrome.

Glancing through the most recent copy of your favorite magazine, you take a
good look at Madonna's arms. You think your arms should look like that,
forgetting about the army of workout trainers, Pilates teachers, and yoga
instructors she has to help with those triceps. Those "shoulds" are a
slippery bunch. Before you've had time to mull it over, they've got you
comparing yourself to a picture in a magazine and coming out on the losing
end. Then you assign yourself a Completely Impossible Task: "I will look
like Madonna if it kills me. From now on I will never eat dessert." This
leads to...

Step Two: The Wrong, Wrong, Wrong Syndrome.

When you decree an unrealistic expectation for yourself, you are setting
yourself up to fail. If you are a human being, at some point you will
probably eat a piece of cake. Sure enough, at some point you yield to that
slice of orange pecan torte with lemon frosting smiling at you from the
dessert tray. Breaking your promise to yourself sends you right into...

Step Three: The Scolding Syndrome:

"You are such a fat slob. You ate cake again. What a disgusting loser."
There are some women that walk around their lives stuck in The Scolding
Syndrome. Oprah is very public about how she is flagellating herself due to
her weight gain. Is it helping her get on track? Nope. It only fuels the
next binge. To lessen the pain of flogging yourself emotionally, you go into...

Step Four: The Oh, Screw It Syndrome.

"Why bother. I blew my diet already. I think I will eat the entire tray of
desserts." Afterward, when you see the wreckage of a room strewn with
crumbs, you get so disgusted that you declare you will never touch a morsel
of dessert again; you're going for Madonna arms, and the cycle begins anew.

Sound familiar?

Next week I will be giving you tools to let binges become a distant memory.

How have you reinvented your eating habits? Please let me know!

Ask Eli a question at or go to to
tell me how you have let go of yo-yo dieting.

Eli Davidson is a nationally recognized executive coach and motivational

Her book, "Funky to Fabulous: Surefire Success Stories for The Savvy, Sassy
and Swamped", (Oak Grove Publishing) has won three national book awards.