Overeating is as commonplace as drinking bottled water. Portions are bigger in restaurants. We eat out all the time. Fattening foods are synonymous with good times. And it’s acceptable to bring a snack almost anywhere you go. We could potentially be eating almost all of the time if we’re not careful. Cutting back can feel impossible in a world where food is so readily accessible. How do you reign yourself in when it can be so easy to spiral out?
First of all we need balance. Let’s think of a balance or scale. It’s never fixed and steady. A true balance (like one used to measure food or a doctor’s scale) is always tipping back and forth slightly. Our weight and how we manage food is the same. We always need to make tiny adjustments. The first way we can do this is with an actual scale.
The Scale (and how to use it)
Many of us come to fear the scale because we don’t like what it tells us or because it’s too easy to get obsessed with it. One member told me that she would jump on and off the scale, sometimes multiple times an hour. Obviously that’s just too much but the scale can actually be a useful tool.
Numbers don’t have to be something to be afraid of. For example, when you drive the car it would be dangerous to look at the speedometer the whole time you’re driving because you need your eyes on the road. But it’s important to have it there because every once in awhile you need an accurate read on how fast you’re really going. This can also apply to a food scale that lets you know how much of a portion you’re actually eating since normal sized portions have started to look small to our eyes.
I can gain weight very quickly. I don’t weigh myself often mostly because I don’t have a scale but I’m starting to see that it’s a good idea for me to get on once a week or once every two weeks so that I don’t have a surprise. A surprise can lead to defeat and a case of the “why bothers.” Don’t fixate on the scale. Simply use it in moderation as a tool to know where you’re at.
The “Why Bothers” (and what to do about them)
Once the number on the scale gets too intimidating you can get a case of the “why bothers.” The “why bothers” tell you things like “why bother restricting yourself you’re already fat,” or “why bother eating less when you’re only at this restaurant once in awhile,” or “you’re never going to lose the weight you want so why bother?” Be on guard for a case of the “why bothers.” They can fool you into overeating and sabotage your best intentions. When we get defeated it’s hard to make good choices we eat more and more. Get stronger than this voice by talking back to it. Remind yourself that you do in fact care. When you remember that it’s much easier to make the effort.
Don’t Wait Till Monday (why that’s way too long)
A common mistake that we make to justify overeating is the minute we make a mistake we throw the towel in and tell ourselves “screw it, I’ll start again next Monday.” It doesn’t matter if it’s only Tuesday at the time. We fool ourselves into thinking that we can only eat well if we start in the morning, or on Monday, or on the first of the month or New Year’s. This isn’t true. Think of that scale again and all the tiny adjustments it needs to stay in balance. You are no different. If you overeat at lunch, you can undereat at dinner. If you fall off the wagon on Monday night, you can get back on the wagon Tuesday morning. We learned to be overeaters one food choice at a time. And we’ll learn to eat in balance one food choice at a time, too. Your next meal can be your next opportunity to eat in moderation.
Changing a lifetime pattern isn’t easy but if you keep deeming yourself worthy of bothering, don’t fear using the scale as a helpful tool (or other measure like a certain pair of pants or a string around your waist) and get back on the wagon anytime you fall off, you’ll be well on your way to ending overeating.