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Is Your Inner Rebel Driving Your Emotional Eating?

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Article 004: Is Your Inner Rebel Driving Your Emotional Eating?

Emotional eating is perhaps the most frequent and familiar of the eating challenges so many of us face. We can find ourselves turning to emotional eating when we’re anxious, bored, confused, lonely, angry, stressed out, or simply not feeling good about life.

What’s fascinating is that there’s clearly a part of us that doesn’t want to emotionally eat. Even though we do it – some of us, every day – we also don’t want to deal with the negative consequences of emotional eating.

We don’t want to feel bloated. We’re not interested in being low energy from eating too much, we don’t enjoy how guilty eating makes us feel later on, and many of us probably have at least a little fear of weight gain. 

So, we might be left wondering:

  • What’s driving my emotional eating? 
  • How do I empower myself to stop?

There can be many reasons behind emotional eating: from nutritional and physiological causes to emotional and psychological factors. 

Today, we’re going to explore one of the more fascinating and most common drivers of emotional eating.

It’s one of the hidden “eating archetypes” that can take over, and, in some situations, start running the show. I call it:

The Inner Rebel eating archetype.

Think of eating archetypes as voices inside of us that most often operate beneath our awareness. The Rebel within doesn’t like rules, refuses restrictions, and wants to do whatever it likes. 

Once you understand how this hidden personality works and what it wants, you can begin to take control of your eating choices in a more empowered way. You can be on the road to finding more peace and freedom with food.

In this article, I’ll talk about:

  • What’s an Archetype?
  • The Psychology of the Rebel Archetype
  • How this persona secretly impacts your eating choices
  • How the Rebel can disrupt your weight loss efforts
  • The 5 step process to make the Inner Rebel work for you, and not against you

Let’s dive in…

What’s An Eating Archetype?

By now, you’ve likely noticed that I’ve used the word “archetype” to help describe this inner rebel. So let’s take a moment and get clear about what an archetype is.

You can think of an archetype as a distinct personality inside of you. 

It’s a unique and specialized voice. 

Most of us have been taught to believe that we’re one specific person – “me.” You likely think of yourself as a distinct personality with one unified voice. 

But as we’ve learned from some of the great psychological thinkers such as Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, our personality is far more fascinating and complex.

The truth is: you’re not really just one person. 

You’re more like a crowd. 

And the crowd inside you has many different voices. These voices can be more easily understood by using familiar terms like ‘rebel’ or ‘hero’ or ‘perfectionist’ – and these are archetypes. 

So for example, in some situations, there’s the part of you that may show up like a Parent: nurturing, responsible, demanding, strict, mature, etc. In other situations, a part that’s more like a Child may show up: impulsive, silly, curious, etc.

Some other archetypes are: The Champion. The Perfectionist. The Teacher. The Best Friend. 

Some of us have the archetypes of: The Healer. The Gambler. The Artist. 

And the list goes on and on.

Each of these personalities shows up at certain times. When you’re with your best friend, the Best Friend archetype in you will be present. When you’re in a classroom, your Student archetype shows up. When you’re in any kind of competition, the Competitor archetype in you comes out.

Are you beginning to see how your personality is made up of a fascinating inner committee of characters? And would you agree that this makes us far more interesting than you might have thought?

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Discover Your Eating Archetype

Ever wondered why it's so hard to eat what you know you "should" eat?

This free self-discovery tool will review the hidden psychology of your eating archetypes - giving you the power to understand what really drives your eating choices.

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The Psychology of the Rebel Eating Archetype 

The Rebel is the part of us that’s radical and authentic. It’s the brave ones in society who stand up to injustice, fight for what’s good, and are courageous enough to go against outdated rules that simply don’t work, or are morally incorrect. 

The Rebel fights the good fight and stands up to dogma, hypocrisy, and corruption. The Rebel in us also helps usher in new ideas and new ways of seeing things in the fields of business, politics, science, and medicine. They forge a new path. In this way, Einstein was a rebel, as were Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Davinci, and Shakespeare. 

When it comes to food, the more mature Rebel in us can inspire us to go against what we were taught, try new diets or nutritional systems, get out of our own nutritional ruts, and simply be willing to experiment and explore.

But the immature Rebel within us is often the one who:

  • Goes against our own best nutritional intentions
  • Seems to sabotage our dietary efforts and plans
  • Completely breaks our own food rules even though we wish otherwise

It’s this aspect of the Rebel that often contributes to our unwanted emotional eating challenges.

When you say to yourself, “I know what I want to eat, I know what I’m supposed to do, I just don’t do it,” the Rebel is often the reason why.

In those situations, your inner Rebel has stepped in and is sitting at the head of the table, happily making all the food choices.

So why would the Rebel even do this? 

And what exactly is the point of its presence inside of us?

Well, remember that it’s the Rebel’s job to rebel. That’s its nature.

So, when the Rebel takes over and makes food choices that go against your highest intentions, some reasons this happens include:

  • A part of you is tired of your own intense and impossible-to-follow dietary rules.
  • You’re sick of weight loss dieting, of negative self-talk, and you just want to have some fun with food.
  • In general, you’re being too hard on yourself when it comes to your own food rules and you need to find a middle ground. 
  • You just want to say NO to your parents, to your doctor, to the experts, and to all the people who have judged you around weight and diet – including yourself…

The Rebel has some excellent reasons for its rebellious nature when it comes to food.

The Rebel is operating from a hidden wisdom and has a message for us that we need to hear.

If you’re being too rigid around your diet, if your food rules are too extreme, or unreasonably difficult to follow, then those rules actually need to be challenged.

The Rebel within you is often the one who stands up and says “no” to your own overly intense nutritional and dietary rules. In this way, the Rebel is actually doing its job.

Emotional Eating & Your Inner Rebel

When the Rebel in you is breaking your own food rules, it’s time to pay attention.

It’s time to listen to it more deeply. 

It’s time to examine your rules and restrictions around food and to notice when you’re being too hard on yourself.

Here’s what I mean:

When it comes to emotional eating, we turn to food to regulate our unwanted emotions.

You might be bored, anxious, stressed, angry, depressed, low mood, disappointed, or hurt – all of which are feelings that we simply don’t want or enjoy.

One of the key strategies that humans learn at a very young age is to turn to food to feel better. Eating brings an instant release of pleasure chemistry. Eating takes us out of the physiological stress response, and into a relaxation response. 

This is the psychological and physiological underpinning of emotional eating:

Feel bad, eat food, feel better.

Once again, all humans will at some point use food to regulate and manage unwanted or uncomfortable emotions. 

Now, the Rebel instinctively knows these things.

And the Rebel may drive us to eat when we’re feeling fed up and stressed out. It could be stress from our own dietary rules, or the rules we are trying to follow from a book we’ve read or an expert that we’ve turned to. It could also be stress from other areas in life that feel too rigid, or make us feel like we’re missing out on some pleasure or fun.

So we’re using food to help us manage the difficult emotions caused by our own self-chosen rules.

Can you see the irony here?

Here are some practical suggestions to help you manage unwanted emotional eating caused by the Rebel acting up against your own food rules.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I need to lighten up and change my rules around food – or other rules in my life?

  • Am I being too much of a perfectionist around diet or life?

  • Am I setting myself up for failure by asking too much of myself?

  • Is there more of a middle ground for me when it comes to diet? How can I loosen up and enjoy eating or life a bit more?

  • Do I have self-judgments and self-attacking thoughts about food and body that would cause the Rebel in me to stand up and rebel by driving me to eat foods on my “bad list”?

The beauty of getting to know the Rebel archetype is that you can begin to see how it’s actually trying to help you learn something about yourself. It has a good reason for its supposedly bad behaviors. 

So it might be helpful to ask yourself:

  • What is the Rebel within trying to teach me? 
  • And what is it asking me to learn about myself, and my relationship with food?

IPE - 8 Eating Archetypes Infographic_V05_2-lrg

Discover Your Eating Archetype

Ever wondered why it's so hard to eat what you know you "should" eat?

This free self-discovery tool will review the hidden psychology of your eating archetypes - giving you the power to understand what really drives your eating choices.

IPE - 8 Eating Archetypes Infographic_V05_2-lrg

We respect your privacy and do not share your email address without your express permission.

Is Your Inner Rebel Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts?

When it comes to emotional eating, one of the concerns that so many of us have is that our emotional eating will lead us into the dreaded land of weight gain. After all, if I can’t control what I eat, if my emotions get the best of me when it comes to food, then surely that will translate to more pounds on my body.

This fear of weight gain makes complete sense.

And it’s helpful to take a deeper look here. It’s instructive to see how our inner Rebel may actually be working against our own best weight loss efforts.

Here’s what I mean:

When we’re looking to lose weight, we often create an inner dialogue that we believe will help us in our efforts to eliminate unwanted body fat. That inner conversation can sound like this:

  • If I don’t lose weight, I will continue to be unlovable.
  • If I don’t lose weight, I’ll never be “the real me.”
  • If I happen to gain even just a pound, then I need to feel terrible about myself.
  • If I can’t control my appetite, then I’m a loser at life and deserve my own disdain.

I know far too many people who have a very intense and self-rejecting inner dialogue when it comes to food, weight, appetite, and emotional eating. 

And quite frankly, I haven’t met a single person who’s confidently said: 

“I constantly attacked myself with negative self-talk, I judged my weight and my body every day, I silently repeated all kinds of self-hating thoughts, and then one day I woke up, I lost all the weight, and I was completely happy.”

The truth is, your body and soul do not appreciate any kind of attack. We don’t like it, nor do we favorably respond to it. Quite the opposite. We rebel against it.

So, at some point, after enough self-attack, the Rebel archetype will wake up. 

It will literally come to our rescue in the best way it knows how – by subverting our own weight loss efforts that are based in self-judgment. 

A part of us sincerely wants to lose weight, but when we go about the business of weight loss through self-hate, life has a way of course-correcting us. The Rebel steps in and says “no.” 

So we break our diet, we binge eat, we emotionally eat, we eat the foods on our “bad” list – and then we feel like losers because we couldn’t control ourselves.

But the deeper truth is, we rebelled because body and soul are protecting themselves from harshness and self-attack.

Are you beginning to see the lesson here?

If not, let me spell it out:

If you wish to lose weight, your task is to love yourself into weight loss, not hate yourself into it.

It’s far easier to practice healthy eating habits when we are practicing healthy thinking habits.

If you’re looking to lose weight and you’re noticing that the Rebel in you may be acting against your best wishes, my suggestion to you is this:

  • Practice cleansing your mind of self-attacking thoughts about your body.
  • Notice if your weight loss approach is based on low-calorie eating and extreme food restriction. If it is, let this strategy go. It doesn’t work sustainably and it will cause your inner Rebel to rise up and seek food.
  • Consider taking a break from weight loss and just give your body, mind, heart and soul a rest from all the pressure.
  • Take some time to enjoy your body at the weight that it is.

These practices might sound counterintuitive, but they work. It’s all about learning how to have more peace and love in your weight loss journey, rather than fill it with negative self-talk. 

The 5-Step Process to Harness Your Inner Rebel & Transform Emotional Eating

By now you’re likely seeing how the Rebel within can drive your unwanted eating and cause you to eat in ways that you’d rather not. It can drive us to emotionally eat. It can thwart our weight loss efforts.

We’ve already looked at some practical solutions. Let’s finish up by looking at how you can deliberately address this eating archetype so it works for and not against you.

It’s important to remember that the Rebel in you ultimately serves a beautiful function. One of its great attributes is this:

The Inner Rebel holds a lot of power. 

Allow me to suggest that your task is to harness that power when it comes to your relationship with food, and with LIFE.

Here’s a simple 5-step process to help you along your journey:

  1. Notice Your Inner Rebel 
  2. Explore Your Inner Rebel 
  3. Embrace Your Inner Rebel 
  4. Dialogue with Your Inner Rebel
  5. Deploy Your Inner Rebel

Let’s break it down and look at the details…

Step 1: NOTICE Your Inner Rebel

If you want to change any unwanted behavior in any area of life, the first step is to notice whenever you’re participating in that behavior. 

Here’s the thing:

In order for you to do any eating behavior that you say you don’t want to do, a part of you must go asleep in the moment. 

We check out. 

We disappear and allow another voice inside of us to step in.

To counteract this, you need to get present, get aware, stay awake, and observe yourself in the moment when the Rebel sits at the head of the table and takes over your decision-making around eating.

Awareness, all by itself, is a powerful tool to help change unwanted habits.

So you’re learning to catch yourself in the moment and consistently witness yourself when the Rebel within takes over.

Practically, Step #1 looks like this:

  • Commit to noticing whenever the Inner Rebel takes over your eating decisions.
  • Choose to make this an ongoing practice.
  • When you notice the Inner Rebel showing up, say to yourself, “Oh, here’s that part of me that wants to break all the rules. Here’s that archetype showing up in my life.”
  • Simply observe the Rebel for a few moments, and silently acknowledge to yourself that it’s present.

Step 2: EXPLORE Your Inner Rebel

Once you’ve noticed the Rebel showing up, the next step is to get curious.

Not only is it quite helpful to get to better know the personality of the Rebel inside you, it’s also pretty fascinating. The reality is, if you want to have more authority and control over any archetype within you, then the more you understand it, the easier it is to regulate it.

So, how do you explore and get to know your Inner Rebel? Well, just ask some good questions:

  • When does your Rebel show up around food?
  • What are the general circumstances when the Rebel takes over your eating choices?
  • Who is your Rebel rebelling against? Any particular people come to mind?
  • What do you imagine your Rebel is rebelling against?
  • And how might your Rebel be serving a useful function for you?

Step 3: EMBRACE Your Inner Rebel

Once you notice your Rebel showing up, and you’ve explored it a bit, this step is all about embracing and accepting this part of you.

The thing is, fighting any part of ourselves doesn’t work. Success does not come when you war against yourself. Success comes when you call a cease-fire and give a big hug to all the parts of you that you may not approve of.

So, make sure that when your Rebel shows up, you remind yourself of the following:

  • The Rebel within is an important part of you that’s here to help you stand up to bad rules, corruption, injustice, insults to yourself or others, societal norms that are outdated, and more.
  • The Rebel helps you create a better world by being courageous and outspoken.
  • The Rebel protects you against people who knowingly or unknowingly pull you down
  • The Rebel exists to help you be more interesting and stir things up!
  • The Rebel helps you see when your food rules and weight loss goals may be too intense.

Step 4: DIALOGUE with Your Inner Rebel

Once you’ve acknowledged and accepted your Rebel, it’s time to have a good conversation with this part of you.

You’ve already established rapport by noticing it, getting to know it, and making the Rebel feel welcomed. You’ve earned the right to have a productive meeting where you sit at the head of the table.  

Assume that the Adult in you, the Royalty in you, the King or Queen in you is the one who ultimately makes the most important decisions in your life.

This is the part of you that you must call in to assume the director’s chair and instruct the Rebel in a helpful way.

Here are some ideas:

  • Let the Rebel know that you’ll be making the majority of the decisions in your life when it comes to food
  • Remind the Rebel that its job, its very existence is about working for you, not against you
  • Tell the Rebel that you’ll provide other opportunities for it to rebel that have nothing to do with food
  • Empower your Royal Self to make your eating and nutrition choices

Step 5: DEPLOY Your Inner Rebel

Every part of us exists to fulfill itself. The Child within likes to play. The Hero within wants to be victorious. The Seeker within wants to be in deep contemplation. The Hedonist inside us wants to enjoy the pleasures of life. 

And the Rebel wants to rebel.

So, when you give the Rebel a healthy outlet, it will have far less of a need to show up and thwart all your good intentions around food. 

With that in mind, take a moment and consider how you can deploy your Rebel to do good things, to be helpful to you, or to others.

Some examples might include:

  • Are there social causes in your life that you can put your Rebel energy into?
  • Are there conversations you can be in where you can let the Rebel express its feelings about how the world can be a better place?
  • Is there any place in your life where you need to better stand up for yourself?
  • Are there instances where you need to speak up in a more truthful way?
  • Can you think of places in your life where you need to be more courageous, more outgoing, and to be more confident in your beliefs and power?

You have far more ability to manage your unwanted eating behaviors than you may have thought. You no longer need to feel powerless around emotional eating. You no longer need to say, “I don’t know why I sabotage myself around food and diet.” 

Now you know one of the key reasons why, and how you can effectively work with yourself to feel more in control with food.

If you’d like to learn more about the Inner Rebel Eating Archetype, along with the other key eating archetypes, I highly suggest you download a copy of my free mini-course: The 8 Eating Archetypes: A Self-Discovery Tool.

You’ll discover even more about the voices that drive your unwanted eating challenges, and how to help transform them.

I hope this has been helpful for you. We’d love to hear how these strategies work to give you more food freedom and better understand and manage your emotional eating challenges.

Article 004: Is Your Inner Rebel Driving Your Emotional Eating?

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