Everybody overeats sometimes. It's a natural part of normal eating. It tends to occur if we allow ourselves to get too hungry which in turn makes the body ravenous. It can also easily happen in social situations when there is an abundance of food and we're not tuned in to the signals from our body. The holidays are the epitome of this with gatherings taking place at all sorts of times that might be abnormal compared to our usual eating routine and social situations where food is everywhere. A common saying this time of year is to "eat drink and be merry" which implies that we have to be using food and beverage in order to have a good time. But too much eating and drinking doesn't make us merry, it makes us miserable. So here's what to do if you overdo it:
- Forgive yourself. This is an essential step. Beating yourself up isn't going to help. In fact, it just sets up the eat-guilt-repeat cycle that fuels overeating in the first place.
- Stay connected to your body. It will tell you when it's hungry again. Wait until then to eat, and eat when the hunger is mild to moderate. Waiting until you're ravenous again doesn't compensate for the calories you previously consumed. Rather, it increases the likelihood of overeating again.
- Drink some H20. The fluid will help with digestion.
- Place a heating pad on your belly if you're extremely uncomfortable. Nurture yourself like you would a child with an upset tummy.
- Take your mind off food. Engage in another activity. Think of the food as fuel for the other things you do throughout the day. Now that you've been fueled you're ready to go. On the other hand, if you're too uncomfortable it's ok to take it easy and relax. Choose a low-key activity instead of something high-energy.
- Take a moment to check in with yourself regarding the reasons you overate. Were you overly hungry? Was it mindless/distracted eating? How were you feeling emotionally at the time? What about physically? These clues can help prevent overeating in the future as you become more aware of your triggers.
- Remind yourself that everyone overeats sometimes, so don't dwell on it. Let it go.
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