9 Strategies to Cope With the Urge to OvereatConsider the following suggestions to help you cope with the strong urges to overeat.

Give definition to your mealtime.
Set an eating schedule that suits your needs. Have a special place to eat along with a table setting so that your meal has a clear beginning and ending, instead of in front of the computer or in your car.

Give yourself positive statements while you examine your struggle to overeat: Hunger signals come and go and increase over time. Rate the intensity now and have choices for healthy food. Use self-talk like:

  • This urge is strong now, but I know it often goes away in a few minutes“.
  • I’ll trust myself. I’m confusing my emotions with my urge to overeat“.
  • 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 self-talk (see above) and use other strategies — journaling, calling a friend, taking a walk, a nap, or a drink of water.

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 or decrease 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.

Eat moderate portions, and let go of diet myths that might have controlled your eating.
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.

It may be easier for you to eat several smaller meals daily than to eat three larger meals.
Six small meals throughout the day, with the last meal ending by evening, also allows for better digestion. You don’t need to be part of the clean plate club!

Join a group to discover and work on the things that are causing food to be the source of comfort.
Life Recovery steps can help you find freedom and healing for what may be at the core of the issue.

Take care of yourself.
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.

We want to be a source of encouragement and hope for you. Additional resources are available through New Life Ministries. Call us at 800-NEW-LIFE, or visit us at newlife.com.