Why You Keep Eating Even Though You Tell Yourself To Stop
Last Tuesday night was week #2 of our Intuitive Eating Group Coaching Program and we talked about how to understand your natural hunger and fullness cues on a physical level, which is incredibly empowering for those who want to change their habits with food but are sick and tired of dieting. I had everyone participate in this one exercise where you do a mindful meditation around your stomach. The place where food goes to first. Above anything else, every single nutritional fact you need to know is RIGHT THERE. It’s crazy that it’s that simple.
One of the issues with food that people always want to understand is how to stop overeating.
Let me define what this means for me, because it could look and feel different for every body.
For me, overeating is that feeling in your body where you’ve had one too many bites of __________ food. After everything is said and done, you often feel tired, sluggish, low in energy, full but in a too much kind of a way. Instead of it taking an hour for the food you've eaten to digest in your body, it can take 3-4 hours until your stomach really settles. If you’ve dieted for a while or don’t really like your body size you may have feelings of regret, guilt, shame or self-deprecation. You may feel like, “why the heck didn’t I stop??” or, “why didn’t I control myself more??” Sound familiar? Guess what! I’ve been here millions of times myself and it’s actually more common than you think. You technically have to eat 3-5-7 times a day so the chances of you not getting it perfectly... are HIGHHHHH. I want to give you a little space to forgive yourself before I get into the reasons of why you are doing it.
Reason #1- You are waiting too long to eat. Let me explain… When I ask most of my clients, “what does hungry feel like to you?” they’ll answer, a gurgling sound, hangry, starving, my stomach starts talking. Lovelies!! This is NOT hunger. This is, in fact, starving. If that’s what hunger means to you than you are eating when you are too hungry. The biggest issue with this is that you are much more likely to eat in a way that makes you feel out of balance and also you are much more likely to overeat because your body doesn’t know when it will get food again so it’s trying to pack in everything at once. This is your body’s way of screaming for balance. Undereat-overeat. Restrict-binge. If you eat when you’re at a normal level of hunger you have a higher chance of eating to the point of satisfaction. Basically what I’m trying to say is start paying attention to subtle cues of hunger, and eat. You deserve to eat when you’re mildly hungry, not starving. Waiting too long sets you up to fail.
Reason #2- You walk in to the snack, meal, dessert, treat, whatever you’re eating, already feeling guilty about the food you’re consuming. Doing this takes you out of your body and leaves you wrapped up in your thoughts so you need much more food to satiate you because technically you weren’t there to enjoy it. Some people finish whole bags of things and think, OMG I didn’t realize. This comes from already having the mindset that you shouldn’t be eating something when it’s on its way to your mouth. So my advice is, choose foods you love, get rid of the guilt, and give yourself permission to truly enjoy it. If you’re present for it, you’ll need way less.
Reason #3- If you get into the mindset of ‘I’ll start my diet tomorrow’ or really start any new health plan tomorrow, you will naturally try to pack in as much food as possible, even though your body doesn’t physically need that much in the moment. Think about polar bears for a sec. Before the winter comes along they hunt and eat a bunch at once so they can pack on fat to get them through the winter and quite literally, when you diet, you’re doing the same thing to your body - except you will have food tomorrow so you don’t need to eat like you won’t. The thing is, your mind doesn't know the difference. This, my friends, is why dieting or restrictive food plans can be so dangerous. They quite literally take us back to the cavemen days where we would eat a whole bunch of food at once because we didn’t know when or if we would get it again. Biologically, dieting makes you feel like you can’t get more of this tomorrow, so you will then try to eat as much of it as possible because you simply don’t know when you’ll have it again. If you want to stop overeating start eating food regularly and make sure it’s food that you love even if _______ diet tell you it’s forbidden.