overeating - how do i stop?
I hope you are all happy and well.
for years now I have had problems with food. I'm not sure if it's just a being lazy thing or something more serious, but I definitely have a problem.
I just keep eating all the time. whether I'm hungry, full, bored, sad, happy - I just eat and I can't control myself. especially when I'm out at a party or something and there's a table of food where I can just eat anything at any time.
when I want to stop eating I'll either go and brush my teeth or chew gum, but that only works for around 30-60 mins. Is there some way I could stop overeating?
I suffer from the same lack of control and have done so all my 65 years.
Here is what I know
- I was chubby as a toddler. It set the trend.
- I grew up developing anxiety
- I was in a family that had food as an excessive focus
- At parties with finger food I worry about missing out
Sadly I don't have all the answers however I want to share my current situation and thoughts
- You need to wait for motivation. One can't force yourself to begin dieting or exercise. Google- beyondblue topic switching mindsets
- When ready, commence a diet recommended by a GP or dietician. I am now on a low carbon no sugar diet. Swapping ingredients in meals works well eg we swap pasta in spaghetti for zucchini. With say schnitzel and salad we halve the schnitzel and double the salad.
- Allow yourself to indulge at parties. This is reward for changes
- Go for walks. Get a pedometer (my wife bought a smart watch with step counter and it also displays phone messages
- Keep busy. Hobbies both indoor and outdoor
- Decrease sugar. Visit your health section of the supermarket. We use no sugar chocolate powder on our cappuccino. No sugar chocolate, low carbon vegie chips and no sugar biscuits. All these moves at home will mean eating out without restrictions more rewarding. Even so, when ordering out you can order with better choices eg an entree meal meals I get desert, a large meal I don't eat all the chips. Etc
- Such changes need to be permanent. You'll relapse, that's OK as long as you spring back.
I hope that helps. Repost anything
Thanks for reaching out. This is something I've struggled with a lot too. I'm glad Tony has jumped on board with his advice.
For me, I did everything that Tony didn't (haha)- I'm not on any diet (although I did see a dietician), I don't restrict, I don't track my walks and I don't restrict sugar.
What I did do though- and am doing, because it's a work in progress- is changing and relearning the way that I think about food. For me, I've always associated food with shame, whether that's being naughty or insults about my weight for something sweet, or secret eating because I didn't want to be judged. A lot of food for me has always been comfort, and that didn't really matter if I was hungry or not. I tried gum too and honestly I think I wanted to eat more! So what I'm trying to do, is not restrict but be open to what I'm really wanting and feeling. Sometimes that's wanting comfort, or being lonely, or frustrated..
I'm not sure if this makes sense or resonates with you. A bit different to Tony's reply but I think for me it was such a mindset thing. But I can totally assure you that you are not lazy at all 🙂
Hi there may,
I second rt's response - even though you feel like you're over eating - could you be actually restricting food sometimes, or in a restricting mindset? I think if you feel like you can't have something, your mind will automatically switch on to want it. So yes, the key is to not restrict (which can be scary). And allow yourself to eat for all sorts of reasons- that's totally normal.
You might also want to check in with the Butterfly Foundation. But I definately think it has nothing to do with laziness.
Thank you all so much for replying. Sorry that my reply is so late.
Tony, I had a similar upbringing to you in terms of food. Especially with finger food at parties. I like your idea of keeping busy with hobbies. When I'm busy I don't really think about food so I'll definitely keep that in mind. Also, I would like to see a dietician but I'm still young and don't want my parents to find out. I'm 100% sure they'll think it's a waste of money. Got any suggestions?
rt, you helped me realise that I eat food to try to replace sad feelings or needs that I have, such as wanting comfort, being lonely or frustrated, as you said. I will try to change my mindset first before changing my behaviours.
Guest, it does sound scary not to try to restrict food, I don't know if I'll be able to keep away from it. Did you suggest the Butterfly Foundation because it sounds like I have a disorder or is it more of a precaution thing? Sorry I tend to overreact to these things.
Once again, thank you all for your replies. Hope you are all doing well!! :)))
You are on the right track with attitude. You dont need your parents to find out, thats fine, I understand.
The one thing that will help you more than dieticians and anyone else- is yourself. Losing weight is such a mental commitment thing combined with snesible choices. Eg My wife and I went to a nearby city this morning and had lunch. We mentioned Hungry Jacks then my wife said "Subway for me". I knew she was right. She had teriyaki chicken and salad and I had a 6 inch grain roll with ham and salad. Far better than a burger.
If you eat sensibly and dont lose weight, dont worry, it will take time ...at least you are eating healthy. If other people dish up food that isnt good for you then peel off the pastry or leave the fried food or refuse the sweets. Better not to be fanatical about it- sensible and measured.
Your intention should be to get food and eating habits off your mind so you can enjoy life. Life involves food and eating but we dont eat and enjoy food to live.
We like shopping for no sugar foods. No sugar cake, no sugar chocolate, flavoured porridge is great, low carb bars. It wont be easy while living at home as these foods cost more but you can plan your future food intakes.
A famous person once said
"you are what you eat" So eat sensible but also accept yourself for who you are. We can all be model figures.
for me overeating is all about my moods.
If I am happy content and confident I do not overeat.
If I am tired, angry, low, frustrated , feeling unappreciated I will eat and no matter how much I eat the emptiness will not be filled.
Have you ever kept a good diary writing down time you set shy you eat and how you feel before and after etc. Hopefully you will see a pattern.
You’re honest and have an insight into your behaviour as many people who over eat say they eat little and have no awareness of how much they eat.
Sorry, when I mentioned the Butterfly Foundation, that was in no way to imply that you have a disorder. Just that the Butterfly Foundation can help with talking to people who feel like they have some sort of concern with food. you mention that you have concerns about over eating. And you could potentially be using food as a coping mechanism to deal with emotions - boredom, sadness, loneliness etc. And I would suggest that it's ok to do this. It's just that it's good to have other tools in your toolbox for dealing with emotions too. E.g. holding ice, journal writing, connecting with a friend, self compassion etc
And re the not restricting thing - Yes, at first you might not be able to keep away from food, but as your mind starts to realise that actually, you can have this food any time you like, you'll start to taper off, because ironically the food isnt off limits anymore. I would try to tune in, if you can, with how the food is making your body feel, are you enjoying it, rather than eating in front of the TV or something where we tune out. (Of course, sometimes eating in front of the TV or tuning out is fine too!)
Just some thoughts.
So glad to hear back from you! I'm really glad what I said was helpful 🙂 It sounds like you have so much insight.
quirkywords has some great advice around writing down what you eat and seeing if there is a pattern. That's basically what a dietician would ask you to do too. Especially if you are finding that there is a timing thing, like if I have to eat breakfast otherwise I get so hungry in the afternoon, and even just getting enough general nutrition can help because if you're lacking in nutrients naturally you will eat more because you're starving!
Are you able to identify when you're feeling lonely/frustrated or needing comfort? You might need different coping skills for different moods; and sometimes that just takes a bit of experimenting. So it might be doing a puzzle while you eat, or starting up conversations at the dinner table. I think the key with that is too be really kind to yourself and not restrict, so "I can't eat I have to do xyz" vs "I can keep eating but what are some other ways that can help too?"
This is all absolutely a work in progress for me too, but there's so many resources out there (dietician or not) so you're not alone in this.
I completely know how you are feeling. I used to overeat. When I was out with friends my mentality was that I had to order the most 'satisfying' food because I was 'out' for example fried food, burgers etc. I also ate when I was bored.
Step one - for me was realising why I was eating and to truly question if I was hungry or just wanted to eat. Realising what kind of thoughts I was having prior to eating more really helped me to realise that I wasn't eating because I was hungry but rather I was having some kind of emotional response.
Step two - not restricting food. Paying more focus to designating the title of 'junk' or 'naughty' food ironically made me crave it more. When I incorporated into my daily diet and didn't restrict it really helped me.
Step three - this is personal to me but I made sure to eat more high protein food so when I did eat it would make me fuller. Sometimes I would eat things that didn't have enough protein so I would get hungry easily.
Also most importantly for me is that I love to snack, so I found healthier snack options to give me that satisfaction for example popcorn, apple slices with peanut butter etc.
I really hope this helps! You are truly not alone in how you are feeling!