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.
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.
Want to enjoy food, love life and lose weight? Join the conversation on Facebook here.
15 thoughts on “Overeating…the good, the bad, and the…”
A good post. Caused constructive thoughts, beginning with the “need” to eat the leftovers:)
The question is, do you like your reason for eating leftovers? Are you eating them when hungry, or grazing? 🙂
This quote from Michael Pollan is so powerful! Overeating promotes the growth of cancer cells! Therefore, my cancer risk can be reduced when I don’t overeat! And let’s be honest… when I overeat, isn’t on veggies. It’s sugary simple carbs. I’m putting this quote on my fridge! Thanks, Heather! Your message is timely, as always!
I’ve NEVER over-eaten on brocolli! 😉
You’re welcome, Jennifer. And yes, I’ve never over-eaten on broccoli. 😉
This is a great post! I have been fence riding for years! I love all food! I eat way too much food!
I will binge on sweets, fats, salts or cheeses. Once I am done I feel like garbage, emotionally and physically. I will make my list tonight. It will be interesting to see how it will weigh out. LOL
Good for you, Suzanne. I suspect you’ll learn a lot from it. 🙂
That’s an interesting one, right? When grazing, the first step is noticing. Then, ask what’s prompting it. Really dig in.
So thought provoking. I love how you can break it down to a non-emotional, basic process. It is right on. Thank you for sharing.
You’re welcome, Tanya! I’m glad you found it valuable.
This is very helpful!! After reading the health implications I don’t think it will be as difficult as before to be content with a moderate size helping and if needing to have more, then vegetables and salad only. I think this will work!! I would rather not be full, just satisfied. This will be what I will concentrate on. I need to slow down when I eat, because my excuses have been at times that I will be at the table as long as everyone else, and if done before them, I would take second helping! Yikes
It will be interesting how it feels to be at the table, be finished, and not have a second helping. Watch what your brain does…:)
You are very correct! I did that at my dad’s out of necessity as there wasn’t a need for me to go after second helpings. Our diet was rich in salad’s and vegetables with some meat, with wholesome breakfasts and lunches. I was satisfied with moderate amounts at each meal. If my brain does a good job at his house, I need to remind myself of that when I am home. I lost 6 ponds since the 12 day challenge!! I bought my favorite healthy meal ingredients and kept to snacks that are very good for you. I did not have second helpings over there and that is something my brain needs to focus on. No toddler brain is my new song!! You are the best heather!!!
Why, thank you, Seta. I love how on fire you are!