Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Stop overeating and reconnect to your body
One of my major downfalls in the past has been overeating. It was not uncommon for me to be so uncomfortable that I would want to just curl up. Miserable.
Learning to stop overeating has been hard for me, to be perfectly honest. But it has been very worth it. I'm not perfect yet (this weekend out at my in-laws can attest to that fact), but on the whole I've been better.
So I have put together 10 tips that have helped me. I generally shy away from making lists of behaviors because everyone is individual and needs to find what works best for them. However, in order to find out what works well you need to know what to try. Most of these are not new or ground breaking, but they are working for me and maybe they can help you too.
So without further ado, here are Melanee's 10 insights into stopping the overeating (in no particular order):
1. Eat often. I used to skip breakfast. By early afternoon I was so hungry I couldn't stand it. So I started eating breakfast, but then I'd skip lunch and be ravenous by dinner. Having a little one helps. I try to have a snack any time he does. You don't have to eat a lot, but just keeping yourself from getting too empty makes a big difference.
2. Have a stash. When Cormac was about 4 months old we went to visit Ammon's sister's family. I was nursing at the time. I knew his sister, but not well. During mealtimes I would catch myself eating insane amounts of food because I was worried I would get hungry before the next meal and not produce enough for my baby. I wasn't totally comfortable asking for snacks (I'm shy like that), so I overate. Since then I've had a rule to have a stash when I go places so I don't feel like a crazed animal. I don't want to eat like that, it's rude and unhealthy. I find having a granola bar or a stash of nuts in my purse during any given day is a good practice. Just plan ahead.
3. Eat mindfully. It was a rare thing when I would eat without distractions. Often I was reading or watching something while I ate. I still like to do this, but I'm learning to stop in order to listen to my body. If I'm distracted with something else I don't know when to stop eating.
4. Slow down. Growing up it was always the family joke (more of a reality) that my mom would spend all day slaving over the most amazing Thanksgiving dinner and we would be done eating in 15 minutes flat. By the time my brain figured out what was happening it was too late. I was over full.
5. Small portions. I think this one complements number 4 nicely. When I fill my plate with just a small amount of everything I am able to enjoy what I like and then pick seconds of that thing. While picking seconds I have time to assess just how hungry I still am. This has also helped me to learn about how much food I truly need. It obviously varies from day to day, but having a rough idea is nice.
6. Save it for later/prioritize. I read recently that those of us who feel like we have to finish our plates or else it is going to go to waste need to realize that it is going to waste either way. If we are full our body has what it needs. Any extra is waste. Leftovers are magical. I used to despise them, now I purposely cook to have them. Also, when I sit down to a meal I look to see what will save well and what won't. I eat the item that won't be great leftover first then fill in the gaps with the other foods until I'm full. The next day I have a wonderful meal waiting for me.
7. Observe. You need to take time to observe how you feel during your eating. No judgements here. If you mess up and overeat one day forgive yourself and move on. It's no big deal. Just keep paying attention and practicing and you'll get it down.
8. Stop emotional eating. This one is very tricky for me. When I find myself mindlessly wandering to the kitchen I have been learning to stop to see what it is I really need/want. If I find myself just eating something. . . anything, I know that there is something else a foot. Time to take a step back and address those other things, even when it's hard.
9. Savor. Take time to taste your food. Rejoice in the various flavors and textures. Eat the rainbow. Involve all of your senses. It makes meal time much more rewarding and satisfying.
10. Eat what you want. You are much more likely to stop after you've had enough if you've eaten exactly what you want. If you eat something else you won't be satisfied and you'll keep grazing the kitchen searching for that satisfied feeling. Rather than do that, throw out your rules and eat exactly what you want and what makes you feel good. Practice being an intuitive eater.
Pick and choose which of these appeals to you. Everyone is different. Everyone is unique. And everyone has a special combination that works just right for them. Take the time to find yours. Your body is worth it.