Overeating is an epidemic in America. We all know how we are supposed to eat in order to be healthier, but few of us are able to sustain a healthful eating pattern for very long. There are many reasons for this difficulty and one of the biggest is energy depletion.

When you are depleted and generally drained of energy you lose motivation to care for yourself properly. Depleted states cause us to seek passive, vegetative comforts like television and fatty, high carbohydrate, highly processed convenience foods that do not demand anything of us other than opening a package.

So why are so many of us depleted? Because we tend to value working hard over working smart, we reward those who sacrifice personal and family time for their companies, and we value caring for others over caring for ourselves, and we no longer live in communities with family that can help us raise our kids and help us out in times of need.

There are steps that we can take to cure ourselves of constant burnout and depleted states of being that sabotage our best efforts at healthful living. How many of the following depleters can you identify as your own? The following circumstances steal vibrance from life and thwart good eating habits:

1. Not enough sleep. Is there a more obvious depleter? But amazingly overlooked by many as the one thing they can do to re-create energy and maintain their health and vitality.

2. Unexpressed emotion. If you are angry at someone or some thing and you ruminate, complain, and find no direct, cathartic way to express yourself such as talking, writing, playing sports, etc...over time it will fester in ways that not only drain motivation for self care but create self-defeating and self-harming behavior.

3. Unfinished projects. Leaving projects to begin new ones creates unfinished business and little, weighty, black clouds that follow our every move consciously or not.

4. Poor interpersonal boundaries. Setting boundaries to protect ourselves from prioritizing the needs and wants of others above our own frees up enormous energy and empowers us toward other forms of self care.

5. Not asking for help. Are you someone who feels that they should be able to "handle it" without burdening others? Do you refuse help even when it is offered? Accepting help reduces stress and creates friendships so why not do it?
6. Caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. You know what is going to happen but you do it anyway.

7. Stress. Unresolved stress will lead to a state of di-stress over time. If you know what relaxes you then do it. If you don't then learn. Stress will kill you, but first it will make you fat.

8. Watching television. Yeah, we think we are relaxing, vegging out, but watching TV takes energy, disturbes sleep, and does not give us the rest we deserve.

9. Poor Eating Habits. The epitome of a vicious cycle.
The pooerer you eat the less energy you have to improve your eating.

10. Lack of exercise. Although it takes energy to exercise it also creates new energy and makes us feel good.

If you identify with the above depleters you are not alone. I encourage you to develop your own personal list of circumstances (people, jobs, behaviors, emotions)that take your energy without giving you anything in return. For one week write down any situation in which you find yourself feeling unmotivated, bored, drained, etc.. and list it as a 'depleter'. Also, notice and document any context in which you feel energized, hopeful and experience well-being, and list it as a 'motivator'. Now work to rid yourself of as many depleters as possible or in some way limit or modify them. Also, spend more time in your 'motivator' situations. In addition to helping you stick to healthy eating patterns, this process will invigorate you in ways you don't expect!

Author's Bio: 

Jackie Bean is a clinical psychologist, personal coach, and former registered dietitian. She helps people struggling with overeating, depression, anxiety and relationships. Dr. Bean lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia and can be contacted at (404) 493-0240 or jackiebean2@yahoo.com