This is something Margaret wrote in a comment to this post a couple of days ago, and I can't get it out of my mind.
I know what Margaret's talking about, and I just realized what it is about this insight of hers that stuck with me. It's that the shame is completely counterproductive.
Apply an economist's thinking to eating behavior. People do whatever they have the strongest incentives for. It may seem that shame about eating too much, or about eating the wrong stuff, would be a strong motivator for people to eat less, or to eat the right stuff. Yes, it can be a strong motivator -- I've used it -- but only if you let yourself feel it, let it pull against the other incentives you have to eat what you're usually eating.
The thing about shame is that it feels bad to feel shameful, so people always have a REALLY STRONG incentive to avoid thinking about hard truths that make them feel shameful. If you take it for granted that acknowledging the truth will make you feel shame, then... you just might ignore that truth completely. So you never have to feel the shame. Because it hurts. It sure as heck hurts more than a plateful of chips and salsa.
So, even though some people CAN harness shame to their benefit, maybe it's best to make an end run around shame. Maybe the first step is not to acknowledge "that you're too weak" to eat the right amounts of the right stuff. This is a judgment that need not be made. Maybe the first step is simply to acknowledge: "This is what I eat."
To see what you are choosing to put into your body with clear eyes. Count the chips and simply be aware: I chose to eat 27 chips. Scoop the ice cream and be aware: I had one and a half cups. Keep that food diary that the experts are always saying is so useful for turning around bad habits, and do your best to see it not as an exercise in self-shaming, but as simple data collection. This is what I do. This is what I did.
It's not what you are. It's what you do. And it's important to know what you do. Emotions that make you unwilling to know what you do,what you have been doing -- emotions that reward ignorance and punish awareness -- won't help you. Replace them with something neutral.
How about curiosity? Can you be motivated simply to find out what this interesting person, yourself, does each day?