Hands up who has never eaten a whole pack of cookies (or a pint of ice cream) just because of boredom.
Do you often finish your meal without paying attention to it and feel like you haven’t been nourished at all, feeling empty?
When we are not mindful about our eating experiences (what we eat, the quantity, the environment, the quality, etc) or if we use food to cope with emotions, it’s very easy to overeat and finish with this uncomfortable physical and emotional feelings thinking that we are always reproducing the same errors, that we don’t have any willpower, that – once again – we have been trapped by our own behaviours.
These experiences are painful, accompanied by guilt, shame and self-loathing and might also generate digestive disorders.
Having struggled with eating disorders during many years I know these kind of experiences too well and how much they can be self-destroying. You don’t have to be bulimic to experience these destructive patterns. During my coaching practice, I’ve discovered that much more people than we think have a tricky relation with food, that’s why I wanted to share my tips & advices to help you improve and enjoy your eating experiences.
Eating is a way to nourish our body, mind and soul and has to stay enjoyable. I hope these tips will help you to (re)create a healthier relation with food
Tips & Tricks To Stop Overeating
- Obviously, doing another activity while eating such as driving, reading, walking, shopping, discussing business or checking your emails doesn’t help. Change room, and allow yourself to take a break while eating. Even 15 min is better than nothing, when eating we are absorbing what’s happening around us and it’s important to be relaxed, in a quiet atmosphere. You will feel satisfied much quicker and avoid overeating.
- Learn to recognise emotional eating from real hunger. If you are not sure a good thing is to wait about 10 to 15 minutes and check in to see if you are still hungry. If this seems too hard, go for a walk. You will find that if you are experiencing emotional hunger, doing another activity for about 15 minutes will help. Go for a walk, call a friend, write in your journal, drink a cup of tea while listening to your favourite song, etc. If you are still hungry after that, it’s probably real hunger.
- Ask yourself what you really want to eat, take a few deep breath and tune in. Don’t look at the menu or in the fridge just close your eyes and imagine what you would really like to eat. This way, you will listen more carefully to your body signals and its needs. You will also prepare it to receive nourishing food.
- Ask yourself “how will my stomach feel when I will stop eating?“. Visualising, feeling the sensation of fullness that you are expecting will help you to stop eating on time and avoid overeating.
- Chewing is very important. Most people don’t chew their food enough, making digestion even harder for their body. Take your time, drop your fork and knife between each bite. A great exercise to know if you chew your food enough is trying to chew each bite 20 times. Try to do it for one week and notice the difference.
- Stop in the middle of your meal and pay attention to your sensations, the savours, aromas, taste, textures, etc…. are you enjoying your experience? Is it a nourishing experience?
- If you have issues recognising when you are full, which is totally normal if you are struggling with eating disorders, try to use my satiety scale sheet. You can download it here.
- Eating a meal that you’ve prepared/cooked helps improving the eating experience. It’s much more fulfilling and your stomach and body are getting prepared to receive the food while your cook. Cooking also allows you to be 100% aware of what’s in your plate.
- Don’t be afraid to say no and refuse food if you are not hungry. It’s perfectly ok to refuse politely the cake your grandma has made just for you if you are not hungry. Your grandma is not going to die because of that. Learn to listen to your body and put yourself and your wellbeing as priorities.
- If you are used to clean your plate and can’t leave any leftover by fear of wasting food, pack it and leave it in the fridge for the day after. It’s better to leave food in your plate than overeating and feeling bad. Your wellbeing is more important than wasting food!
If you keep overeating despite changing these few things, check out my powerful post about how to stop binge eating. I am sure this will help you A LOT as well