Consider the following suggestions to help you cope with the strong urges to overeat.
Give definition to your mealtime.
Have regularly scheduled meals with healthy varied menus. Set an eating schedule that suits your needs (such as 3 main meals per day at set times). Have a special place to eat along with a table setting so that your meal has a clear beginning and ending.
Give yourself positive statements while you examine your struggle to overeat such as:
- “This urge is strong now, but I know it often goes away in a few minutes. Hunger signals come and go and increase over time. I’ll rate the intensity now and again when it returns.“
- “I’ll trust myself. I’m confusing my emotions with my urge to overeat. I’ve already eaten enough regular normal meals.”
- What am I thinking and feeling? What do I need to do with these emotions now, other than overeat?
Do not immediately turn to food.
Keep to your regularly scheduled meal plan. Focus on helpful coping statements such as:
- “My hunger and full food cues are confusing to me now, so I must eat according to my schedule.”
- “Smaller meals at regular intervals are more satisfying.”
- “I must take in food to nourish my body just like I would give my children or a friend medicine and good food.”
The next time you feel a food urge, take a deep breath and relax.
Take a moment and jot down any thoughts or feelings you are having surrounding this urge. Are you stressed? Sad? Bored? Angry? Lonely? Was there anything in particular that stimulated the urge to eat? You can use this technique to gain time to make better decisions about eating and to gain a greater awareness of what is driving your urge to eat.
Break your old dietary rules slowly.
If you have a rule that says you can’t eat breakfast, try eating a little bit. Leave the eating area at the point when you begin feeling discomfort. Gradually increase the amount you eat and length of time you stay in the eating area until you eat a healthy meal.
Eat smaller portions of foods you have been overeating.
Since these foods will no longer be forbidden, you’ll probably not dwell on them or become anxious and guilty after eating them.
Try to eat moderate portions, and let go of diet myths that might have controlled your eating behavior.
If you’re unsure what a standard portion is, use one cup, one-half cup, and one-fourth cup measuring cups, and you’ll learn how much satisfies your hunger.
If it is difficult for you to digest normal portions, remind yourself that it may be easier for you to eat smaller meals daily rather than three larger meals.
Think of ways to involve yourself in other activities once you’ve finished a meal.
Keep a list of activities handy and refer to them often.
Plan things you enjoy doing each day, even if you have a limited amount of time. When you’re well-nourished emotionally, you’ll be less likely to turn to food.