1. Learn ‘good enough’
Rather than trying to commit to being ‘perfect’ this weekend, just learn to be happy with ‘good enough’. You may have been invited or organised to meet some friends on Sunday for lunch. Ok so you are not going to order poached salmon and kale but it doesn’t mean you have to order the burger and chips either. Try to get out of the ‘All or Nothing’ thought process. Remember the method you follow is better than the ‘perfect’ one you quit.
2. Let hunger be your guide
Don’t give yourself a whole list of food rules. A few guidelines is satisfactory and then let hunger be your biggest guide. If you are out with friends and food is being passed around – ask yourself, are you hungry? If not, pass it on, if you are eat until you are satisfied and don’t feel guilty about it.
3. Don’t look forward to “Cheat Days’
You have been super good, eating as ‘clean’ as a surgeons operating table all week, and then Saturday hits and its cheat day – the happiest day of your week. You indulge in everything you didn’t permit during the week until you heart is content. I know people that use the ‘cheat meal/cheat day’ tactic and it works for them. However, on the whole, If you are looking forward to the day where you can cram as much food into your mouth it is not a very positive mindset. Scarcity makes us feel anxious, needy and greedy. Be conscious of choices throughout the week, but don’t set such clear and strict rules. If you have a work meeting on Tuesday night, so be it, you have a glass of wine, then you get back on it on Wednesday morning.
4. ‘Own’ Your Choices
Do you ever barter with yourself? Make deals, trades and swaps related to food? “I won’t eat dessert today, but I will have an extra glass of wine”. In this mindset, one ‘good deed’ gives you license to ‘sin’ elsewhere. These ‘trades’ rarely pay off – they just help you avoid making tough decisions and help you justify overeating. Trading off ‘good’ and ‘bad’ is for little kids and for convicts not for informed adults. Let your adult values and deeper principles guide you and ‘own’ your choices.
5. Stop Rationalising
We can all say:
1. We were too busy
2. We were travelling
3. We had work to do
4. We had family/social meals to attend
These are easy justifications (‘powerless victim of circumstance’) for eating a bunch of food we know we shouldn’t have done. Rationalisations are a convenient script. They help us make sense of our over eating or other unhelpful behaviours.
Busy-ness, boredom, travel, work or family dinners don’t inherently cause overeating. People eat or drink too much in lots of different situations. Their explanations simply match whatever is going on at the time.
Why are you really overeating?
Sometimes you will want to eat crap – and too much of it – thats normal.
But instead of falling back on the tired ‘victim-of-circumstance’ narrative, take the opportunity to ask yourself whats really going on. Are you bored, stressed, sad, anxious, confused, happy? Start to see patterns of behaviour and overeating and that is your opportunity to do something to address these emotions instead of bingeing.