Does this sound like a familiar scenario?: You’ve just finished eating a delicious, satisfying meal and you’re now faced with the temptation to eat yet more food– maybe an invitation to the local ice cream shop, perhaps a chocolate bar in your desk drawer or whatever it may be that sounds like something you want to eat but also something that you know isn’t exactly what your body needs at the moment.
A typical thought process may go something like this: I MUST eat this NOW and I will begin my diet again tomorrow. This is my only chance. It’s now or never. There’s a sense of urgency and lack of control. So you eat it, only to feel overstuffed and guilty….again.
How does that work for you? I’m guessing not great.
Keep reading for a little tip that was recently shared by a client who is struggling with overeating. I wanted to talk about it because when something really clicks for someone, chances are good that it will resonate with somebody else.
Instead of her predictable dieting mentality which revolved around “can’t” and “shouldn’t”, she tried a fresh approach. This involved slowing down, taking a few moments to relax and checking in with her body:
“I am actually feeling pretty satiated right now with what I just ate. The ice cream that I was tempted to go out for… I can have it tomorrow!” This was a completely novel way of thinking for someone whose chronic dieting messages sounded more like “I better eat it now (and lots of it) because I start being “good” tomorrow!”
I was really proud of her for changing her internal dialogue! And you know what– tomorrow came and the craving went and when she realized that she could always have that food the next day, it diminished its power over her and gave her a newfound sense of freedom.
How you think about food (your mindset), plays a huge part in what, when and how much you eat. Changing an unwanted eating habit is less about increasing your willpower and more about changing your attitude towards eating and food.
For many people, food is seen as the enemy. It’s often viewed as something to limit or a cause of weight gain. It could be feared because it is something associated with a lack of control. This all-too-common viewpoint won’t ever lead you to where you want to go. Learning to see food as your friend and an essential source of nourishment and pleasure is absolutely key if you’re looking to establish a healthier relationship with eating.
Remember: You can have it tomorrow. Know that you have a choice and stop looking at food as something that you “can” or “can’t” have. You can have anything you want. Just take that pause and slow down to decide if you really do want it. Consider the concept of possibly feeling even better by NOT having that treat right now! See last year’s post But I Love to Go Out for Ice Cream in Summer….
Also, think of cravings like waves that come and go. If you’re not sure what you want to do, try waiting it out for 20 minutes as an experiment. If you can pause between the thought and the action… you may be surprised at what you learn. This is different from trying to suppress true hunger signals. If you’re hungry– you need to EAT, not fight it!
If you’ve been at war with food and with your body, you must change how you have been thinking. You aren’t going to win any battles with self-loathing and negative thoughts. Slow down, take a few deep, conscious breaths, trust yourself, accept who you are and love yourself to get going in the right direction. I am always here to support you each and every step of the way.
P.S. Does your grocery store have a Healthy Ice Cream section? 🙂
Apparently mine does! Upon closer investigation, it wasn’t even the fat-free or light versions I expected to see (which, BTW, are certainly also NOT considered healthy!) I wasn’t sure whether their definition of healthy is a little different from mine or if they have a comedian on their sign making team. Speak to the manager or just laugh?