emotional eating solutions asking for help why it might not be helping

Emotional Eating Solutions: Asking for help – why it might not be helping

By:
Melissa McCreery, PhD

One of the most common reasons smart, capable women stay trapped in cycles of struggling with overload, overwhelm, and overeating, is a lack of consistently used, high quality support in their lives.

“Asking for help” sounds like a simple strategy, but for many high-achievers, it just ain’t so.

Here are the most common reasons you may not be getting the help you need.

Shame. Some high-achievers equate strength with self-reliance. They are so strongly independent that they haven’t permitted—or perfected—the skill of asking for help—at least in certain areas of their lives. The belief that health and well-being ought to be areas they can take charge of on their own holds them back and keeps them struggling, in part because they aren’t leveraging the support that they count on in the rest of their lives. If you are carrying a belief that you “shouldn’t need” to ask for help or if you aren’t used to doing so, shame may be holding you back from getting what you need to move forward.

Unused muscles. If you aren’t someone who has asked for help in the past (maybe you’ve even congratulated yourself for this as if it were a strength), then you probably find yourself in situations where help would be useful but it doesn’t even occur to you to ask. If this is the case it’s time to start waking up your “delegating” and “asking for help” muscles. Begin by asking yourself about the situations or struggles that others might be able to help you with. Notice the places where you feel stuck and consider who might have the expertise or wisdom to guide you so that you don’t have to keep struggling to reinvent the wheel.

Being a one-strike-and-you’re-out-support seeker. If you find it challenging to ask for help, you might not be pushing hard enough to get it. If you find yourself thinking, “I asked for help and they never followed through” or, “it just wasn’t’ very helpful—I guess I just need to do it myself,” you aren’t alone. However, these experiences are not reasons to stop asking—they are probably indications that you need to ask more, follow up, and make sure that you are crystal clear about what you are asking for. “I could use some help” and “Would you please stop and pick up dinner on your way home” are two different requests that will yield very different results.

Not knowing what to ask for. This is a big one, and it’s another reason that many women shy away from the help that could really propel them forward. Don’t be afraid to ask others for ideas: “How could you help out with this?” Most of all, don’t short change yourself because you aren’t quite sure what you need. Reaching out to an expert, describing the situation, and finding out what resources are available might make all the difference.