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.