Print This Page SparkPeople

Overcoming Overeating

New Strategies to Stop Overeating Before You Start
  -- By Nicole Nichols, Health Educator
Why do we eat? We all know why we should be eating: to supply our bodies with plenty of energy to get through the day; to get nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals which help us to stay healthy and free of disease; and to get useful carbohydrates, proteins, and fats—all of which contribute to running our bodies properly and maintaining good health.

But sometimes we can all be guilty of eating for other reasons. We love food! And that’s great! Eating should be pleasurable, not just nutritious. Food is everywhere: books are devoted to cooking and recipes, we find ourselves daydreaming and even talking about the newest restaurant or our favorite foods.

Many times we eat to celebrate—holidays, job promotions, graduations, weddings…we’ll find just about any achievement ("I raked the yard!", "We sold our house!", "My favorite team won!") to be celebration-worthy, and we’ll eat to commemorate it.

Other times, we let our emotions take over. When we’re stressed out, sad, angry, or lonely, we oftentimes turn to food to comfort us. Even starting (and staying on) a new diet can be stressful, especially when emotions creep in.

In our food-obsessed culture with out-of-control portions always lurking within our grasps, how can we not overeat? It’s hard to break habits and go against the lessons we have always been taught, like cleaning our plates, not being wasteful, or getting the best deal—which usually means ordering up and getting a lot more food for the money.

There are many ways to stop overeating. While some may seem silly…silly just may work for you. From the following list, find a few that work best for you, and try several. For example, if you find yourself eating out a lot, experiment with the dining out options more. After finding the strategies that work, stick with them. Over time, you’ll break the habits of overeating and form new habits. Pretty soon, you won’t even need the strategies at all, and you’ll be on your way to a permanent lifestyle change!

Skills for Any Setting
Whether you’re cooking your own meal, eating at work, or snacking at a football game, here are the strategies you can take anywhere:
Tips at Home 
Cooking at home may be the easiest way to control your portions during a meal, but it also presents us with fully-stocked cupboards and refrigerators that can be tempting: <pagebreak>
Tricks for Dining Out 
It’s difficult to control your portions—not to mention ingredients and cooking method—when you are at a restaurant. Despite this, there are several things you can control: