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About one third of all adults in this country overeat¹!! Can you believe that number? Are you apart of that number? The fact that you clicked over to read this post, I’m going to assume you are, or think you might be. But, that’s alright. You’re here to help yourself control your out of control eating; so, you’re going in the right direction!!
You’re not alone with wanting to control your eating, either. It’s hard in our culture to not overeat; with all the stress thrown upon our shoulders, or pressure we put on ourselves. Whether it’s stress from work, from being a parent who never gets time to themselves, or simply not having enough time in the day to get everything done that needs to get done!
But, there are a few things we can do to get a grasp, and start taking control of what we eat. By control, though, I do not mean restrict; we more than likely just need to be more mindful of what we eat, how much we eat, when we overeat, why we’re eating more than we should, and who we’re with when eating.
The First Step
We need to admit to ourselves that we do, in fact, overeat. This could be the easiest part in taking control of our eating, or the hardest part.
If we know ourselves and are consistently honest with ourselves and trying to improve, then you’re probably already past this step!
However, if you’re still on the sidelines of figuring this out, or in denial that you are overeating, or even believe that you aren’t overeating but for some reason clicked over to read this anyways. Then, maybe you should write down everything you eat for a few days: how you feel, what you’re doing, and who you’re with, every time you eat. (Make sure you pin this post, or save it somewhere to come back to it after you track your eating.)
You may be shocked at how much you eat. But, who knows, you could be eating way less than you thought, and not have an issue with overeating. Either way, you’re not going to know until you start paying attention and actually writing it down
To make things easier, subscribe below to get a “Track your Eating” Printable!!
After tracking your eating habits for a few days, if you’re still unsure if you’re overeating; contact your doctor, or find a nutritionist to see. They should be able to give you a more precise answer, seeing as how it’ll be different for everyone and there could be quite a few factors to consider.
Figure Out Why You Overeat
If you took the time to pay attention and track what you eat for a few days with the printable above, then figuring out why you overeat should be pretty easy!
If you’re unsure why you overeat, go back up and grab that printable to fill out over the next few days.
But, basically, there are a few reasons why we may overeat; and a lot of the reasons have to do with stress. In fact, a third of people who overeat, do so because of stress¹. That’s a decent amount of people, but doesn’t account for everyone. It also doesn’t show the different kinds of stress people go through to cause them to overeat.
Certain stressors, like having a bad day, or not having 5 seconds alone during the day and having your kids at you about everything all day long (with no break whatsoever), could absolutely cause you enough stress to want to eat simply to feel just a little better. I know this, because I have done this before. Ever since becoming a stay at home mom, some days have been so stressful I make, and eat, half a batch of home made reese’s. I get it. (Sometimes the whole batch disappears in one sitting…)
Knowing is half the battle
But, because I know what causes me to overeat, I can take action to counteract the instinct I have to do so, and change my habits for the better!
Whether you eat because you’re stressed, sad, bored, or just have the habit of doing so; you can always improve and overcome your urge to overeat.
It will take some willpower, probably a lot of willpower, at first. But, after you change your habits and handle your stressors in a more positive manner; you’ll start to see how much better you feel when you don’t overeat. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, and possibly even a smaller number on the scale! (Unless of course, your overeating doesn’t cause you weight gain because you have a crazy fast metabolism.)
Alternatives to Overeating
If you quickly search on google, or pinterest, or any other search engine for how to overcome stress eating; you’ll find quite a few alternatives, from exercising to even painting your nails to distract you from eating. (Who has time to paint their nails, or the patience to, when you have little ones running around you!!)
As a stay at home mom, our situation is unique, being distracted from overeating isn’t what we need; we get distracted all the time, from anything we try to do! What we need are alternatives that we can actually put into practice, today! Like the ones below:
- Exercise. I agree with everyone else on this one, but not for using it as a distraction. Getting exercise in during the day can help balance hormones (including cortisol- the stress hormone), make us happier, and give us more energy to deal with the chaos, that we call a normal day!
- Take a few deep breaths. This will help calm you down and center yourself if you’re stressed. It’ll help you think a little clearer and figure out what it is that you truly need….and no, it’s not that donut you’re hiding in the cupboard that you think is out of reach of your children.
- Drink some water. Sometimes when we think we’re hungry and want to just continue eating; we’re really just thirsty. So, try having a glass of water before eating anything else during the day.
- Attempt to get enough sleep at night. I know, as a parent this can be a huge struggle. The day after ‘spring forward’ for day light savings, my 5 year old could not sleep, which meant I could not sleep; literally every 20 minutes from 11pm to 4am she was trying to get me up. (She may have stopped a little before 4am, that’s when I finally got up and she was passed out on the couch…)
- Try not to eat while doing other things. (I’m totally guilty of this one, but I’m working on overcoming it.) Mindless eating can definitely cause overeating. As humans, we eat when we have food available, not necessarily when we’re hungry.
- Become a tickle monster for your children! If your childrens behavior is what is causing you to overeat, instead of heading to the kitchen become a tickle monster!!! As long as they’re not teenagers (and would think you’re totally uncool for tickling them), just grab them and tickle them! They’ll have fun and start laughing uncontrollably, and in turn you’ll start laughing and having fun with them, like you should! And, bam! No more stress-induced feeling to eat when you’re not truly hungry!
Give one of those a try, you may even be surprised at what actually works! If you have young children, I highly recommend you try the last alternative!! It’ll improve the whole atmosphere of your home!!
If the above methods don’t help with controlling your out of control eating, the next step to take would to become more organized and more prepared when it comes to the food in your home.
This may seem a little harsh, but you shouldn’t let food control you. Think of it this way, you can plan your perfect day in food (hopefully a day full of healthy food), and then you’re one step further to eating what you want during the day, not what you’re stressed, tired, or overwhelmed self wants.
You may not eat perfectly from your meal plan, but you’ll get somewhat close, maybe switching a meal from one day to another. That’s no big deal. Make sure you plan out your snacks, as well; you need to have enough planned snacks through out the day to help make sure you don’t overeat. (Maybe two or 3, along with 3 regular meals. Whatever you usually eat outside of your binges.)
Again, only buy what you need according to your meal plan, and meal prep over the weekend if you can. Meal prepping can help you in so many different ways, read The Benefits of Meal Prepping to find out more!
If you need a meal plan template, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered; go here to download my meal plan templates (or, if you signed up to get the printable to track your eating, you should have received an email for access to my printable library; just go there! Contact me if you didn’t get the email and I’ll get it to you ASAP!)
If all else fails…
“Use the apple test. If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re not hungry” – Michael Pollan, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.
I love that quote, I’ve known it since I was young, or at least a version of it! It’s so true, and a great test to see if you’re truly hungry. If you had a glass of water and you’re still hungry; eat an apple (or another type of fruit or veggie). If you’re not hungry enough to eat a piece of produce, then you’re not hungry and shouldn’t be eating anything else, either. So, move awayyy from the kitchen and go find something else to do, instead.
It’s not going to be easy…
I know it’s not easy, but with some effort and dedication, you’ll be able to control your eating.
And, now that you know how to start taking control of your out of control eating, and some things you can do instead when you get stressed; are you actually going to do it?
Will you start eating more mindfully and actually pay attention to yourself when you feel like you want to over eat? Will you try out some of the alternative things you can do instead of overeating?
I know changing your eating habits is going to be difficult. In general, nothing worth doing comes easy; that’s why the feeling is so rewarding when you actually accomplish it. And, I want you to feel accomplished and in control of what you’re putting into your body.
The whole reason I wrote this is to help you control your out of control eating; so, at least try a few of the things above.
If you’re reading this to help someone else, then please share in the comments other tips you may have for controlling out of control eating!
p.s. If you still need help after trying these suggestions, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.