The Single BEST Thing to Do to Avoid Overeating

When I was writing the book Stop Overeating Today!, I used this tip to develop each of the 33 stop overeating strategies. I never actually came out and shared this tip in my book, so this is new. It takes effort on your part, but is not overwhelming. The best thing to do to avoid overeating is to stop and think and ask yourself these questions when you DO overeat:

1) Why did I overeat? (Was a starving? Was I emotional or tired? Was I zoned into the TV? Was I anxious?)

2) How could I have avoided overeating in this situation? (Could I have eaten snacks during the day and not gone to dinner starving? Could I have calmed my emotions before eating? Could I have planned my meal better and put the bag of chips away so I wouldn’t just keep grabbing for more?)

3) What will I resolve to do next time so I don’t repeat the mistake?

Here’s an example from my life. My husband and I went out to eat on his birthday. We went to Claim Jumper, famous for their huge proportions. I ordered the club sandwich, which actually includes four mini (let’s be honest, at Claim Jumper, nothing is really mini) sandwiches. I had one and was full. We got a box and I was proud of myself for not going overboard.

THEN they brought out his complimentary birthday dessert. We finished it off together and it was perfect because I hadn’t overeaten at dinner and so eating the cake was still staying within my not-too-full limit.

BUT THEN we went to my parent’s house to light candles on the REAL cake and celebrate with a bunch of family. I wasn’t about to skip out on the REAL birthday cake that I made for him, yet I could have chosen a small piece. I got caught up and distracted in the excitement and didn’t cut my regular sized cake piece so it was tiny. That was my plan. Little itty bitty piece of cake so I could still participate and not go overboard.

Even though I didn’t overeat to the point of being truly uncomfortable, I still didn’t stay within the limits of eating smart and moderation. So…it was time to “think about what I did” (doesn’t this remind you of when you got in trouble with your parents as a kid?) and figure out what I could do differently next time I get caught up and distracted with the excitement of a food event.

So now I will answer my own questions:

1) I overate because I wanted to participate in the traditional birthday cake and I failed to take my regular sized piece of cake and cut it to a 1/4 of its size.

2) I could have asked someone in the family to help me to serve the cake. I was so busy frosting it and cutting and serving it that I didn’t take care of myself and what I needed.

3) Next time, I resolve to give myself permission NOT to eat an entire piece of cake and to eat a tiny piece, even if that means I stand out and everyone else gets a normal piece. I resolve to plan it out and make sure my healthy plans still happen amid chaos and excitement. I will be true to my goals.

Ok, now it’s your turn. When was the last time you overate? Grab a pencil and write out the three questions, answering them succinctly yet completely. What you find out may surprise you, because you may discover hidden reasons that caused you to overeat and may discover creative and unexpected ways to avoid it in the future.

What did you find out about yourself?

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