Overeating…the good, the bad, and the…

If I asked you if you overeat, how would you feel?



Would you think, “No, not me.”?

How you respond depends on your behavior and how you define overeating.

Let’s start by defining it. Overeating is simply eating more than the body needs. That can mean snacking during the day when not physically hungry. It can also mean eating more at one sitting than the body needs, which tends to result in feeling full.

So, what’s good about overeating? We love food. It tastes good. It provides comfort for some of us, distraction for others. It’s a go-to that can instantly change our feeling state and food is one of the few things we feel we can control in life.

Overeating is eating more than the body needs, whether snacking when not physically hungry, or eating too much at one sitting and feeling full. Read more here: https://www.weightbreakthrough.com/overeating-the-good-the-bad-and-the/
Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

We know what’s bad. Sometimes unwanted weight gain. But even without weight gain, it can negatively impact our health. In his book In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan points out the research shows “Overeating promotes cell division, and promotes it most dramatically in cancer cells; cutting back on calories slows cell division. It also stifles the production of free radicals, curbs inflammation, and reduces the risk of most of the Western diseases.”

To be clear, he isn’t saying that overeating causes cancer or other diseases, rather that our risk can be reduced when we don’t overeat. That’s quite significant.

But there is a whole other layer for those who don’t want to be overeating.

The good is tempered by a food hangover. The “what did I do?!” kind of thoughts. The beating ourselves up because we “blew it.” The feeling of being out of control and out of integrity with ourselves.

Can you relate? You love food but wish you didn’t eat as much as you did? You want to stop overeating but every time you try to be “good,” your willpower eventually crashes and you’re back to old habits?

If so, try this. Write down all of your reasons for overeating. Why do you do it? But don’t beat yourself up. Just be honest about the “why.” Then, write down all the reasons you have for not overeating. Find as many as you can. Compare the lists. Which list do you like better?

You see, if you constantly straddle between overeating and not, you’re essentially stuck. Then you never feel good about your decision and don’t achieve the results you want.

If you decide to overeat, then do it and let go of judgment. Make sure you like your reasons.

If you decide the reasons against it outweigh those in favor, then commit to stop overeating. Identify the thoughts you need to think and the plans you need to put in place to keep in integrity with your decision. And, if you mess up, do a post-mortem. Why? What happened? And use that information to improve next time.

It really is that simple. Hard? Yes. But simple. And worth it.


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Is “everything in moderation” sabotaging you?

“Everything in moderation.” Have you ever heard that? Have you said that? Yeah, me, too.

What do we mean, though? After all, we’re not talking about obeying laws in moderation or using heroin in moderation. We mean things like eating cake and drinking wine in moderation.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

But how do we measure it? And, does “everything in moderation” work?

It depends.

Do you have the results you want? If you’re at your ideal weight and can easily maintain it with your lifestyle of moderation, then it works for you.

If not, well then…

Here are three ways I see moderation sabotage peoples’ weight loss efforts:

  1. An excuse for over-eating: understand that over-eating is not just eating to the point of feeling stuffed. It’s eating when you’re not hungry. For example, I know many people who say they feel the need (or have a taste) for something sweet, especially in the evenings. Moderation justifies a little chocolate or a little ice cream. Any over-eating will keep you stuck.
  2. Your interpretation is overly generous: moderation is avoiding extremes, but that doesn’t help much when it comes to food and alcohol. How does one take in fried foods, sugar, and wine in moderation? A little of each every day? A little of one every day? One of each once a week? Look to see where your interpretation might stop you from losing weight.
  3. Going without is deprivation: but you’re deprived anyway. If you’re not at your ideal body weight, and able to easily maintain it, then you’re robbed of being your best. The moderation argument sells you on a cheap substitute and you trade a drink here, a little over-eating there, for what you really want: to feel and look amazing.

I used to think moderation worked for me with most things. But I’ve discovered it allowed me to justify bad habits that over time don’t benefit me at all. The momentary pleasure of butter cream frosting (if you know me, you know that was my “thing”) was just that. A tiny thing in comparison to living my best life.

That might sound overly dramatic. I mean, moderate intake of butter cream frosting can’t prevent me from living my best life, can it?

The thing is, someone doesn’t suddenly have a heart attack, or gain 30lbs overnight. It’s years of small steps, of compromising on the little things, that bring her to that place.

Yes, moderation can work. But if your current practice of it is not working for you, then dig into the top three saboteurs to see what you might want to do differently.

Would you like help in stopping weight loss self-sabotage? Let’s talk! Schedule a complimentary strategy session here: www.weightbreakthrough.as.me

If you’re “hungry” for licorice, you’re not hungry…

Two weeks ago, I was in a meeting that started at 6pm and at about 8pm we took a short break.  As happens, several of us ended up around the snack table, which served up chips, candy and nuts. My colleague, Duke, surveyed the spread and wondered out loud “what should I eat?” I looked at him and asked “are you hungry?” to which he replied “no, I probably don’t need to eat anything.”

A minute later he was happily snacking on a Red Vine. I chuckled and asked him what happened. He said “I’m hungry for licorice.”

Ever found yourself standing around a snack table with goodies like chips, candy & nuts? Do you consider whether you're hungry, or do you eat out of habit?
Windell H. Oskay, Flickr

Here’s the thing, if you’re hungry for licorice (chocolate, Cheetos, fill in your fave) and nothing else, then you’re not really hungry. Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School says, if you’re hungry for a chicken breast, then you know you’re hungry!

Up until a couple of years ago, I ate a piece of dark chocolate almost every evening. I never felt truly content with dinner until I’d had my chocolate. That was the reasoning of my toddler brain. And at the time I believed it. The hour between dinner and chocolate I felt unsatisfied until I fulfilled that desire.

Is any of this familiar?

I’m not shaming Duke for his decision to eat licorice (I asked his permission to tell the story) any more than I would shame you or myself. For those of you who struggle to lose weight, it’s about identifying the behavior and the underlying cause of why you’re not reaching your ideal weight.

Ever notice that it’s easy to justify small decisions that lead down the path of failure:

  • “It’s only one piece of licorice” (in reality it adds up to much more)
  • “I deserve it” (I think you deserve better – you’re worth more than a Red Vine!)
  • “I don’t want to deprive myself” (yet you’re depriving yourself of reaching your ideal weight)
  • “I’ll work it off tomorrow” (that’s not the point of exercise, nor how it works)
  • “Everyone else is having it” (as every parent asks a teenager,” if everyone jumped off a bridge…”)

You’re not wrong for eating licorice, chocolate or any other number of sugary, salty, yummy snack foods. That completely misses the point.

When you’re not physically hungry but still craving food, the deeper question to ask is “What am I hungry for?”

Look for my next blog post to help answer that question for you.

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