For many of us, this is a resounding yes! We eat the foods we know are bad but that taste so good. We tell ourselves not to, but we do it anyway. We allow ourselves a “cheat” meal and then feel lousy or guilty (or both) afterwards. We swear up and down that we won’t do it again — until we do.
What we need to do is understand why we are tempted to overeat in the first place, and then formulate a plan of action — that’s right, action. You can’t just sit there and wish that you didn’t overeat. You’ve got to purposefully make a conscious effort not to.
Think about training for a marathon, getting a degree or even teaching children how to read and write. They are all a process: a process of time, effort, consistency and discipline. Was it super fun the entire time? Heck no! Was the result worth the effort? Absolutely!
To change your body, you have to change your mind. Changing your mindset will help change your behavior, and your behavior will inevitably change your body.
- Be Mindful: Be aware of the allure of trigger foods such as warm and gooey brownies, hot buttered bread, an irresistible slice of cheesy pizza; take a moment to ask yourself what you are feeling. Are you sad? Stressed? Upset? Ask yourself if eating will make those feelings go away — and be honest. I always have a list of back up tactics to try whenever those urges strike. Find some other healthier activity that you enjoy to help distract and/or uplift your mood. It could be calling a good friend, going for a walk (my favorite), exercising, reading, journaling, praying, taking a relaxing bath, deep breathing, etc.
- Change Your Triggers: If having Twinkies or shortbread cookies (or chips or whatever your weak-at-the-knees food is) in the cupboard has you relying on sheer willpower every time you open those doors, you will more than likely cave. Instead, don’t let it enter your house at all, and toss all junk foods in your house (if your significant other objects, put it in a place that you never visit, like a cabinet on the opposite side of the kitchen where you’ll forget about it). My husband’s favorite expression is “if it’s not in your house, you can’t eat it,” and nine times out of 10, you aren’t going to go out of your way to the store to buy that tempting treat.
- Make a List: Make a list of situations you cannot control and formulate alternatives. Maybe you need to avoid certain restaurants at all costs (for example buffets) and skip eating with people who sabotage your efforts (or at least make sure that there are healthier options available so that you are able to eat with them). Just because someone serves you a plate of cookies or a slice of cake doesn’t mean you must eat it. Push it away or toss it in the garbage if you must. I find pouring water on any tempting treats always works for me.
- Create New Habits: If you always get a donut from the bakery when you hit Publix or grab a latte from Starbucks on your way home from work, make it a point to do something different. Reward yourself with your favorite cup of tea when you get home or pack a healthy snack to eat before you get to the store to diminish hunger. Try walking the store in a completely different way than you usually do and avoiding the bakery altogether for instance. On your drive home, focus on listening to your favorite music, try a new stop (perhaps at a park to relax in the grass or a bench instead of a bustling coffee shop), or change your route home completely to avoid any temptation.
This is part one of three about ending the vicious cycle of overeating. If you have any tried and true methods that work for you, feel free to email them to me, and I may mention them in an upcoming article.
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One-On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for men and women on Marco Island. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Colon Hydrotherapist and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes.” To send in a question, email Crystal@PinkIslandFitness.com. She can also be reached at www.101FIT.com or www.PinkIslandFitness.com and 239-333-5771.