We all occasionally overeat, and at times, anxiety about food and weight can make eating seem especially chaotic and out of control.  This article will discuss ways to eat in a joyful, mindful and satisfying manner. 

What kind of an overeater are you?

  • Do you find yourself getting so busy you forget to eat and then really overdo it when you finally make the time?
  • Do life’s stresses cause you to turn to food for comfort?
  • Is the availability of food so abundant that saying “no” seems unnatural or even rude?
  • Do you tell yourself, “Come next week, this behavior is going to stop, so until then, it’s full steam ahead!”?

The reasons we overeat are as prevalent and as varied as the individuals who give them.  Exploring what they are and where they come from can be an important first step in identifying how to change.  Regardless of the reasons, moving forward with new thought processes and behaviors can start today!

Consider some of the following strategies to help curb overeating:

  • Resist “all or nothing” thinking when it comes to food. The reality is that any food available today will be available tomorrow. By reminding yourself you can have some later, overeating becomes unnecessary. In practical terms, this may mean preparing a favorite food yourself at a later date or asking your server/ hostess for a “to go” container.
  • Your body needs food approximately every 3-4 hours. Try not to trick yourself into thinking the longer you go without food, the better off you are. It is virtually impossible to eat in a mindful manner when you are ravenous.
  • Eat in a deliberate fashion and slow the pace of your eating. Pick foods you really want, eat them slowly and enjoy every bite. This will prevent you from rummaging around to get desirable foods after you’ve already eaten the food you thought you “should”. Use smaller plates and tell yourself you can always go back for more if you are truly hungry.
  • Finally, if you do eat for emotional reasons, or to comfort yourself, do so in a compassionate way. The problem most of us have with emotional eating is we do it poorly. We don’t let ourselves be comforted, and instead feel anxious and guilty. This guilt and anxiety leads to an inability to naturally regulate our intake internally…a cue we all have and should listen to.

If you find yourself struggling with overeating, try these strategies. You can also reference other Focus Points such as “Less is More”“Connecting the Short Term with the Long Term”and “Acceptance”. They all provide tools to help you live a healthy life and achieve your long term goals.