Overeating is a problem that many people face every day of their lives. While in the moment, a person will fill a void and feel a sense of satisfaction all the while knowing what a bad idea it is to keep on eating like this. It is a battle fought in the mind during the meal and later can bring on a sense of failure and depression. Are you there? Are you feeling defeated by the desire to eat?
Eating is how we fuel our bodies. It is how we put the nutrients into our systems to help keep us strong and healthy. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way we begin to use food as if it was the cure to our illness; a cure for depression, loneliness, and boredom. We use food to celebration, enjoy the company of others, and sometimes, just because it's there. Most people know that this eating habit is bad and is only causing them harm. They know, otherwise they wouldn't feel bad after the fact. But how do we stop this cycle?
I admit that I have indulged,on several occasions, on my favorite treat...Oreo cookies and milk, Yum! But that was back in the day when my body had rapid response to exercise and I really didn't have an issue with getting in shape. I also didn't have a choice as I was in the Marines and, well, exercise was a part of everyday life. However, when I tried doing the same thing 15 years later and after having had several kids I realized that...oh crap...eating a package of Oreos on a regular basis is not such a good idea anymore. It will be sitting in my belly and on my hips for a long, long time.
There are some simple tricks to help identify the reasons we eat and overeat and also ways to prevent these episodes from recurring and getting ourselves into better eating habits.
Nutrition Journal. I know, to some that sounds like a curse...ugh, "I have to keep a diary of what I eat, no way." Well, yes way!! Keeping a food diary, at least for seven consecutive days, will help you identify exactly what you're eating, when, and maybe even why. It may seem like a lot but we are working towards FIXING a problem right.
Restock your pantry and fridge. That means getting rid of all the junk food and sugary drinks. Those food items that tempt you to have more. The trickster foods that you can't put down after just one serving...yeah, those, get rid of them. Don't finish it off, just get rid of it. You don't need it!
Identify what triggers your eating. Very important here..pay attention! What are you feeling when you feel like eating? Are you stressed, tired, bored, lonely, angry, upset, sad, happy...what is it that gives you permission to eat when you're no longer hungry. What are you telling yourself? Is it "I don't care anymore," or maybe "I'm tired and I deserve this." What negative or maybe positive thoughts are mingling in your head...if any. Sometimes the eating happens so fast we don't even know what happened but something did happen, so let's figure out what that is.
Start to address the real issue. After identifying how you feel when you overeat, then it's time to address that issue, but not with food. For example,
stress- how about meditation, relaxation techniques, vent on paper-write it down, vent to a friend;
tired- go to bed, take a nap, drink water;
bored-get busy, go for a walk, start a craft or hobbie;
lonely-go to the mall, call a friend, go to the gym...etc.
Whatever it is deal with the situation or the issue with activities outside of your kitchen first because after the meal is over, the issue will still be there.
Start exercising. You had to know I was going to suggest this one. At home, the gym, outdoors,indoors. There are so many activities to choose. Find one you are comfortable with and start to expand from there by adding variety to your fitness routine. Going to a fitness class at a gym is great if you need the motivation of others to get you going; walking is not only free, but it is also a great way to clear your mind; speaking of clearing your mind, consider Yoga. Yoga improves posture, flexibility, strenthens and it is a great way to relieve stress; and I'm going back to my personal favorite, Spinning. But any high intensity exercise will release endorphins which will give you that "runner's high," a sense of well-being, something to feel good about.
So you will grab a notebook and start keeping a nutrition journal, you will restock your pantry and fridge with nutritious foods, you will work on identifying and addressing the issues that trigger overeating; you will begin an exercise program. Right? Not yet. There's one more thing.
I have to ask, how badly do you want to stop feeding your emotions? How badly do you want to get in shape? How badly do you want to be healthy and live a healthier lifestyle? Until you decide it's time for a change, this list will be completely useless. It is up to you to make a difference in your life. Start Now!
These sites are useful for logging/journaling and learning, if yo have some personal favorites, please share them:
Journal: MyFitnessPal - http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ MyFitnessPal is a diet and fitness community built with one purpose in mind: providing you with the tools and support you need to achieve your weight loss goals. FREE!!
Learn and Share: Iowa Avenue - http://www.iowaavenue.com/ Iowa Avenue Is A Dynamic Healthy-Living Social Community Connecting People In A Meaningful Way For A Meaningful Purpose. It's About Health, Fitness, And Weight Loss, With A Little Fun Thrown In For Good Measure. It's Free!!
Learn: Cool Running - http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml